Celebrity Wedding Cakes, Santa Claus Melons, Our Antiquated Tipping System: Eating & Reading

A tasty roundup of the best stuff we’re reading this week.

Behold: the Christmas melon, now on shelves. Image via Shutterstock.

Famous People Food

Sign of the apocalypse: collectible wedding cakes. [New York Times] —Todd Kliman

Dining World Dramas

“I’ve been in a bad marriage, survived a doctoral program, suffered obsessive episodes requiring medication, lived with a girlfriend who worked as an escort, struggled to keep a business afloat, been in tax trouble, and written nine books—and I have never felt the kind of pressure I did when I was helming Grub Street.” Josh Ozersky lifts the lid on food blogs and what they’re doing to the dining scene. [The Observer] —Jessica Voelker

Every so often, a food writer tackles the lightning-rod topic that is America’s gratuity system. Yes it’s insane, but those who earn tips tend to like them. [Eater] —JV

Global Bites

How do you pronounce “mayonnaise”? What do you call that bubbly drink you can get at the movies? A look at differing terms and pronunciations across America. [Business Insider] —Tanya Pai

The Guardian looks at the dying breed of Parsi cafes in Mumbai. [Guardian] —TK

The Bitten Word boys go to Puerto Rico. And eat lots and lots of plantains. Side note: I used to work at Zach’s magazine. I never got a business trip to Puerto Rico. What the hell?! [The Bitten Word] —Shane Harris

Try This at Home

Sushi and cream ale? An interesting list of beer and food pairings. [WIVB4] —JV

Culinary Culture

Is food art? In Christopher Boffoli’s case, it is. Grub Street has an interview with the James Beard-nominated artist. [Grub Street] —Anna Spiegel

A fascinating, BBC-provided glimpse of Corporal George Orwell, delivering a lecture on tea in a trench during the Spanish War. “All true tea lovers like their tea strong. . . . No strainers or bags to imprison the tea.” Jump to 2:30 if you just want to listen to talk of tea. [YouTube] —TK

The Scary Stuff

Pro tip: how to keep hepatitis A out of those frozen berries you buy at the supermarket. [NPR] —SH

If you don’t subscribe to that old “laws and sausages” maxim, allow the Wall Street Journal to take you inside pork mega-company Smithfield. [WSJ] —AS

’Tis the Season?

It’s Christmas in June. Santa Claus melons are in the stores. I didn’t know what they were, either. [Produce Oasis] —SH