Traditional recipes

Chimpanzees Not Only Understand Cooking, They Also Enjoy Getting Drunk with Their Friends

Chimpanzees Not Only Understand Cooking, They Also Enjoy Getting Drunk with Their Friends

The chimps ‘displayed behavioral signs of inebriation’ after drinking on occasion, the paper noted.

On the heels of a study that found chimpanzees to possess an understanding of the cooking process — something once thought to belong only to humans — another new study reveals that chimpanzees can be social drinkers, too.

In a 17-year study, scientists found that chimps, who share the human ability to metabolize ethanol, were more than happy to take advantage of the effects of an alcoholic beverage or two, especially if they were among friends.

The drink in question is derived from the raffia palm in Bossou, Guinea, which produces a fermenting sap that is commonly collected into plastic containers and consumed within a day by humans.

Chimpanzees, on the other hand, have been observed ingesting the sap using a drinking tool — often a leaf-scoop or a leaf-sponge that “is immersed in the fluid, then retrieved and inserted into the mouth for compressive extraction between the tongue and palate.”

Chimpanzees were seen both drinking alone at the top of a palm tree, and engaging in “drinking sessions” in groups. The alcohol content of the sap ranged from 3.1 percent to 6.9 percent. Unsurprisingly, the chimps were observed during these two decades of research occasionally displaying “behavioral signs of inebriation” after drinking.

The findings support what is known as the “drunken monkey hypothesis,” which states that natural selection favors primates with an “attraction” to alcohol because of its evolutionary benefits — stimulating one’s appetite or indicating, by the odor of overripe fruit, where food sources might be found.


‘Cooking is a love letter to culture’: The London duo uniting the foodie community against anti-Asian racism

Horrified by the rise in anti-Asian hate crime during the pandemic, Claire Sachiko Fourel and Lex Shu Chan brought together 20 of London’s best Asian and Asian-influenced restaurants for a charity cookbook to fight back through the power of food. They tell their story to Hannah Twiggs

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Claire Sachiko and Lex Shu: Dinner parties and restaurants are theatres in themselves, and are a great medium to tell stories’

T he last year has shown us many things – some new, some old. It brought some of us together, and drove others apart. And, sadly, it highlighted the entrenched existence of structural racism within our societies.

At the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, parts of the UK saw a near-threefold increase in hate crimes against people of east and southeast Asian (ESEA) heritage. NYPD data shows that there has been a 20-fold increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in NYC over the past year. The US has seen attacks on the ESEA community resulting in fatalities.

Horrified by these statistics, and with first-hand experience of the racism and microaggressions sweeping the nation, Claire Sachiko Fourel and Lex Shu Chan, AKA Sachiko & Shu, decided to do something about it.

As “third culture kids” and ESEA minorities in the UK, they knew what it was like to grow up in a country other than their parents’ homeland, and how to balance their multi-layered cultural identities. As lawyers working on social justice and diversity issues, they knew how to use their skills to highlight the racial injustices perpetrated against their communities. And as foodies, they knew that food could educate, heal, and bring people together that it could be used as a “vehicle to challenge ‘othering’ stereotypes and celebrate multi-ethnic and multicultural identities and heritage”.

They have poured all this passion and drive into a downloadable charity cookbook, Recipes Against Racism, which is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin. Grounded in the cultural melting-pot of London’s food scene, the book is filled with 20 recipes from the best of the city’s Asian and Asian-influenced restaurants and supperclubs. Contributors include Chinese Laundry, Farang, Kiln, Lucky & Joy, Poon’s and Solip, and the recipes highlight the culinary and cultural diversity across Asia.

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But this is not just a call to love Asian food: it’s a call to support Asian minorities, be they strangers, friends or family, in the fight for racial equality. The duo hope to raise £20,000 and will donate 100 per cent of the proceeds raised by the cookbook to two charities: End the Virus of Racism and Stop Hate UK.

“While pandemics can lead to distance, fear and even physical violence,” they write on their website, “together through the power of food we can overcome othering and discrimination.”

They talk to The Independent about the campaign, their own experiences, and how we can all get involved.

How did you get started on this journey?

We met in law school in 2006 and bonded over our mutual love of food and what it means to our cultural identities. We both come from different backgrounds: Lex is Canadian-born and British-educated, having grown up between Canada and Hong Kong, and Claire is French-Japanese-American, born in London and French-educated.

It was definitely the “third culture kid” connection which conditioned us to be able to make anywhere our home and build communities wherever we found ourselves, and this led to us organising music events, supperclubs and other storytelling experiences over the last few years, and forming Sachiko and Shu.

Our aim has always been to create inclusive experiences based on community and collectivism, and of course to tell a different story each time through shared experiences. Everyone is welcome, but people are expected to contribute to, take pride in, and enjoy the output, whether this means enlisting set designers to dream up the space, chefs to come up with one-of-a-kind menus, and guests to bring ingredients and objects to be transformed into something special.

All proceeds from the book will be given to anti-racism charities

How did your own experiences influence this work?

As Asian minorities, we have both experienced racism and microaggressions over the years and were shocked by the rise in anti-Asian hate crime since the start of the pandemic. We both work on social justice, diversity and inclusion issues in our day jobs as lawyers, and wanted to use our skills and networks to highlight the racial injustices which have been perpetrated against our communities, while bringing people together through our love of food, creating communities and positive shared experiences.

With physical events being impossible during the pandemic, which resulted in many people feeling emotionally distant, fearful and isolated, we had to think of a new way to connect. Many of us have eaten alone, or with the same person, for the best part of a year, so Recipes Against Racism was a vehicle for everyone to break bread together by cooking the same recipes and connecting virtually. The pandemic has also put huge financial pressures on the non-profit sector, and so we wanted to create meaningful change by directing the proceeds towards addressing the immediate needs of the Asian community, as well as longer-term strategic aims which will benefit the community far beyond the life of this project.

Was including non-Asian chefs in the book an important part of the decision-making process?

We were really touched by the level of interest from restaurant and supperclub chefs who were keen to be involved in the project and responded with enthusiasm to our call to action, given the challenges the hospitality sector has faced during the pandemic. The fact that so many took time out of their schedules to donate a recipe and share their stories about their cuisine or cultural heritage showed us how many people want to contribute to the global anti-racism movement by uniting through food.

We worked hard to ensure a diversity of Asian cuisine was well represented in the cookbook, in keeping with our mission: 13 out of 17 participating chefs and business-owners are of Asian heritage, and as you have identified there are also chefs who are not of Asian heritage but whose cuisine is inspired by great Asian food. We wanted to ensure that we did not limit participation to chefs with Asian heritage, as we felt it was important to be inclusive of chefs and business-owners from different backgrounds who are allies and supporters of the Asian community and who celebrate Asian cuisine and culture in a positive manner.

‘Cooking can be a letter of love for a culture’

Cooking can be a letter of love for a culture, and we really felt that coming through from all the participating chefs. Dinner parties and restaurants are theatres in themselves, and are a great medium to tell stories – whether it’s about your personal cultural heritage, or your way of telling the story of a cuisine that you honour and respect. For us, this is where the message “love us like you love our food” comes in: if we consume food and culture, have we taken the time to understand where the dish has come from and to learn about the people who originated it, particularly if they face discrimination?

If you are not Asian but love Asian food, and perhaps post about it on social media a lot, how can you make sure you’re not just exploiting the cuisine or adding to the echo chamber?

There have been a lot of conversations around cultural appropriation in the food space, which we think are valid and important, and of course we have seen some instances where Asian cuisine has not only been appropriated without due credit, but presented in inaccurate and disrespectful ways. However, if an individual not of that culture takes the time to educate themselves on the origins of a dish, or the specificity of the ingredients, and does not pass something off as their own but clearly indicates the heritage of a cuisine, they should be free to be part of the conversation.

Cuisines are also not static, as Fuchsia Dunlop (whose knowledge of and respect for Chinese cuisine runs deep) remarked at an event at the Oxford Cultural Collective. Fuchsia pointed out that the word “authenticity” implies that there are unbending rules to which chefs must adhere, but in reality, culinary conventions evolve over time as a result of trade and migration. In the wise words of Chengdu chef Lan Guijun: “Today’s invention is tomorrow’s tradition.” We think that taking a mindful and curious approach to any culture we consume is always the best way to avoid the risk of accidental exploitation.

In what ways do you think food can be a vehicle for change?

The notion of the “other” is something we have reflected on a lot during the pandemic, where we saw people become fearful of each other. Who can forget people being scared of being within two metres of each other standing in line for the grocery store? Clearly this fear of the other and the geographic provenance of the virus has also led to a rise in hate crime against east and southeast Asian minorities around the world.

Who can forget people being scared of being within two metres of each other standing in line for the grocery store? Clearly this fear of the other and the geographic provenance of the virus has also led to a rise in hate crime against east and southeast Asian minorities around the world

However, we also noticed that food became a high point of the day during a time of isolation, and a way for people to stay connected to each other. While we recognise that this may have been limited to a privileged echo chamber, we saw communities coming together and going crazy over sourdough and banana loaves. Food allowed many of us to overcome the distance that was brought about by the pandemic, and provided a great source of comfort, where we were able to feel connected virtually through the universality of what we were going through.

In our globalised and hyperconnected world, food and cooking is often the first touchpoint for many of us to engage with a foreign culture, be that through going to a restaurant or seeing a dish on social media. We don’t all have the opportunity to travel to the place where that food originates, but this exposure does present an opportunity to learn about the people or the culture that originally created the dish. In that sense, food can be a great way to open minds to differences beyond our own cultural identity and can serve as a vehicle to break down barriers between people.

In this regard, we feel that food can be a vehicle for positive storytelling, to bring about human connection and cultural exchange, which can challenge “othering” and celebrate multi-ethnic and multicultural identities and heritage.

What kind of work do the charities you’ve chosen to support do?

After much consideration and research into charities tackling the issue of racism in the UK, we decided on Stop Hate UK and End the Virus of Racism as we believe they are both closely aligned to our fundraising and awareness goals, and both offer excellent support services for their beneficiaries on a national level.

Stop Hate UK provides an essential service through their 24-hour hate helpline which has supported the Asian community throughout the pandemic. As lockdown lifts, the risk of anti-Asian hate crimes is expected to increase – just last week, a Chinese student was violently attacked in Sheffield – meaning the need for this service is immediate. Stop Hate UK works hard to tackle all forms of identity-based hate crime and discrimination, whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation or any other identity characteristic, which is very much aligned with our mission of building power through intercommunity solidarity.

Agedashi aubergine soba noodle salad

In parallel, End the Virus of Racism has been set up to address the lack of charities in the UK focused primarily on racism against people of Asian heritage, to benefit them moving forward and for years to come. End the Virus of Racism will direct proceeds from Recipes Against Racism towards the provision of mental health support and guidance about legal aid in east and southeast Asian languages.

We recently came across a research paper by Dr Daniel Fujiwara on the impact of racism on the mental health and wellbeing of Asian people. While the pandemic has definitely shone a light on the importance of mental health, the research paper highlighted the fact that this topic warranted further attention and longer-term focus in the Asian community, and that many Asian people who had experienced racist attacks and microaggressions were suffering in silence, without the awareness or the means to seek support. We therefore decided it only made sense to partner with both organisations to ensure that the immediate needs of the community, as well as those beyond the life of the project, were met.

What are your top three recipes in the book?

Lex: That is so difficult to choose as our purpose was to showcase the diversity of Asian cuisine, so I love them all equally but just in different ways! My mood really dictates what I want to eat, but over the past week I have craved the jiaozi (pot-sticker dumplings) from Chen’s Table and the claypot rice with wind-dried meats from Poon’s. I haven’t seen my grandparents in Hong Kong for a while, and these are both recipes which remind me of home and which I find incredibly comforting – and a bit of comfort is something we all need after the year we’ve had! I also have a sweet tooth (definitely need to do a dessert edition) so I would have to end my meal with a Taiwanese crispy waffle. On previous trips to Taiwan, my sister Vicky and I would spend several hours a day scouring for street food, so this recipe definitely brings back memories! Can you tell I miss travelling?

Claire: It’s so hard to choose and they say you should never have a favourite! Today I think I’m in the mood for agedashi aubergine soba salad, as I’m very partial to a buckwheat noodle. If I wanted to seriously challenge my skills in the kitchen, I’d go for the oil-blanched red mullet from Sollip which mixes French cuisine (the other side of my mixed heritage) with a nod to Korean flavours. It brings haute cuisine to your home! I have a soft spot for Sollip, which is the only restaurant I was able to eat out at during that two-week December window of freedom between lockdowns, and which definitely kept me going through winter. We actually experienced a casual racist incident there as we were leaving, where a drunk guy yelled at us to ask if we had any spare prawn crackers. It certainly drove home how the conversations that the Recipes Against Racism cookbook will hopefully lead to are so important and timely.

And just for fun: if you’re stranded on a desert island, what recipe book are you taking? (Besides your own, of course – and for argument’s sake, let’s say there’s a kitchen on this island!)

Lex: Does Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat count as a recipe book? Every time I look through it I learn and discover something new, and I love how it presents cooking not as an esoteric discipline which must be perfected, but more as a means of connection and experimentation. Otherwise, I would have to say that Land of Fish and Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop is a go-to for me. Many years ago I did some traveling around China’s Lower Yangtze region (Jiangnan) and had some very enjoyable culinary adventures which this book helps me (try to) recreate and relive!

Claire: I’d go for Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, if you promised that the island’s kitchen would be stocked with all the necessary ingredients! To me, it’s a love letter to the culinary, political and historical complexities of the city, as well as an ode to friendship and the unifying power of food. Otherwise, I’d take the battered copy of my French grandmother’s recipes which we all had printed when she passed. It contains all the traditional French recipes such as baba au rhum or choux a la creme she would cook for me when I stayed with her during the holidays, written in her joined-up old-fashioned handwriting, with so many annotations it’s nearly illegible! It’s one of my most cherished possessions.

Read more about Sachiko & Shu’s campaign and get your copy of the book here


Jane Goodall Helps Rescue 26 Squirrel Monkeys From Lab Testing

Earlier this year, primatologist Jane Goodall helped facilitate the rescue of 26 squirrel monkeys from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing.

According to CNN, the monkeys were involved in a study investigating nicotine addiction in teenagers and young adults. By examining the behavior of the monkeys, researchers hoped to better understand how nicotine addiction affects humans.

Working with the White Coat Waste Project – an organization aiming to end taxpayer-funded animal testing – Goodall, whose work with chimps is world-renowned and respected, wrote to FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb expressing her concern about the experiments.

“I was disturbed – and quite honestly shocked – to learn that in 2017 the U.S. FDA is still, in 2017, performing cruel and unnecessary nicotine addiction experiments on monkeys,” Goodall wrote.

She concluded her letter, “To continue performing nicotine experiments on monkeys when the results of smoking are well-known in humans – whose smoking habits can still be studied directly – is shameful.”

And her efforts paid off Gottlieb confirmed the experiments were halted as a result of the correspondence. The 26 remaining monkeys are now living in Gainesville primate sanctuary Jungle Friends, where they are well cared for and will be released into an outdoor environment in the spring.

Speaking to CNN, Kari Bagnall, the founder and director of Jungle Friends, which cares for around 300 monkeys, said, “The most special thing about these particular monkeys is that they came out of the FDA, which has not released monkeys out of research in the past.”

Goodall, who is also a passionate activist, environmentalist, and vegetarian, is not the only influential figure to write to the FDA, asking them to cease primate testing.

In November, again in partnership with the White Coat Waste Project, congressional members Matt Gaetz and Brendan Boyle wrote to Gottlieb, asking that he do everything in his power to end primate testing altogether.

The White Coat Waste Project is requesting that members of the public have their say by writing letters to Congress through its website form.


4. They lose things inside.

It’s the kind of thing we might have had nightmares about when we started using tampons, but it turns out that it actually happened. A report in the Journal of Sexual Medicine brought attention to the case of an (unnamed) woman who went to the doctor with issues relating to incontinence, weight loss and lethargy. It turns out she had a sex toy inside her, which had been stuck there for 10 years. The toy was removed by surgeons, who noted that the woman had near life-threatening damage. Alcohol was found to be the cause of her having ‘forgotten’ the toy in the first place.


3. For what we are paying for BBQ brisket, we could be eating BBQ prime rib.

Barbecue is a labor-intensive cooking method developed by people with limited means to turn inexpensive cuts of meat into succulent meals. Beef brisket was once considered ideal for barbecue in Texas because the melting fat cap cut down on the effort of basting, and because the forequarter cut was so cheap. But not anymore. The new school of Texas barbecue𠅊nd its imitators across the country𠅊re paying top dollar for USDA Prime or Certified Angus brisket and selling it to the public at ever-higher prices. At Franklin’s Barbecue in Austin, Killen’s Barbeque in Pearland, and high-end joints across Texas, barbecued brisket is currently selling for $20 a pound. Meanwhile, the current price of barbecued Prime Rib at Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX is $18.90 a pound. What’s wrong with this picture? (Photo: Market Oracle)


We don't wash our bras enough

It's not that we don't do laundry, but sometimes we don't have time or energy to hand-wash our delicates, especially when the process takes a lot of time and we're partial to the one bra that perks the girls up just right. Believe it or not, according Jennifer O'Connell, Rigby & Peller Lingerie Stylists London, bras can become damaged if you wait too long. "Bras can get discolored and start to deteriorate or stretch faster if not washed often enough," explained O'Connell.

According to lingerie expert, Kim "Kimmay" Caldwell, "Bras that go too long without a wash can cause a few problems. First, depending on the material of the bra, it can lock in foul odors from your body and your environment. Second, your body oils and perspiration can build up on the bra, breaking down the delicate or stretchy materials, like elastic. Over-washing and under-washing are both a no-no."

If only they didn't come with such time-consuming instructions. "If you wash your bras by machine, we [also] recommend that you hook them and put them in a lingerie bag and then wash on the delicate cycle in cool water," said O'Connell. But wait, it gets better. "The washing machine is bad for bras, but the dryer is absolute murder!" explained Caldwell. Yes, this is what takes up all our time and is probably why we don't wash our bras properly or as often as we should. But in order for us to not do any damage to our beloved support system, we need to take care of them the right way.

So, how often? Rigby and Peller said we should do this after two or three wears with proper lingerie soap. Caldwell gives us a little more time, saying it's time to wash after four to five wears. And why lingerie soap, you ask? "Because bras are mostly made of elastic and delicate materials, regular soaps are too harsh. Whether you hand-wash or put them into the gentle cycle of your machine, be sure to use a soap meant for lingerie, lace, or even hosiery," said Caldwell.


Every Arctic Monkeys song ranked in order of greatness

From High Green to LA, via New York and London, the've slipped on various guises – and each has fit like a leather jacket. But what's their best song ever?

When Arctic Monkeys came good on an endless whirl of feverish underground hype in the early ’00s, it was evident that the course of indie rock had changed forever. Here was a band that was plain-speaking, feisty, exciting and seemingly without ego, that proved their mettle by shunning publicity, and had sold out the legendary London Astoria (now sadly closed, 2000-capacity in its prime) before they had even signed a record deal.

Six chart-topping LPs, two live albums and two EPs later, the band – frontman Alex Turner, lead guitarist Jamie Cook, bassist Nick O’Malley and drummer Matt Helders – have undergone several shapeshifting transformations. From the punkish nature of their earliest material to the soaring guitar pop of 2011’s ‘Suck It And See’ and the experimental opus that is 2018’s ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’, they have remained one of the most groundbreaking and influential acts of our times over the past decade-and-a-half.

The Sheffield gang’s illustrious career is celebrated in this bumper list. For the sake of clarity, all unreleased tracks and demos – including those from 2004’s now-infamous ‘Beneath The Boardwalk’ collection – are disqualified, as is any material under their sometime Death Ramps alias, alongside the wealth of covers they have released out over the years. Dig in!

Arctic Monkeys. Credit: Getty

This straight-up rock tune was recorded during the ‘AM’ sessions. And let’s say it’s not quite up there with ‘R U Mine?’.

‘I.D.S.T’ is the clear victor of the ‘How many times can the title be repeated throughout the entire song’ challenge.

The B-side to the explosive ‘R U Mine’. Not as good as ‘R U Mine’.

There are no words on this ‘Street Fighter’-inspired tune, which picked up a Grammy nomination (for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2007). It’s one of the mere five that the band have earned across a wildly illustrious career – a true injustice.

A funny one, this. It’s far from clear how seriously we should take ‘Sketchead’, a jumpy punk ditty that tackles a louche-sounding character with relative gusto. Yet its sandpapery hooks make it sound like a bit of an afterthought.

On this so-so B-side, scatter-brained melodies fight for dominance in a pretty claustrophobic space. There is a lot going on here.

This is the final song from the 10” vinyl release of ‘Humbug’ single ‘Cornerstone’. It’s quietly cunning lyrical content is overall burdened by a hopscotching rhythm section.

This instrumental burbles on for five minutes before Turner breaks into a murmuring half-rap, which only lasts for (drumroll, please) 15 seconds.

This middling track isn’t particularly offensive, but is submerged in a shadowy pool of reverb, the mixing shoddy.

There’s a reason this ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ track hasn’t ever been played live. The final lyric, “She said, ‘It’s the red wine this time,’ but that is no excuse” is good, though, as is the abrupt ending that acts as a full stop on the statement.

Ostensibly pronounced “The Frame Tour”, this is a bonus track from the Japanese release of ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’. The verses are quick-witted, sure, but it becomes increasingly hard to take in all the song’s elements.

It’s a bit of a shame that ‘I Want It All’ made the final cut for ‘AM’, the band’s most consistent and complete record to date.

There are fleeting moments where this misty number twinkles with promise (the distortion-heavy chorus skyrockets to another plane), but it lacks the essential, magnetic pull of your typical Monkeys tune.

Excess is pared away on this repetition-heavy track, where riff after riff crashes down at a rate of knots. It’s a noisy indie rock song – end of.

With its swampy riff progression and mnemonic refrain – be honest, “A-N-I-M-A-L!” is a pesky earworm at best – the languorous ‘Dangerous Animals’ meanders a little.

A chilly vibe sweeps through this ‘Humbug’ outtake. The lyrics remain frustratingly opaque and the vocals continuously muted, both reinforcing the numbness that hangs over the languid track.

This is arguably Arctic Monkeys at their least melodic, a throttling thrash of double-speed aggression. It is perhaps best to enjoy the goofy parts, rather than the serious ones.

Wrapped around an uncomplicated piano melody repeated for three and a half minutes straight, ‘Don’t Forget Whose Legs You’re On’ is an extremely bleak song, but partially redeems itself with Turner’s darkest vocal performance yet.

Wrestling with the unbearable pain and embarrassment that accompanies rejection, this B-side throws the following plea into the ring: “When you fit me / As Sunday’s frozen pitch fits the thermos flask…”

‘Still Take You Home’ is one of many grand examples that Turner’s lyrics make for the perfect Instagram caption: You’re a Topshop princess / A rockstar, too.

This one perhaps falls a tad short of ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’s grand, seemingly endless ambition.

This is a dark and emotionally distant mood piece that gives way to intense self-doubt. It’s not vintage Monkeys, but the release of layered harmonies towards the end is gorgeous.

A remake of the fiery demo that featured on 2004’s fan-made ‘Beneath The Boardwalk’ collection, this track about a tricky house party flirtation is driven by a level of bullish confidence that only a VK-bladdered teenager could conjure up.

This ragtag bop could essentially be a hidden track on the band’s equally scrappy debut album. The best of a bunch of B-sides to the outstanding ‘When The Sun Goes Down’, it’s a dose of energetic fun that encourages multiple listens.

This one cruises by a little too easily on a big, gnarly chorus, and it feels like whiplash to go from the ever-shifting textures that permeate this single’s surrounding album ‘Suck It And See. That said, fans love it.

If you can get past the fact that the title is a right ol’ mouthful, this song isn’t all at all bad. The shout-speak verses make for an entertaining two-minute head-banging session, yet it isn’t half as interesting as the rest of ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’.

Paired with a ridiculously catchy refrain, this track sees the band take aim at naysayers: “tell ‘em to take out their tongues,” Matt Helders sneers. The track strikes a fair balance between whimsy and moodiness.

Upbeat and well-intentioned, this is a perfectly fine tune. The hi-hats pop and the guitar groove shimmies along on this early, non-album cut, and there’s an endearing youthfulness to the intro: “One, two, three, four! (Roll that faster, man).”

Thriving off a punk-leaning spirit, this debut album track swaggers forward in a blaze of gritty guitars and drums that smack harder by the second. Try not humming along to the robust bassline.

Even if this one is rather clunky and monotonous in places, the incredibly tight riffs and unexpected, explosive outbursts save the day. It’s pushed forward by enough revved-up adrenaline to make you feel invincible.

‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ was the first Arctic Monkeys album to be helmed by Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, and the LP’s sharpened focus on punchy hooks and melodies comes to the fore on songs like this one, which thrives off a full-blooded delivery.

Featuring some rather nifty guitar work from Miles Kane (the de facto fifth Arctic Monkey) the guitar lines on this ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ B-side are vivid and expressive, and build up to a superb a Capella section that’s buoyed by a thrum of bass.

Shrouded in an atmosphere of self-loathing and dim romance, this is where Turner’s vocals soar over a melancholic guitar-pop tune. Lyrically, the temptations of life on the road are brushed off with an insouciant shrug, and the instrumental sounds purposefully lackadaisical, as if to harbour the point.

Heeere’s Dizzee! The east London MC booted a much-needed kick up the arse this murky ditty (which appeared on his third album, 2007’s ‘Maths + English’).

‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ is a largely excellent album with its recurring dystopian themes and deeply affecting songs. But sometimes it all feels a little too intense, and this track stands as evidence of that. A menacing hulk of itchy, nervous, ‘Humbug’-esque space-rock to bug out to, ‘Science Fiction’ isn’t quite as deep as you want it to be.

Amidst a mountain of zippy riffage here lay lines so pointed and sharp that it often takes a minute for them to click. “I had a hole in the pocket of my favourite coat / And my love dropped into the lining, Turner intones of an affair atop a sprightly rhythm. It’s remarkably dexterous, both lyrically and musically.

The Hollywood-worthy drama of ‘You’re So Dark’ could be attributed to the time the band spent living in LA while recording their fifth album ‘AM’. With name-checks to gothic literary giants H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, it can flip from coquettish to macabre in an instant, and portrays a fatal dalliance so vividly that it is worthy of an Oscar.

A surprise release that dropped without any form of explanation, ‘Brick By Brick’ marked the exact moment that the band stopped taking themselves so bloody seriously. A galloping, deliciously funny racket made up of just 27 words, the lead single from ‘Suck It And See’ is a Grade-A troll.

Lyrically, the classic B-side to ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ reads like the script of a telenovela. Despite being set in God’s Own County – rather than a glorious Latin American city – the narrative boasts all the right tropes: a comic love triangle! An empty threat! A green-eyed monster trying to wreak havoc! It’s cheesy and transportive all at once.

When listening to this song in 2020, it is impossible to turn a blind eye to how spookily prescient the lyrics are. “No one’s on the streets / We moved it all online as of March”, goes the bridge, sounding a little too on the nose for this pandemic-stricken year. It’s a gleaming example of a band who have always been ahead of their time.

Picture this: the sun has set, the heady rush from another night of underage drinking has worn off, and the coppers are circling like buzzards– bring on the unfortunate consequences! This delirious image forms the crux of ‘Riot Van’, a smartly observed account of an unhinged night out.

This sprawling stoner rock jam is hypnotic enough that one listen can leave you feeling like you’ve tripped into a surreal film scene. Turner’s smoky vocal sounds so close it’s as if he is lurking in the near-distance, while the brisk tempo changes are spine-tingling enough to soundtrack that moment in a horror film where the car won’t start, the villain approaching.

Peer beyond the unending criticism of technology here and focus on the intensity of the whirring instrumentals that surround this dazzling moonshot – the mechanical drums are played on a loop right until the end. ‘Batphone’ is intricately detailed in every sense of the word: each passage aims to stun, and that it sure does.

Legend has it that a demo of this smoldering tune was what convinced Queens Of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme to invite the band to his Joshua Tree studio, Rancho De La Luna. There certainly must be some truth in that – here, the desert influences are loud and clear: a psychedelic mid-section, some sludgy stop-start passages and snarls of fuzz.

Is it an elongated innuendo? A cautionary euphemism for cocaine? The true meaning of this brooding number has long been hotly debated, and still seems to elude everyone but the band themselves. But let’s be real: the crafty refrain “‘Ave a spin on my propeller…” can only point towards the former. Those cheeky Monkeys…

Every track on the taut and world-weary ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ possesses the ability to shake and rattle the soul, but this unnerving lullaby is where the band court and juxtapose darkness with curiosity via the most sublime of arrangements. “You push the button and we’ll do the rest, they chime, mocking the warping effects of technology.

A song that is both equal parts jarring and delightful there are splinters of excellence here. ‘Nettles’ finds Arctic Monkeys hark back to their scrappy pub rock roots, as they warp a DIY approach with surging riffs and daft humour (“He was a toothpick and the garlic and the cinder”), while being spurred on by Helders’ series of frenetic drum grooves.

An inspiring ode to the power of song in the same vein as the ABBA classic ‘Thank You For The Music’ (we’re not joking!), this heart-swelling tune gradually shifts into a delightful waltz that feels like basking in the swirling lights on the dancefloor at the end of the night. It is a quiet show-stopper that finds new ways to reward every time you listen to it.

On what should have been an album track, an unraveling romance is unpacked over a foot-stomping beat and dirty guitar licks. The devilishy catchy B-side to ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ finds itself flirting in and around a dead-end dive bar, where daring glances are shared and avoided. It’s fun, it’s cheeky, it’s saucy.

An agile call-and-response vocal trade between Turner and Helders slams head-on into this straight-up indie banger. Boosted by snapping percussion and a zig-zagging bassline, it’s deceptively raunchy (“The dirty little Herbert was seeking an escape / But the place was well-guarded”), and the band embrace the intensity of it all with aplomb.

This walloping track retells a laddish tale as old as time: a seriously silly night out on the town that climaxes with a scuffle at the taxi rank. The storyline manages to pluck minutiae from a blurred version of events, while musically, repeated loops of a hefty, top-tapping bassline keeps things as uncluttered as possible.

As the sole ballad of ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ – the meatiest, heaviest Monkeys album of ‘em all – you’d be forgiven for overlooking this outlier. But let it be known that this swooping, wistful chamber pop number is a welcomed acoustic turn on an album that hops between sharp-toothed riffing and relentless bolts of noise.

For anyone well-versed in Arctic Monkeys folklore, John Cooper Clarke has always been a crucial figure. Rumour has it that not only has Turner does have the punk-poet icon’s name tattooed on him somewhere, but that the band stuck with their much-hated name after Clarke gave it the nod of approval. This ballad adaptation of his 1982 poem is a fitting tribute, then.

‘Fireside’ has probably broken its fair share of hearts over the years. Reeling from the dissolution of a long-term relationship, it’s here where Turner speaks his upset plainly: “And I thought I was yours forever / Or maybe I was mistaken?”. But he isn’t moping. This song’s jaunty percussive section is too immediate to allow for any sort of pity party.

You know that early stage of dating someone where the giddiness threatens to overwhelm? And the newfound excitement hits you with the same sort of power as a hammer dropping on a high striker with enough force to knock the bell? Yeah, that’s exactly what listening to the lovestruck ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ feels like.

The neon-hued title for this track completely belies its beautifully melancholic approach, from the sombre lyrics to the looping production that comprises keening piano and waves of tender acoustic guitar. It’s an immensely moving, nostalgic ballad where the most resonant lines (“The look of love, the rush of blood”) are belted out with heart-on-sleeve conviction.

Shot through with purposeful imagery, this dreamy reverie fuses flickering guitar loops and a simple chord progression – the result: a bittersweet, emotionally inflected love song dedicated to a lover and their vice. Within this warm, exuberant dreamscape of a track, the band’s feather-light harmonies drift away but never get lost in the mix. Sublime.

The hyper-specific details of ‘Knee Socks’ are hard to ignore. Who was it that refashioned the sky blue Lacoste in question? And where on earth did they go? Alas, the cryptic lyrics here refuse to offer up a satisfactory answer, but by indulging in a hip-shaking rock groove, this stunning track instead directs your attention to its addictive staccato rhythm.

Give this song three minutes and it’ll bring you to tears. Grappling with the soul-crushing feeling of an inevitable teenage breakup, this is where youthful abandon gives way to weight and blame. “Lady, where’s your love gone?” sighs a particularly exhausted-sounding Turner. His voice is tender and resigned, as if he is grieving.

By the time ‘All My Own Stunts’ appears seven songs into ‘Suck It And See’, the scene has already been set: the love is vast and flowing. But when this mid-album track gallops in with lyrical guitar work and soaring, velvety melodies, the sense of romance really picks up the pace. Giddy up!

Sometimes romantic, sometimes frightening, the strangely charismatic ‘The Jeweller’s Hands’ is the swelling peak of ‘Humbug’. The orchestral flourishes, sputtering drums and driving guitar perfectly complement each other until the 3:07-minute mark, when the chugging instrumental spirals into something malicious and dark: a psych-rock freakout or a bewildering trick.

“Pull me in close on a crisp eve, baby / Kiss me underneath the moon’s side boob”, Turner sings with a warbling falsetto, in a way that helps this eyebrow-raising in-gag almost make sense. The narration here – however ludicrous it may be – is direct and self-assured, and spotlights some restrained crooning before the harpsichord kicks in.

Precisely one minute into this soft-rock bop, Turner lands on something magical and from there, everything ascends. “When she laughs the heavens hum a stun-gun lullaby”, he sings, his vocal spirited and rosy. Cushioned by a doo-wop bounce and a streak of romantic guitar lines, this is the type of song you can almost feel. It’s sort of contagious.

Full of bounce and shine, ‘Snap Out Of It’ is a delightful shot of jangly pop escapism that shimmers over a snappy melody and insistent backbeat. Each line is enunciated with precision and a playful wink, which makes the pointed lyrics (“Darling, how could you be so blind?”) all the more striking and replayable. It’s a vibrant moment of casual magic.

There are two versions of this song and frankly, it’s difficult to pick which one is superior. The first – which appears on the Submarine soundtrack – is more gently delivered, yet the second is more technically resounding. But both are so profoundly wistful and intimate that listening to ‘Piledriver Waltz’ feels like eavesdropping on a painfully protracted breakup.

This is the closest to a pure pop song that Arctic Monkeys have ever ventured, and it illustrates romantic wonder with heart-stopping elegance, whilst revelling in the tiniest of life’s details. “Her steady hands may well have done the devil’s pedicure”, Turner blushes.

‘American Sports’ illustrates the view from Tranquility Base, the band’s fictional hotel-come-taqueria for the 2018 album. It’s smart, it’s gutsy, and lyrics of survival, religious control and technological destruction paint surreal and compelling pictures of dystopian ideals atop spacey reverb and ever-shifting piano.

Loud, over-the-top and absolutely tongue-in-cheek,‘Library Pictures’ is equivalent to swallowing a dictionary and washing it down with a can of Red Bull. Nursery rhymes (“Give me an eeny, meeny, miny, mo”) cartwheel over vaguely menacing drum kicks, and Turner even finds space to poke fun at his metaphor-drunk lyricism: Draw some ellipses to chase you round the room / Through curly straws and metaphors and goo”.

Arctic Monkeys’ world got a little louder in the year following their seminal debut album, and this song goes big to meet the surrounding noise of the paparazzi who would hound them. Squalls of reverb-y drum rolls and vicious guitars circle around as the band contemplate discarding it all their distress real is, their frustration earned.

“Get on your dancing shoes / You sexy little swine”, exclaims a sprightly Turner amid a whirl of pummelling riffs and shoutalong verses that started from sheer chaos and developed into steely indie-rock stomp. All this teasing and taunting becomes increasingly hard to resist, and perfectly captures the rabble-rousing spirit of early Arctic Monkeys.

The sweeping curtain call of the ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’ era, the chorus-less ‘Anyways’, is disarmingly self-reflective. There are times when Turner can’t even finish his thoughts. It’s as if he’s a stone’s throw away from the listener – we can hear his footsteps, the yearning in his voice, the ghosts that linger in his head.

By this point, singing about fame and all its spoils was nothing new for the band (the titular song of 2006’s ‘Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?’ EP bled this arc dry), but this ferocious tirade against the too-much, too-quick mentality of the music industry is razor-sharp and relentless. “Don’t concern us with your bollocks”, they scoff. Right on!

Obscured by the regality of its A-side ‘Cornerstone’, this hidden treat is one of the greatest examples of Turner’s nimble, vivid and wickedly funny wordplay. It offers a pin-sharp takedown of the guy we all love to hate: the experienced heartbreaker with an enviable superiority complex. Think Ross from Friends, sans the leather trousers.

The finest cut to be taken from the haphazard ‘Who The Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?’ EP, this tear-eliciting number reveals the band at their endearing best. Simultaneously heartfelt and charming, each verse intensifies that queasy, helpless feeling of a relationship divided by distance, both romantically and geographically.

The towering lead single off ‘Humbug’ frames a romantic relationship not as an inevitably, but a dare. This is where the album’s gloomy, callous aesthetic reaches dazzling heights, with the most microscopic of details (“With folded arms you occupied the bench like toothache”) translating to sustained melodrama.

Accentuated by a writhing bassline and garage rock swagger, this ‘Wizard Of Oz’-inspired tune captures the youthful naivety of leaving your hometown in search of somewhere, bigger, brighter, better. The evocative lyrics explode into a striking allegory on its final line: I know I said, ’Who wants to sleep in a city that never wakes up?’/ But Dorothy was right, though.”

All chunky beats, clockwork drum patterns and R&B-lite production, the third single from the game-changing ‘AM’ is one of the flirtiest-sounding things the band have done to date. This noted fan-favourite wittily summarises an intoxicated crime that many have accidentally committed in the after-hours: the roll-out of one too many drunken voicemails.

Despite its thorny subject matter – an instantly regrettable one night stand, no less – musically, ‘Leave Before The Lights Come On’ is a bolt of heart-stopping joy, full of buoyant, hopeful riffs. This standalone single even wraps up with a well-placed offer from our remorseful protagonist: “I’ll walk you up, what time’s the bus come?”

It’s easy to marvel at the expansiveness of ‘Four Out Of Five’: it’s sleek, infinitely quotable, unsubtle, a little ridiculous. Everything here sounds as if it suspended above Earth: its absurdist lounge-pop soundscape, its invitation to a taqueria on the moon. This is not just Arctic Monkeys’ space hotel it’s their world. We’re simply visiting.

‘Suck It And See’ explores that feeling of being dumbstruck by the full force of falling for someone. “Your kiss, it could put creases in the rain”, a soft-eyed Turner tenderly coos. In just nine words, it perfectly articulates something most of us spend a lifetime trying to understand: the beautiful discomfort of this certain type of feeling, which can knock you for six.

“I said, ‘He’s a scumbag, don’t you know…’” spits Turner, and a millisecond later, the whole thing instantly starts thundering into life. On this indie dancefloor mainstay, beefy, distorted riffs, merciless drums and an all-out anthemic chorus bid to outdo each other. It all feels like a sudden rush of blood to the head, but one we’ll still gladly suffer over again.

Multifaceted storytelling and an impeccably airtight rhythm section results in a tremendous payoff on the band’s first-ever recorded track. Underneath the circular bass loops, this is a key document in understanding Arctic Monkeys’ meteoric rise from the underground up – they were slick, smart and brushed off the scepticism with audacious bangers like this one.

‘Love Is A Laserquest’ is mournful. It’s subtle. It’s a gently bruised song that waltzes in circles with a dozen conflicting emotions, before reforming and starting again. It sounds like it could be playing out entirely in Turner’s head, though a serenity in his tone that suggests he’s likely to emerge just fine ≠ regardless of whether we believe him.

A steady slow-burn of a song built on an Americana-tinged jam and guest vocals from quiff connoisseur and hard rock icon Josh Homme, the moody ‘One For The Road’ comes together via a smoky intensity that is an evocative slice of a noirish drama.

The retro-gazing title promises something intensely cinematic, and that it delivers. ‘One Point Perspective’ is a rapture of swooning, big-screen excess, and when played live, Turner allows himself to get caught up in it by faithfully acting out the closing line “Bear wi’ me, man / I lost my train of thought”, as if the Academy is watching, every single time.

“Do you like rock and roll?” Turner would hoot by way of stately introduction to this mighty B-side, one of the many gems that adorned the band’s early 2010s setlists. His question quickly became redundant: ‘Evil Twin’ is the end of a tether compressed into a no-muss, no-fuss barnstormer where riffs roar and the drumming rollicks. Tha knows!

Fair play to those who can recite the raucous verses of ‘Pretty Visitors’ with precision. It’s an incredibly hard task to keep up with this is Helders’ drumming at its most furious, Turner’s lyrics at their most knotty. Yet this everything-at-once, wiggy assault is heroically funny – “What came first, the chicken or the dickhead?”, Turner cries at one point.

An ode to a rather crabby girlfriend, this accidental anthem is brief, playful, and full of gently libidinous digs (“Remember cuddles in the kitchen to get things off the ground?”), to the point where its persistence feels endearing. Though the songwriting may not feel as strong and intricate as that of the rest of the debut album, it’s sung with an impish smile that makes it impossible not to crack a grin of your own.

This is one enormous song. First appearing on the now-sought-after ‘Five Minutes With Arctic Monkeys’ EP – which catapulted the band to underground indie notoriety in summer 2005 – the big, jagged riffs that erupt after the verses throw the song’s rowdy imagery into sharp relief. It all climaxes with a cathartic yell, a wild howl into the void.

‘Brianstorm’ is a fucking blast. Every adrenaline-filled riff, every lairy image and unsettling pause is unleashed at a pace reckless enough to floor you – a point driven home by the way this scrappy indie-rock belter rumbles and ends with a thunderous boom. It’s the type of tune that can leave you breathless while trying to relish it all in the moment.

Intensified by a haunting organ sample from Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, the crestfallen ‘505’ possesses a rich, filmic depth that sparks even brighter with every pulsing beat. And that muscular, aching refrain – “But I crumble completely when you cry” – is the crown jewel of any Arctic Monkeys show.

Coloured by overlapping shades of pain and regret, this fragile piano ballad contains some of the band’s most difficult, inward-looking material yet. When this waltzing number culminates in a devastating plea: “I’ve done some things that I shouldn’t have done / But I haven’t stopped loving you once, it offers an invitation to move through the grief as one.

Alex Turner has never written a straightforward love song, a fact that ‘Secret Door’ builds upon. A glorious, ethereal incantation steeped in a romance so pure and luminous that it drifts along as if by magic, sharp musicianship heightens emotion with each perfectly timed crescendo, while he sings the poetic refrain as if he’s under a spell.

In retrospect, ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ served as the climax of ‘Suck It And See’, as well as everything Arctic Monkeys had done up to that point. This wondrous, big-hearted tale of a blossoming love glimmers like the hazy LA sunset under which it was recorded, until the sprawling melody affixes itself to a moment. A new beginning a full realisation.

Operating with a devilish grin, ‘The View From The Afternoon’ flexes a cheeky sense of self-awareness from the off. “Anticipation has a habit to set you up…”, it so famously and pointedly begins. Which other band would have the balls to pierce vertiginous hype from critics and fans alike by opening their debut album with such a corker, before repeating it again – word-for-bloody-word – at the start of the second verse?

Is this the sexiest Arctic Monkeys song ever? Bolstered by a riff inspired by Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’, this electric hard-rock stomper flashes a knowing grin, rolls out a litany of cool come-ons, and has all the sudden jolts of alluring imagery necessary to set many a mind whirring. Turner’s lusty drawl lingers like a dangling cigarette, as he dissects that particular type of painful, life-consuming longing.“And her lips are like the galaxy’s edge”, he deadpans, knowing she’ll forever be out of reach.

Within each swirling, lovelorn guitar loop of ‘Cornerstone’ is a devastatingly specific, painful memory. “I’m beginning to think I’ve imagined you all along”, Turner laments over a newly absent partner halfway through, as heavy thoughts about love and loss flow by. The second single from ‘Humbug’ charts a sly indoor smoke, a case of déjà vu in the pub, a reflective taxi ride home, and embodies exactly what many of Turner’s stories are made of: seemingly mundane moments that alchemise into big, sensitive narratives.

The sheer joy of ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ is nothing but infectious. It is so glorious and unsteady, so beautiful and silly, and more than a decade on has lost none of its size and sparkle. This fantastical fairytale journey into the woes of ageing ungracefully is brazen in its bite, wit and phallic references: “Was it a Mecca dauber or a betting pencil?” Yet the song possesses enough romance to make your bones tingle, and enough emotion to set your heart alight.

Housing the ultimate kiss-off to a lying cheat – “perhaps ‘Fuck off’ might be too kind” – this scything track depicts an indefinite feeling of regret, and pushes through a turbulent maelstrom of hurt and disgust with the breakneck speed of a Fast & Furious car chase. When, halfway through the song, Turner’s bitter diatribe against a former lover vaults into a heart-thumping crescendo (“Do me a favour and break my nose”), it feels like it could all explode at any moment, just like in the movies.

Originally surfacing in early 2012 as a part of Record Store Day UK, ‘R U Mine?’ kicked off a remarkable run of releases that paved the way for the invincible, record-breaking ‘AM’ in 2013, for which it was reworked and re-released as the mighty lead single. This exhilarating track made for one of the band’s greatest displays of their power yet, and they knew that, too: In the accompanying black-and-white video, as the first gargantuan riff lets rip, Helders and Turner snarl, wink and break into a round of boisterous air-drumming with abandon.

The bravado never fades. Hip hop-indebted verses are slung out in a deft, cocksure cadence, making this refreshing change of pace for the band seem tantalising and limitless. That rock’n’roll, eh?

No one was quite prepared for ‘Star Treatment’. “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes,” began the band’s masterful sixth album. “Now look at the mess you made me make.” A collective gasp was taken. How could one half-spoken lyric invoke guilt, youth, regret, and finality that intensely? At first, those words loom ominously. Few opening lines have ever sounded so uncompromisingly bleak, and even fewer so bracingly frank, so heavy with despair. But augmented by a twinkling piano lead, Turner’s stream-of-consciousness that follows is disarmingly beautiful to the point that the song’s opening shocker swiftly begins to fade out of focus, like a flickering old movie.

It’s a flawless, startling encapsulation of everything the group sought to achieve with their greatest reinvention yet.

‘Do I Wanna Know?’ was simply fated to be a smash. It boasts a blockbuster riff, an anthemic chorus, and the outsized confidence and precision borne from a band who were entering their second decade of indie-rock sovereignty, and damn right knew that they were at the peak of their powers.

The numbers don’t lie, either: to date, the R&B-dabbling song’s animated video has racked up over a billion hits on YouTube. Yet it also bears another honourable triumph – this was once the centrepiece of every indie-worshipping teen’s ‘aesthetics’ Tumblr page (circa 2014), and soon became an internet phenomena that developed into something even greater: a touchstone for a new, wildly committed generation of Monkeys fans.

If there’s one moment that defines why Arctic Monkeys were such a confounding and captivating presence when they came roaring out the gate, it was when eight fateful words were uttered at the start of their first-ever live TV recording. “We are the Arctic Monkeys – don’t believe the hype”, quipped a cocksure Turner, seconds before abruptly launching into a rapid-fire performance of ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’, their indie-rock epic.

The track, with its blistering riffs and acerbic wit, is so perfectly formed, so impeccably sequenced, that even to this day you can only laugh at how absurdly good it is. It holds the power to change lives in just three golden minutes – and will continue to do so forever.

Is there anything at all romantic about outgrowing your hometown? As your teenage years draw to a close, the overfamiliarity of your locale can feel increasingly claustrophobic, but a nagging undercurrent of pride is what draws you back, time and time again. What ‘A Certain Romance’ offers is a small victory. It’s emblematic of an entire suburban adolescence. With no real chorus and very few rhythmic changes, it manages to condense and illustrate all the bombast and tension of this universal experience into five life-affirming minutes.

No other Arctic Monkeys song feels more searing, more perfect, than this one. It’s the sound of believing in a band’s every word, carrying them with you wherever you go, and feeling so profoundly, disgustingly grateful for each new lyric, for each indescribable emotion. As it builds to an earth shaking climax, (“Well, you won’t get me to go / Not anywhere, not anywhere…”), Jamie Cook’s guitar roars and Matt Helder’s pummelling drums coalesce with Alex Turner’s double epiphany – there is no place like home, there is no band like ours.


How to deal: Teenage drinking

Most adults will admit to having their first drink before age 21 and many kids these days experiment with alcohol in their early teens. Be prepared for the possibility that your teen may be drinking alcohol. Make a game plan on how to deal with teenage drinking.

Make your stance clear

Underage drinking should be a non-negotiable topic. If you don’t want your teens to drink alcohol, you shouldn’t allow them to drink at home under your supervision or for special occasions. Make your stance ultimately clear to your teens. Teenage drinking is either allowed in your family or it’s not. Some parents choose to host teen drinking parties, thinking that they’ll be able to control what’s going on under their own roof and avoid circumstances of drunk driving. We don’t recommend supplying underage drinkers with alcohol. It’s not only illegal, it’s extremely dangerous.

Many parents believe that if they allow their teens to drink in moderation at home, they’ll be less likely to drink elsewhere. Several studies have shown that this simply isn’t true. Alcohol researcher Caitlin Abar from Pennsylvania State University revealed in her study last year that parents who disapproved completely of underage alcohol use had children who engaged in less drinking once in college. However, parents who were permissive about teenage drinking in high school tended to have children who engaged in more excessive binge drinking in their college years.

A zero tolerance policy won’t insure your teens won’t drink now or in college. However, teenagers from such households do have a tendency to drink less.

Read more about teens and alcohol >>

Remove temptations

Parents shouldn’t expect their teens to be alcohol-free if Mom and Dad drink excessively every weekend. Remove temptations from your household by eliminating liquor (or locking it up) and setting a good example. It’s certainly okay to have a glass or two of wine with dinner, but if your teen sees you polishing off a bottle of hard alcohol on a regular basis, you aren’t being a good role model. If your children are going to drink when they are of legal age, they should do so moderately and responsibly.

Follow through with consequences

You should have a plan of consequences for how to deal with teenage drinking before any incidents even occur. Make sure your kids are aware of what will happen if they get caught drinking alcohol. If your teen drinks and drives, take his/her driver’s license away. And not just for a week — for a significant period of time. Also consider involving your teenager in an alcohol education classes or refer them to books or websites on the subject. Check out The Cool Spot, where teens can find facts about alcohol, how to deal with peer pressure, the dangers of alcohol poisoning and more.

Pick them up

No matter what you do, you can’t be 100 percent sure that your teens won’t drink alcohol when they are out of your sight. Make sure that they understand that no matter what time it is, where they are or how drunk they are, you will come pick them up if they call. Your children shouldn’t be so afraid of the consequences at home that they risk their lives and get behind the wheel while intoxicated or get into the car with someone else who is driving drunk.

Get professional help

If you suspect your teen has developed a drinking problem, reach out for professional help. Alcoholics Anonymous, family counselors and other experts can assist teens and families in crisis. If you are looking for alcohol abuse treatment programs in your area, use the facility locator on the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. The Teens Health site also has some good information on where to get help.

Read about the signs your teen is drinking >>

Life vs. fiction

Speaking of teenage drinking, check out our must-read book pick, Night Road by Kristin Hannah, a great fiction read that raises questions about teenage drinking, teenage romance, parenthood and the unforgettable story about one family and the pain of loss and power of forgiveness. Head to our new SheKnows Book Lounge now.


6. Daily Dose of Beans

Eat at least a half cup of cooked beans daily.

Beans are the cornerstone of every Blue Zones diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean and soybeans in Okinawa. The long-lived populations in these blue zones eat at least four times as many beans as we do, on average. One five-country study, financed by the World Health Organization, found that eating 20 grams of beans daily reduced a person’s risk of dying in any given year by about 8%.

The fact is, beans represent the consummate superfood in the Blue Zones diet. On average, they are made up of 21% protein, 77% complex carbohydrates (the kind that deliver a slow and steady energy, rather than the spike you get from refined carbohydrates like white flour), and only a few percent fat. They are also an excellent source of fiber. They’re cheap and versatile, come in a variety of textures, and are packed with more nutrients per gram than any other food on Earth.

Humans have eaten beans for at least 8,000 years they’re part of our culinary DNA. Even the Bible’s book of Daniel (1:1-21) offers a two-week bean diet to make children healthier. The blue zones dietary average—at least a half cup per day—provides most of the vitamins and minerals you need. And because beans are so hearty and satisfying, they’ll likely push less healthy foods out of your diet. Moreover, the high fiber content in beans helps healthy probiotics flourish in the gut.

How you can do it:

+ Find ways to cook beans that taste good to you and your family as part of a Blue Zones diet. Centenarians in the blue zones know how to make beans taste good. If you don’t have favorite recipes already, resolve to try three bean recipes over the next month.

+ Make sure your kitchen pantry has a variety of beans to prepare. Dry beans are cheapest, but canned beans are quicker. When buying canned beans, be sure to read the label: The only ingredients should be beans, water, spices, and perhaps a small amount of salt. Avoid the brands with added fat or sugar.

+ Use pureed beans as a thickener to make soups creamy and protein-rich on the Blue Zones diet.

+ Make salads heartier by sprinkling cooked beans onto them. Serve hummus or black bean cakes alongside salads for added texture and appeal.

+ Keep your pantry stocked with condiments that dress up bean dishes and make them taste delicious. Mediterranean bean recipes, for example, usually include carrots, celery, and onion, seasoned with garlic, thyme, pepper, and bay leaves. This is an easy way to mix up a Blue Zones diet.

+ When you go out to dinner, consider Mexican restaurants, which almost always serve pinto or black beans. Enhance the beans by adding rice, onions, peppers, guacamole, and hot sauce. Avoid white flour tortillas. Instead, opt for corn tortillas, with which beans are consumed in Costa Rica.


Are Earthworms Edible?

When I was a little boy, I read a funny children’s book called How to Eat Fried Worms. This book was made into a movie in 2006. Billy, the main character, makes a bet that he can eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. The worms get cooked up in all sorts of interesting ways and as it becomes certain that Billy will win the bet the boys he placed the bet with try to make the challenge harder and harder. But, as a parent, you’d ask: Is this safe? Can people eat worms? Billy’s parents asked the doctor, and then took it in stride, even helping him.

The Western World sees worms as disgusting and inedible. They are something that lives in waste and eats into your brain after you die. They are potent enough to have been a lynch-pin in the portrayal of fast food as dirty and evil, and legends of the McWorm Burger forced McDonald’s to print full-page ads in newspapers on the West Coast, where the legend was most active (discussed below). If you’ve ever bought a small bucket of nightcrawlers for bait, though, you’d know that beef is a whole lot cheaper and McDonald’s would not make money off a worm burger. Meal worms, the larval form of the meal worm beetle, or Tenebrio molitor, which is also a perfectly edible by humans, and used in some cultures, have also been said to have been a protein source in McDonald’s burgers. Again, this would make for one expensive burger.

In Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice, the authors recount an American folk song, which apparently came from a 1930’s cartoon called “Minnie the Moocher,” where the miserable European immigrant child sang 1 MacClancy, Jeremy, C. J. K. Henry, and Helen M. Macbeth. Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice. New York: Berghahn, 2009. :

I know what I’ll do by and by
I’ll eat some worms, and then I’ll die
And when I’m gone, just wait you see
They’ll all be sorry that they picked on me

And then another children’s song:

Nobody loves me
Everybody hates me
Think I’ll go eat worms

The worms crawl in
The worms crawl out
They eat your guts
And spit them out

So, eating worms, as far as these chants are concerned, is eating the inedible, not only as a rebellious act, but as suicidal one. And lots of kids, similar to Billy, have eaten a worm on a dare, or even gotten one shoved down their throat by bullies. To no ill effects. If worms weren’t such a symbol, the gummy worm would never have been so successful! But this is a hangup of the West. People in other parts of the world eat worms, grubs, and insects, not as a matter of survival, but with enthusiasm.

The fact is that all species of earthworms are edible by humans. They are considered a delicacy by the Maoris of New Zealand. They even make them into pies in Japan. They are eaten also in parts of Africa, New Guinea, and, it is believed, South America. In the Philippines, the Perionyx excavatus species is bred in vegetable waste and then processed with herbs and seasoning to make steaklets for humans to eat. There was also a food supplement called Eugeton, made out of cultured African Nightcrawlers. They have also been used for medicinal purposes. 2 Sims, R. W., and B. M. Gerard. Earthworms: Keys and Notes for the Identification and Study of the Species. London: Published for the Linnean Society of London and the Estuarine and Brackish-Water Sciences Association by E.J. Brill, 1985. Earthworms may also be a valuable source of high protein food for livestock, and of course, they are fish food.

Pygmy Chimpanzees regularly eat earthworms, as well, but it is hard to understand why. They will dig for them, by hand, for hours, and they do not get a lot for such a labor-intensive and long foraging session. Perhaps even more weird is the fact that they hardly seem to chew them at all, and the worms remain intact in the feces. 3 Kanō, Takayoshi. The Last Ape: Pygmy Chimpanzee Behavior and Ecology. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1992. They probably do not get much nutrition from them so perhaps they like the feel of them slivering down their throats! Bonobos and Gorillas eat them as well, but I have found no reference as to whether they chew them or not.

But if you were to chew, the earthworm, pound for pound, is packed with protein, at 82% of the body weight of the worm. You’ll also be eating the decaying organic matter inside them. They eat soil, which is ground in a gizzard, and then the waste is ejected as a casting out their rear end. These castings are used to line the burrow or are deposited at the entrance. Anything in the soil, including pesticides and parasites, could be inside the worm.

Safety Concerns

Earthworms harbor infectious parasites.

Our canine friends sometimes like to munch on them, but note that it is dangerous dangerous for dogs to eat earthworms.

If there are pesticides in the soil, they will be in the worm. And of course, any bacteria, etc. So, you may want to think twice before rushing to the backyard to forage for earthworms to nibble on and if you may want to try to stop your dog from eating them, if possible.

Generally, when earthworms are eaten, the soil is first removed from the gut of the worms and they are cooked by boiling, baking, or other cooking method to a temperature that is sufficient to kill most parasites.

Are Nightcrawlers Edible?

Large and robust earthworms known as nightcrawlers are the most common type of earthworm in the United States and they are as edible as any other earthworm. Their scientific name is actually Lumbricus terrestris. In Britain this is called the lob worm or common earthworm, and in Europe it might be called simply the red worm. In Canada they are called the dew worm or Grandaddy Earthworm. Ironically, the “common” nightcrawler in North America is an invasive, introduced species. In fact, a great many of the earthworms found in the United States, 45 to 60 species or more, were introduced. The nightcrawler, the largest of these invasive earthworms, came to North America with European settlers, along with others, beginning in the 16th century. These worms probably arrived in the soil used as ballast on ships, or on the root balls of plants. They continued to arrive with imported ornamental plants, but also as intentional and permitted importations of live bait into the the U.S from Canada. 8 If you are old enough to remember that old commercial jingle on the TV show WKRP, you know another of the most common introduced species: “Red wrigglers, the Cadillac of worms!”

Red wrigglers were what were usually sold as bait or for composting, when I was growing up in the South…at least as far as I can remember, and we sometimes found them in the ground. But the nightcrawler was by far the most plentiful, and was easier to find, especially when it was growing dark, at which time they come closer to the surface.

We usually think of earthworms as beneficial to the soil, however, these invasive species can be destructive when introduced into areas where earthworms did not exist before, especially in forests, where there decomposing action on the leaf litter can alter the ecology in such a way as to make the environment unsuitable for certain trees and plants. Earthworms do not normally spread very quickly if left to their own devices, but they are easily helped along by humans, such as fishermen who dump leftover bait worms onto the ground.

Worm Burger Controversy

When I was a kid, maybe around the time I was reading How to Eat Fried Worms, there was an urban legend circulating: McDonald’s hamburgers were made with ground worms, meaning, of course, earthworms. In fact, the rumor originally started about Wendy’s but was switched to McDonalds, since the chain was so much larger.

More recently, in 2012, a Russian woman claimed that her McDonald’s hamburger was full of worms. 4 Chaykovskaya, Evgeniya. “McDonald’s Denies Worms in Their Hamburgers.” The Moscow News. N.p., 24 July 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2013. This was never substantiated and, of course, the urban legend about ground worm burgers is just a myth. It plays on the image of fast food as garbage that is destructive to our bodies. Worms are a symbol of both waste and inner rot, a perfect metaphor for the perception that fast food franchises knowingly sell us dangerous food. 5 De, Vos Gail. Tales, Rumors, and Gossip: Exploring Contemporary Folk Literature in Grades 7-12. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1996.

A ground worm burger, as you can see from reading this, would not cause such controversy everywhere in the world. McDonald’s in some countries might be able to develop just such a burger! (Additional sources: 6 Edwards, C. A., P. J. Bohlen, and C. A. Edwards. Biology and Ecology of Earthworms. London: Chapman & Hall, 1996 7 Woodward, Susan L., and Joyce Ann. Quinn. Encyclopedia of Invasive Species: From Africanized Honey Bees to Zebra Mussels. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2011. 8 Kahn, Cynthia M. The Merck Manual / Merial Manual for Pet Health. Whithouse Station, NJ: Merck, 2007. )

You may also be interested: Are Grasshoppers Edible?

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