Weekend Reading: The Science of Honey, Coolio’s Cooking Career, and More

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

• What foodstuff is yellow, sweet, and has a shelf life of infinity? Not a Twinkie, it turns out—but honey. This article from Smithsonian Magazine explores the science (hydrogen peroxide-producing bees; bacteria-annihilating acidity levels; and more) of why honey lasts forever. —Karen Shimizu

• My boyfriend's office brews its own coffee. Yes, right here in Soho, a bunch of tech engineers get together and roast beans, grind them to the perfect consistency, and enjoy what they say is some of the best coffee in the city. As such, the Atlantic's article How to Make Perfect Coffee went viral at their office, and filtered (no pun intended) down to me. It takes a focused read for non-science types (i.e. "Perfection, at least to Americans, is a coffee that falls in the range of 18 to 22 percent Extraction with a brew strength between 1.15 and 1.35 percent Total Dissolved Solids"...hmmm?) but their discussion of isolating variables—grind, temperature, agitation, etc.—to make your perfect cup, which varies person to person, is both actionable and full of information. I just might be able to hold my own at their next office get-together. —Sophie Brickman

• "Food is the new stadium rock," they say. Turns out that observation is so yesterday. Actually, food is the new stadium rap, or so, apparently, thinks Coolio. The rapper-turned-Food Network star, author of the bestselling Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, is going to auction off the rights to his entire music catalogue on August 29 to raise money to advance his cooking career. Anyone can watch or, even, participate in the auction online. Bids open at the low 1-star price of $140,000. —Betsy Andrews

• I lived in Chicago for several years, a time which instilled in me an affection for its unofficial drink, the wormwood-flavored liqueur called Malört. Its flavor has been described to me as "like Campari" (wildly inaccurate), "kind of bitter" (an understatement), and "horrible" (perhaps closer to the truth). Nevertheless, whenever I find myself in Chicago, I take a sort of perverse pleasure in doing shots of the stuff—and especially in introducing non-Chicagoans to the drink for the first time, which until now required smuggling bottles into my luggage, as it was virtually unavailable anywhere else. Now, however, Chicago-based Letherbee Distillers will be distributing Malört in New York, "in what could be taken as either an act of generosity or a sign of aggression." To the rest of the country: Watch out. —Laura Sant

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