Food is both mundane and magical, ephemeral and essential – the ultimate cultural touchstone. Our religions proscribe taboo foods, oblige sacred meals and employ food as a conduit for sacred power. Our myths abound with divine edibles that grant gods immortality, while our folktales counsel against feasting in fairyland lest we trap ourselves forever.
But for all the reverence we pay them, many comestibles arose from humble, bizarre or even disgusting sources, while what we choose, or are compelled, to eat is driven by everything from necessity to neurosis. For better or worse, food scientists, molecular gastronomists and, yes, marketing firms channel these impulses in profitable (if not always healthy directions). The results are, shall we say, appetizingly bizarre …
Fire is frightening and dangerous – that’s why they call it fire. So it’s a little strange that we have laws requiring us to stock canister extinguishers but not regulations requiring that we learn how, if or when to operate them. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t even know what kind of fire your extinguisher is rated for, and you likely have no idea when you last serviced or inspected the device, if ever.
Recently, a few companies have begun marketing new kinds of extinguishers, updated versions of fire grenades intended to make fighting fires as worry-free as possible. Lightweight and easy to use, they rely on the most basic of human skills: throwing. Which raises the question: