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Save this for your next Euro trip, just in case you need a brew in any of your stops (or in every one)
If there was ever a cause to create a universal language, it would probably be the beer cause: needing to get a brew in any country you may visit.
Luckily, here's a map to help you out when you're in Europe. Blog The Drey released this image to helpfully guide you through Europe so you never have to miss a brew. It even helpfully divides them into regions with similar beer names (bier, bierra vs. pivo vs. cerveza, or variations of the word "ale").
Check out the color-coded map below to plan your next beer trip abroad. Next up, we're hoping for a guide on how to say IPA, pilsner, wheat beer, and stout in languages across the world. Realistically, it's probably not possible to compile all that information into a single map, but it seems like a necessary tool for the traveler at large (developers: app idea alert). Who wants to take one for the team and spend the next two years researching?
Braggot: The Best of Mead and Beer
The histories of beer and mead are intertwined in the cultural evolution of man. At some point, a clear genius married the qualities of mead and beer in a hybrid beverage known as braggot.
You’d be hard-pressed to characterize all braggots under one description, with its vast history and presence around the world. In fact, besides having honey and malted grains in a beverage with the qualities of both mead and beer marking the character, the array of braggots are nearly as wide as the number of homebrew styles.
History buffs toil away trying to recreate what different cultures were drinking thousands of years ago, while other forward-looking mead makers and homebrewers are pushing the envelope of ingredient combinations in braggot.
In the end, the key to making any great braggot is forming a recipe that showcases the best of mead and beer in one delicious package.
What is a Shandy?
A traditional British shandy is a mixture of beer (usually a lager) and lemon soda, most commonly a 50/50 ratio. If you like more beer, you can add less soda and vice versa. (Thanks to my niece, Chrissie, who worked as a bartender in the UK (amongst other places), and happens to be living in Sweden now, for the details on a shandy).
The photo below shows the type of British lemonade used in a shandy
(it’s a sparkling lemon soda, NOT lemonade made from sugar, water and lemon juice).
Photo courtesy of Kate Brocklebank
In the US, you can find R. Whites Lemonade on Amazon and in British shops.
How to Store Onions
Keep them fresh for over a month with these simple storage tips.
Photo by: Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images
Anfisa Kameneva / EyeEm / Getty Images
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By Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen
Onions are a key ingredient in many recipes, so it makes sense to keep some on hand at all times. But though they last for a long while, they don't store forever — have you ever reached into the bag and noticed that a few of your onions have gotten soft and moldy or have started to sprout? With a few simple storage solutions, you can extend the life of those beloved bulbs for up to 2 months.
The Right Conditions
Whether you have red onions, Vidalia onions, Spanish onions or even shallots, they're best stored whole. Their papery exterior serves as natural protection from outside elements. Whole onions should be stored at room temperature in a well-ventilated container, such as a wire basket, perforated plastic sack or open paper bag. Any moisture that gets trapped around the onions will promote early spoilage, so good air circulation is key, as is removing thm from plastic produce bags, if you use those to gather them at the store. Place the container in a dry, dark spot, like in the back of your pantry or inside a cabinet. Sunlight can affect temperature and humidity, causing onions to go bad. Properly stored whole onions will stay fresh for 6 to 8 weeks.
If you’ve already peeled an onion or have leftover pieces you'd like to save, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Keeping peeled onions tightly sealed will not only keep them fresher, it will also prevent other refrigerated items from absorbing any odors from this pungent ingredient.
How to Use Up Onions
Onions can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. When serving them raw, try soaking diced or sliced onions in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes, then drain well and pat dry with paper towels. The cold water will mellow that strong, raw-onion flavor.
If you have an abundance of onions on hand, try caramelizing them! When cooked very slowly over low heat, onions become amazingly tender and sweet, and will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months. Used caramelized onions as the base of a soup, piled onto a grilled cheese, or stirred into a creamy dip, such as this Caramelized Onion Dip.
Prohibition was fantastic for American beer, or, cheers to homebrewers
Happy National Beer Day! When you open your fridge shortly after five o'clock this evening (or whenever—it's five o'clock somewhere), an amazing variety of innovative, high-quality beers
may should be staring back at you.
But this has not always been possible for Americans: first, because a significant number of households did not own a fridge until the 1920s, and second, because purchasing beer has not always been legal in this country. From 1920 until 1933, Prohibition banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of intoxicating beverages in the United States.
Prohibition was, at first, a catastrophe for American beer. (You might be saying, "I thought it was fantastic for American beer? And what about homebrewers?" We'll get there.) Prohibition halted brewery operations and erased the social worlds of the 19th-century saloon and biergarten. The brewing industry's implosion was both immediate (hundreds of breweries shuttered) and slow to unfold (others clung to life, only to close in the years following repeal). Big breweries had the resources and infrastructure to wait out the dry years. After repeal, the big fish gobbled up the smaller fish. With consolidation, American beer homogenized. Pale, light lager became American beer.
Notice of brewery auction, around 1965. Hundreds of American breweries closed in Prohibition's aftermath. Courtesy of Walter H. Voigt Brewing Industry Collection, Archives Center.
Well, homebrewers didn't actually enter there. They had been there from the start. Until the mid-1800s, Americans brewed beer at home. Homebrewing was an unglamorous necessity: a domestic chore akin to baking bread. Women, servants, and enslaved men and women were America's original homebrewers. Most brewed low-alcohol "small beer" that was less popular than cider and far less potent than rum, but safer than water to drink.
Then, with the immigration of professional German brewers in the mid-19th century, beer became big business in the United States. After the Civil War, Americans entered wage-earning jobs and found networks of brewery-backed saloons ready to quench their thirst at the end of the day. Americans no longer needed to brew at home.
Beginning in the 1840s, German immigrant brewers brought new ingredients and brewing techniques to the United States. Trade card, around 1882. Courtesy of Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center.
By the early 1900s, however, temperance advocates had begun to achieve local and statewide bans on alcohol, blaming the beer-soaked saloon for society's ills. Looking to a future without beer, brewers concocted malt syrups and beer extracts, encouraging consumers to brew at home. When national Prohibition went into effect in 1920, some breweries continued to brew surreptitiously, as "wildcat" operations supplying local customers and funneling ingredients to homebrewers. Most Prohibition-era homebrewing was not up to snuff, however. In 1932, American author Bob Brown quipped, "Good home brew is okay, but who is going to brew it. Brewing is a technical business for experts. . . . If prohibition fails to kill beer outright, amateur home-brewing may yet finish it off." Most beer drinkers wanted the real thing (or fled to the likes of Coca-Cola and ice cream sundaes) and rejoiced when beer became legal again in 1933.
As Prohibition approached, the brewing industry created ingredients such as this "beer extract" to encourage Americans to brew at home. Advertisement, around 1900. Courtesy of Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Archives Center.
Not all improved overnight. The Depression left Americans short on cash to buy beer. Hasty brewery openings resulted in tainted batches and public health scares. In post-repeal decades, breweries continued to close or consolidate. Efficiency and uniformity became the name of the game in American brewing.
Mid-20th-century American brewers prized efficiency, uniformity, and standardization in their ingredients and the brewing process. Advertisement, The Brewer's Digest Annual Buyer's Guide & Directory, 1954.
Paradoxically, the bland homogeneity of mid-century American beer was the perfect motivation for things to get much more interesting. A handful of enthusiasts discovered the venerable beer cultures of Europe during military or educational travels abroad. They returned to the United States with brewing manuals and embarked on an under-the-radar hobby (homebrewing remained illegal until 1979), adapting hardware store equipment and repurposing supermarket ingredients to make better beer.
Charlie Papazian, "godfather" of American homebrewing, taught generations of American homebrewers with this spoon.
And they did. In the 1970s Charlie Papazian published a whimsical guide to homebrewing, founded the American Homebrewers Association, and inspired millions with his maxim, "Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew." Michael Lewis, America's first professor of brewing science, was already teaching home- and soon-to-be craft brewers in his University of California, Davis, classroom and lab, as he would for more than 50 years. Ken Grossman, proprietor of a homebrew supply shop in Chico, California, taught himself to weld and scrounged for used dairy equipment to open a small brewery he called Sierra Nevada, after the mountain range he loved. The rest was history—our current, golden era of brewing history, to be exact.
Sierra Nevada's iconic Pale Ale, first brewed in 1980, played a key role in developing Americans' taste for hoppy beers. Brewery founder Ken Grossman began his career as a homebrewer.
The Brewers Association estimates that America now has more than 6,000 craft breweries and 1.1 million homebrewers. And according to Papazian, 90% of craft breweries were founded by brewers who began as homebrewers. Without Prohibition, would America have experienced a vibrant tradition of mid- and late-20th-century homebrewing? Probably not. Would America have craft beer without homebrewers? Definitely not. Increasingly skillful homebrewing in 20th-century America served as the critical link between Prohibition and our contemporary wonderworld of craft beer. So on this National Beer Day, cheers (and thank you!) to homebrewers.
Theresa McCulla is the historian of the American Brewing History Initiative.
The American Brewing History Initiative is made possible through generous support from the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers.
The West-Coast IPA Goes Global
Through this boom period for hoppy beers, theistinctly American brashness of the West Coast IPA has almost become shorthand for the craft-brew movement at large. While purists in England, Belgium, and Germany initially balked at the shouty American style, it’s finally making headway abroad. Pubs in London are serving Stone IPA, and new-school UKrewers are emulating the West Coast IPA’s hop-forward character.
Houck neatly encapsulates the audacious mindset of new-school American brewers: 𠇏or a long time, European brewers and consumers refused to change. The culture wasn’t to move forward and experiment. And then we came forward𠅊nd weਊmericans didn’t give a fuck, we’re going to do what we want to do𠅊nd we created new hop varieties. Now Europeans are creating new hops varieties, and they’re trying to expand their palate and culture. And they’re emulating our beer culture now, and it’s kind of awkward.” And it’s not only Europe𠅌ountries around the world have caught the hops bugਊs well.
When you’re having an ale in Munich made with American hops, the beer world has turned upside down.
Carpenter says that last March, when he was in Munich, he was given a bock from a small local brewery that was sically an IPA made with American hops.” For him, this was a surreal moment. “When you’re having an ale in Munich made with American hops, the beer world has turned upside down,” he reflects. scade hops are now grown in Europe—in England, Belgium, France. As I said, American styles of beer really are ruling the world these days.”
Ever since Liberty Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale changed the game in the s and s, American craft brewers have run away with the style, developing countless variations on the theme of aggressively hopped ales that all bear the name of IPA. Jeff Gorlechen, cofounder of Sixpoint Brewery, puts it best: “It’s an IPA world right now and we are all just living in it.” These days, it’s consistently the top-selling craft-beer style in America, representing 18.4% of total craft-beer sales in 2013, according to the Brewers Association.
Today, the prevailing obsessionਊmong beer nerds is the so-called “session” IPA𠅍ialed down in both alcohol and bitterness to provide a less punishing experience than, say, sipping a Green Flash Palate Wrecker. It’s the natural cycle of things𠅏rom street fashions, to culinary trends—to flirt with the extreme before learning to appreciate restraint. In craft beer, it was the West-Coast IPA that pushed us to the brink, awakening taste buds and opening the gates to a brave new world of brewing.
The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too
On this day 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshipped, worked and created art but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther's native Germany: beer.
The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant — hops.
Every hip craft brewery today peddling expensive hoppy beers owes a debt of gratitude to Luther and his followers for promoting the use of hops as an act of rebellion against the Catholic Church. But why did Protestants decide to embrace this pretty flower, and what did it have to do with religious rebellion?
Therein foams a bitter pint of history.
In the 16th century, the Catholic Church had a stranglehold on beer production, since it held the monopoly on gruit — the mixture of herbs and botanicals (sweet gale, mug wort, yarrow, ground ivy, heather, rosemary, juniper berries, ginger, cinnamon) used to flavor and preserve beer. Hops, however, were not taxed. Considered undesirable weeds, they grew plentifully and vigorously — their invasive nature captured by their melodic Latin name, Humulus lupulus (which the music-loving Luther would have loved), which means "climbing wolf."
"The church didn't like hops," says William Bostwick, the beer critic for The Wall Street Journal and author of The Brewer's Tale: A History of the World According to Beer. "One reason was that the 12th century German mystic and abbess Hildegard had pronounced that hops were not very good for you, because they 'make the soul of a man sad and weigh down his inner organs.' So, if you were a Protestant brewer and wanted to thumb your nose at Catholicism, you used hops instead of herbs."
Recipes For Reformation: A Menu To Mark Martin Luther
Even before the Reformation, German princes had been moving toward hops — in 1516, for instance, a Bavarian law mandated that beer could be made only with hops, water and barley. But Luther's revolt gave the weed a significant boost. The fact that hops were tax-free constituted only part of the draw. Hops had other qualities that appealed to the new movement chiefly, their excellent preservative qualities. "All herbs and spices have preservative qualities, but with hops, beer could travel really well, so it became a unit of international trade that symbolized the growing business class, which was tangentially connected with the Protestant work ethic and capitalism," says Bostwick.
Another virtue in hops' favor was their sedative properties. The mystic Hildegard was right in saying hops weighed down one's innards. "I sleep six or seven hours running, and afterwards two or three. I am sure it is owing to the beer," wrote Luther to his wife, Katharina, from the town of Torgau, renowned for its beer. The soporific, mellowing effect of hops might seem like a drawback, but in fact it offered a welcome alternative to many of the spices and herbs used by the church that had hallucinogenic and aphrodisiacal properties. "Fueled by these potent concoctions, church ales could be as boisterous as the Germanic drinking bouts church elders once frowned on," writes Bostwick. "And so, to distance themselves further from papal excesses, when Protestants drank beer they preferred it hopped."
If the Catholic Church lost control over the printed word with the invention of the printing press — the technological weapon that ensured Luther's success — it lost control over beer with the rise of hops. "The head went flat on monastic beer," says Bostwick. "Did Protestantism explicitly promote hops? I don't think so. But did it encourage the use of hops? I would say, yes, probably."
Luther's wife, Katharina, was the brewer of the family. Courtesy of Luther Memorials Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt hide caption
Luther would have relished his role in promoting hops. If anyone loved and appreciated good beer, it was this stout, sensual and gregarious monk. His letters often mentioned beer, whether it was the delicious Torgau beer that he extolled as finer than wine or the "nasty" Dessau beer that made him long for Katharina's homebrew. "I keep thinking what good wine and beer I have at home, as well as a beautiful wife," he wrote. "You would do well to send me over my whole cellar of wine and a bottle of thy beer." Days before he died, in February 1546, in one of his last letters to his wife, he praised Naumburg beer for its laxative properties. Luther suffered excruciating agonies from constipation, and it was therefore with immense satisfaction that he announced his "three bowel movements" that morning.
In an age where the water was unsafe, beer was drunk by everyone and was the nutritional and social fuel of Germany. "It was a really natural and very common part of every household pantry," says Bostwick. "I compare it these days to a pot of coffee always simmering on your countertop. Back then it was a kettle of beer. Beer was brewed less for pure enjoyment than for medicinal reasons (it incorporated herbs and spices) and for pure sustenance. Beers then were richer and heartier than today. They were a source of calories for the lower classes who did not have access to rich foods."
The Reformation, 500 Years Later
Not surprisingly, beer pops up at pivotal moments in Luther's life. Most notably, after taking on the formidable might of the Catholic Church, an unruffled Luther famously declared that God and the Word did everything, "while I drank beer with my [friends] Philipp and Amsdorf." Luther's teachings were mocked as "sour beer," and one of his critics disparaged him as a heretic from the filthy market town of Wittenberg, populated by "a barbarous people who make their living from breweries and saloons." But as he gained fame and became a popular hero, a range of Lutheran merchandise was launched, including beer mugs featuring the pope as the Antichrist.
When the excommunicated Luther married the runaway nun Katharina von Bora, the town council gave the couple a barrel of excellent Einbeck beer. It was a fitting gift. Beer was soon to assume an even more central role in Luther's life, thanks to his wife. The intelligent, talented and exceptionally competent Katharina not only bore six children and managed the Luthers' large household with its endless stream of guests but also planted a vegetable garden and fruit trees, raised cows and pigs, had a fish pond, drove a wagon, and — to her husband's undying delight — opened a brewery that produced thousands of pints of beer each year. Her initial shaky attempts produced a thin, weak brew, but she soon got the hang of it and learned exactly how much malt to add to suit her husband's taste. Luther was ecstatic — Lord Katie, as he affectionately called her, had assured him a steady supply even when Wittenberg's breweries ran dry.
Luther might blanch a bit as a good Protestant at being called a saint. . In the interests of Protestantism, I wouldn't call him a saint, but he was certainly a beer enthusiast, and many a beer bar and brewery today has a picture of Martin Luther on their wall.
William Bostwick, author of The Brewer's Tale
Luther's favorite spot to hold forth on theology, philosophy and life in general was not the tavern but the table. The long refectory table in the cavernous Luther home seated up to 50 people. "This was Luther's especial domain," writes Andrew Pettegree in his elegant biography Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned History. "The day's labors past, he would sit with his friends and talk. Fueled by his wife's excellent beer, conversation would become general, discursive, and sometimes unbuttoned."
Unbuttoned is an understatement. Voluble, energetic and beery, Luther's conversation zigged and zagged between the sublime and the scatological, to the amazement of his students, who hung on his every word. The church was called a brothel and the pope the Antichrist. Former popes "farted like the devil" and were sodomites and transvestites. His students collected these jewels into a book called Table Talk. When it was published, it went viral.
But though he clearly loved his tankard, there is no record of Luther being a lush. In fact, he could be quite a scold when it came to drunken behavior. He lamented the German addiction to beer, saying, "such an eternal thirst, I am afraid, will remain as Germany's plague until the Last Day." And he once declared, "I wish brewing had never been invented, for a great deal of grain is consumed to make it, and nothing good is brewed."
This was no doubt a spot of grandstanding. For all his protestations, Luther's beer stein was always full. He loved local beer, boasted of his wife's brewing skills, and launched a movement that helped promote hops. Does that make him a patron saint of the craft brewery?
"Luther might blanch a bit as a good Protestant at being called a saint," points out Bostwick, "and there's already a brewery saint called St. Arnold, who saved his congregation from the plague by making them drink beer. In the interests of Protestantism, I wouldn't call him a saint, but he was certainly a beer enthusiast, and many a beer bar and brewery today has a picture of Martin Luther on their wall. So let's say that while we certainly don't genuflect to him, he's known and appreciated."
A match made in heaven?
Let’s travel back in time to about 600 AD. You are a monk, devoted to a life of monastic living, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of medieval temptations. You and your companions follow the Rules of St. Benedict. One of them states that to become a true monk you must “live by the work of your own hands.” You must also donate to the poor through the fruits of your labour and provide traveling pilgrims with food and drink.
Before long you realize that brewing beer will provide a means to live by St. Benedict’s rules. You consider this while you and your fellow monks down four litres of beer each day — for nutrition of course, and as a supplement during long periods of fasting.
Monks believed you must donate to the poor through the fruits of your labours and provide traveling pilgrims with food and drink.
In the Middle Ages beer was consumed widely across Europe (some things never change). Back then, beer was safer to drink than water stored in containers, but often not much better. Beer was made by women with whatever leftover food could be found in the house. It often turned rancid.
10 Unusual Items from McDonald's International Menu
As John Travolta says in "Pulp Fiction," it's the little differences that enrich us when we travel. So why do you go to McDonald's abroad? Maybe you're retreating to the Western bathrooms, the air conditioning, the familiar food or a place where you can shirk the local language and just say "Big Mac." Maybe you're operating around the clock in a country that siestas or rushing around a country and a people who move more slowly.
You may just be curious as to whether the "Pulp Fiction" script is telling the truth: Can you really buy beer at McDonald's in Paris? Do countries that use the metric system call the Quarter Pounder a "Royale with cheese?" Not to spoil your fun, but yes, McDonald's in France -- and the Netherlands, Germany and Austria -- serve beer. And across Europe, you can order a Royal Cheese (note the spelling). If you're still curious, travel around the world with us through a list of local foods on the McDonald's menu. We'll move you from east to west, from Australia all the way over to Mexico.
And remember, for the gastronomically adventurous souls out there, you can always find authentic cuisine around the corner if you're looking to conduct an informal taste test. Bon voyage.
In many countries around the world, breakfast starts with spreading something on toast. For many Americans, it's peanut butter or jelly, but not both. That's lunch. For Europeans, it's often Nutella. And for Australians, it's Vegemite.
Vegemite was invented in Australia. Made from the extract left over after yeast make beer, the stuff is salty and the color of shoe polish. But Vegemite is packed with vitamin B and is often one of Australian children's first solid foods. At McDonald's, you can order Vegemite with your English muffin.
Oddly enough, Australian Happy Meals don't include Vegemite. Instead, they serve something called the Pasta Zoo. No koalas or kangaroos here, just vegetable and cheese ravioli in the shape of zoo animals, served with a side of "Zoo Goo," made of tomato, fructose, thickener, vegetable powder, animal fat, coloring, preservative, vegetable gum and more [source: McDonald's Australia site]. We'll take the yeast.
Next, we'll head north and see what's for lunch in Japan.
Hamburger, cheeseburger and -- shrimp burger? You must be at McDonald's in Japan. The shrimp burger is called the "EBI Filet-O" in Japan. In Hong Kong, it's formally titled the Shrimp Burger. This sandwich features whole shrimp embedded in a pillow of breading, served on a Big Mac roll. It's nearly a continuous piece of bread, except for a sheet of lettuce and some spicy sauce.
We don't know why McDonald's mixed shrimp and burger. Its blending of Eastern and Western flavors seems to have worked better on the dessert menu, with the green tea and Oreo McFlurry. If you can abandon the idea of a burger, you might try Japan's own shrimp tempura. These shrimp are encrusted in a light batter and dunk nicely into tempura sauce. But if not, you can always fall back on the Mega Mac (a double Big Mac), which packs 700 calories and 40 grams of fat, and somehow seems distinctly American [source: McDonald's].
Maybe you're in the mood for something lighter? Perhaps some porridge?
McDonald's makes most of its money in a few countries. In 2008, more than 70 percent of its $23.5 billion in revenue came from restaurants in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Japan and Australia [source: McDonald's].
In Malaysia's capital of Kuala Lumpur, breakfast at McDonald's includes the Bubur Ayam McD. In Singapore, it's called Chicken SingaPorridge, so you start to get the picture. You'll get a cup of porridge with bits of chicken, ginger, onion, shallots and chili peppers.
Porridge isn't soup, but rather sodden rice. Malaysians buy their version from food carts or hawker centers, where vendors sell just that dish. While the McDonald's adaptation is heavy on the rice, the Malaysian version comes in generous layers, with the soft rice boiled in chicken or seafood broth on the bottom and sauces, chopped vegetables and shredded chicken added on top.
Eating it is like an excavation, which you perform using your hands, a spoon or chopsticks, depending on which vendor you visit. In McDonald's, they'll probably give you a spork, but that'll do.
Speaking of chicken, we bet you've never eaten your chicken in the way we'll talk about next, unless you're from Singapore.
Rumors have circulated on the Internet that McDonald's donates profits to Israel for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the hamburger chain reports they aren't true on both its Egypt site and its Malaysia site.
In Singapore, where Chinese, Indian, Thai and Malaysian cooking blend, you can expect a lot of pepper and spice. For its part, Singaporean McDonald's serve Shaka Shaka Chicken. You'll get a breaded, deep-fried chicken patty in a wax-paper bag. You dump spicy powder into the bag, and as you "shaka" it, the spices stick to the patty with the help of the frying oil. If you're too lazy to leave the hotel, you can always order a chicken sandwich online, add some jasmine tea and make it come to you with a McDelivery.
The McDonald's bagged chicken was likely inspired by crispy five-spice chicken, a Singaporean Chinese dish. This chicken marinates in soy sauce, rice wine, honey and five spices: cloves, fennel, Sichuan pepper, star anise and cassia (which comes from cinnamon bark). It's rolled in egg and corn flour, then deep-fried. The chicken emerges with a sweet and sticky shell.
But even poultry-loving Singaporeans may order an occasional burger. When McDonald's opened its first restaurant in the country in 1979, the chain broke the record for the highest volume of hamburgers served on one day [source: McDonald's].
Where's the beef? You'll soon notice there are no beef burgers at McDonald's in India. For Hindus, who make up about 80 percent of Indians, killing cows and eating beef are against religious rules. But in McDonald's, as in the rest of India, that makes room for plenty of vegetarian food. You can try the McVeggie -- a rice, bean and vegetable patty that McDonald's treats predictably with breading -- or the McAloo Tikki -- a potato-vegetable burger.
In Indian cuisine, vegetables are typically spiced and sauced, wrapped in pancakelike dosas or ground into balls and sauced again, but not really compacted into burgers. We understand if you've gotten sick on the water and need to stop for an iceless soft drink, but otherwise we remind you that there's much to see beyond the golden arches in India, like the white marble arches at the Taj Mahal.
If you're stopping for street food in Egypt, you'll find two types of sandwiches. One is shawarma. This sandwich starts with a big hunk of lamb or chicken rotating on a spit. The vendor will shave piles of the meat into your warm pita bread. Another is falafel. The falafel vendor will stuff fried chickpea balls into your pita, then add vegetables and tahini sauce, a sesame seed paste.
McDonald's does its best to imitate, not only in Egypt, but across the Middle East. It serves the McArabia, two chicken or beef patties in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, onion and tahini sauce. We see this more as a transplanted hamburger than shawarma or falafel.
Up next, let's travel to Europe for McDonald's take on Italian.
4. Spinach and Parmesan Cheese McNuggets
Italian flavors infuse even the McNuggets in Italy. At McDonald's, you can order nuggets stuffed with spinach and Parmesan cheese, a limited promotional item. The dessert menu, too, sounds a little like an Italian bakery's. You'll find cake slices dusted with powdered sugar, not frosting, which is an authentic Italian treatment. The cakes are carrot and peach, but also torta della nonna, a Tuscan cheese tart, and torta caprese, a chocolate and nut cake that was born on the island of Capri.
It hasn't always been easy to find fast food, let alone McDonald's fare in Italy. Before the world's then-largest McDonald's opened by Rome's famous Spanish Steps in 1986, the culinary country had resisted fast-food chains. In fact, Wendy's was the first U.S. chain to open its doors in Italy, preceding the golden arches by only three years [source: Alva].
Where else but in Spain will you find so much gazpacho? This summer soup doesn't cook on the stove but marinates in a chilled bowl. The base starts with olive oil, vinegar, water and bread cubes. The other ingredients vary.
In Málaga, the finished gazpacho looks white with garlic, almond and grapes. Elsewhere, it's red with tomato, onion and green pepper. McDonald's version comes in a carton and is made by PepsiCo [source: McDonald's]. It's kind of like buying borscht from Burger King.
Finally, we'll get some dessert next.
In 1996, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman pointed out that no two countries with a McDonald's had fought a war against one another. He jokingly argued that McDonald's meant peace because it popped up in countries with a large middle class, a global economic stake and interest in foreign investments -- all stabilizing factors [source: Friedman]. The 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict is one counterexample to the tongue-in-cheek "theory."
You could imagine an exotic McDonald's dessert that capitalizes on the array of fruits in Brazil. They could fill their apple pie crust with coconut, Brazil nuts, guava or passion fruit. But Brazilian (and some Malaysian) McDonald's instead offer banana pie.
We think McDonald's got it backward. The Brazilian way to serve banana is not to use the fruit as much as the leaves. Across Brazil, people strip the leaves off the plant and steam a meal or dessert inside. Cassava tamales are a popular example, where inside the banana leaf, there's a dough made of cassava, sugar and Parmesan, as well as a tomato vegetable paste filling. You peel off the leaf after steaming and taste the flavors that have been sealed deliciously inside.
Have room for one more? Then stick with us as we head to Mexican McDonald's for breakfast.
In August 2007, the McDonald's Corporation sold its businesses in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and 13 other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (a total of 1,571 restaurants) to a developmental licensee organization. So if you have a banana beef, take it up with them.
If you eat breakfast at a Mexican McDonald's, you'll notice one item that has no equivalent on the U.S. menu: molletes, or rather, McMolletes. These are three English muffins, each topped with refried beans, white American cheese and a little salsa.
If you fold two of them together and wonder who forgot the top to your other bean McMuffin, you're missing the point. Molletes are supposed to be open-faced. But traditional molletes, unlike McDonald's, don't include English muffins. The bread is traditionally a bolillo, a homemade roll that's crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, and is better at soaking up sauce than the muffins used in McDonald's trademarked egg sandwich. In addition, instead of processed American cheese, the cheese is typically a fresher white cheese like Monterey Jack. For the sweet rather than savory types out there, you can also find "dulce" molletes, but so far McDonald's hasn't added them to its menu in Mexico or elsewhere.
That concludes our McDonald's international tour. Whether you're traveling by guidebook or cookbook, we hope you don't miss the wonders of the world, no matter where you eat.
RYES AND PUMPKIN ALES
46. Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
-Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, CA
If you’ve never explored the world of rye beers but love IPA’s, then this beer is great place to get started. The brewers describe it as a “high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.”
47. Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale
-Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, MI
An American style pale ale made with rye. Golden in color and vibrant with citrus, it’s an easy drinker. The Smitten Golden Rye is perfect brew to brighten up the dark and cold winter months, just when you need it the most.
48. Founders Red’s Rye
– Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
A superb and wonderful rye. It’s super smooth, starting with notes of grapefruit and a hop bite that is balanced out with caramel malt and spice that’s characteristic of rye beers.
-Southern Tier Brewing Co., Lakewood, NY
Southern Tier credits the bewitching taste of the Pumking to the power of Halloween spirits. Okay, maybe not so literally, but if you’ve ever tasted this imperial pumpkin ale, you have to admit there’s a little magic at work. A great balance of fall spices go alongside with an upfront pumpkin flavor. It’s almost like taking the first bite out of a warm slice of pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. It’s only available in fall, so if you missed it this year, plan to make it one of your first stops next season.
50. Elysian’s The Great Pumpkin
-Elysian Brewing Co., Seattle WA
A wide variety of hops and molts are combined with pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. It’s spiced with a classic autumn mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Definitely a must try for pumpkin beer lovers. Available in fall.
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