Category Archives for Mushrooms

Fool’s Gold Preserved World’s Oldest Mushroom

Mushrooms are not known for their suitability for fossilizing, so we have little evidence about their early evolution. However, an extraordinary series of events turned one humble 113 – to 120 -million-year-old fungus to stone, pushing the record for mycelium back 16 million years.

Back when dinosaurs wandered the Earth, and South America and Africa were still one continent, a mushroom fell into a river in what is now north-eastern Brazil. It floated to a lagoon too salty for the microbes that would normally degrade such a tasty morsel, sank to the bottom, and became contained within sediments. There it mineralized with iron pyrites, usually known as fool’s gold, replacing its tissues. Over day the ex-mushroom turned to goethite, a sort of mineral, which became embedded in a sandstone Lagersttte, the name given to deposits that preserve fossils of soft tissues that usually disintegrate without being preserved.

“Most mushrooms grow and are run within a few days, ” said finder Dr Sam Heads of the University of Illinois. “The fact that this mushroom was preserved at all is just astonishing. When you think about it, the chances of this thing being here the obstacles it had to overcome to get from where it was growing into the lagoon, be mineralized and preserved for 115 million years have to be minuscule.

The previous record holder for oldest mushroom was not something left at the bottom of a sharehouse fridge, but one trapped in Burmese amber. The same technique preserved the other nine known fossil mushrooms. Although amber has been an outstanding preservative of many ancient lifeforms, it usually only captures small objects. Heads’ discovery, which he named Gondwanagaricites magnificus , was 5centimeters( 2 inches) high, with a 1-centimeter-wide( 0.4 -inch-wide) cap.

The preservation is sufficient to reveal spore-releasing gills under its cap, specific features shared with some, but far away from all, modern mushrooms. Unfortunately , no actual spores can be seen, preventing its placement within one of the major mushroom families.

Besides being often delicious, fungi were essential to the development of life on land, forming symbiotic relations that allowed plants to move onto the land. More lately, mushrooms formed the basis of the diet of Neanderthals, and quite likely our own ancestors, in Spain. They could be important to our future as well, whether easing depression or being was transformed into longer-lasting anodes for lithium-ion batteries, opening the path to inexpensive storage of renewable energy.

Gondwanagaricites magnificus , which Heads announced in PLOS One, is far from the original ancestral mushroom, from which all these descended. That lived at least 500 million years go. This discovery, however, may be the closest we get for quite a long time.

The location wherethe mushroom was found. Gondwana had separated, but Africa and South America were still one continent.Danielle Ruffatto

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What Happens When This Pup Gets Excited Is Honestly Too Cute For Words

It’s likely safe to say that we all have a pretty good grasp on what induces our four-legged friends happy.

And that’s because they induce no secret of their exuberance when it’s time to eat or go for a long walking on a sunny day! The language obstacle poses a problem, though. I entail, how much do we really know about what thrills our pets? That’s where the folks at Nikon come in.

By strapping a Coolpix L31 camera to a precious puppy by the name of Grizzler, they created a little window into the canine soul. This technology responds to elevations in heart rate and snaps photos whenever Grizzler starts getting excited, allowing us to get a taste of the little wonders that stimulate his day.

Called “Heartography, ” this process captures photos from a dog’s-eye view whenever Grizzler gets pumped. Here’s a little sampling of what he loves! Beautiful scenery? I feel you, man.

Who doesn’t love finding treasure?

Making friends is always a detonation!

And it’s so much better when those newfound friendships are altogether unexpected.

Mushrooms? I entail, whatever floats your boat, Grizz.

If you want to follow this adorable guy around for the day, check out more of his adventures below!

That’s so cool. What would your dog’s photos definitely sounds like if you turned them into a photographer for the day? I’m pretty sure my pup’s collecting would be very food-centric.

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13 Women Describe What Their BoyfriendaEUR( tm) s Semen Savours Like

1. Fresh oysters

I gawked a little the first time I tried it. It reminded me about the savor and feeling of raw oysters, merely a bit more watery. Theres also the permeating savor of salt, which I genuinely am not fond of. I dont know why its so important to guys that you swallow, but every single one of them seems to enjoy it when you do. I guess it turns them on. Kathryn, 26

2. Old pennies

Every man seems to savor different. Sometimes very bitter, others are sweeter savouring. But the majority of cases there is always this persisting aftertaste of pennies in my mouth. Like really old pennies with an acidic taste to it. But you kinda get are applied to it. Amanda, 20

3. Creamy chlorine cleanser

My men semen smells like cleaning products used for bleaching. Id say it savor like a creamy chlorine soap with a bleachy flavor. And it always leaves this really awkward taste at the back of my throat. No wonder why most women dont like it. Semen is something that is not worth tasting, unless you really love the guy. Cassandra, 31

4. Black truffle

Actually, I dont mind the savor of it. Its not that I love it, but I can live with it. Its just like a thick liquid with a salty taste to it. It somehow savours like Black truffle. Kirstie, 39

5. Balloons

Do you remember that savour you had when you chewed on a balloon as a kid? Thats exactly how my boyfriends semen savours like, only a lot saltier. I guess its not that bad at all. It might not be for everyone, but youll never know until you try. Sophia, 20

6. Salty mushrooms

My boyfriends cum has an acidic and bitter savour the majority of cases. I always get the impression I have some salty and very thick liquid in my mouth that has a distinct flavour of mushrooms. Its nothing like Ive ever savoured before, and the texture is also very unique. Marsha, 22

7. Salty seawater

During my time in college Ive given a lot of head, so I know firsthand that flavors somewhat differ. Its not only that each mans semen savours different, but also that the savor of one man can differ heavily. It depends on what they eat or drink. But if I had to pin it down to one common denominator, Id say it always savor like salty seawater. Sometimes its truly viscous and burns a little in the back of my throat. Other periods its a little sweet and not at all thick, but truly watery. Helena, 27

8. Soap

Well, I wouldnt say semen tastes delicious or anything, but its okay-ish. Sometimes it makes me feel icky, because it has this soapy off-taste to it. At the same time, its not entirely repulsive either. Most guys loved it when a girl swallows, so I simply do it and get on. And who says that the favor isnt returned ?” Sandra, 21

9. Slimy pool water

Its like slimy pond water. The savour of semen can be really salty, with a slight flavor of chlorine mixed with sour apple. I guess its because of the taste of chlorine that it builds me believe I have slimy pond water in my mouth. Some say its not bad for you, but I prefer to spit it out. Eve, 25

10. Tasteless jibber

Usually, theres no taste at all. I mean its a little salty, a little bitter and sometimes a little sweet, but theres not much of a distinct flavor. Just like tasteless jibber. If a girl doesnt enjoy swallowing, she can merely have her human pull out and come all over her. Another good idea is to get your boyfriend a swallow of his own if he is really preoccupied with the idea of you swallowing. Tasha, 22

11. Salty goo

Im convinced there are some chemicals in my husbands semen that get me truly aroused. Its like an aphrodisiac to me. I simply love every aspect of it, the warmth, the unique savor, genuinely everything, even the smell. I even enjoy swallowing his cum. Some men have a really thick seminal fluid, others are more watery. Some of them genuinely seemed to explosion when they came, others merely dribbled. Victoria, 43

12. Bad sour cream

My hubbys cum savours really awful. Like sour cream that has gone bad. It also has this really awkward odor to it. The guys before him had an acceptable taste, sadly my man hasnt. I wish I could convince him to change his nutrition. But I dont think this will ever happen, so I just go without oral sex. Jennifer, 37

13. Shampoo

Personally, I really dont like the whole feeling to it. It somehow tastes like salty shampoo, unlike anything Ive ever savor. Its texture is so awkward and slimy that I genuinely try to avoid it as much as I can. My boyfriend has no problem with using a condom for a jolt job. Lucky me, I guess. Kathleen, 20

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Recollection of tastes past: Syria’s vanishing food culture | Wendell Steavenson

The Long Read: For Syrians in exile, food is more than a the ways and means of sustenance. It is a reminder of the rich and diverse culture being destroyed by civil war

In February 2013, Ebtisam Masto fled Syria with her six children. They intersected the border to Lebanon and headed for the capital, Beirut, where Mastos husband, Mohammed, had been working to support his family since before the civil war began.

When they arrived, Masto registered the family with the UN refugee agency in the city. There she heard about a cook program for women that was run by the Catholic charity Caritas. Masto, who was scared, insecure and on the verge of clinical depression, signed up. I wanted to do something with my life, she told me.

On the first day, Masto procured herself with more than 30 females crowded into an unprepossessing room with a single stove and a sink. They looked each other up and down. Almost all, except got a couple of Lebanese females, were Syrian refugees: sophisticates from Damascus and Aleppo, Kurds from the north, homemakers from tiny villages in the northwest. Some were Christian and some were Muslim, some were veiled and some not, some were pro-regime and others had lost sons opposing it. An atmosphere of wariness pervaded the room.

Designed with the help of Kamal Mouzawak, a suave entrepreneur who has done much to promote traditional Lebanese food over the past decade, the course aimed to teach females how to use their home-cooking skills which they took for granted as a domestic chore to find jobs in catering. More importantly, Mouzawak told me, the course was a chance to get the women together, to give them a place to share their narratives and recipes, to empower them.

The first task was to attain kibbeh, parcels of bulgur wheat filled with minced lamb. Kibbeh is a dish received throughout the Middle East and regional permutations, as well as numerous transliterations kibbeh, kubba, kubi abound. The outer shell can be made with semolina or ground rice, the filling can be bulked out with pumpkin or potato, or flavoured with lemon, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, dried mint, parsley, sumac, cumin, chilli. Kibbeh can be fried or roasted or stewed, layered into sloppy casseroles or cooked into big meatloaves. In Lebanese eateries, they are small and pinched into an American football shape. In Iraq, a kubba is a giant hubcap of dough encasing a sprinkling of meat. In Israel, kubba is a Sephardic dish of dumplings in soup.

Everyone on the course had a different way of making kibbeh and everyone wanted theirs to be the best. Among the classmates were two Assyrian Christians, Marlene and Nahren. They made their kibbeh into a large flattened disc stuffed with lamb. It was soft instead of crunchy and no one had ever seen kibbeh that was boiled like this before.

I was so curious to know how they were doing it, Masto told me earlier this year. But they kept it a secret. They would prepare their dough at home and bring it in ready-made. This constructed me even more curious.

One morning in class, when the women were talking over coffee, Masto tried to engage Marlene in dialogue. I tried in my own way to be polite and kind and to counter their wariness and their fear of Muslims. Of course, my real motive was to discover the secret ingredient in their kibbeh dough. But there was this roadblock between us, between Christian and Muslim, so I tried to remove the barrier. I tried to show them the peaceful message of Islam and explain that Mohammed was a peacemaker, just as Jesus was. This brought us together a little bit and we began to develop a friendship.

Still, closer relations between classmates occasionally became strained. One day, Samira, a widow with grown-up children, asked Marlene if she could help her prepare kibbeh. Marlene rebuffed her, telling Samira not to interfere. Samira took umbrage and screamed back at her. The kitchen became tense and Mouzawak, who was helping oversee the class that day, had to intervene, telling the women that they were all there to learn together, and that they should each teach the other a dish they could cook together.

Samira and Marlene concurred, but Marlene was not happy about it. I am obliged to agree, she told Masto, but I am only going to give the real recipe to you. You are the only one who is a good enough cook and trustworthy, and I know you will make it in the correct way.

For Syrians, food is an especially important part of national identity. Syrian cuisine has evolved over thousands of years of conquerings, trading and migrations, shaped and blended by dozens of peoples: Arab, Kurdish, Druze, Armenian, Circassian, Assyrian, Alawite, Turkish, Turkmen, Palestinian, Ismaili, Greek, Jewish, Yazidi. The Syrian table can express a multicultural country and a way of living together that is being destroyed by civil war.

Six million Syrians have fled their homeland since 2011. Lebanon has more than a million registered Syrian refugees, although most people agree that the total number is significantly higher. Even in exile, many Syrians talk about food with the same pride, fervour and obsession with terroir as the French do. Quite often, when I was talking to Syrians in Lebanon, they would grumble about the inferiority of Lebanese vegetables, the blandness of the imported Australian lamb and the lack of variety of the restaurant food.

The fat the fat of Syrian lamb! recalled Magdy Sharshafji, an Assyrian industrialist who left Aleppo after the war began. I gratified him one night in Loris, the fancy eatery he had opened in Beirut. He ordered a dish of the famous Aleppan cherry kebab for me to try. I can tell you the difference where the sheep has lived, whether it is from Aleppo or Hama, only by the smell of the fat! He grinned, remembering, and then hold back his empty palms as a gesture of nostalgia and sadness for a world, a life, a culture that may be lost to him for ever.

In Sharshafjis hometown of Aleppo, the cuisine is known for its pepperiness because it was an old Spice Road hub: a crossroads where elaborate Ottoman dishes mixed with sweet and sour recipes brought by Chinese caravans, and the combined effects of meat and fruit beloved by the Persians. A famous Aleppan dish is kibbeh attained with quince, cooked with fresh pomegranate juice.

In Lebanon we have maybe six or eight different kinds of kibbeh. In Syria they have endless differences, Anissa Helou, a Lebanese food writer, told me. She laid out the regional various forms of Syrian food: In Damascus, the dishes are heartier, more straightforward; street food. And, of course, Damascus is the kingdom of baklava. On the coast you have fish, and close to Jordan, in the desert you have mansaf[ a traditional Bedouin dish of meat cooked in fermented dried yoghurt ].

Kibbeh comes in many assortments in countries throughout the Countries of the middle east. Photo: Karam Miri/ Getty Images/ Hemera

Dima Chaar, a young Syrian cook, bright and pretty with a pixie haircut, told me that when she grew up in Damascus, cooking was a hour for talking and rumor. As we sat on a restaurant terrace late one evening after her change, Chaar described a dish her grandmother used to build: lamb cutlets seasoned with a whole head of garlic and dried mint, cooked in lemon juice and water. She are applied to set ghee[ clarified butter] in is as well, to make it richer we used to cook it on Fridays when everyone would gather.

Chaar still travels back and forth between Beirut and Damascus. She visits her grandmother and writes down her old recipes. Nowadays, she said, girls are no longer cooking the complicated stuff. There arent big families to feed any more. Their sons are killed or have left, they no longer celebrate.

Chaar described profoundly on a pull of apple-flavoured shisha. I think the majority of members of us feel that we are lost. I wanted to stay in Lebanon rather than follow their own families to Montreal. Yes, I believe I hoped to go back to Syria. But after five years, frankly , now I am merely living day by day.

When Ebtisam Masto graduated as one of the starsof the Caritas programme, Kamal Mouzawak asked her to set up a kibbeh stalling at the Souk El Tayeb, his farmers market in Beirut. This is where I first fulfilled her in April earlier this year, and I marvelled at her showing of kibbeh, which were multicoloured and came in different shapes. I bought a lumpy potato one stuffed with spicy walnut muhammara, a semicircular assortment with meat and mushrooms, a rolled kibbeh with spinach and pistachios and the other stimulated with lamb and quince.

In Syria, we would always set meat in them, Masto told me, but here in Lebanon they opt lighter and vegetarian. Two eyebrows rose beneath her neatly pleated headscarf as if to signal amusement at the flighty sophistication of Beiruti ladies.

Everything about Mastos outward appearance was neat and correct. She wore her long outer coat carefully buttoned up, her face was pale and clean of makeup. Her demeanor, however, was warm and voluble. She was wary of journalists the last one she spoke to had portrayed her as an opponent of the Assad regime, in order to craft a heartwarming story about two Syrian women on either side of the war, who were nonetheless great friends, cooks and colleagues.

This had infuriated Masto, who had always maintained a careful position of neutrality. She lived in an area in Beirut that was mainly inhabited by pro-Assad Syrians, and after the article “re coming out”, Masto cares about possible recriminations. Worse, being perceived as anti-Assad meant it would be very difficult for her family turning now to Syria, even if the fighting minimized. In distress, she complained to the UN refugee agency and it asked if she would consider leaving Lebanon. Masto and Mohammed agreed that it was time to go.

When I fulfilled her, the familys asylum applications had been approved. They had been told they would be resettled in America. At first this news had caused consternation. Germany or Canada, they knew, were good countries for refugees. But, as Muslims, we assumed we would not be accepted in America, she said.

As she quizzed me on what kind of article I intended to write, Masto made it clear that she did not want to be quoted about politics in case it caused problemswith her asylum application. But she was willing to let me come to her home to learn how she makes kibbeh.

Masto lived with her familyoutside the centre of Beirut, high up on mountain slopes, in a wooded area that was lush with foliage and strewn with garbage. The day after she agreed to show me how to construct kibbeh, she greeted us into her home, a windowless cube, off a small courtyard of tiny, one-storey concrete structures more a shanty of interconnected rooms than a cluster of homes. The room glowed green under a single fluorescent bulb. It had a rough concrete floor, two or three thin pallets arranged around the edges, a small television, a large refrigerator, a scuffed sofa and two plastic chairs. It was ruthlessly scrubbed and spotlessly clean.

Mastos husband Mohammed came forward to greet us. He had a handsome square face, framed with grey hair that was brushed into a side parting. He declined to shake my hand and touched his palm to his chest instead.

Welcome! Masto repeated.

Kibbeh! I said, anticipating, clapping my hands together.

Yes, but coffee first. Khaled, Mastos 17 -year-old son, brought us two beakers of Nescaf, while his sister Sidra followed with a bowl of sugar.

Masto sat cross-legged next to me on a thin foam pallet. Once Khaled had lugged out a big, shiny, sausage-grinding machine and plugged it into a loop of extension cord, Masto carefully pulled on a pair of white plastic gloves. A bowl of bulgur wheat was placed next to a plastic jug of water. Masto was ready to induce kibbeh.

Ebtisam Masto was born in 1980 in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. She left school when she was 12. When she was 15, she wedded her cousin Mohammed. She was considered one of the best cooks! said her husband proudly. They would all cook together, building kibbeh. There were always lots of daughters, friends, sisters, because in the village women were at home.

My sister had a garden with rows of veggies, and we would have barbecues there and just pick the veggies and eat them just like that, recalled Masto.

Jisr al-Shughour is a Sunni township with a tradition of opposition to the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Hafez al-Assad. In 2011, when Syria began its Arab Spring demonstrations, the person or persons of Jisr al-Shughour were among of the first to take to the streets. That summertime there was fighting one of a very early battles of the civil war and in the embarrassment and gunfire large numbers of the towns population fled. Masto and her children went to Lebanon to stay with Mohammed, but the children were not attending school there. After a couple of months, Mastos parents told her that government forces-out had re-established calm in the town, so she decided to take the family home.

At first it was quiet, but soon the fighting started up again. My children were traumatised listening to the voices of war all the time, said Masto. Pickup trucks piled with corpses drove past. The water was cut. There was no energy. They scavenged firewood. Furnishes could not get into the town from the countryside and food was scarce. Eventually, it got to the point where I couldnt find even flour to attain the bread or got anything to burn as fuel, she said.

In early 2013, they began to kidnap daughters. Who were they? I asked. Masto pursed her lips. Who knows who. They kidnapped the girls as a business and demanded enormous sums of fund. Mohammed had not been able to visit them for more than a year. When Masto called him in Lebanon, she told him she was frightened for their daughters. It is very clear they had to get out. They left Jisr al-Shughour at six in the morning, and after close calls at government checkpoints, they arrived in Damascus at 10 pm. From there, they took a bus to the Lebanese perimeter where Mohammed fulfilled them.

Safe in Beirut, I watched Masto sprinkle the grains of bulgur with water and knead them together. Then she fed clods of the crumbly mixture into the electric grinder. The grinder pushed the dough out as coils. She assembled these up, kneaded them together and then fed them into the grinder again. With each grind, the bulgur absorbed a bit more of the water and the dough became a little softer and drier until it was aspliable as Play-Doh. Masto likes to add a little fine corn meal to her kibbeh. This is her special touch.

Masto was fastidious. She kneaded the dough as she talked. Nothing spilled , no grain was wasted. You need to be delicate in the way you build the dough, she said as she worked it. You have to make it with love so that people will love it. If you do it without love, you cannot touch people.

The World Food Programme, the emergency food assistance branch of the UN, currently supports more than 700,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Since spring 2016 the programme has dispensed a monthly allowance of $27 per head to the two-thirds of refugee families it assesses as the most vulnerable. The fund is credited to an electronic card given to each family. They can then expend their allowance on food at 490 grocery stores registered with the strategy across Lebanon. Since 2012, $770 m has been transferred through this system. One day in early May, I visited a family in the Bekaa Valley who rely on this scheme.

Abadi al-Eid had arrived in Lebanon with his wife, Khawla, and their three children, more than two years earlier, having escaped the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has been controlled under Isis since January 2014. They have since had another little boy. They live in one of the many small refugee camps that have jumped up on fields throughout the fertile plateau between Beirut and the Syrian border.

I ran with Abadi and Khawla as they did their monthly shop at a small grocery store on the Damascus-Beirut road. They brought with them their eight-year-old son Ibrahim, who had an undiagnosed neurological condition and whose growth was stunted. Everyone called him Hajji, an ironic name more commonly used to refer to an elder who has built the hajj pilgrimage.

The Al-Eid family feeing lunch in their tent. Photo: Wendell Steavenson for the Guardian

Hajji grinned and stuck out his arms to shake my hand. He giggled, swaggered and marched, he became suddenly aggressive and then teetered on the edge of a tantrum. He wanted sweets, he wanted biscuits. His mother dedicated him a packet of cookies and he hugged his them to his chest and shovelled one after another into his mouth.

He wants to eat everything! Khawla told me, sighing. He feed all the time, she said, but still he was skinny and scabbed. The household had taken him to the UN clinic, but there was no fund for a blood exam. Before the war, he was not like this. They said he cannot go to the school because he is disruptive. We have had to move camps 5 times because other people do not accept him.

As Abadi pushed the trolley around the little store, Hajji stamped and called, hot tears wet on his cheek. He wanted chocolate cereal. Khawla set an expensive box of chocolate cereal into the trolley.

At the checkout, the Al-Eids bought the following 😛 TAGEND

Two rounds of white cheese

A bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice

A bag of zataar, dried thyme

Popping corn

Three big boxes of dried molokhia, a kind of green foliage vegetable

A big pot of yoghurt

Several kilos of various types of lentils, beans and bulgur wheat

A 16 -litre tin of cooking oil

A 4-litre tin of olive oil

Two large cans of fresh peas

Two cans of meat

Four tins of sardines

A 2.5 kg kilo tin of tomato paste.

Chocolate cereal

They did not buy any eggs or vegetables or fresh meat, which are expensive. There is a joke about a Syrian dish called batata ou farouj potatoes and chicken cooked with lemon. These days it is very rare to have chicken, so the refugees construct the dish without any meat and call it flying chicken because the chicken has flown away.

The Al-Eids live in a tent large enough to stand up in. The frame is made of wood, while the walls are a patchwork of corrugated iron, slats of thin plywood and tarpaulin stamped with the UN refugee agency logo. The roof is covered with old waterproof ad flags and weighted with automobile tyres.

Abadi did not work. He was friendly and smoked cigarettes and when I asked him about the future, he opened his palms to the sky, resigned to Gods will.

Khawla squatted next to a blue gas canister on top of which was perched a pot of yellow lentil soup. Back in Syria, Khawla told me, she used to cook whatever she liked. Kibbeh, and stuffed veggies, these things that I used to attain, I dont make any more. I am stressed and worried all the time. Sometimes I cant even remember things. I have a bad memory because I cant suppose properly. I am only living day to day. I miss my family, we would all gather together to eat.

After Masto had made and shaped the dough, she showed me how to make the filling. She chopped an onion without looking at it, in quick, even, long slicings. The onion was placed in one bowl, violated walnuts in another, finely chopped parsley in another.

In the kitchen, on a little stave balanced on a table, she stirred the walnut pieces in a hot pan, then poured in pomegranate molasses so that it bubbled. She stirred in the onions, careful not to let them burn. After a few minutes, she tip-off the concoction onto a clean plate and sprinkled it with parsley.

As a child, Masto learned to cook kibbeh from her mom, who came from Aleppo. This means that she tends attains her dishes spicy. The subtle flame of Aleppo red pepper detects its route into almost every local dish, either powdered, like a paprika, or cooked, pulped and dried in the open air into a brick-red paste.

From her father, who had been a plumber, Masto learned her love of the Quran and her love of singing. When they were very little, she and her siblings would assemble at their parents knees while he sang suras. If they were curious he would show them the words in the Quran and spell them out and explain their meaning. Masto became a little emotional when she talked about her father. He died last year, in exile, in Lebanon.

She put down her kibbeh parcels for a moment and asked: Would you like me to sing the sura for you?

Ebtisam Masto and her signature kibbeh. Photo: Wendell Steavensom for the Guardian

She closed her eyes and concentrated all her attempt into the words, the cadence and the beauty of the poems. She had a glorious voice, strong and pure and faithful. In that grim cement room it struck me that everything Masto did, she did with her whole self. Nothing was given less attention than her very best. There were tears in my eyes. Without a word, Sidra, Mastos 11 -year-old daughter, handed me a tissue.

Not long after she had finished singing, Masto returned to her kibbeh. She spooned the fill into the prepared cases and pinched the leading edge shut so that they made a double-ended teardrop shape a classic kibbeh. Then she deep-fried them in oil.

Mastos signature kibbeh is called kibbeh al rayeg , which means kibbeh of the monk. The recipe comes from a crossroads outside Jisr al-Shughour where a hermit lived. According to local legend, the monk made this kibbeh and dedicated it out to people on Sundays. In the cook workshop, Mastos monks kibbeh was voted the best.

She glowed with pride as she told me this, while mixing the deep red muhammara paste with pomegranate molasses and cumin, then loosening it with olive oil to make a sauce. Then she placed the kibbeh on a small plate. I ate them with my fingers. Salt and sour, the soft disintegrate of bulgur and nuts crunched together, bittersweet.

Once, when talking to refugeesin one of the camps in the Bekaa Valley, I asked a group of women if they built pickles and jams. The young cook Dima Chaar had told me that preparing mouneh ( pickles) was a communal activity, part of the social structure of Syria. My mother used to get together with her neighbours in Damascus, she said. In artichoke season for example, my father would go to the market and buy kilos of artichokes and then all the women would assemble and clean them and cook them and prepare them, building conserves or freezing. Mounie is the tradition of preserving.

My favourite mouneh recipe is for lemon baladi preserved lemons. I would go with my mum to the market to buy the lemons, the big ones. They had to have quite thick skin. Then you scoop the flesh out and leave them out at room temperature for three or four days until the skin blooms with a little white mould. Then you rub this off with a damp cloth and stuff the lemons with walnuts, red chilli paste and smashed garlic mixed with a little olive oil. Then you set them in a jar and fill the jar with olive oil. I used to keep the petroleum and use it to dress salads.

Twenty or more refugee women in the Bekaa Valley sat around me in a big circle. Almost every one of them had a baby or a small child on their lap. Many of them had been living in tents for five years, since the beginning of the war. Mouneh ? They shrugged. No , not really. Building pickles is a statement of settlement, it personifies the idea of a future of planning and looking forward: in six months, we will be here, in the same place. We just live day to day, one of the women said. We buy what we need and we eat it.

A Syrian household feed a meal outside their tent at a Syrian refugee camp in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon. Photograph: Bilal Hussein/ AP

I set the same question to a young Syrian cook from Damascus named Sam, who had been living in Beirut for two years.( He did not want me to use his surname he has siblings still living in the Syrian port city of Latakia .) Sam was a tubby, jolly fellow, but he became reflective as he thought of the past. In Damascus when I was younger, I lived with a friend who had a coffee shop in the old city. We used to go the market and buy all the veggies and construct pickles together. I love to cook, he loved to cook.

We would gather together six or seven of us, after the coffee shop shut, and eat what we had made that day. We would drink arak and listen to music one of my friends played the oud Sam stopped. His chest heaved. His smile went to a flat line, his lips compressed with the effort of recollecting. I have been here two years and I havent bought a single piece of furniture. I tell myself this is only temporary. I have not made pickles. Its a thing that you do at home, and here its not home.

When I find them in Beirut in late spring, Masto and Mohammed did not know where in America they would be settled. They were nervous. Masto told me, she wished to take a special kind of milled hard-grained wheat with her soes that she would be able to induce the Assyrian kibbeh she had learned from Marlene and Nahren.

Its not just for Assyrians to preserve their tradition, she told me. Food is a style to conserve history and culture, to pass traditions on to the next generation so that they can understand their origins and identity. In books and in schools, children learn about history and different cultures and wreckings and the remains of different civilisations, but they dont learn about the food which is also a part of its own history and cultural activities. If we dont preserve it and teach it to them, it will disappear. It is our duty to keep it running. Kibbeh is everywhere, kibbeh holds the culture and region it comes from, it holds its identity inside.

When I left Beirut I kept in touch with Masto on Facebook. In the summer she posted where she and her family would be settled: Cincinnati, Ohio.

At first, she acknowledged, when we talked this autumn via Skype, that it had been difficult. For the first three weeks the family had to live in a house infested with raccoons, but then the latter are settled in a good house in a good neighborhood. Every morning she and her daughter Amal go to English class. The International Catholic Migration Commission that sponsored their asylum application under the auspices of the UN refugee agency, was helping Mohammed to train as a forklift truck driver. The children were in school and happy. People were very friendly, very helpful. I am even complimented on my hijab, said Masto, pleased with the warmth and respect of the Midwestern reception.( Although at the beginning of December, Masto was more circumspect: since the election of Donald Trump, she wrote to me that their own families were scared and did not know, as Muslims, what the future would bring .)

Not long after Masto arrived in Cincinnati, I had asked her what she thought of American food. She admitted she had not yet tried any because she was worried it would be not be halal, but added that some friends from the local Syrian community had taken their own families to a Chinese eatery and that she had liked the sesame chicken.

The first time she had attained her signature monks kibbeh, she told me, had been a disaster. The red pepper paste she had bought at a local Arab food shop was bitter and the whole thing was ruined. But she had heard of a wholesale place where she could buy a large quantity of red pepper and was going to induce some herself.

The climate of Cincinnati is too damp and rainy to dry it outside like it is supposed to be, she told me, but I can do it in the oven.

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Cute Tiny Owl Goes Viral So We Interviewed The Photographer( 10 Pics)

After this super adorable photo of an owl hide from rain took the internet by blizzard, we decided to reach out to the photographer Tanja Brandt to tell us more about it.

“Poldi, our little owl is 1,5 years old. I get him when he was five months old. He didn’t want to come out his egg and he was very small, the smallest. His six sisters were all hatched, and as he was the last to be born, days after the others, he was very small. I also have a Harris Hawk named Phonix, a Weissgesichtseule named Gandalf, and a snow owl named Uschi, ” Tanja Brandt told Bored Panda.

“I guess my animals like to be photographed. Why? Because I am always outside with my camera and with my animals. So we get to walk together, have fun, go on adventures, have little breaches … We take some images and after the animals can play again as we keep going. I know my animals very well and I can see their state of mind. If I go out with just one of my animals, the other get antsy and want to be with us. We have lot of fun together.”

“I’ve always loved animals, since I was a baby, unlike the rest of their own families. When I was little, I saw every sort of pet and then hid it for my parents. I love the beauty, power, loyalty, gallantry and friendship of animals. Many people could learn from them.”

Thank you, Tanja Brandt for the interview and the images!

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Merely A Handful Of People In History Have Ever Overdosed On LSD. This Is What Happened To Them

A most spectacular accomplishment of narcotic nincompoopery was achieved on July 29 , 1972, when eight guests at a San Francisco dinner party mistook powdered LSD for cocaine and snorted the equivalent of several thousand dosages of acid. Fifteen minutes later, while receiving emergency treatment, five were in a coma and three were breathing through a tubing. Yet in spite of their astonishing pharmacological gaffe, all eight were discharged from the hospital within 48 hours with no lasting symptoms, which goes to show just how difficult it is to die from a psychedelic overdose.

Hardly Any Recorded Deaths

Robert Gable is a professor of legal psychology at Claremont Graduate University, and has spent decades investigating narcotic toxicity. Speaking to IFLScience, he explained that psychedelics tend not to render fatal reactions unless they are mixed with other harmful substances, and that he has “not come across any cases in which LSD alone could be verified as the cause of death.”

The term “psychedelic” was originally coined by British psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond, and literally means “mind manifesting”. It is used to refer to a broad range of substances, although the more common recreational psychedelics include LSD, psilocybin( the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms ), DMT, and mescaline.

This mystifying mob of molecules work on a range of different receptors in order to produce their brain origami, with the serotonin 2b receptor being the main culprit. Strangely, serotonin 2b has such a high affinity for LSD that it literally wraps itself around it, holding the medication in place. This explains why LSD trips are so long lasting, and why such small quantities are required in order to make an effect, with merely 100 micrograms being needed for a standard dose.

LSD is eaten in tiny quantities, and is often taken on a sugar cube. mikeledray/ Shutterstock

According to Gable, this is also one of the reasons that it’s so difficult to die on LSD. “The smaller the dose of a substance, the less likely it is to cause physiological demise, ” he says. “And what’s unique about LSD is it’s in micrograms, so it’s much smaller than all the other psychoactive drugs, building death less likely to be caused by LSD than by some other substance.”

It’s hence unsurprising that this year’s Global Drugs Survey( GDS) detected psychedelics to be among the safest recreational drugs. Psilocybin, for instance, was responsible for less medical treatment than any other illicit substance, with just 0.2 percentage of users worldwide necessitating care.

Adam Winstock from University College London founded the GDS, and told IFLScience that psychedelics come with an in-built protection mechanism that stops people from overdosing on them.

“You build up tolerance so quickly to the effects of psychedelics that they tend not to lend themselves to overuse, ” he explains. “So if you take mushrooms or LSD five days in a row, by day five you’re not going to be stumble, and that’s incredibly protective.”

So Can You Die On Psychedelics ?

While psychedelics may be much safer than other narcotics like alcohol, opioids, or amphetamines, the individuals who try hard enough can still find a way to take a mortal trip.

“When an average healthy person administers a psychedelic drug in the way it’s supposed to be used, without any other psychoactive substances, then it’s very difficult to die as a result, ” explains Gable. Yet the individuals who fail to meet these criteria operate some serious risks.

Cannabis, for example, is considered by some to be a mild psychedelic, even though it mainly acts upon the body’s cannabinoid receptors. There are a grand total of zero recorded demises from smoked marijuana, with analyzes suggesting that you’d need to ingest over 40,000 days the concentration of THC in an average joint to get anywhere close to dying.

According to Gable, however, there are two recorded marijuana deaths, both of which were caused by unconventional employ of the drug.

“One was because they set a bunch of marijuana in a blender and then tried to inject it- I entail into the veins- employing a syringe. And the other one was packing a bunch of marijuana leaves into the vagina. Not clever.”

Aside from general stupidity, a few other risk factors can contribute to a psychedelic demise. According to Winstock, the biggest hazard when using magic mushrooms is simply picking the incorrect specimen and ending up ingesting a toxic mushroom instead of a hallucinogenic one.

Similarly, people who think they are buying LSD are sometimes sold similar but considerably more toxic hallucinogens known as N-bombs, which can cause death.

Finally, if the medication itself doesn’t kill you, what you do after you’ve taken it could still finish you off. It should go without saying, but attempting to drive or swimming while under the effects of a hallucinogen could induce you a candidate for the Darwin Awards.

There are many ways to ingest narcotics, most of which are not advisable. Monika Gruszewicz/ Shutterstock

Is There A Lethal Dose ?

Everything from water to apple strudel can kill you if you ingest enough of it, and psychedelics are no different.

To calculate the safety ratio of a drug, you divide its lethal dose by the effective and efficient dose. Heroin, for example, has a security ratio of six, means that taking six hours the amount needed to get high will probably kill you. Alcohol has a security ratio of 10, while cocaine’s is 15.

Because no one is entirely sure of the lethal dosage for most psychedelics, it’s difficult to work out their safety ratios, although in one study authored by Gable, LSD is listed as having a security ratio of 1,000, while marijuanas is given a value of> 1,000.

David Nichols, a pharmacologist from Purdue University, told IFLScience that “there simply haven’t been enough deaths from most psychedelics for us to actually know the lethal dose.”

In the case of LSD, he says “there are no known overdose deaths from recreational doses.” However, he does quote one case in which a person died after ingesting 320 milligrams of pure LSD- roughly 320,000 periods a standard recreational dose.

The exact lethal dose of most psychedelics is not known. Pixabay

What Happens When You Overdose On Psychedelics ?

Because of a lack of suit analyzes, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect from a psychedelic overdose, although Nichols suggests it may involve “vasoconstriction because there are serotonin 2b receptors in the vascular system, so you are able expect to see hypertension. You could also have all kinds of multiple organ failing, or internal bleeding.”

Taking multiple serotonergic substances together can also lead to serotonin syndrome, which sometimes involves seizures and muscle tissue loss.

Research in monkeys, mice, and rabbits, meanwhile, has shown that extremely high dosages of psychedelics can cause respiratory failure and paralysis, leading to death. An Asiatic elephant named Tusko was also felled by 297 milligrams of LSD in a dubious experimentation at the University of Oklahoma in 1962.

Yet when it comes to psychedelics and people, Nichols insists that “there haven’t been enough demises with massive doses to truly know what happens.”

To this day, eight hapless humans at a San Francisco dinner party was continuing our only proof for the results of ingesting too much LSD. Received with concentrations of up to 7,000 micrograms of LSD per 100 milliliters of blood, the group experienced symptoms ranging from internal bleeding to hypothermia, but all lived to tell the narrative. Then again, perhaps it was just the apple strudel.

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All Sriracha Everything: 16 Delicious Ways to Eat Sriracha With Every Meal

Sriracha is a college student staple, but it’s not just for covering up bad Chinese food anymore.

It can be used in so many different delicious styles and for almost every snack. If you’re not so happy with what’sreally in Sriracha, attain your own employing this recipe.

So, put on your Sriracha leggings, and get ready to dive into these33recipes that will surely knock your Sriracha socks off. No Sriracha cookbook needed.

Sriracha Eggs Benedict

Brunch just got a little less basic. Recipe here.

Egg& SrirachaQuiche

Start your day with this healthybreakfast and customize it with your own fix-ins by adding anything, from mushrooms and gruyere to spinach, feta and roasted red pepper. Recipe here.

Sriracha Bacon Burger

Did I mention that it included bacon. How could anyone defy? Recipe here.

Fried Egg with Chickpea Salad and Sriracha

This colorful salad is great for hot summertime days when you simply want a little pick-me-up. Recipe here.

Sriracha Cheddar with Prosciutto& Roasted Pepper

Low-effort, but sure to impress. Top with some homemade sriracha and ramp up this already epic creation. Recipe here.

Chicken Stir-Fry

Skip the takeout because this chicken stir-fry merely takes 30 minutes to make and it merely requires five ingredients to attain. Recipe here.

Spicy Garlic Sriracha Shrimp

A 15 -minute shrimp dish that looks style harder to attain than it actually is. Recipe here.

Sriracha& Egg Avocado Burrito

Psh, who needs Chipotle? Recipe here.

Spicy Chickpea Burgers With Sriracha Mayo

Ditch the traditional beef patty burger and replace it with something even more epic: the veggie burger topped with crunchy sweet potato fries and creamy Sriracha mayo. You’re not going to miss feeing meatanymore after you try this recipe.

Rice Bun Hamburger

Forget boring sesame seed buns. Reinvent the hamburger with a crispy rice bun andSriracha mayo for a zesty and undeniably more delicious twisting. Recipe here.

Sriracha Mac’ n Cheese Bites

These astounding mac’ n cheese bites are a cheese lover’s dream come true. Bonus: they’re easy to attain because they’re made up of the boxed stuff. Recipe here.

Honey-Sriracha Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Because roasted Brussels sprouts are such a mild vegetable, they can get a little boring after the first few bites. The zing of Sriracha really brightens up the dish and adds a subtle heat.Find the recipe here.

Sriracha Hummus

Ditch the store-bought hummus and start using homemade Sriracha hummus on your pita eternally. Recipe here.


One of the most beautiful things we ever did watch. That macaron iscalling your name. Find it here.

Sriracha Popcorn

Throw away all your microwave popcorn packets and get ready for some homemade popcorn that couldn’t be any simpler. Recipe here.

Baked Sriracha Potato Chips

Add some spice and crunch to your boring lunches with these baked potato chips. Recipe here.

This post was originally written by Lily LouforSpoon University .

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild- tips-off and tricks they don’t say to you

The new Nintendo Switch title offers a vast world to explore, which can be as frustrating as it is magical. Here are some clues for those about to enter Hyrule

Breath of the Wild( BoTW)is a huge game, full of exploration, experimentation and mystery. Like no Zelda title has for decades, it shuns handholding and tutorials in favour of encouraging players to find out how the systems work in their own right.

That can be magical when it runs, but if you want to go into the game a bit more prepared, heres a few of the most useful things to know when setting out to explore Hyrule.


While weapons and shields are impermanent, and the vast majority of skills Link receives are granted in the first two hours, there are still a number of boulevards for character growth. The order you approach areas does matter, and you can stimulate BotW easier or harder as you see fit or even make it borderline impossible, skipping most of the game entirely and making a beeline to the final boss armed only with a sword and four hearts.

The first choice youll have to build is whether to upgrade your hearts or stamina bar. While more stamina is good, and can open up new areas of the map, until you have a good sense of what you need, go for hearts every time. The big reason for that is how easy it is to recover each status: if you dont have enough hearts, its very possible to lose them all at once from a big enough make, with no time to eat a meal for its mending effects.

zelda Go for hearts( top left) every time. Photograph: Nintendo

Stamina, on the other hand, always drops steadily. If you really need to climbing a gigantic cliff, you have the option of pausing video games just as youre about to fall off, feeing a stamina-recovering dinner, and continuing upwards.

Youll get a second tranche of permanent upgrades as you set about receiving the divine beasts that form the games main questline. All of these are significant improvements to Links combat prowess, which means if youre juggling whether to tackle a divine beast before or after some exploration, its useful to take out the big thing first, giving you the power boost.

A third source of permanent upgrades can be secured from the Ancient Tech labs in the east of Hyrule, utilizing the items dropped by Guardians and may be in Shrines. You can boost a bunch of your Sheikah Slate runes, as well as buy some less-permanent, but extremely powerful, weapons.

Finally, dont discount the value of simply buying armour. If youre used to open-world RPGs, you may dismiss the armour for sale in shops as inferior to that which youll get into chests and loot drops, but thats often absolutely no truth to the rumors and even if it is, theres no guaranty youll find the right loot drop at the right time. If you need flame resistance right now, and have two thousand rupees, why not just buy the right hat?

Combat and weapons

Zelda The strength value of each weapon isnt everything … Photo: Nintendo

The combat mechanics are the most documented in BotW, with most of the games tutorial text to be given to teaching you how to use each of your weapons and abilities. But theres still a lot you dont get told.

Elemental powers will be key to defeating some of the games harder enemies. Ice-infused weapons and arrows will freeze ogres solid, giving you a few seconds to reposition yourself, but more importantly allowing you to do a loading more damage if you make them again before the ice thaws, shattering it. Thunder has a similar paralysing consequence, without the extra damage that you can deal at the end but to make up for it, it can cause enemies to fell their weapons wholly. Fire is less useful, having no direct effects on combat, but letting you explosion flame barrels, and instantly kill icy enemies.

Dont get too obsessed by the simple strength value of each weapon. For one thing, it doesnt reflect the damage per second you can do a strong weapon like Boulder Breaker does a lot of damage per swinging, but it wont kill enemies as fast as a good spear, which are able to hitting four times for every one that the breaker does.

 its what you can do with the weapon that counts. its what you can do with the weapon that counts. Photograph: Nintendo

Similarly, remember that there are many more differences in weapons than only their strength and kind. On top of the weapon itself sun and heavy swords, spears, boomerangs, hammers and more theres also material to bear in mind( wooden weapons catch fire, while metal ones can be struck by lightning and construct triggers when they reach flint) as well as whether theyre sharp or blunt( the former can cut down trees, the latter can smash open ore deposits ).


BotWs crafting mechanics can be vaguely daunting at the start. The game dedicates no tutorial at all , not even telling you the interface commands to cook dishes with more than one ingredient, and even once you work those out, youll likely construct more than a few disgusting dinners before you catch your groove.

How to cook is simple. While you can cook or toast ingredients by just falling them on an open fire useful for eking an extra quarter heart out of apples and mushrooms, and rendering acorns palatable to build more complex snacks youll need to find a cooking pot. Theres one by the Old person shack on the Great Plateau, but youll find many more dotted around Hyrule.

Once there, open your+ menu and go to the materials tab of your inventory, reached X to get the game into Hold mode , and then press A to hold up to five ingredients. Once youre happy, close the inventory menu, and walk up to the cook pot. Press A again to cook, sit back, and ensure what youve induced! If youre particularly lucky, you might hear a musical version of the cooking voice effect, which signifies a sort of critical reach; the resulting dinner will give even more hearts than normal.

The lack of a recipe book might put you off experimentation, but the rules are actually quite simple, particularly for food.

Link Link is an explosive cook where reference is wants to be. Photograph: Nintendo

The key thing to know is that you can never mix consequences: besides healing you, each dinner can only ever impart one consequence, be that haste, stealth, thunder resistance or protection from cold weather. Dont get greedy and chuck multiple status-imparting things in the pan! At best, youll trash half the ingredients; at worst, youll get a horrible mess that mends few hearts and dedicates no status boosts whatsoever.

Its also worth experimenting with cooking the same meal in different sums. While some items will only give longer impacts for cooking more at the same time, others will bump the strength of the effect up a tier. Depending on where youre heading, both sets of can be useful: if youre investigating an area full of Moblins, for instance, you might want one snack to give you 12 minutes of boosted defense, but if youre taking on a combat trial, youd likely prefer your defense to be tripled for simply a couple of minutes.

While theres no cookbook, you are able to check the ingredients being implemented in any given recipe. Thats useful if you have to stimulate something that you can buy in a store, like a few of the elixirs youll need to access some of the more punishing environments. But dont is considered that merely because the shop-bought version contained a specific situate of ingredients, thats the only style to stimulate the item.


Theres obviously fewer tips to devote for shrines, since these gigantic puzzle-boxes are largely standalone. But there are some tidbits that are still good to know.

Zelda Dont shirk on arrows when entering a Shrine. Photograph: Nintendo

Always arrive at a shrine with a full complement of arrows. Most things you need will be given to you in the shrine if you have to smash a boulder across the map, for instance, therell likely be a sledgehammer nearby but arrows seem to be the exception. You dont want to get almost to the end then run out of projectiles, and there are a lot of puzzles that you cant solve without arrows. Worst case scenario, you can sometimes throw your sword at the target.

If youve beaten a divine brute, dont try to rely on the new powers youve been given. They dont work inside Shrines. Dont discover this the way I did: by losing a gruelling combat 95% of the way to completion.

Try and grab every chest if you can. The vast majority of them will be disappointing, but there are items contained in them which you wont be allowed to get elsewhere for a very long time. I still use my Climbing Bandana most sessions, for instance.

And the rest

If its raining, dont try to climbing a wall. Firstly, check the weather chart in the bottom right if it proves all rainfall, there may be a tale reason for that, which entails the weather wont clear up until you change things. If the weather symbols are variable, though, find a dry place, make a flame( drop some wood, drop a flint, equip a metal weapon and strike the flint ), and sit by it for a few hours. Voila! Drier weather.

If youre near water or swamp, try ducking into the Magnesis rune: theres often a metal treasure chest hide there for you to pull out with your sorcery powers.

Dont try and catch the blue bunny. Try and shoot it instead. I know, I dont like that any more than you do. Poor bunny.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Link has never been set so free

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