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Disney has a serious party planned for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Here’s the inside scoop on what “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” will look like!

It’s All About the “EARidescence”

You may know that gold is the traditional 50th anniversary gift. It symbolizes love, compassion, courage and wisdom. Soon, it will also symbolize 50 years of magic at Disney World. According to the official Disney Parks Blog, new EARidescent decorations will shimmer and sparkle from day to night at all four parks.

At Magic Kingdom, the freshly painted Cinderella Castle will shimmer with pearls and jewels. And we’ve heard the turrets and towers will be wrapped in iridescent gold and blue ribbons.

At night, all four of the Walt Disney World park icons will transform into “Beacons of Magic” with special nighttime projections and lights. Thanks to the magic of Disney, guests will be wowed by pixie dust on Cinderella Castle, magical fireflies at the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom and something new on the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is also receiving a new permanent light display that resembles a starry night sky. We can’t wait to visit!

See how Disney parks looked through the decades.

What Else Can We Expect to See?

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will have fresh new looks for the celebration, too. As hosts of the event, they’ll be dressed for the occasion in fashions made with EARidescent fabric in hues of purple and blue, highlighted by embroidered impressions of Cinderella Castle and pops of gold. Even Micky and Minnie’s anniversary shoes will be golden. We can’t wait to see what their friends will be wearing!

There’s still so much we don’t know about the 50th anniversary celebration, including what new shows, merchandise and food will be. Seriously, we’re all about the Disney eats. We’ll share all the details as they’re revealed!

When Can We Celebrate?

Disney World’s 50th anniversary events begin October 1, 2021. “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” is an 18-month-long event, so don’t worry if you can’t get there in October. You’ll have plenty of time to get in on the party. If you go, though, expect some changes. For now, face masks are required for guests over the age of 2, there will be pre-entry temperature checks and park capacity will likely be reduced through much of 2021.

If you plan to celebrate at home, take a look at these Disney parks copycat recipes!

Test kitchen preferred the best Tuna

So many of us are trying to incorporate more protein into our diets. Lean meats, legumes and nuts are all a great place to start, but you might be forgetting one healthy source of protein in the aisles at your grocery store: packaged tuna.

Yep! On average, a packet of tuna has about 30% of the protein healthy adults need in a day. And with most tuna brands coming in at under 100 calories per serving, you couldn’t ask for a better way to beef up your lunchtime routine. But we know that canned and packaged tuna can be disappointing. To save you the trouble, our Test Kitchen sampled all the most popular brands to find the tuna options that should be in your shopping cart.

How We Found the Best Tuna Brands

For this sampling, our Test Kitchen put seven tuna brands (including the biggest names) head-to-head in a blind tasting. Our pros didn’t know which brand was which as they sampled each tuna as they came—right out of the package. They judged the tuna according to these criteria:

  • Appearance: How does the tuna look? What sort of hue does it have? Does it look appealing?
  • Flavor: How does the product taste? Is it too salty? Too fishy? Are there any additional flavors to note?
  • Texture: What is the texture of the tuna like? Is it flaky? Is it firm? Too dry? Too wet?

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Tuna Options

After a pretty grueling test, our pros picked four tuna brands as their favorite. These brands are Test Kitchen-approved:

Best Overall Tuna: StarKist Albacore White Tuna in Water

Overhead Shot Of Starkist Tuna In Package And On Plate With Fork And Crackers

In our testing, albacore tuna (as compared to yellowfin or skipjack) rose to the top. This light flaky tuna from StarKist was our team’s favorite. Inside the pouch, our pros found large chunks of flaky fish.

StarKist albacore was juicy and bright with just the right level of salt. Packed in water, this brand is super healthy—it has 17 grams of protein, 60% of your vitamin 12 for the day and is just 80 calories per package. That’s pretty darn good if you’re trying to eat healthy and want to incorporate a bit more fish into your diet.

Our testing team said that this fish was delicious enough to eat plain but would be just as welcome in any lunchbox. This green salad with white beans and tuna is the perfect place to start.

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Best Fancy Tuna: Portofino Albacore Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Sea Salt

Overhead Shot Of Portofino Tuna In Package And On Plate With Fork And Crackers

When you think of canned or packaged tuna, you probably aren’t thinking fancy. But one brand in our taste test had our kitchen squad thinking about pre-packed tuna differently: Portofino.

This Italian brand had testers raving. The addition of extra virgin olive oil and a touch of sea salt gave this albacore a distinctive taste. It was flavorful and had just the right texture—moist but not overly saturated.

Because of the perfect flake of this tuna and the additional fresh flavors of the oil, our Test Kitchen thought this fish was great on its own (this isn’t the brand to buy if you want to make tuna salad). Many of our pros recommended using Portofino albacore to top a Nicoise salad.

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Best Non-Albacore Tuna: Good & Gather Chunk Light Tuna in Water

Tuna Good & Gather

If albacore tuna isn’t for you, snag a pouch or two of Target’s Good & Gather Chunk Light Tuna. This brand was super flaky and had that classic, rich tuna flavor our Test Kitchen was searching for.

This packaged tuna is exactly what you want when it comes to whipping up an easy tuna salad or making tuna burgers at home. Good & Gather wasn’t overly salty which leaves plenty of room for you to jazz this brand up with the herbs and spices you love most.

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Best Budget Option: Great Value Chunk Light Tuna in Water

Tuna Great Value

Priced 30% lower than its nearest competitor, Walmart’s Great Value Chunk Light Tuna is our favorite budget tuna brand (and one of our Test Kitchen’s favorites overall).

This tuna was moist and had the perfect level of salt. This fish does have a finer texture than some of the other tuna brands. While this wasn’t every tester’s favorite, these smaller flakes make Great Value tuna the perfect candidate for many tuna recipes like tuna salads and casseroles.

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What to Make with Packaged Tuna

Tarragon Tuna Salad

In a hurry? Then tuna right out of the pouch works just fine as a quick lunch. It also adds extra protein to green salads for your lunchtime fare.

But don’t stop with lunch! Tuna makes for some great dinners as well. Yep, we’re talking tuna noodle casserole—this time with a modern spin. Or try sheet pan tuna melts, a fresh, herb-filled tuna salad or tuna lettuce wraps.

And don’t forget, these lightweight packages are also ideal for camping. No refrigeration needed and these pouches pack plenty of protein—about 18 grams each.

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The inauguration of President Joe Biden was filled with incredible, history-making moments, not the least of which was the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris, America’s first female, Black, and South Asian vice president. But the moment that really set the country abuzz was the stunning five-and-a-half-minute poem “The Hill We Climb,” read aloud by its author, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman. “Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true, that even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried,” she majestically declared. “That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”

The Harvard graduate made history as the youngest-ever poet to recite at a presidential inauguration, but she’s been doing groundbreaking things her entire life. Here are some things you should know about Ms. Gorman.

She was born in Los Angeles

Gorman is a Los Angeles native; she was born in 1998 in the City of Angels, and she lives in an apartment in West L.A. now. As her poem mentioned, she was raised by a single mother, an English teacher named Joan Wicks. Here are the 34 most inspirational quotes about teaching.

She’s a twin

In addition to an older brother, Spencer, Gorman has a twin sister Gabrielle. Gabrielle Gorman has also dedicated her life to making waves: She’s a filmmaker and activist. It sounds like they have a strong sisterly relationship: Amanda has joked that Gabrielle wants to “drag [her] to Disneyland once it’s safe.” We think they both deserve some fun!

She was the first in a new role

Before she became the youngest poet to deliver an inaugural address, she was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Before that, she was chosen as the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014—at 16 years old! (She was also the first to receive that honor!) According to the Los Angeles Times, she’s been in love with poetry since the third grade. For some poetic inspiration, check out 6 of her most amazing works.

She was specifically chosen by the First Lady herself

Dr. Jill Biden, the new First Lady of the United States, was the one to select Gorman for the honor of performing at the inauguration. Dr. Biden had seen her recite poetry at the Library of Congress and advocated for her to the inaugural committee. It seems the admiration is mutual—Gorman’s delight when pointedly calling the new First Lady Dr. Biden” was palpable!

She has a speech impediment

Gorman is a stunning example of persevering in the face of a challenge—in spite of a speech impediment, she’s become a phenomenal orator. After experiencing chronic ear infections as a baby, she developed an auditory processing disorder that caused a speech impediment. “My speech impediment…was dropping several letters that I just could not say for several years, most specifically the ‘r’ sound,” she specified. “I had to really work at it and practice to get to where I am today.” Her poetic reading at the inauguration was especially meaningful because the president himself, Joe Biden, has also struggled with a speech impediment.

Amanda Gorman at the Prada Conference: "Shaping a Sustainable Future Society"

She listens to historically-inspired music while writing

Gorman has said that the soundtrack to her process while writing this moving piece of poetry included music from The Crown, Lincoln, and Hamilton. And “The Hill We Climb” definitely had Hamilton vibes with the inclusion of the line “history has its eyes on us.” Lin-Manuel Miranda himself surprised her with a congratulatory message during her January 21 “Good Morning America” appearance. Learn about more stories of incredible young women who are making history (or, rather, herstory).

She finished her inaugural poem in the wake of the Capitol riots

As if writing a poem for a presidential inauguration wasn’t daunting enough, this inauguration fell only two weeks after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Gorman felt compelled to address this in her poem, and she finished the poem that night. “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,” she recited at the podium. “And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.” Take a look at more amazing poems by Gorman.

She paid tribute to her hero(ine)

Gorman has named Maya Angelou as one of her biggest inspirations—and she’s following in her footsteps by performing at a presidential inauguration. (Angelou performed “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.) And to honor how Angelou helped pave her path, Gorman wore a ring with a caged bird as an homage to Angelou’s famous work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And the cherry on top? The ring was a gift from Oprah, another of Gorman’s heroes, who also gifted a coat and gloves to Angelou before her inauguration performance. Here are 20 Maya Angelou quotes to uplift and inspire you.

She’s founded a nonprofit to support youth education and expression

In 2016, Gorman founded a nonprofit called One Pen One Page. Its mission is to empower youth to use their voices and help eliminate inequality through education. She was inspired to advocate for this cause by the work of her mother, teaching English at an inner-city school.

She’ll be performing at Super Bowl LV

Normally, we’re used to seeing pop stars performing at the Super Bowl—but this year, Gorman will be reciting an original work that will highlight three people the NFL is honoring as honorary captains. These three individuals—Trimaine Davis, an educator; Suzie Dorner, a nurse manager; and James Martin, a veteran—are being recognized as leaders in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Catch Gorman’s recitation of her new poem when the Super Bowl airs on Sunday, February 7, 2021.

She’s a United Nations Youth Delegate

The accolades and titles continue! In 2013, after seeing Malala Yousafzai speak, Gorman became inspired to become a United Nations Youth Delegate. In 2017, she performed her poem “The Gathering Place” at the UN’s Social Good Summit. She’s also had the honor to perform in front of Malala herself and has written an opinion piece called “You Do YOU, Ms. Poet” for a Malala Fund digital newsletter.

She’s written a children’s book

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s place in the world of written and spoken word will only get bigger. Her first children’s book, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, aims to empower children to be hopeful and make change. She wrote it before knowing who was going to be president in 2021: “Either kids are really gonna need a pick-me-up, or they’re really gonna need something that can help…summarize the change we just saw. It can go any way,” she remembers thinking while writing it. It will be released on September 21, 2021 and is available for pre-order. On the same day, her collection The Hill We Climb: Poems will also become available—and both books are already selling out.

She plans to run for president as soon as she’s eligible

Her line in “The Hill We Climb” that said “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president” was not just hypothetical. Back in 2017, Gorman announced her intention to run for president in 2036, the first year she’ll be eligible (she’ll be 37). On Good Morning America, she confirmed that that bid for the presidency is still in her sights. One thing’s for sure: The future of America is brighter with her in it! Next, check out 57 more incredible female firsts.

Sources:

The inauguration of President Joe Biden was filled with incredible, history-making moments, not the least of which was the swearing-in of Vice President Kamala Harris, America’s first female, Black, and South Asian vice president. But the moment that really set the country abuzz was the stunning five-and-a-half-minute poem “The Hill We Climb,” read aloud by its author, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman. “Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true, that even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried,” she majestically declared. “That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.”

The Harvard graduate made history as the youngest-ever poet to recite at a presidential inauguration, but she’s been doing groundbreaking things her entire life. Here are some things you should know about Ms. Gorman.

She was born in Los Angeles

Gorman is a Los Angeles native; she was born in 1998 in the City of Angels, and she lives in an apartment in West L.A. now. As her poem mentioned, she was raised by a single mother, an English teacher named Joan Wicks. Here are the 34 most inspirational quotes about teaching.

She’s a twin

In addition to an older brother, Spencer, Gorman has a twin sister Gabrielle. Gabrielle Gorman has also dedicated her life to making waves: She’s a filmmaker and activist. It sounds like they have a strong sisterly relationship: Amanda has joked that Gabrielle wants to “drag [her] to Disneyland once it’s safe.” We think they both deserve some fun!

She was the first in a new role

Before she became the youngest poet to deliver an inaugural address, she was named the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Before that, she was chosen as the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2014—at 16 years old! (She was also the first to receive that honor!) According to the Los Angeles Times, she’s been in love with poetry since the third grade. For some poetic inspiration, check out 6 of her most amazing works.

She was specifically chosen by the First Lady herself

Dr. Jill Biden, the new First Lady of the United States, was the one to select Gorman for the honor of performing at the inauguration. Dr. Biden had seen her recite poetry at the Library of Congress and advocated for her to the inaugural committee. It seems the admiration is mutual—Gorman’s delight when pointedly calling the new First Lady Dr. Biden” was palpable!

She has a speech impediment

Gorman is a stunning example of persevering in the face of a challenge—in spite of a speech impediment, she’s become a phenomenal orator. After experiencing chronic ear infections as a baby, she developed an auditory processing disorder that caused a speech impediment. “My speech impediment…was dropping several letters that I just could not say for several years, most specifically the ‘r’ sound,” she specified. “I had to really work at it and practice to get to where I am today.” Her poetic reading at the inauguration was especially meaningful because the president himself, Joe Biden, has also struggled with a speech impediment.

Amanda Gorman at the Prada Conference: "Shaping a Sustainable Future Society"

She listens to historically-inspired music while writing

Gorman has said that the soundtrack to her process while writing this moving piece of poetry included music from The Crown, Lincoln, and Hamilton. And “The Hill We Climb” definitely had Hamilton vibes with the inclusion of the line “history has its eyes on us.” Lin-Manuel Miranda himself surprised her with a congratulatory message during her January 21 “Good Morning America” appearance. Learn about more stories of incredible young women who are making history (or, rather, herstory).

She finished her inaugural poem in the wake of the Capitol riots

As if writing a poem for a presidential inauguration wasn’t daunting enough, this inauguration fell only two weeks after insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Gorman felt compelled to address this in her poem, and she finished the poem that night. “We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy,” she recited at the podium. “And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.” Take a look at more amazing poems by Gorman.

She paid tribute to her hero(ine)

Gorman has named Maya Angelou as one of her biggest inspirations—and she’s following in her footsteps by performing at a presidential inauguration. (Angelou performed “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.) And to honor how Angelou helped pave her path, Gorman wore a ring with a caged bird as an homage to Angelou’s famous work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And the cherry on top? The ring was a gift from Oprah, another of Gorman’s heroes, who also gifted a coat and gloves to Angelou before her inauguration performance. Here are 20 Maya Angelou quotes to uplift and inspire you.

She’s founded a nonprofit to support youth education and expression

In 2016, Gorman founded a nonprofit called One Pen One Page. Its mission is to empower youth to use their voices and help eliminate inequality through education. She was inspired to advocate for this cause by the work of her mother, teaching English at an inner-city school.

She’ll be performing at Super Bowl LV

Normally, we’re used to seeing pop stars performing at the Super Bowl—but this year, Gorman will be reciting an original work that will highlight three people the NFL is honoring as honorary captains. These three individuals—Trimaine Davis, an educator; Suzie Dorner, a nurse manager; and James Martin, a veteran—are being recognized as leaders in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Catch Gorman’s recitation of her new poem when the Super Bowl airs on Sunday, February 7, 2021.

She’s a United Nations Youth Delegate

The accolades and titles continue! In 2013, after seeing Malala Yousafzai speak, Gorman became inspired to become a United Nations Youth Delegate. In 2017, she performed her poem “The Gathering Place” at the UN’s Social Good Summit. She’s also had the honor to perform in front of Malala herself and has written an opinion piece called “You Do YOU, Ms. Poet” for a Malala Fund digital newsletter.

She’s written a children’s book

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s place in the world of written and spoken word will only get bigger. Her first children’s book, Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem, aims to empower children to be hopeful and make change. She wrote it before knowing who was going to be president in 2021: “Either kids are really gonna need a pick-me-up, or they’re really gonna need something that can help…summarize the change we just saw. It can go any way,” she remembers thinking while writing it. It will be released on September 21, 2021 and is available for pre-order. On the same day, her collection The Hill We Climb: Poems will also become available—and both books are already selling out.

She plans to run for president as soon as she’s eligible

Her line in “The Hill We Climb” that said “a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president” was not just hypothetical. Back in 2017, Gorman announced her intention to run for president in 2036, the first year she’ll be eligible (she’ll be 37). On Good Morning America, she confirmed that that bid for the presidency is still in her sights. One thing’s for sure: The future of America is brighter with her in it! Next, check out 57 more incredible female firsts.

Sources:

You thought I was just brewed leaves and nothing more, but pinkies out, folks, and prepare to be impressed. I’m the most consumed drink in the world next to water. I have launched ships and started wars, and I helped birth your country. The culture of sipping me is steeped in tradition from Japan to Afghanistan. And each version—whether it’s iced black, hot green, or a chai latte—starts with the same amazing plant.

That’s right: All tea—my main varieties being black, green, and oolong—is from the same evergreen shrub, Camellia sinensis. (Sorry, but your herbal “teas”—mint, chamomile, raspberry, etc.—are not tea at all.) As a native of the Himalayan foothills, my leaves were most likely originally chewed for a jolt of caffeine. Eventually, people figured out how to brew me.

I’m usually harvested by hand, and only my new shoots are good for brewing. Once picked, I oxidize like a cut apple. Green tea is made by immediately heating fresh-picked leaves to preserve my grassy, vegetal flavor. At my spectrum’s other end is black tea, which is left to fully oxidize, making me malty, dark, and about twice as caffeinated as when I’m green. In the middle are oolong teas, which have a range of flavors, having been heat-treated between the green stage and the black.

An even richer source of variety? My famous flavored versions. I am the 1,000-year-old, delightfully fragrant jasmine tea, a palate cleanser in Chinese restaurants worldwide. I am the black tea blended with the zest of bergamot oranges, which got its name (one theory has it) when a stash of gifts shipped to British earl Charles Grey contained bergamots in close quarters with tea leaves. Yes, that Earl Grey. And I am spiced chai (chai tea is redundant; chai means “tea” in Hindi), a black tea brewed with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper that is key to the practice of Ayurveda.

After centuries of trade in Asia, I made my European debut early in the 17th century, and it set off a scramble for new trade routes to meet the thirsty demand for me. Cue a burst of colonialism. Cue also the origin story of you Yanks.

You’ve got your version, but here’s mine. After a century during which the Crown wouldn’t allow the East India Company to sell directly to the Americas and the massive trader had to ship me through En­gland first, that profitable supply chain was met with trouble: The colonies started sourcing their tea more cheaply from Dutch smugglers.

The Tea Act of 1773 was the En­glish answer. It let the company cut out the middleman in London on the logic that the colonials would return to getting tea the upstanding way—from them. But, perversely, Britain also kept its tax on tea. Now that was upsetting. If the king could tax you on me, he could tax you on anything! A boycott began. Tea drinkers in the colonies were shamed and ridiculed. The Boston Tea Party, a culmination of the resistance, took place on December 16, 1773, when 90,000 pounds of me were tossed into the harbor by outraged colonists. The spectacle was followed by the Continental Congresses, a war for freedom, and the formation of the United States. No wonder you’ve never become a tea-drinking nation!

Yet you can’t really resist me; U.S. sales rise every year, especially of my sweetened and iced black version, though as calls to give up sugar increase, more of you are sipping me unadulterated. And heaps of studies say drinking me straight is great for you. That’s largely courtesy of my polyphenols, antioxidants that might lower the risk of some cancers and improve cognition and mood. As with most nutrition research, little is definitive, but we know this: A “cuppa” (or several) per day will lend you the many upsides of caffeine and not hurt a bit.

Recent controversies over me are of a lighter variety—and still largely driven by those most opinionated tea drinkers, the Brits. Take the kerfuffle Adele created when a video for the hit song “Hello” featured her making tea by putting hot water in the cup first. “What kind of a MONSTER puts the hot water in before the tea bag?” reads an example of the Internet outrage. In 2020, an American TikTokker brewed me in the microwave and added an unsavory blend of milk, powdered lemonade, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and Tang. The furor was so great that the British ambassador to the United States called on troops from her country’s armed forces to brew tea properly on camera to set the record straight.

Apparently the British still can’t take a trolling from Americans on the subject of their favorite drink.

Masala Chai

cup of chai tea from overhead with sugar and other ingredients scattered around the mug

In a medium saucepan, boil 2  cups ­water. Add a crushed two-inch knob of peeled fresh ginger, 4 crushed green cardamom pods, 2  whole cloves, 1  cinnamon stick, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, and ¼ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns. Boil for two minutes. Add 2  tablespoons loose black tea leaves (about 6  bags black tea) and boil for one  minute longer. Stir in 2  cups whole milk along with 2  tablespoons sugar (or to taste), then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer for two  minutes longer. Fine strain the masala chai and serve hot. Makes four eight-ounce cups. For more beverage behind-the-scenes, if milk could talk, here’s what it would tell you.

Kate Lowenstein is a health journalist and the editor-in-chief at Vice; Daniel Gritzer is the culinary director of the cooking site Serious Eats.

You thought I was just brewed leaves and nothing more, but pinkies out, folks, and prepare to be impressed. I’m the most consumed drink in the world next to water. I have launched ships and started wars, and I helped birth your country. The culture of sipping me is steeped in tradition from Japan to Afghanistan. And each version—whether it’s iced black, hot green, or a chai latte—starts with the same amazing plant.

That’s right: All tea—my main varieties being black, green, and oolong—is from the same evergreen shrub, Camellia sinensis. (Sorry, but your herbal “teas”—mint, chamomile, raspberry, etc.—are not tea at all.) As a native of the Himalayan foothills, my leaves were most likely originally chewed for a jolt of caffeine. Eventually, people figured out how to brew me.

I’m usually harvested by hand, and only my new shoots are good for brewing. Once picked, I oxidize like a cut apple. Green tea is made by immediately heating fresh-picked leaves to preserve my grassy, vegetal flavor. At my spectrum’s other end is black tea, which is left to fully oxidize, making me malty, dark, and about twice as caffeinated as when I’m green. In the middle are oolong teas, which have a range of flavors, having been heat-treated between the green stage and the black.

An even richer source of variety? My famous flavored versions. I am the 1,000-year-old, delightfully fragrant jasmine tea, a palate cleanser in Chinese restaurants worldwide. I am the black tea blended with the zest of bergamot oranges, which got its name (one theory has it) when a stash of gifts shipped to British earl Charles Grey contained bergamots in close quarters with tea leaves. Yes, that Earl Grey. And I am spiced chai (chai tea is redundant; chai means “tea” in Hindi), a black tea brewed with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper that is key to the practice of Ayurveda.

After centuries of trade in Asia, I made my European debut early in the 17th century, and it set off a scramble for new trade routes to meet the thirsty demand for me. Cue a burst of colonialism. Cue also the origin story of you Yanks.

You’ve got your version, but here’s mine. After a century during which the Crown wouldn’t allow the East India Company to sell directly to the Americas and the massive trader had to ship me through En­gland first, that profitable supply chain was met with trouble: The colonies started sourcing their tea more cheaply from Dutch smugglers.

The Tea Act of 1773 was the En­glish answer. It let the company cut out the middleman in London on the logic that the colonials would return to getting tea the upstanding way—from them. But, perversely, Britain also kept its tax on tea. Now that was upsetting. If the king could tax you on me, he could tax you on anything! A boycott began. Tea drinkers in the colonies were shamed and ridiculed. The Boston Tea Party, a culmination of the resistance, took place on December 16, 1773, when 90,000 pounds of me were tossed into the harbor by outraged colonists. The spectacle was followed by the Continental Congresses, a war for freedom, and the formation of the United States. No wonder you’ve never become a tea-drinking nation!

Yet you can’t really resist me; U.S. sales rise every year, especially of my sweetened and iced black version, though as calls to give up sugar increase, more of you are sipping me unadulterated. And heaps of studies say drinking me straight is great for you. That’s largely courtesy of my polyphenols, antioxidants that might lower the risk of some cancers and improve cognition and mood. As with most nutrition research, little is definitive, but we know this: A “cuppa” (or several) per day will lend you the many upsides of caffeine and not hurt a bit.

Recent controversies over me are of a lighter variety—and still largely driven by those most opinionated tea drinkers, the Brits. Take the kerfuffle Adele created when a video for the hit song “Hello” featured her making tea by putting hot water in the cup first. “What kind of a MONSTER puts the hot water in before the tea bag?” reads an example of the Internet outrage. In 2020, an American TikTokker brewed me in the microwave and added an unsavory blend of milk, powdered lemonade, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and Tang. The furor was so great that the British ambassador to the United States called on troops from her country’s armed forces to brew tea properly on camera to set the record straight.

Apparently the British still can’t take a trolling from Americans on the subject of their favorite drink.

Masala Chai

cup of chai tea from overhead with sugar and other ingredients scattered around the mug

In a medium saucepan, boil 2  cups ­water. Add a crushed two-inch knob of peeled fresh ginger, 4 crushed green cardamom pods, 2  whole cloves, 1  cinnamon stick, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, and ¼ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns. Boil for two minutes. Add 2  tablespoons loose black tea leaves (about 6  bags black tea) and boil for one  minute longer. Stir in 2  cups whole milk along with 2  tablespoons sugar (or to taste), then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer for two  minutes longer. Fine strain the masala chai and serve hot. Makes four eight-ounce cups. For more beverage behind-the-scenes, if milk could talk, here’s what it would tell you.

Kate Lowenstein is a health journalist and the editor-in-chief at Vice; Daniel Gritzer is the culinary director of the cooking site Serious Eats.

Chinese New Year kicks off on February 12th with a 16-day festival celebrating China’s most important holiday. How did it become such a pivotal event? The answer dates back centuries. Where you born during the year of the ox? Find out what your Chinese zodiac sign is.

The holiday originated with the Chinese lunar calendar, which is why you’ll often hear it also referred to as Lunar New Year. According to History.com, the calendar’s existence dates back as early as the 14th century, B.C. during the Shang Dynasty. Unlike the Western calendar, the Chinese calendar shifts—it was reset each time a new emperor took control. Because it is often set according to both lunar phases and the solar solstices, the kick-off to Chinese New Year varies annually.

On average, Chinese New Year starts with the arrival of the new moon that occurs sometime between the end of January and the end of February. It lasts until the Festival of Lanterns, which is when the full moon is in place. This can take about 16 days, which gives everyone plenty of time for celebration. Don’t miss the Chinese New Year celebrations we can all celebrate.

Traditionally, red envelopes containing money are gifted during the Lunar New Year celebrations, a custom that goes back to ancient times. However, the origin of this tradition varies depending on who you ask. According to the University of California, Irvine, one popular source is the legend of a young orphan who, during the Sung Dynasty, won a battle against a huge demon terrorizing the village of Chain-Chieu. As a reward, the village elders gave the child a red envelope full of money. Whatever the reason, the red envelope is an integral part of Chinese New Year to this day. Find out more about why red is the color of the Chinese New Year.

Firecrackers are another big part of Chinese New Year, and on Ted.com, writer ShaoLan Hsueh shared the story behind this practice: A fairy, disguised as an elderly man, saved a town from a terrible monster by throwing bamboo sticks into a bonfire. The explosions produced by the bamboo scared off the monster. As a result, the firecrackers set off during Chinese New Year celebrations ward off the evil spirits of the past.

Most holidays involve a feast, and Chinese New Year is no different. Dumplings and Nian Gao (or niangao)—a cake made with glutinous rice—are featured parts of new year’s feasts. Not only are dumplings consumed during the festivities, but it’s a family event to make them. The tradition got its start in northern China; now they’re a standard part of the holiday. Shaped like crescents or spheres, the dumplings are thought to resemble ancient Chinese money and bring good fortune to one’s home. And while people eat Nian Gao year-round, it’s known as Chinese New Year’s Cake. According to Northwest Asian Weekly, a 17th-century Chinese scholar named Liu Tong pointed out that Nian Gao is “a homonym for ‘becoming lofty with high hopes with each year.'” Who doesn’t want to head into a new year with a positive attitude? Next, find out what 2021 has in store for you, based on your Chinese zodiac sign.

Sources:

Chinese New Year kicks off on February 12th with a 16-day festival celebrating China’s most important holiday. How did it become such a pivotal event? The answer dates back centuries. Where you born during the year of the ox? Find out what your Chinese zodiac sign is.

The holiday originated with the Chinese lunar calendar, which is why you’ll often hear it also referred to as Lunar New Year. According to History.com, the calendar’s existence dates back as early as the 14th century, B.C. during the Shang Dynasty. Unlike the Western calendar, the Chinese calendar shifts—it was reset each time a new emperor took control. Because it is often set according to both lunar phases and the solar solstices, the kick-off to Chinese New Year varies annually.

On average, Chinese New Year starts with the arrival of the new moon that occurs sometime between the end of January and the end of February. It lasts until the Festival of Lanterns, which is when the full moon is in place. This can take about 16 days, which gives everyone plenty of time for celebration. Don’t miss the Chinese New Year celebrations we can all celebrate.

Traditionally, red envelopes containing money are gifted during the Lunar New Year celebrations, a custom that goes back to ancient times. However, the origin of this tradition varies depending on who you ask. According to the University of California, Irvine, one popular source is the legend of a young orphan who, during the Sung Dynasty, won a battle against a huge demon terrorizing the village of Chain-Chieu. As a reward, the village elders gave the child a red envelope full of money. Whatever the reason, the red envelope is an integral part of Chinese New Year to this day. Find out more about why red is the color of the Chinese New Year.

Firecrackers are another big part of Chinese New Year, and on Ted.com, writer ShaoLan Hsueh shared the story behind this practice: A fairy, disguised as an elderly man, saved a town from a terrible monster by throwing bamboo sticks into a bonfire. The explosions produced by the bamboo scared off the monster. As a result, the firecrackers set off during Chinese New Year celebrations ward off the evil spirits of the past.

Most holidays involve a feast, and Chinese New Year is no different. Dumplings and Nian Gao (or niangao)—a cake made with glutinous rice—are featured parts of new year’s feasts. Not only are dumplings consumed during the festivities, but it’s a family event to make them. The tradition got its start in northern China; now they’re a standard part of the holiday. Shaped like crescents or spheres, the dumplings are thought to resemble ancient Chinese money and bring good fortune to one’s home. And while people eat Nian Gao year-round, it’s known as Chinese New Year’s Cake. According to Northwest Asian Weekly, a 17th-century Chinese scholar named Liu Tong pointed out that Nian Gao is “a homonym for ‘becoming lofty with high hopes with each year.'” Who doesn’t want to head into a new year with a positive attitude? Next, find out what 2021 has in store for you, based on your Chinese zodiac sign.

Sources:

When your pantry is stocked with delicious, nutritious foods, it’s much easier (and more fun) to stick to a healthy eating plan. Start with the foods you already love and then build from there. Keep a variety of grains, canned foods and condiments on hand for quick recipes and easy meals any night of the week. And while you’re at it, put these easy pantry organization tips to use.

Grains

  • Oats help you start the day with filling, heart-healthy fiber. Add some berries, cinnamon and nut butter for a truly drool-worthy breakfast.

  • Whole grain bread is more filling than white bread and boasts more nutrients. Look for sprouted grain bread or try making your own whole wheat bread.

  • Rice is an inexpensive and easy base for healthy veggies and proteins. Look for brown or whole grain rice for more fiber and nutrients.

  • Quinoa has the comforting texture of rice while packing some serious protein and fiber. Make a big batch each week for salads, side dishes and even breakfast.

  • Whole wheat pasta is an energizing base for roasted vegetables, lean proteins and hearty beans. Try these healthy pasta recipes.

Canned Goods

  • Canned fruits can be a sweet snack on their own or a light base for dessert recipes—or a key ingredient in any of these healthy canned fruit recipes.  Look for fruits packed in 100% juice or water to cut back on extra sugar.

  • Canned veggies make healthy eating quick and simple. Some of our favorite canned vegetable recipes are Miso-Buttered Succotash and Fiery Stuffed Poblanos.

  • Canned tuna has healthy omega-3 fatty acids in every tasty bite. Keep a few cans handy for easy lunch salads and our favorite tuna salad sandwiches.

  • Canned tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Try making a simple pasta sauce with crushed canned tomatoes.

  • Soups in the pantry are a lifesaver on busy weeknights with no time to cook. Look for low-sodium soups with ingredients you can pronounce.

  • Stock is an easy base for homemade soup, as well as a flavor enhancer for cooking meat and poultry in the slow cooker. Here’s the difference between stock and broth.

  • Coconut milk is rich and creamy and adds an interesting flavor to savory dishes like Thai Coconut Beef and sweet treats like Toasted Coconut Milk Shakes.

  • Canned beans pack serious protein, fiber and iron in each bite. Try blending them up into a creamy bean dip for a satisfying snack.

Nuts, Beans and Legumes

  • Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats and fiber. Mix up your own trail mix recipe or add them to your favorite salad.

  • Nut milks—some varieties—can be kept in the pantry until opened. Add a splash to your morning smoothie for added calcium and protein.

  • Nut butters are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats to fill you up and satisfy serious hunger pangs.

  • Lentils are packed with plant-based protein and fiber and make a hearty base for these cozy lentil soup recipes.

  • Dried beans are easy to prepare (but never eat them raw!) and can be added to salads, pasta, soups and more.

Oils, Vinegars, Sauces and Condiments

  • Apple cider vinegar adds a light, tart flavor to homemade salad dressings, marinades and wellness shots.

  • Coconut oil is a great healthy oil for sauteing meat and vegetables as it has a high smoke point. Try using it to pop popcorn for a slightly sweet bite.

  • Olive oil can be used for sauteing vegetables (just don’t turn the heat up too high), as well as homemade salad dressings and marinades.

  • Pasta sauce is always delicious over whole-grain pasta or homemade pizza. Look for sauces without added sugar to get the flavor without the extra calories.
  • Salsa is packed with flavor and low in calories, so it makes a tasty topper for salads, baked potatoes and kale chips.

  • Nutritional yeast adds a savory, cheesy flavor to everything from popcorn to veggies and is a favorite among vegans.

  • Healthy salad dressings and some greens in the fridge are all you need for a fast, light lunch. Look for dressings without added sugar and other artificial additives.

Snacks

  • Granola bars are an easy, on-the-go snack that you can grab anytime. Skip the overly sugary varieties and look for protein-packed snacks.

  • Crackers are now often made with a variety of healthy ingredients like almond flour, rice flour and whole wheat flour. Keep a box for dipping in hummus or salsa when you crave a crunch.

  • Chips are a pantry staple. Healthify your chip selection with a bag of sweet potato or kale chips.

Recipes to Make with Healthy Pantry Staples

There are endless recipes you can make once your kitchen is stocked with healthy pantry staples! To start, try a breakfast of these Hearty Multigrain Pancakes. For lunch or dinner, make Black Bean & Corn Quinoa or these easy Chorizo Burrito Bowls.

Some people prefer sweet Valentine’s Day’s gifts, like a box of chocolates or the hot cocoa bombs at Costco. But this year, we could all use, well, something fun.

Nipyata, a brand that normally makes booze-filled pinatas for adults, clearly had the same thought. Their latest release is a line of drinkable cards, embossed with a variety of sentimental or funny phrases. Each one features a 50 ml shot inside!

What’s in Each Drinkable Card?

If you want to make your Valentine laugh, smile or cry (with happiness), there’s a card for that! The cards come in shades of pink, red and a few pastel colors. The true romantics can find cards with sentimental phrases like “I Love You” and “I Miss You,” but there are also funnier options, like the one that asks “Will You Be My Valentine?” (and allows you to check off “Let’s Drink About It”).

Each card can be customized to include a shot like Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Casamigos Reposado tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Johnnie Walker Black or Jack Daniels, and can also include a handwritten note.

Find more Valentine’s Day gifts to wrap up this month.

Can I Get a Card Delivered?

Yep, these can be shipped to your honey (or your best friend) on a specific date. Depending on the alcohol you choose, one of these cards will cost you about $19.99-$27.99—which honestly sounds like a pretty good deal for this very unique (and useful) Valentine’s Day present.

And of course, while you can say “I love you” with booze, don’t forget that the way to your true love’s heart is through their stomach.

Red and Pink Cocktails Perfect for Valentine’s Day
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We’re loving all the cheese board trends right now. Even with gatherings that are much smaller and more intimate, cheese boards and snack boards are a great way to make a holiday—or a regular day—feel extra special. Why should Valentine’s Day be any different? This is an excellent way to show your love to friends and family.

How to Make a Valentine’s Board

Maegan Brown is @TheBakerMama on Instagram and author of the cookbook Beautiful Boards. She also shares the most gorgeous boards with us! The main focus of her stunning Valentine’s-themed board is dark chocolate fudge hearts with flaky sea salt. Take a look:

You can make homemade fudge to star in your Valentine’s Day cheese board, too. Then, Maegan recommends cheeses, meats and accompaniments in various shades of red, purple, pink and white to make your spread look festive.

You’ll need heart-shaped cookie cutters in all sizes for this board, too. Use them to cut our heart-shaped brownies, meats and cheeses like mozzarella slices. Maegan also uses heart-shaped ramekins to hold smaller snacks. Lovely!

Our Favorite Valentine’s Day Cheese Boards

Charcuterie boards (the fancy name for snack boards) are typically assembled using meats and cheeses, with an accompaniment of fruits, nuts and crackers. The traditional rules on how to build these boards have been thrown out the window and replaced with unexpected ideas, shapes and sizes—like these Disney-themed snack boards. Here are some of our favorite Valentine’s ideas to give you inspiration.

All Sweets, All the Time

This snack board is jam-packed with chocolate, marshmallow and gummy sweets.

Find the best dark chocolate for your board.

Salami Roses

Forget about the red roses. You can surprise a sweetheart with salami and pepperoni instead! FYI, you can also order a bacon bouquet for Valentine’s Day.

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Individual Galentine’s Day Boxes

Perfect for porch drop-offs, pair this snack box with your favorite drink and have a virtual date with your bestie.

Don’t miss all our ideas for Galentine’s Day!

Kitchen queen Ina Garten has been cooking her way into our hearts since The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook made its debut over two decades ago. We’ve taken her cooking tips to heart, she’s wowed us with her famous chocolate cake recipe and now she’s back with a brand-new book, Modern Comfort Food.

Lucky for us, Ina just dropped a recipe that epitomizes what modern comfort food is—and right in time for Super Bowl season. Get ready for fresh crab nachos. That’s right, crab!

See the foods Ina loves to cook—and eat.

How to Make Ina’s Crab Nachos

Fresh crab might seem like an intimidating ingredient to work with, but the recipe is easy. In fact, Ina categorizes it as “beginner.” If you’ve mastered the art of nachos, i.e. combining meat, cheese and chiles on top of tortilla chips, you have all the knowledge you need.

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The gist is that you fold the crab meat into a creamy base of sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise, then perk it up with lime juice and chiles. You spoon dollops of this indulgent mixture over a bed of sturdy corn chips arranged on a sheet pan. The whole thing is then topped with shredded cheddar and Monterey jack and baked in the oven. The final touch is a salsa-ish garnish of diced fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, ripe avocados and cilantro. Chef’s kiss!

Psst… Need fresh crabmeat delivered? Check out Browne Trading Company, SoPo Seafood or Downeast Dayboat.

She’s Got a Secret Hack

While shredded crabmeat is more economical, the Barefoot Contessa herself recommends splurging and using jumbo lump crabmeat instead. That way you can really taste the crab, instead of it getting lost in all the ingredients.

If you happen to be blessed with extra crabmeat, you’ll want to dig into our collection of crab recipes that include classic crab cakes, creamy soups and decadent dips.

Crab Recipes to Make When You're in the Mood for Seafood
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After launching a line of rustic comfort food straight out of her kitchen, Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, is back to bring us more from her Oklahoma ranch. This time, she’s about to make waking up in the morning better—with a whole lineup of single-serve coffees.

The Pioneer Woman has written a New York Times bestselling cookbook and hosts her own show on the Food Network, so you can bet she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to the kitchen. And after seeing these flavors, it’s clear she knows a thing or two about coffee, too!

Everything You Need to Know

The line has 3 no-frills non-flavored roasts:

  • Up & At ‘Em: Breakfast Roast
  • Saddle Up: Medium Roast
  • Giddy Up: Dark Roast

For those a prefer a sweeter start to the day, the Pioneer Woman coffee line features a variety of delicately flavored roasts that’ll have your morning cup of joe tasting just like dessert (with way fewer calories):

  • Hazelnut Vanilla: A blend of toasty hazelnut and warm vanilla
  • Cinnamon Rolls: A decadent mix inspired by Ree’s mom’s legendary cinnamon roll recipe
  • Toffee Creme Brulee: Full of custardy goodness, a tribute to Ree’s favorite dessert
  • Caramel Fudge Brownie: Reminiscent of rich, fudgy brownies with notes of sweet caramel (inspired by this recipe)
  • Pecan Pie: A fall favorite inspired by the Drummond family’s favorite dessert
  • French Vanilla: A classic that shows up often in Ree’s coffee rotation
  • Pumpkin Spice: Sugar, spice and everything nice

We’re also keeping our eyes peeled for a very special blend that’s rumored to be out soon: Spicy Cowgirl, Ree’s signature morning drink. It’s made with chocolate and cinnamon, with a spicy kick from chile and cayenne. We can’t wait to pair it with our favorite Mexican-inspired breakfast recipes.

Ree Drummond is a big fan of starting her day off (and continuing it) with a cup of morning joe. As she says, “Mornings come very early on our ranch. Coffee is one of my favorite things about rising and shining, and I love to sip it all day.” Same!

Where Can I Get the Coffee?

The single-serve coffees are available online on the Amazon and Walmart websites at $14.95 for a pack of 24, with ground beans slated for release later in 2021. The entire coffee line will be available at retailers nationwide later this year, so giddyup, cowboys and girls—we’re getting us a cuppa!

See what Ree Drummond orders for breakfast at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

The stacked Spice O’ Life vintage Pyrex casserole stashed in my mother’s cupboard has seen more meals of creamy ham and scalloped potatoes, spaghetti bake and chicken with rice than either of us can count. These trusty dishes have stood the test of time and are now sought-after collectibles. With dozens of colors, patterns and shapes, collecting vintage Pyrex is an available, durable and generally affordable passion for retro dish lovers everywhere.

What Is Pyrex?

Pyrex clear glassware was introduced by Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.) in 1915. At that time, Corning used a special borosilicate glass that resisted the expansion and contraction that occurs during quick, extreme temperature changes. Not only was it exceptional to cook with, the glass was ideal for laboratory glassware and railroad lamps. In the 1930s and ’40s, Corning started using soda-lime glass.

The iconic set of four stacking mixing bowls in primary colors (also still in Mom’s kitchen cupboard) came along in 1945. In 1998, Corning divested its consumer products division, forming World Kitchen, LLC, which continued to manufacture Pyrex using soda-lime glass.

What Is Vintage Pyrex Worth?

While a majority of vintage Pyrex pieces can be bought for less than $20, prices can be all over the board. Consider comparing items with an online search. For example, that mixing bowl set of Mom’s sells for $40-$100 on eBay. Look at the completed auctions to see what pieces actually sold for. Simple refrigerator dishes can sell for as little as $6, so it’s easy to start small and work your way up to more valuable pieces, like limited edition promotional items that tend be more rare.

TIP: Pieces from 1915 to 1970, pink items and vintage Pyrex in primary colors seem to be the most valuable and sought-after. During my research, I found a vintage set of pink Gooseberry pattern dishes on Etsy for $1,850.

Where to Find Vintage Pyrex Bowls

You can find vintage Pyrex just about anywhere. Online resources include eBay, Etsy, Craigslist and Amazon. Locally, check out your Goodwill store and area flea markets. You’ll find vintage Pyrex bowls at antique stores; however, pieces can be a bit pricier there because people understand the value of what they’re selling.

TIP: Often, the best prices and hard-to-find pieces of vintage Pyrex are found at yard sales, garage sales and church rummage sales where sellers may not be as savvy about what they’re worth.

What to Look For

No matter where you purchase vintage Pyrex, inspect it closely. While this can be hard to do online, there are a few things you can look for. Notice any obvious scratches, chips, cracks or stains. If the item originally came with a lid, is it included? What is the condition of the finish? If you’re buying in person, run your fingers over the edges, noting any chips. You can also hold it up to the light to check for scratches and hairline cracks.

TIP: If you’re a serious collector and concerned about breakage when purchasing Pyrex online, offer the seller additional money and request extra safe protective packaging.

How to Use It

If you’re like me, you value vintage Pyrex for its durability. I still use my grandmother’s Pyrex measuring cup even though the numbers are nearly worn off. My heart is tied to the meals and memories associated with these dishes, and while collectors may gasp, I use them regularly in homage to the cooks that have come before me. Make a few casseroles like Grandma used to make and you’ll see why.

TIP: To ensure your Pyrex doesn’t crack, avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a Pyrex dish from the freezer and place it directly into a hot oven. Conversely, don’t take a hot dish straight from the oven and set it on a cool or wet surface. Avoid placing Pyrex under a broiler, inside a toaster oven, or directly over a flame, stovetop or grill. And never put an empty Pyrex dish in the microwave.

TIP: Add a small amount of liquid to cover the bottom of the dish before cooking foods that may release liquid. This will ensure that the Pyrex and the liquid aren’t at different temperature extremes.

How to Clean Vintage Pyrex

To keep vintage Pyrex looking its best, clean it with warm water and a mild dish soap. If that doesn’t take care of stubborn marks or stains, try using a Magic Eraser (but always test on an inconspicuous area first). And be gentle—no vigorous scrubbing!

Here’s a look at before and after cleaning with a Magic Eraser:

Cleaning Vintage Pyrex bowls

Avoid using any kind of abrasive cleaner on the colored or patterned areas. Some folks have been successful removing interior silverware marks with Bar Keepers Friend (but avoid scrubbing near any patterns).

A good rule of thumb to follow for cleaning any vintage pieces in the dishwasher: when in doubt, don’t. Pyrex patterns and finishes will fade or come off after multiple machine washings.

TIP: To clean the tiny crevices around the rim and the raised mark on the bottom, use a sharp, pointed wooden toothpick. Dampen the surface and angle the toothpick into the crevice, applying slight pressure and rotating the toothpick as you push it along.

How to Store Pyrex

To avoid marring the finish, avoid stacking vintage Pyrex bowls upside down on top of each other. If you have pieces that won’t be used often, store them in boxes with layers of heavy paper between each piece, and store the lids separately. If you keep them out for display, clean and dust them regularly.

Whether you display your vintage Pyrex bowls or casserole dishes or keep them in your cupboard for everyday use, stack them upright with a small, lidded plastic food container inside. The container raises the next bowl or dish up enough so the sides don’t touch, eliminating the chance for scratches and allowing you to see the pattern better.

Whether you want to display it or use it every day, vintage Pyrex adds fun and color to any kitchen. And let’s face it, any dish that you allows you to mix, cook and serve in one is a bonus for today’s busy cooks.

The perfect molasses cookie, with plenty of spice and a moist, chewy texture, is something you can master at home. This recipe—and helpful tips—will teach you how to make molasses cookies that your family will request all year long.

What Is a Molasses Cookie?

Molasses cookies date back to the late 1800s. Home cooks adapted old recipes for gingerbread cake to make small, flat cookies for special occasions. They originally were spiced only with ginger, but recipes have evolved to include a blend of ginger and other spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

In this cookie, molasses brings both sweetness and flavor. Molasses is a thick, liquid by-product of sugar making. It gives these cookies a beautiful brown hue and homey taste, made even more irresistible by a blend of warming spices.

What Does Molasses Do to Cookies?

Besides adding flavor, molasses will make your cookies more soft and moist. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and holds onto water. Invert sugars like molasses are especially good at drawing in and holding onto moisture in baked goods, even after they’re baked.

How to Make Molasses Cookies from Scratch

This top-rated recipe for Giant Molasses Cookies was submitted by Kristine Chayes of Smithtown, New York. “My family always requests these soft molasses cookies,” she says.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 3/4 cup coarse sugar

Get Recipe

Tools You’ll Need

  • A stand mixer or a handheld mixer like this one from Cuisinart, which is gorgeous, will stand the test of time and has a built-in storage case.
  • A cookie scoop like this, which makes working with sticky cookie dough so much easier. And it helps ensure your cookies are all the same size.
  • A large baking sheet like the nonstick sheets designed in Taste of Home‘s Test Kitchen.

Directions

Step 1: Cream the butter and sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Place the softened butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cream them together until they’re light and fluffy. (Here’s how to cream butter and sugar the right way.)

Step 2: Add the eggs and molasses

Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the molasses until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients

Whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually mix this into the butter-sugar mixture, and stir to bring everything together. Fold in the chopped pecans if you’re using them.

Step 4: Scoop the dough

Use a large cookie scoop to make two-inch balls of dough (if you have no scoop, shape the dough balls by hand.) Roll each ball in the coarse sugar. Arrange them on large, ungreased baking sheets, spaced 2-1/2 inches apart.

Step 5: Bake the cookies

Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes; the cookies should have crinkled tops and be slightly firm at the edges. Remove the cookies to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.

Tips for How to Make Molasses Cookies

The Secret to Getting a Chewy Cookie

The feel of your teeth sinking into that soft and chewy texture is one of the best parts of a molasses cookie! The moisture that molasses draws in is partly to thank. Another trick to get chewy cookies is to slightly underbake them. Take your cookies out of the oven when the edges are just set but the middles are still soft—this is easier to accomplish with large cookies like the ones in this recipe. As the cookies cool, the centers set without losing all their softness.

How to Amp Up the Spice

These cookies have a delicious, spicy flavor thanks to plenty of ground ginger and cinnamon, but you can give them a little extra oomph! Try adding 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom, which nicely complements the ginger and cinnamon with its own unique and warming flavor. Or bring a little heat to your cookies with a pinch of black pepper or chili powder. Add a really potent bite by mixing in a 1/2 cup or so of diced, candied ginger.

Is There a Difference Between Light and Dark Molasses?

Though light and dark molasses come from the same boiling process used to refine sugarcane, they are different in color and flavor. Light molasses comes from the first boiling. It’s a little lighter in color and has a sweet, mild flavor. Dark molasses is created during the second boiling. It’s darker and less sweet than light molasses. This is the molasses normally used in traditional gingerbread.

Blackstrap molasses is created at the end of the refining process. It is a thick, black syrup, and much more bitter than dark molasses.

Which Molasses Is Best for My Cookies?

For that flavor and color we look for and love in molasses cookies, use light molasses. It’s the variety you’re most likely to find on store shelves. If you do find dark molasses, you can give it a try for a darker colored and slightly less sweet cookie. Blackstrap molasses will give an unpleasant, bitter flavor to your cookies, so it’s best not to use this variety.

Technically, any molasses will work in your cookie. They will behave the same way in the baking process.

Why Do My Molasses Cookies Go Flat?

There are a few possible culprits behind flat cookies. One is that you’re placing the dough on cookie sheets that are too warm. This causes the butter in the dough to begin melting before the rest of the cookie begins to set. Let your pans cool between batches. Also, don’t grease your cookie sheets, as this can also cause them to spread. Use nonstick sheets or line the pans with parchment paper.

Finally, if your dough has too little flour or too much moisture, it will be harder for the cookie to keep its shape. Try adding more flour a tablespoon at a time, or decreasing the liquids (in this recipe, that would be the molasses) by a tablespoon or two.

And the easiest way to prevent cookies from spreading: chill your dough. Pop the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes. This will control the spread of your cookies.

Molasses Recipes That'll Really Stick with You
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When it comes to making dinner, you might switch up your grain routine by subbing in brown rice or quinoa for standard white rice. These alternatives boast more fiber and protein than their white counterpart. But if you’re looking for a grain that really packs a lot of nutrients, you should look a little closer to home: Wild rice is one of the only grains native to North America.

Wild rice is packed with nutrients like fiber and protein and is heart-healthy. Beyond these health benefits, wild rice is delicious and adds great texture and color to recipes. The best part: It’s not hard to make. Learning how to cook wild rice is a breeze (if you can boil water, you can make this rice). We’ll show you how!

What Is Wild Rice?

Wild Rice

Want to know something surprising? Wild rice isn’t technically rice at all. It’s actually a seed from North American aquatic grasses commonly found in the Great Lakes region. Technicalities aside, wild rice does have a similar shape to white or brown rice and it’s cooked using the same technique.

Wild rice does differ drastically in flavor and appearance compared to other types of rice. The grains are longer and darker. The exterior color of the rice varies depending on where the rice is harvested from, but it’s typically dark brown to almost black. The flavor of wild rice is also distinct; wild rice is almost nutty and retains a slightly chewy texture once cooked.

Outside of the differences in taste, wild rice boasts some unique health benefits. This kind of rice has lots of fiber, protein and antioxidants—much more than traditional white rice.

True Wild Rice vs. Cultivated Wild Rice

When you shop for wild rice, it’s important to know that there are two varieties, the first being real wild rice. This wild rice is harvested from lakes, rivers and creeks where it grows truly wild.

Most grocery stores stock a domesticated version of this rice which is called paddy or cultivated wild rice. This varietal was adapted by the University of Minnesota to grow in paddies where it can be harvested by farmers. It’s not quite the real deal in terms of being “wild” but it’s still tasty and healthy.

How to Make Wild Rice

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Making wild rice is very simple. If you can make brown rice or white rice on the stovetop at home, wild rice won’t be any trouble at all.

Ingredients and Tools

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 3 cups water
  • Dash of salt
  • Wild rice: True wild rice harvested from the Great Lakes region is a treat. Native Harvest wild rice is harvested by members of the Ojibwe Nation in northern Minnesota. Wild rice, called manoomin in their native language, is important to the tribe. It’s something they take very seriously—and when you buy from them, you know you’re getting the good stuff.
  • Saucepan: This is essential for making any type of rice. A nonstick version helps with cleanup.
  • Sieve: A mesh strainer is essential for rinsing your rice. You’ll find lots of other uses for this tool in the kitchen too, like sifting flour, straining pasta and more.

Directions

Step 1: Rinse the Rice

Just like with any other type of rice, it’s a good idea to rinse the rice before cooking. Pour a cup of wild rice into a mesh sieve and give it a good rinse. This will rid the rice of any starch that’s lingering on the outside of the grain. This extra starch can make your rice—be it wild or any other kind—gummy once it cooks.

Step 2: Bring to a Boil

After rinsing, add your rice to a saucepan with three cups of water and a dash of salt. With the pot uncovered, bring this to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat.

Step 3: Simmer

Bring your water down to a simmer and let the rice cook until tender (though it should retain a little crunch). This should take about 30 minutes. If you find it’s still very crunchy, let it simmer a bit longer—up to an additional 15 minutes.

If there’s any remaining water, strain it away. Then fluff the rice with a fork and serve. The finished rice should be chewy and some of the grains should pop open revealing the tender inside.

Editor’s tip: Keep an eye on your rice after the 30-minute mark. You don’t want to overcook the rice. You can tell the rice is overcooked if the seed coating splits and the grains roll up into curlie-cues. It won’t harm you to eat overcooked rice, but it does lose some texture and doesn’t look as appealing.

What Goes with Wild Rice and How to Cook with It

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Wild rice just might be the grain you’re not using often enough in your cooking. With its nutty flavor and hearty texture, it can add personality—not to mention protein, fiber and antioxidants—to plenty of dishes.

  • Soups: Instead of adding rice or noodles to your next batch of soup, consider adding wild rice instead. Not only does it taste delicious, but it also soaks up the broth much more slowly so the rice won’t be soggy. Start with this top-rated chicken and wild rice soup.
  • Salads: Adding grains to salads is nothing new. Next time you’re prepping a salad, sub in wild rice for the quinoa or barley the recipe may call for. It adds flavor and texture like in this peach and arugula salad and lentil salad.
  • Side dishes: Rice sides are a staple at the dinner table. Add a little wild rice to your pilafs for color and texture. You can also add wild rice to your stuffing.
  • Mains: Don’t forget that rice can play a part in your entrees too. Learn how to cook wild rice so you can add it to casseroles or even use it as a stuffing like in this stunning pork loin.
  • Baking: You can even use wild rice in baking! Like adding oats or seeds, wild rice can add texture and protein to bakes like this seeded bread.

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