Weekend Reading: Lion Tacos, Cronuts, IPA, and More

What we're reading, cooking, and clicking this week

Studio mischer'traxler

• The June issue of Smithsonian Magazine--a special food issue—includes a wonderfully eclectic array of stories, including a piece by the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution about how the National Zoo's Senior Animal Nutritionist decides what to feed the 2,000 animals in his care, a transcribed conversation between Michael Pollan and Ruth Reichl (held over a dinner at Bell & Anchor in Great Barrington, Massachusetts); and Mimi Sheraton's list of her 10 most memorable meals. —Karen Shimizu

• To say that the lede from this Scientific American article caught my attention would be a bit of an understatement: "Why do U.S. restaurants keep trying to sell lion meat?" Come again? Apparently crazed restaurateurs think that featuring lion meat in, say, tacos ($35 for one lion taco at Florida's Taco Fusion) will drum up business. One Chicago-area butcher, Czimer's Game & Seafood, is a top provider. But years ago the owner, Richard Czimer, was convicted of selling lion meat that was actually tiger and leopard meat. America, man. —Sophie Brickman

• After developing, baking, and eating thousands of donuts for our March issue, I couldn't imagine eating another one for a very long time. That is, until cronuts came on the scene. Introduced mid-May by Dominque Ansel Bakery, these treats—layers of flaky croissant that get cut, deep fried, rolled in sugar, and filled with cream—have caused a scene in New York. They're so sought-after that The Daily Mail is reporting that they are selling on Craigslist for $40 each. —Farideh Sadeghin

• Come summertime, there's nothing I like better than to find myself on a barstool (being over 40, I prefer the ones with backs on them) with a nice hoppy India Pale Ale. But lately, I've found myself inundated by the aggressiveness of craft-brewed IPAs, which are getting so friggin' hoppy and bitter that they make me feel like I'm having an allergic reaction, my throat actually tightening as the bitter brew goes down. In this recent article on Slate.com, a die-hard hops fan pleads with craftbrewers worldwide to simply "give it a rest." —Keith Pandolfi

• I used to while away hours as a kid making designs with my Spirograph, the toy composed of plastic rings that made mesmerizing, geometric drawings. I would have flipped over this cake decorating machine [pictured], which creates similar designs out of frosting—an art exhibit created by Studio mischer'traxler in Vienna. —Laura Sant