Wife stealing, compulsive chewing and artisanal carving – the cool history of ice in America
August 10th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
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I have a problem. It's called pagophagia. I'm a compulsive ice eater.

While some people may crave chocolate and others can't function without coffee, my vice is ice. I'm not alone.

Recently, I was in the CNN cafeteria filling four (count 'em, four) 32-ounce cups chock full of ice (my morning ice run). A woman approached me and said, "Ah! Someone else who's crazy about ice!" She then pointed to a co-worker at the salad bar and said, "We meet up here each day to get our ice together."

Kumbaya! I had found more of my people, and we bonded over the ice machine.

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Filed under: Bars • Culture • Food History • Obsessions • Sip

New Orleans' iconic Hubig's Pies burns down
July 27th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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The home of New Orleans's beloved Hubig's Pies was destroyed by a fire early Friday morning in a "total loss," according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

The five-alarm fire at the historic bakery began around 4:28 a.m. in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, CNN affiliate WWL-TV reported.

An employee noticed smoke coming out of the fryer room, where the fire is assumed to have started.

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Filed under: Bite • Breaking News • Cuisines • New Orleans • New Orleans • News • Obsessions • Travel

'Marmageddon' threatens to strike New Zealand
March 19th, 2012
10:45 PM ET
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In New Zealand, it's being called "Marmageddon."

The island nation is facing a dwindling stock of the beloved Marmite spread after recent earthquakes in Christchurch forced the manufacturer to shut down the only factory producing the stuff.

A spokesman for Sanitarium, the maker of the salty breakfast spread, says it has now run out of Marmite and it can't make any more until July at the earliest. That's caused a run on Marmite at markets all around New Zealand - and reports of panic among customers who love the spread.

Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden said people should face the hard fact that they'll need to conserve their Marmite and could try spreading it on toast rather than slices of bread out of the bag to make it last.

Read - New Zealand faces shortage of beloved breakfast spread

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • New Zealand • News • Obsessions

Three steps to cheesesteak supremacy
March 12th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
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Matt Sloane is a CNN Medical producer. He seeks to rid the world of sub-par cheesesteaks.

As a Philly-area native, nothing offends me more than a bad cheesesteak - and there are a lot of bad cheesesteaks out there. So, having been a connoisseur for almost 30 years, I've learned a thing or two about what makes them amazing.

Let me be clear about something: there are steak and cheese sandwiches, and there are cheesesteaks. They are not the same thing.

Restaurants, take notice. If you call it a cheesesteak, it had better be greasy, cheesy, and chopped up. If there are chunks of steak, brie, or horseradish sauce, it's a steak and cheese sandwich.

So, what's the magic recipe for a perfect Philly cheesesteak? In this case, less is more. A good cheesesteak should consist of only three main components: the bread, the steak and the cheese. If you want to put fried onions on it, I'll give you a pass, but I personally am a purist.

Mehepyewpleez? A love letter to K&W Cafeteria
January 31st, 2012
09:05 AM ET
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If at some point my rapidly advancing decrepitude becomes just too much for me to bear, I'm not too fussed. I have a plan. I'm going to quit my job, my home, my life up North and seek employment at the first outpost of the K&W Cafeteria chain that will have me. By all reputable accounts, no one who works there has ever aged so much as a day since they opened in 1937.

I have no empirical proof that this is true. I've only been aware of the existence of the K&W for the past seven years, but I've been privy to enough anecdotal accounts to suggest that the "congeal" molecule in a K&W tomato aspic is the key to life eternal. This was, in fact, a discovery made by the owners - members of an alien race who came to Earth many decades ago to study us and keep us in their sway via the power of luscious gravy, sweet tea and reasonable prices on classic Southern cafeteria-style food. And, I'm cool with it.

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Filed under: Chain • Classic • Favorites • Obsessions • Restaurants • Southern

December 8th, 2011
01:00 PM ET
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Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe. Jeremy Harlan is a CNN photojournalist. He has a hungry baby.

I know how this scene goes. You stroll into the convenience store looking for your typical travel snacks: Teriyaki beef jerky, pepperoni pizza Combos and a Diet Dr. Pepper. And as you peruse the aisle just to make sure there's not a sweet treat that suits your fancy, you catch a glimpse of some canned goods: microwavable beef ravioli, potted meat, and Vienna Sausages.

"Bleh, Vienna sausages. Seriously? Who in the world eats that?"

Allow myself to introduce myself. My name is Jeremy Harlan and I do love me some Vienna Sausages. They are my perfect finger snack for long driving assignments. And in my humble opinion, they are a cornerstone of any quality convenience store. (I'm talking to you, Sheetz.)

Why do I like them? I can't give a specific reason, I just enjoy prying them out of the can and eating them one by one.

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Filed under: Buzz • Food in the Field • Hot Messes • Obsessions

How I kicked my Coke habit
September 28th, 2011
09:15 AM ET
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Holy crap, did I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke. Not just a can or two at lunch and one with dinner. Not just a pick-me-up in the afternoon or the tail end of a droopy morning. More like two liters a day at the very minimum - sometimes four.

Had the end times come and yea and verily the East and Hudson rivers risen up and swallowed New York, I could have easily lashed together a raft of the empty plastic bottles I'd amassed in my recycling bin since the last trash day. First port of call: wherever they're keeping the rest of the Diet Coke. And I'd probably have to fight for it.

Bacon! Bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon! Going on a Bac-spedition
July 15th, 2011
07:30 AM ET
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Some people say bacon has jumped the shark. We say mmmmm...shark bacon! Howard Winer is a Supervising Producer at CNN.

Thank goodness my parents never kept Kosher. Had they, I might not have discovered the joys of boiled Maine lobstuh, steamed Maryland crabs or the number one no-no - bacon. High five to you now, Mom and Dad, because these days– bacon isn’t just a side at breakfast. You can drink your bacon, have it on a burger in a whole new way or, even better, for dessert.

If you’re ready for a Bac-spedition, start with it shaken, not stirred, in a Bakontini. All it takes is some Bakon Vodka. Or, make any day a Sunday and go for a Bakon Mary, heavy on the Tabasco, please. If you’re in the mood for sweet, think about a creation from the Dionysus Restaurant & Lounge in Baltimore: the Waffle Shot. It’s one part Bakon Vodka, one part Pinnacle Whipped Vodka. [Editor's note: We in no way endorse this behavior. Because eeewwwww!]

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Filed under: Bacon • Obsessions

Schmeary-eyed fans mourn closing of iconic NYC bagel shop
June 24th, 2011
02:10 PM ET
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In a city celebrated for its "cawfeee" accent and doughnut-shaped rolls, the store that by many accounts is New York's bagel-lovers' paradise is set to shutter its doors.

H&H Bagels - a Manhattan landmark of sorts - will sell its last homemade dozen and close on Sunday, according to Moshe Fintz, the company's business manager.

The store's no-frills business model and doughy circles earned a cult-like following over its 39-year history on 80th Street and Broadway.

Many loyal customers aren't taking the news of the closing lightly.

"We have to preserve what's unique about New York," said James Besser, a pianist from Manhattan's Upper West Side. "And what's distinct about us here is the bagels."

Read - Iconic bagel shop closure to leave hole in New Yorkers' hearts

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Filed under: Classic • New York • Obsessions • Restaurants • Travel

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