By Bethanne Patrick, John Thompson

Someday approximately 30,000 years in the past, an individual caught a pointy rock right into a break up stick—and presto! The awl used to be born. Our inquisitive species simply loves tinkering, checking out, and pushing the boundaries, and this delightfully varied publication is a freewheeling connection with 1000's of customs, notions, and innovations that mirror human ingenuity all through history.

From hand instruments to vacation trips to guns to washing machines, An unusual heritage of universal Things beneficial properties 1000s of colourful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and extra because it explores with regards to each topic lower than the sunlight. Who knew that indoor plumbing has been round for 4,600 years, yet punctuation, capital letters, and the convenient areas among written phrases basically date again to the darkish a long time? Or that historical squaddies baked a type of pizza on their shields—when they weren’t busy flying kites to frighten their foes?

Every web page of this quirky compendium catalogs anything interesting, spectacular, or serendipitous. a full of life, incomparably browsable learn for background buffs, popular culture fanatics, and a person who relishes the ordinary and remarkable information hidden within the daily, it's going to tell, amuse, astonish—and regulate how you take into consideration the shrewdpermanent creatures we name people.

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Extra info for An Uncommon History of Common Things

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Congee is often eaten cold, but many porridges are served hot, particularly in northern climates. In their unrefined form, cereal grains are extremely nutritious; the grains contain all the nutrients that the plant in its embryonic form needs to grow. Unfortunately, in some Western countries, milled cereal grains, with fewer nutrients, have become popular because they have a longer shelf life—the outer layers of unmilled grains are high in fat and can spoil more quickly. Although there are many different cereal grains, including spelt, teff, quinoa, barley, sorghum, buckwheat, and grain amaranth, most American breakfast cereals (hot and cold) are based on wheat and oats.

Mushroom ketchup (with nary a tomato in sight) is still widely available in the United Kingdom. When ketchup reached the New World, it coincided with the latest food trend: tomatoes. D. 700), but it took European exploration to introduce them to and popularize them in North America. Beverages The fascinating thing about this section is that whether your tipple is hard or soft, each item in it is based on one substance: water. Without this basic liquid, there would be no coffee, tea, or soda pop; no wine, beer, or liquor.

As immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, especially from Jewish backgrounds, settled in New York and other urban areas, their traditional cucumber pickles became a staple in delicatessens. On New York City’s Lower East Side, “pickle men” had shops with large wooden barrels of their different wares displayed near the street. There were so many people working in pickling by 1893 that they formed a trade organization called Pickle Packers International. Today cucumber pickles can be found whole, in spears, in slices, sizes large and small, and flavors sweet or sour.

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