Discover more from Hidden Brain
A brief history of grillin’ stuff
Plus, what we can learn from the way kids learn
“I think he was hypocritical in the way that many people are hypocritical, in that all of us are hypocritical when we have an intellectual belief about something, but we don't have the will to act upon those beliefs.” Annette Gordon-Reed
Fire up the grill. While cooking with fire has been around for, oh, a couple million years or so, the concept of the American backyard cookout is relatively new, according to the Smithsonian’s National Institute of American History. With the economy booming after World War II, more people began to travel, visiting places like Mexico, California, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. They developed a taste for the cuisine of these other cultures. “Returning home, they re-created these experiences in their new suburban backyards, with patios, tropical drinks, and the grill, where they cooked meals craved by a postwar meat-mad America,” the National Institute of American History reports. “The outdoor patio grill created a new kind of space for American families. It associated food with recreation and relaxation.” Of course, some of us take it a little more seriously.
Learning without trying. We retain information better when we come across it incidentally — at least, that’s the finding behind a new study on learning. “Our knowledge of the world is populated with categories such as dogs, cups, and chairs,” the study’s (PDF) abstract reads. “Such categories shape how we perceive, remember, and reason about their members.” Researchers wanted to see how well people could remember the names of a couple of made-up creatures. Some study volunteers were exposed to images of the creatures while playing a computer game. A control group was explicitly told they would be learning about these creatures. Turns out, the folks who were incidentally exposed to the images during a computer game learned the names faster than the control group. “As children, we learn what a ‘dog’ and a ‘chair’ is just by being exposed to them -- with no intention to learn,” writes Jeff Grabmeier at Ohio State News. “We can still learn the same way as adults.”
Money origins. What’s the point of money? The answer might seem obvious: We need it to get paid for our work and to buy the things we need. But there’s also a deeper way to look at the role of money in our lives. What if the cash and coins we carry are not just tools for transactions, but manifestations of human relationships? Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
June 27: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." Those words, penned by Thomas Jefferson more than 240 years ago, continue to inspire many Americans. And yet they were written by a man who owned hundreds of people, and fathered six children by an enslaved woman. This week, we revisit our 2018 conversation with historian Annette Gordon-Reed about the contradictions in Jefferson's life — and how those contradictions might resonate in our own lives.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
June 28: In 1991, Pierce Forde was in a serious motorcycle accident. His body began to go into shock when the voice of a stranger offered some words of comfort.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to email@example.com.
First, I threw away the outside and cooked the inside. Then I ate the outside and threw away the inside. What did I eat?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
What five-letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it?
The answer: Shorter.
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
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