The whiteness of the cake often reflected the family’s wealth, so was seen as a status symbol. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: The Romans preferred a cake of wheat or barley, while the tiered tower was seen as a display of wealth

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites, on the Aran Islands, off Co Galway

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: All are worth going off the beaten track for

Set designer Vivienne Quinn’s 100cm Billy Roll made from wood. Photograph: omgvivlolz.com

Now We Know: If we told you we’d have to kill you – the process of incorporating the smiling face into the meat slice is a closely(...)

Virginia O’Gara, the Texan chef  behind many of the innovative ingredients at My Goodness

Festival veteran Aoife McElwain has the lowdown on all the healthy, delicious food available to help you survive this year’s festi(...)

Gertrude, in Dublin: planned with children (and their food- and wine-loving parents) very much in mind

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: You’ll like them as much as your kids will

Assorted natural sources of dopamine: Dopamine is also linked with addictive and compulsive behaviour.

Short-term stimulation of dopamine might work but beware of it as treatment for mood

Liath, in Blackrock Market in south Co Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: fine dining without overdoing the formality? We think these hit the spot

Don’t be too harsh on your child: Turns out they can taste that broccoli way better than you can.

Now We Know: Children’s sense tends to be sharper as we lose buds as we get older

Chapter One, in Dublin: in love with Irish food. Photograph: Alan Betson

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: This dozen are provenance proud

Tayto may be one of the best known crisp brands in Ireland, but they weren’t the first.

Tayto wasn’t the first Irish crisp maker, but its great innovation – flavour – made it a success

A bowl of ramen, at Bia Rebel, 409 Ormeau Road, Belfast. Photograph: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: Our go-to informal restaurants and bars

Tiller + Grain, 23 Frederick Street South, Dublin 2. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

From The Irish Times’s Delicious List 2019: The coffee hangouts we love to eat in

French toast: goes back a long way

Now We Know: Perhaps what we should really be calling this dish is Roman toast

These days the fork and its cutlery counterparts carry a lot less spiritual baggage. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: Forks were once considered a sinful vanity which would draw God’s punishment

The first beet processing plant in   Ireland was opened in Carlow in 1926. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: EU incentives led to industry ceasing but efforts are under way to re-establish it

Coffee grounds can be acidic, but rinsing them before adding to soil  neutralises them

Now We Know: Coffee helps to enrich compost, but can be too acidic for some plants

It’s common knowledge that exercise burns calories, but does the fresh air or type of activity have an impact on our appetite?

Now We Know: Ghrelin is a hormone in our blood which is believed to be connected to appetite

Iceberg lettuce was introduced for commercial production in the late 1940s. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: Beyond iceberg is a rich variety of textures and tastes

Though painted eggs were given as gifts, the tradition of chocolate Easter eggs didn’t emerge until the early 19th century

What do spring, Christianity, and paganism have to do with it?

Discussion around solo cooking has become less patronising. Photograph: iStock

Solo cooking doesn’t have to be a lonely hearts club, it can be an opportunity for self-care

The Milkybar kid: The very first Milkybar Kid ad aired on TV in 1961.

Now we know: It’s definition divides people, but could white chocolate be your ticket to childhood?

Eating hot dishes: a source of chemical compounds – and burning pride. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: Answering the food and drink questions you didn’t even know you had

A bowl filled with spelt on a rustic wooden table. A wooden serving scoop is beside the bowl and some seeds spilled out. Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Dunany farm in Co Louth is one of the leading producers of organic grains in the country

 Food writer Mei Chin: “People get heated up when you use the food of another culture for your own gain without correct acknowledgement of the culture.” Photograph: Barry Cronin

Now We Know: Answering the food and drink questions you didn’t even know you had

There is something thoroughly decadent about afternoon tea. Photograph: Getty Images

Elegant pastime is widely attributed to the Duchess of Bedford Anna Maria Russell

Avocado swirl on toast: Could dyeing linens go some way towards easing the guilt of conscientious avocado advocates?

The Tweed Project has been experimenting with avocados and gorse to colour pieces

While a lot of other common nuts tend to grow on bushes or trees, peanuts grow in pods just like their bean and pea cousins. Photograph: iStock

Now We Know: Answering the food and drink questions you didn’t even know you had

Whey itself is essentially a byproduct of the cheese-making process; it’s the liquid that is left over once milk has been curdled and strained

Whey is the liquid that is left over when milk is curdled - but why is it appearing on menus?

The typical club sandwich consists of toasted white bread layered with cooked poultry,  paired with lettuce, often served with bacon and always slathered in mayo. Photograph: Getty Images

Classic lunchtime staple savoured around the world may have originated in New York

The pound cake is one of those wonderful recipes that act as a story-telling portal to another time

Now We Know: Everything you ever wanted to know about this old-time classic

A great understanding of how our genes evolve and mutate have led some scientists to look at the link between domestic farming and lactose tolerance. Photograph: Getty Images

Lactose tolerance may have proven advantageous for particular cultures

To ensure the perfect dunk there are a few important points to consider. Do you have the right sized receptacle and is the beverage at the optimum temperature?

Now We Know: Answering the food and drink questions you didn’t even know you had

The meringue based dessert was inspired by Anna Pavlova. Photograph: istock

Now we know: The difference between a meringue, an Eton Mess and a pavlova

There are plenty of tasty and healthy foods made by Irish producers

There are heaps of Irish food producers who can help make January healthy and tasty

Santa’s treats could be different this year.

Santa gets treats every year, but what if he is now a conscientious nibbler?

Essentially, eggnog is like a cold uncooked custard. Photograph: Getty Images

Love it or hate it, this American festive drink is best consumed in small amounts

Levola Hengelo has produced a cream cheese and herb dip, Heksenkaas, since 2007. It took rival company Smilde to court for Witte Wievenkaas, claiming it was a reproduction of the taste of Heksenkaas

Seemingly not – the European Court of Justice has ruled that food is too ‘subjective and variable’ to be protected under copyright(...)

Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler and director of the Music Department at University of the Arts in Bern, Michael Harenberg pose with a vinyl record and a wheel of Emmental. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Can music influence the food that a person is eating?

“Whether it’s a pot of potato and leek soup, a paprika-spiced goulash or a turmeric and mustard seed curry, there is a certain stable of leftovers that really do improve with age.” Photograph: iStock

It’s all down to chemical reactions between ingredients, which continue after cooking stops, say food scientists

If you’re looking for a tea-like crispness in your coffee, try a washed bean from Kenya, Burundi or Rwanda. Photograph: iStock

Championed by baristas, beans grown at higher altitudes and then washed have flavour notes of citrus and berries

Hallowe’en ghost turnip at The Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo. If you want to give a nod to the ancient traditions of Samhain, carving a turnip is a good way to do it.

Carving scary faces on to autumnal vegetables, an old Irish tradition, is a great way to terrify the neighbours

“Braising is for cheaper, larger cuts of meat, such as beef cheeks. Stewing would use smaller cuts of meat that are uniform in size,” says chef Brian McDermott. Photograph: iStock

It’s all about the cut of the meat, but either method guarantees one-pot wonders

“People tend to have their houses at a temperature of around 20 degrees,” says Jenny McNally, “which is the ideal growing temperature for potatoes.”

If your home is too warm the potatoes will assume that it’s spring

The best way to introduce yourself to the wonders of mushroom foraging is undoubtedly heading out with an expert. Photograph: Getty Images

Do your research before foraging – a few nasty varieties can make people seriously ill

If you’re eyeing up a neighbour’s bounty of fallen fruit, be sure to get their permission before you head over with your foraging basket. Photograph: Getty Images

People should not be afraid of apples on the ground, says urban forager Miceal Murray – just make sure to give them a really good (...)

Yoga Walks Ireland offers yoga walks in the Galtee Mountains.

For foodies and adrenaline junkies alike, this beautiful landscape spanning Cork, Limerick and Tipperary is packed with hidden gem(...)

The Parmigiano Reggiano museum in Parma, Italy.

From pasta and wine in Italy to spam in Minnesota, these gastronomic gems are bound to whet a foodie’s appetite

The Happy Pear brothers and Edward Hayden launching Savour Kilkenny

Food File: Mushroom hunts, Irish Cocktail Month and Chinnery Spirits releases new gin

Foodie plot twist: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew

Now We Know: Shakespeare and Shaw weren’t afraid of the foodie plot twist

Make sure to have a glass of milk handy when you’re eating  spicy dishes. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Now we know: Opt for milk instead of water to help combat the fiery heat

Beauty food: some species of seaweed are considered good for our hair, nails and teeth. Photograph: Moment/Getty

Now We Know: The Sea Gardener, aka Marie Power, has recipe tips and health advice

Coffee, anyone? After the process to decaffinate the beans it’s time for a good roasting.

One method is the ‘Swiss water process’ whereby green beans are soaked in carbonated water for up to 10 hours

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

How truly Irish is the humble spud? Photograph: iStock

Now we know: A typically provocative subject for Galway’s Food on the Edge symposium

Mead is made from water, citric acids, yeast and, of course, honey.

Now We Know: The antiseptic qualities mean bacteria doesn’t grow – but it can ferment

Panti Bliss in Thisispopbaby’s Riot globetrotting cabaret show. Photograph: Ian Douglas

People who make their living from their 'other selves' look at the masks we wear, and ask if we are all hiding behind the version (...)

While most of us have been enjoying the recent heatwave, farmers around the country have been hoping for much-needed rain. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Now we know: With little or no grass growing, food prices are set to rise

Eggs Benedict: invented by an American stockbroker named Lemuel Benedict. Or by the New York aristocrats Mr and Mrs LeGrand Benedict. Photograph: Cooked/iStock/Getty

What an honour to have a dish named after you, but how did it happen?

Fans of pastéis de nata have spotted homemade versions popping up around Ireland

Now we know: Pastéis de nata linked to Catholic monks in Lisbon in the 18th and 19th centuries

Loose Canon Cheese and wine

Masterclasses in charcuterie, bread and food waste – and a new cheese and wine bar

Lemonade made its way to America with the first wave of European immigrants in the 18th century where it was promoted as an alternative to alcohol.

Now we know: Ancient Egyptians may have to first to raise a glass of lemondade

As you might suspect, soft-serve ice-cream is made up of a little more than just milk, sugar and cream.

Soft-serve ice cream is everywhere, but does Thatcher have anything to do with it?

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

A taco is a taco 'because it’s a soft tortilla that’s been stuffed, folded and can ideally be eaten with one hand'.

Tacos are made with soft, corn tortillas and never a crunchy shell

From The Irish Times’s 2018 guide to the 100 best foodie destinations across Ireland

From Dublin to Dingle, from Belfast to Cork ... here's our selection of the country's best cafes

“Standard brewing is a mix of art and science.” Photograph: iStock

Now we know: There are two ways – physical and biological. But which is best?

Like many beloved culinary favourites, the inventor of the opera cake is disputed.

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Pop in to a pop-up: catch some great places to eat before they disappear

Twelve of the best summer pop-up cafes, stalls and restaurants around Ireland

Irish soda bread: for our grandmothers and great-grandmothers iron pots determined the traditional shape of the bread.  Photograph: Luca Trovato: Getty Images

Now we know: it’s all down to the soda pot...aka the Dutch oven

The Irish Times’s guide to the best foodie destinations across Ireland

In some cultures burping after a meal is considered a way of vocalising your compliments to the chef.

Now we know: Burping is a way of ridding excess gas from our stomach

The top results of a cursory search for “do mussels have feelings?” were populated with articles by vegans discussing the ethics of eating bivalves

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Humble pie presumably tastes rather gamey. Photograph: Getty Images

The Great British Bake Off, newly on Netflix, shed light on the origins of this expression

Mikado or a Jam Mallow? Turns out they are made by the same company. Photograph: jacobs.com

Now We Know: How could two companies be making and marketing the same mallow treats?

Maybe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs isn’t a pyramid . . . it’s a pizza slice. Photograph: Getty Images

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Is there a way to protect our ducts from these tear-inducing molecules?

Now We Know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Eating a spoonful of granulated sugar was found to be effective in curing hiccups in 19 out of 20 patients. Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you did not know you had

Margaret Farrelly: “Brown eggs are laid by our beautiful brown hens, and white eggs are laid by our white hens, who have lovely red heads and yellow earlobes”

Now We Know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Homemade corned beef and cabbage: as Irish as Irish can be? Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Should we be eating corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day?

Cutlery etiquette: two ways about it

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t know you had

 The new James Joyce room in Bewley’s Cafe, Grafton Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The hiding places in the nooks, crannies, and cozy fireside tables of the first floor of the café are fit for purpose once again

The Baths at Clontarf: the historic sea baths are open for business €2.4m refurbishment

The Dublin baths had their first dinner service on Tuesday after a €2.4m refurb

Before Margaret Knight’s invention, people carried their shopping around in what was essentially large envelopes, or in cones of paper wrapped around grocery items

Now we Know: The next time you use a paper bag with a folded square base, thank Margaret Knight

Philip Dennhardt: ‘Every Italian I talk to is very against it. The Italians feel like they own the pizza – it’s theirs.’ Photograph: Getty

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t know you had

What’s to stop us from making pig’s cheese?

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Oysters’ association with love goes back to the days of Casanova and The Roman Empire. Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Tasty: low pressure in aircraft reduces the sensitivity of taste buds to sweet and salty foods by 30 per cent. Photograph: iStock

Why do we eat on airplanes? It’s certainly not because food tastes better at 30,000ft

‘Niall had this gorgeous glass of wine, and I took a sniff of it. The sensation I got was as if I was standing on the edge of a cliff and I was going to fall over'

Aoife McElwain: Giving up drink was ‘the most important life change I’ve made’

Jelly beans: coated in bug poop? Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

Tayto’s and cheese and onion crisps go back a long way. Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn't even know you had

Cloves, or specifically clove oil, has a local anaesthetic effect. Photograph: iStock

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

As well as my love of a healthy home-cooked hotpot, I also harbour  positive associations with Coco Pops and Happy Meals. Photograph: Getty Images

Now we know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

The idea of a cult of busyness and boasting about how busy we are isn’t new. Photograph: Paul Bradbury/Caiaimage/Getty

No one wants to be the hamster running round and round in circles

Now We Know: Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

So how do you know if  Camembert is ripe? Photograph: Getty

Answering the foodie questions you didn’t even know you had

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