This is an alarming story, not because it ends badly. It's alarming because it ends well. It shouldn't have, but it did, and biologists (and especially conservationists) now have a puzzle to ponder.
The story begins in central China, in an apple-growing region called Maoxian County, near the city of Chengdu. In the mid-1990s, the bees that regularly showed up there every spring suddenly didn't. Apple farmers, obviously, need bees. Bees dust their way through blossoms, moving from flower to flower, pollinating, which helps produce apples in September.
We're hearing a song that was popular in South Africa in the 1980s, popular even though it was banned. The song was called "Asimbonanga," which means "We Have Not Seen Him." He was Nelson Mandela, who by then had been in prison for more than two decades. This morning we reached the writer of that song, Johnny Clegg, in South Africa.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:29 pm
In the age of celebrity chef fetishism and competitive ingredient sourcing, it can be hard to remember that there was a time when restaurants didn't exist in America.
Before the Civil War, most people ate at home, consuming mostly what they could forage, barter, butcher or grow in the backyard. But just because food choices were simpler back then doesn't mean our relationship to what we ate was any less complicated.