Weekend Reading: Japanese Animal Donuts, Sex Explained With Food, and More

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

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"Children tend to rise to the culinary bar we set for them," writes Michele Humes in this Slate piece exploring the evolution of children's menus, "and children's menus in America set the bar very low indeed." That wasn't always the case: Dining for wee ones used to be a grand affair, just like it was for their parents, but then Prohibition hit and restaurants started looking for a way to offset lost alcohol revenue. Why not make a separate child's menu? The real culprit for the bland offerings seems to be one Emile Holt, who published "The Care and Feeding of Children" in 1894. The nutritional tome forbade children from eating things like raisins, lemonade or tomato soup, for unclear reasons. (He didn't specify about chicken fingers.) —Sophie Brickman

My beloved mentor, 86-year-old food writer Betty Fussell, shared KB Creative Lab's (slightly NSFW) video "Porn Sex vs. Real Sex: The Differences Explained With Food" with me this week, and I must say: it was as true as it was hilarious, and—in a strange way—very appetizing. —Felicia Campbell

Why is caffeine addictive? The Smithsonian's science blog explains how your brain gets hooked on coffee (ingesting caffeine, it turns out, is like "putting a block of wood under one of the brain's primary brake pedals") and how to break the habit. (If, for some crazy reason, you want to.) —Karen Shimizu

"Are Japanese Animal Donuts the New Cronut?" Eater.com asks, and the only answer I can come up with is to make inarticulate noises of delight at the spectacularly kawaii cats and bears and raccoons and birds (many of them wearing hats!) that baker Ikumi Nakao creates at her bakery in Kansai. —Helen Rosner

There's not much I like more than beer—except, perhaps, for the guys and gals who brew the stuff. Recently, I was on Heritage Radio's "Beer Sessions" with a bunch of them, sipping beers and chatting about everything from the popularity of sour ales (SF-based Almanac Beer Company's Dogpatch Sour, brewed with Rainier cherries and aged in wine barrels, being my current favorite) to whether or not milk stout really helps nursing women lactate. —Betsy Andrews

The Washington Post reports that the first ever lab-grown hamburger patty was taste-tested in London. Developed over the course of 5 years and created from shoulder muscle tissue of two organically-raised cows, the hope is that man-made meat will help to fight climate change. From the sound of it, the texture of the patty was spot-on, but the taste could use some improvements. Maybe the scientists should check out our tips on how to season the perfect burger the next time they look to spend $330,000. —Farideh Sadeghin

I love the texture and earthy flavor of wheat berries, but had never given much thought to the fact that they're, you know, wheat berries: the grain that's milled down into wheat flour. In T Magazine, chef Jeffrey Schwartz goes into the background of the ingredient, while photographer Grant Kessler goes into the fields with the farmers who grow it, resulting in a clear—and seriously appetizing—picture of this ubiquitous ingredient. —Helen Rosner