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The Life of Apple Harvesters, A Pan-Galactic Cocktail, and More Long Reads

Stories to read this weekend.

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

From politics to cookbooks to crop gathering, this week in food journalism traversed countries, cultures, and even galaxies. As a follow-up to last week's trending tipping topic, we glean a little more insight into what our tips are really paying for, such as that glass that shattered at the table next to you. Finally, we round out the top picks with a search for a particularly out-of-this-world cocktail

You Don't Eat Well, and More Things I Learned on My Cookbook Tour

Serious Eats

Still, I said yes to pretty much everything that came my way. Which means I did drive from San Diego to Los Angeles (three hours in rush-hour traffic), then to Rancho Cucamonga (one hour), and back to San Diego, all in the span of 24 hours. In that same period of time, I also made two batches each of pickled cactus and chicken in adobo sauce, gave a radio interview, and did a book signing at Barnes & Noble. When I did have a chance to catch some sleep, the baby woke up every two hours.

No Great Haven

Roads and Kingdoms

Abdul Sami left Kabul a year and a half ago after 11 years working for luxury and upscale establishments, including the U.K. Embassy. He proudly shows me pictures on his phone of his cooking certificates and the elaborate food platters he used to create, interspersed with photos of his smiling wife and two kids. But then two Taliban came to his home and threatened to kill him for working with Americans. It's just my job—to cook, Abdul Sami recalls saying as he tried to defend himself.

Inside The Life Of An Apple Picker


They could only bring what they could carry in their car. "You take what's most essential for your travels, and everything else gets left behind," Martinez says. A few months ago, they were harvesting blueberries in Michigan. At the end of October, they'll move to Florida for the strawberries, and then more blueberries.

I Used To Be Ashamed of My Family's Smelly Asian Cooking — Now It Fills Me With Pride


Every time I smell rau ram, I'm transported back to that outside space as my dad pierced the membranes of fertilized duck eggs, handing them to me so I could sip the amniotic fluid juices. "It's very nourishing," he would say, and in my head I would reply, "Never tell anyone I eat this or you're dead." Based on my family's eating habits, I had zero friends over for dinner growing up.

The Cocktail at the End of the Universe


Like any other raving fan of the Hitchhiker's universe, I have strong opinions about the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. It should be pale gold, and positively bristle with umbrellas and curly straws. It should be spicy and astringent in flavor, yet highly drinkable and with surprising depth. But it's fictional; both Adams and radio show producer Geoffrey Perkins explained to thirsty fans that it's impossible to mix one under Earth's atmospheric conditions. I have never really wanted to make one.

The Tipping Minefield

The Guardian

"You can see the restaurant as a whole - the chef, the receptionist, the cleaner, the waiter, the person who runs the floor - and they should all be getting the tip. The waiter isn't going to get a tip if the food is late or the restaurant is dirty. Or you can [think] only the person at the sharp end of customer service should get it. Different restaurants have different philosophies."