Weekend Reading: A Maple Syrup Heist, Drunk Mimes, Tobacco as an Ingredient, and More

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

Maple Syrup Heist

Lucas Adams/ Modern Farmer

• It sounds a little silly: Canada's Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers keeps 40 million pounds of syrup as a "strategic reserve." Not silly at all: In 2012, they realized that over half the reserve in one warehouse had been siphoned off. Modern Farmer tells the thrilling tale in panel-comic form [pictured]. —Helen Rosner

• What happens when a traditionally low-income food becomes trendy due to a marketing campaign? Mikki Kendall uses the example of Whole Foods' 'Collards are the new Kale!' campaign and coins the term Food Gentrification to explain. —Zainab Shah

• How did $4-a-slice, artisanal toast become all the rage in San Francisco? One writer gets to the bottom of the trend. And it's not what you think: no hipsters in sight—just a woman with a heartbreaking story and a long history with cinnamon toast. —Karen Shimizu

• If you went in to the grocery store to buy oranges, and walked out with broccoli, butter, steak, and potatoes, this Modern Farmer interview with supermarket consultant Ron Pelger on how supermarkets buy, sell, and display their goods might explain your impulse purchases. —Judy Haubert

• I wish I had read this WSJ article years ago, when I made coffee for a friend of mine who was visiting from Naples and heard him say, under his breath, "Tossico!" But in my defense, this step-by-step guide to making the perfect brew at home, via a London barista, proves that while it's possible, it's hardly simple (hint: you need a drip scale and a timer, among other things). —Camille Rankin

• You can't keep a good crop down. At least according to this article from Newsweek, focusing on how tobacco is making a comeback as an ingredient in everything from vodka, to ice cream. Some cooks are also using it to smoke meats and vegetables. "Tobacco has a bitter and earthy flavor," says specialty pepper farmer David Winsberg. "Its spiciness is almost like a hot pepper and something you can feel in the back of your throat."—Keith Pandolfi

• The exact uses of cooking tools found in ancient Mycenaean ruins has long been a mystery to archeologists. That is, until some enterprising researchers decided to recreate the tools and try cooking with them. What they discovered was some early non-stick technology and a Mycenaean grill that could travel easily and cook up an mean souvlaki—perfect for tailgating the original Olympics, perhaps? —Marshall Bright

• Two mimes getting "white-girl-wasted" for Punch.com captured the spectacle so well, their performance may be even more obnoxious than a sloppy undergrad on a Friday night. —Felicia Campbell

• Warning: If you're squeamish, this article probably isn't for you. But, if you're at all curious about what happens behind-the-scenes at the world's largest exporter of pork (approximately 100,000 pigs are processed per week!), Gizmodo's visual tour of the Danish Crown slaughterhouse in Horsens, Denmark is pretty fascinating. —Laura Loesch-Quintin

• Although I was never too concerned about my daily coffee consumption, I've now found more evidence to support my mild addiction. The NPR's Salt blog reports on the myth of dehydration by coffee. —Oliver Erteman