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The story behind, ‘the best thing since sliced bread’

Photo by on Unsplash

People love food and wherever you go in the world, that’s one of the topics that you can easily talk to anyone about regardless of your cultural differences. Here in the United States, we’ve had a very old saying for a long time, which is the best thing since sliced bread.

This journey begins around 1928 with a jeweler from Missouri, Otto .F. Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa.

He saw a need that needed to be satisfied. He overheard homemakers in his jewelry store complaining about how difficult it was to slice bread and how much they hated it. It was…

How tomatoes went from feared to revered

Poisonous tomatoes | Love Apple | Blessing Akpan Medium
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

People might love a pasta sauce, but they may hate the actual tomato. Historically, this is an echo of, at least in the US, our huge, weird relationship with tomatoes. It’s crazy that people don’t talk about it more often. I mean, I don’t know if anybody else had this misconception, but when I was quite young, I just kind of assumed tomatoes were Italian because I associated them with pasta sauce, but they’re not. They’re Mesoamerican. We have proof that the tomato was eaten in the Aztec culture as early as 700 AD.

It wasn’t until nearly 1600 that…

Image: BBC

If you lived in the early 20th century America, the leading cause of death in the country was not a heart attack, right? It wasn’t cardiac cardiovascular stuff. It wasn’t cancer. Instead, it was tuberculosis. Public health experts of the time were aware that spitting could function as a vector of contagion.

It turns out, In the late 1800s. Spitting was super popular. There was a spit culture, men would spit in courtrooms, inside buildings, on streetcars. There would apparently be puddles of spit on the floor to the point where women’s dresses were always in danger of dragging through…

So not many people look forward to death, even if they’ve lived a long and satisfying life. So it would seem there’s a big appetite for the opposite of death or immortality and a lot of scientists are working on if not immortality, per se, at least extending life by many years. Isn’t life precious in large part because it is so finite? And if there were an avenue toward immortality, how desirable would you find that?

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

I know my life has an end and that the end is not a blink of an eye in this sort of grand…

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Sigmund Freud introduced this term, ‘sublimating’. I don't mean changing from a solid to a gas without bothering to turn into a liquid along the way which is chemical sublimation. I’ll explain it further. In Freud’s essay On Narcissism, Freud writes, “Sublimation is a process that concerns object-libido and consists in the instinct directing itself toward an aim other than, and remote from, that of sexual satisfaction; in the process, the accent falls upon deflection from sexuality.” …

The first fake German Volcano

Fake Volcano| German Prince | Blessing Akpan
Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

For a lot of readers in the US and maybe abroad, fake volcanoes make you think of one thing right? Science projects.

You probably did it at home for fun. Not even in science class.

The idea of public spaces where people can mingle and have a good time has been around for quite a long time. But the idea of a resort with amusement facilities, more along the lines of a theme park or waterpark didn’t start to show up in Europe until the Renaissance. That’s why it was called the Renaissance — when…

The king of counterfeiting

Image source: wikimedia

We’re talking about the king of Confederate counterfeit, Samuel Curtis Upham. He was a first-time counterfeiter of money of the Confederate side of the American Civil War. He was making fake Confederate money and was scamming the racists. The majority of the Confederate South didn’t own slaves but went out to war and were dying to own slaves of the low possibility that one day they’ll get super-rich and be able to own other people.

It’s more tragic to be an aspiring slave owner than it is to be a slave owner. Like if you’re a slave owner, you’re doing…

Interview questions | Job Interview | Blessing Akpan
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Let’s imagine you are interviewing for an academic research position.

I like questions that have a little bit of logic, a little bit of numeracy, and a little bit of watching someone think.

So, here's one question I read a long time ago that I loved.

Let’s say one day you’re riding to work on the subway or the bus. And you see someone sitting near you say, middle-aged woman. And she’s reading, she’s got her nose buried in this book, and her hair is drawn back and these thick glasses.

Right next to her, she’s got a big tote…

Whole Grain | Pancakes | Blessing Akpan
Image by author

Here’s a 100% whole wheat pancake recipe with a brilliant trick that makes it tastes as good as your favorite buttermilk pancake recipe. Early in the pandemic, when all-purpose flour was scarce, and all of us cooking at home were starting to get a lot more experimental and work with what we could get, whole grain flowers were much easier to find. You just had to know what to do with them. But this recipe and its trick have stuck with me ever since. And I think it’ll stick with you too.

For all the moments that you just want…

Blessing Akpan

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