Weekend Reading: Giant Pumpkins, The Art of Fried Chicken, Speaking Out Against the PSL Craze, and More

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

Giant Pumpkins

Giant Pumpkins

Modern Farmer

• Ever wonder how prize-winning pumpkins are grown? Check out Modern Farmer's interview with Leonarda Urena, pictured here, the California farmer who has raised giant pumpkins weighing in at 1,704 lbs. —Cory Baldwin

• This year, Vietnamese fish sauce—a pungent condiment, made on the island of Phu Quoc off the coast of Vietnam—became the first food from Southeast Asia to be receive Protected Designation of Origin from the European Union. In this article from The Atlantic, Elisabeth Rosen compares the Vietnamese notion of regional specialties, or dac san, to the French notion of terroir, and examines the factors that might help, or hinder, the emergence of more PDO products from the country. —Karen Shimizu

• I adore the tangy hot sauce Sriracha as much as the next capsicum freak, but I still feel for the folks of Irwindale, California, who believe that the annual jalapeño processing at the Sriracha factory there is making them suffer the way I do during pollen season in New York. The Atlantic Wire has the ongoing story. —Betsy Andrews

• In a beautifully told tale from the Oxford American, Writer Tess Taylor, a Californian with Southern roots, travels to Greensboro, North Carolina to learn a lesson about her past. In the fluorescent-lit kitchen of a ranch-style house, using Crisco and a battered Faberware electric skillet, her Great Aunt Nancy teaches her the ancestral art of making a damn fine fried chicken. —Keith Pandolfi

• We're on the way to smell-o-vision! A new app/gadget combo from Japan is introducing on-demand smell through your iPhone. Slated to come out at the end of the month, this gadget, paired with the right cartridges, disperses the smells of a variety of foods, among them short ribs and buttered potatoes. You'll be able to smell grilled meat on the subway, at the opera, or even while you work out. What a world. —Oliver Erteman

• Hailey Eber's diatribe against the proliferation of pumpkin-spiced-everything in the NY Post last week was one of the most entertaining, and in some cases spot on, rants against absurd food trends that I've read in recent memory. —Felicia Campbell

• When I was 16 my family moved from New England to Madison Wisconsin, home of Kraft Foods. While I'll always have a soft spot for the electric orange powdered cheese of my teenage years, I was excited to read on NPR's blog The Salt that Kraft is changing it's colors (quite literally) by introducing new organic flavors replacing artificial dyes with natural, spice-derived dyes in some products. —Nyanyika Banda