Weekend Reading: Animated Pizzas, Virginia Catfish Curry, Metallica, and More

A look at what we're reading, cooking, and clicking this week

Pizza gif
Roberta's Pizza, via Animated Pizza Gifs

Presented without comment: A Tumblr dedicated entirely to pizza gifs. —Laura Sant

About a dozen years ago I landed a staff writer job at a New Orleans business weekly, covering the city's restaurant industry. For a recently transplanted Ohioan, it was an overwhelming beat, as I knew little of the city's storied dining scene. Plus, my starting reporter's salary didn't much lend itself to opulent dinners at Commander's Palace or Friday lunches at Galatoire's. Still, I learned all I needed to know—in just one night—when I joined former Times-Picayune restaurant critic Gene Bourg at the Pelican Club. There we dined on andouille sausage gumbo and baked gulf oysters as he gave me a free and unforgettable tutorial on the city's culinary history—something he also does in this great 1989 article, recently reprinted on the Picayune's Web site. —Keith Pandolfi

To ensure a Halloween (and life) free of evil spirits, scorpions, and plain bad luck, the The Daily Meal has compiled a list of worldwide food superstitions. I love the smell of fresh basil too much to worry about potential brain-invading critters; I will, however, think twice about bringing bananas on a boat. —Melissa Hahn

Most fruits rely on birds and animals to disperse their seeds. So what's the deal with avocados? According to the Smithsonian, avocados date back to the Cenozoic era, when Really Big Mammals, like giant ground sloths ("some of them weighing more than a UPS truck") helped to distribute its enormous pits. By all rights, the plant should have gone extinct, along with the ground sloths, in the intervening 13,000 years. No one's quite sure how avocados managed to stick around—but we're all grateful that they did. —Karen Shimizu

Virginia catfish curry may sound like a recent invention, but as Paul Fehribach of Big Jones explains in his Soapbox post, there was once an obsession among American food lovers with rare and expensive curries, and this particular recipe, published in Mary Randolph's The Virginia Housewife, was dog-eared by countless 19th-century American cooks. Curry: the cronut of the 1860s? —Tejal Rao

I think my favorite thing about the countdown of absurd rapper birthday cakes posted on First We Feast this week, which predictably featured tons of bling and booty, were the captions. The one deeming Diddy's cake (spoiler: he is a repeat bad-cake-offender) "Straight up one of the ugliest cakes of all time" made me laugh out loud. —Felicia Campbell

What do Metallica and René Redzepi's new book, A Work In Progress, have in common? Why, Lars Ulrich, of course. At first glance, it might not be obvious why René asked the legendary drummer to write the foreword for his much anticipated Noma follow-up. But according to Lars, besides the ubiquitous Scandinavian love affair with all things Metal, both Danes became innovators and pioneers in their respective fields due to their fearless pursuit of creativity. —Judy Haubert