A Barbecue of Big Ideas: Everything You Need to Enjoy Your Summer Outings


Hot dogs, hamburgers, beer and ants...what else do you need to enjoy America's summertime ritual?


Barbecue Porn: Using Sexual Innuendo to Enjoy Good Food

Fred Kaufman reads an excerpt from his book A Short History of the American Stomach and describes the media's portrayal of food using sexual innuendo. It's called "food porn."

The Nixon White House and the Fatty Hot Dog Scandal

Egil Krogh, lawyer and official in the Nixon Administration, recounts the first "crisis" to rock the White House: the fight for fat in the American hot dog.

Down to a Science: The Right Way to Pour and Taste a Beer

Dave McLean, owner and brewmaster of San Francisco's Magnolia Pub and Brewery, demonstrates the proper way to enjoy a beer. "We usually mindlessly open our beers and pour them, and don't think too much about it," he says.

Christopher Hitchens' Favorite Whiskey

The late Vanity Fair columnist and alcohol enthusiast Christopher Hitchens shares a passion with the best dictators of the Middle East.  

Betty Fussell, Grass-fed Beef Is Like a Fine Wine

Chef and author Betty Fussell says "beef is as various as wine."  And there is a right and wrong way to cook her kind of steak.  

The Secret Life of Ants

Brian Fisher, entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences, seeks answers to mankind's societal problems by observing the social world of ants. In addition to cattle-herding, ants "invented farming 50 million years ago."  

Deciphering the Secret Menu at In-N-Out Burger

Stacey Perman reveals the "ins and outs" of the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger.

The Harmony of Baseball and Haiku

American poet Cor van den Heuvel, describing baseball's history in Japan, explains why he believes baseball is a natural subject for the haiku genre. To prove his point, he reads a few haikus about empty playing fields and childhood sports dreams.

How Expectations Bias Your Wine Selection

Best-selling author and physicist Leonard Mlodinow discusses the ways that the power of expectation applies to wine. Red dye can deceive even the most experienced connoisseur, and a false $10 price tag on a $90 bottle of wine can manipulate a test subject's reaction.

Budweiser vs. Microbrews: A Scientific Analysis

Dave McLean argues that large breweries apply "science to a process that doesn’t want to be the same every time" in order to generate the greatest mass appeal.

About this series