Bring on the Heat: The Evolution of Spiciness in Chilies

As someone who likes to play with fire in my cooking, I always have a hearty stock of chili peppers in my kitchen.  Depending on the dish, I’ll use anything from canned chipotles, ground cayenne, and paprika to fresh jalapeños and habaneros.  All peppers, hot and sweet, are cultivars of five species from the genus … Continue reading Bring on the Heat: The Evolution of Spiciness in Chilies

Beer, snowflakes, and the origins of life

The craft beer movement gave rise to an immense diversity of brews. From porters and pale ales to dubels and dunkels, there is a seemingly infinite supply of tasty adult beverages to enjoy. Even within the ales, beer drinkers can choose among ambers, blondes, browns, coffees, and creams. Each of these brews is defined by … Continue reading Beer, snowflakes, and the origins of life

Nectar microbes: undercover manipulators of flower scent and pollinator behavior

    We’ve all been there. Completely stuffed, can’t stand the sight of more food, and in desperate need of a nap. A few weeks ago, I reached this state after attending a decadent brunch buffet. Imagine a seemingly endless number of tables covered with poached eggs, crisp slices of bacon, and waffles oozing with … Continue reading Nectar microbes: undercover manipulators of flower scent and pollinator behavior