At almost any Thai restaurant in the U.S., many dishes can be ordered with a specification of how spicy the dish should be. Usually, this is on a scale of four or five stars (with possibly an extra "Thai hot") at the top. I'm curious as to how this tradition got started and why it's primarily associated with Thai food. (And I guess as a side question, whether this phenomenon extends to Thai restaurants outside of the U.S.) I've tried to do some searching myself, but either the info is hard to find, or I haven't found the right search query to separate the wheat from the chaff. [more inside]
Why are large-format wine bottles predominantly named after biblical figures (e.g. this reasonably comprehensive Wikipedia page)? The answer is not easily forthcoming on either the internet (although Google has been asked "why do wine bottles have biblical names?" before) or in my collection of food-studies books. Any ideas?
[Xmas Filter] I'm doing my Christmas shopping, and I'm a bit stuck on what I need to get my mother. She likes culinary-cultural history books, preferably with recipes. Suggestions? [more inside]