Weekend Reading: Culinary Mega-Closeups, Iraqi Cookbookery, and More

Caren Alpernal

• Photographer Caren Alpernal's photos of food magnified by an electron microscope are surprising, beautiful, and totally unrecognizable. Alpernal gets extra close-up with a radish (magnified 60 times), salt (magnified 45x), cauliflower (850x), shrimp (230x, pictured above) and more. —Karen Shimizu

• There's an old adage in hockey: "If you can't beat them on the ice, then beat them in the alley." After this year's Beef Bowl, an annual tradition during the run-up to College Football's Rose Bowl game, I imagine Wisconsin Badger fans must have been saying: "If we can't beat them on the field, at least we can out-eat them in the dining room!" —Greg Ferro

• A gutsy rant from the guys at First We Feast purports to say what people really think of the food world: that refusing to spend money on Asian food is racist, that tasting menus are the snake oil of charlatan chefs, and that tipping should be abolished as it merely causes "social anxiety." While I don't agree with it all, the no-bullshit spirit in which it's written is refreshing. —Gabriella Gershenson

• Iraqi cookbook author and culinary historian Nawal Nasrallah's blog post on the first modern cookbook in Iraq, published in 1946, features a cookbook titled Recipes from Baghdad_along with amazing pictures of the book, the author, and the Queen Mother of Iraq. Nasrallah shares a recipe from the book for the "Abu Nuwas Cocktail," featuring pomegranate juice and Cyprus Cointreau. That's my kind of history lesson. _—Felicia Campbell

• One of the perks of being a Chicagoan is being in on Jeppson's Malort, and inflicting it upon my friends (and enemies). The bitter-tasting liquor is proud to hangs its hat on its unpleasant flavor (it's an acquired taste, at best), and their new slogan contest on Facebook contains gems like "Malort: When you need to exact vengeance on furniture," or "Malort: When Seasonal Affective Disorder just isn't getting the job done." —Helen Rosner