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Culture

You know, they didn't always put a plastic baby in a king cake. Here's why they did.

mardis gras, kings cake, king cake, king cake baby
File:King Cake Baby.jpg - Wikipedia

In my humble opinion, the Mardis Gras king cake is by far the coolest holiday dessert. It’s got a little bit of everything: a fun design, bold colors, a rich history (more on that later).

Made with yeasty cinnamon flavored dough—and heaps of symbolism—this regal pastry-cake hybrid is usually oval shaped to resemble a crown, along with tri-colored icing in gold, purple and green to represent power, justice and faith.

And let’s not forget the piece de resistance: that miniature plastic baby, destined to be found by one lucky individual. Lucky in the sense that finding it means they now have the honor of providing the cake for next year.

However, there wasn’t always a baby hiding in the dough. Like most traditions, this one has evolved and adapted over time. And, of course, it began with pagans.


Many historians believe that the king cake has much older origins, beginning with the Roman winter festival Saturnalia.

File:Saturnalia by Antoine Callet.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

During this winter solstice celebration, Saturn—the Roman god of agriculture—would be honored by using the gains of the season’s harvest to make ceremonial cakes. And instead of a miniature baby, one singular fava bean would be placed inside. And whosoever should find the bean would be named “king of the day.”

Which is a bit odd, considering in ancient tradition fava beans were regarded as omens of death. But other sources note that favas were considered magic and even used for voting. Certainly makes that infamous Hannibal line take on a whole new context.

In addition to baking, the festival would involve a raucous good time of booze, dancing, gambling and other, ahem, adult group activities.

Fast forward to the rise of Christianity, the ritual adopted a more religious context in France.

File:Edward Burne-Jones - The Adoration of the Magi - Google Art ...commons.wikimedia.org

In Roman Catholic tradition, the Epiphany denotes the day when the three kings first saw the baby Jesus. The king cake came to represent this day, even taking on the name of Epiphany cake.

So it stands to reason that if this sweet treat became associated with the celebration of baby Jesus, then of course the plastic baby was originally intended for such representation, right?

Wrong.

The baby wouldn’t make its appearance until the mid-1900s, and it was thanks to a clever salesman in New Orleans.

File:Mobile Mardi Gras Carnival, 1900.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

By then, the king cake had already been a prominent Mardi Gras item.

The owner of one of the 20th century’s most famous bakeries, Donald Entringer of McKenzie’s, was approached by a salesman carrying a surplus of tiny porcelain dolls from France, according to food expert Poppy Tooker in an interview with NPR.

"He had a big overrun on them, and so he said to Entringer, 'How about using these in a king cake,’” Tooker told NPR.

Though a simple case of supply-and-demand isn’t terribly exciting, the way this simple concept has advanced to become the dish’s golden standard is pretty remarkable.

Plus, the fact that this Louisiana tradition is steeped in history of bawdy hedonism and sacred spiritualism, all with a healthy dose of capitalizing on the combo … I mean if that’s not New Orleans in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.

It’s not just beans and babies either.

Pecans, jeweled rings, gold coins and small charms have also been used. Some bakeries have even made their own customized trinkets. Others have started avoiding placing them inside altogether, attempting to thwart potential lawsuits. Baking with plastic is a tad more frowned upon these days.

Though most of us are familiar with the NOLA style of the king cake, other countries have their own versions.

There’s the French galette des rois, which is less colorful but oh-so-flaky, topped with a golden paper crown.

Also there’s Spanish rosca de reyes, flavored with lots of orange and topped with dried fruit.

There’s even a Greek version, vasilopita, that’s very similar to coffee cake. Not that you couldn’t have any of these cakes for breakfast, but there’s an excuse baked right into this one.

No matter what style you try, or whether or not you find that plastic baby, the king cake—along with its festive history and captivating lore—is definitely worth celebrating.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

America's Got Talent/Youtube

That was so fun to watch.

The art of quick change has captivated viewers since the 17th (or perhaps even 15th) century. Perhaps it’s one of the more enduring styles of illusion because it can adapt along with ever changing fashion trends. Or maybe the concept of taking mere seconds to do any mundane task will always baffle us. Either way, it’s an act audiences love time and time again.

And yet, even if you have seen quick change magic before, Solange Kardinaly’s “America’s Got Talent” audition offers a fresh take.


The Portugal-born magician, who just so happens to hold the Guiness World Record for most costume changes in a single minute, stunned the crowd with a number that had 5 seamless outfit swaps, along with a color changing purse and money that appeared out of nowhere. Talk about living the dream.

Besides the quick changes, part of what makes the act so magical is Kardinaly’s charisma and stage presence. She’s clearly having so much fun strutting to Madonna’s “Material Girl” as her character goes on a shopping spree.

Watch:

After her performance, Kardinaly got nothing but praise from judges Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel and Simon Cowell, who agreed she was “the best quick-change artist [they] had ever seen” and voted for her to move on to the competition’s next round.

Of course, the judges weren’t the only ones who were impressed. Check out some of these lovely comments from online viewers:

“She's not doing quick change only,but she's a magician as well.this is mind blowing

Great concept and great storytelling. Awesome job!”

“If this isn’t magic, I don’t know what is! Absolutely enchanted by your performance!”

“Even when slowed down to 25% speed you cannot see how she does it, incredible.”

“Not many people know how much work n how much detail goes into a quick change act like this , she truly a wonderful craft lady.”

“Even though I understand how this sort of trick is performed, I was still very impressed. She pulls it off flawlessly. Her transitions are lightning fast with no pulling or bunching. It is obvious that she has spent A LOT of time perfecting her technique.”

“Freaking awesome...She is really good and knows how to present her craft to the audience.”

Now, if you please excuse me while I take at least 45 minutes to get into ONE outfit today…

Millennial shares 'proof' they're not aging as quickly as Gen Z




Millennials and Gen Z truly have a sibling kind of relationship. They take turns teasing each other but in the end it's nothing but love between the two generations. In recent months people were taunting Gen Z about their looks saying that they age like milk and several from that generation agreed that people often mistake them for much older than they are.

Well, it seems Gen Z is back with their own commentary about how poorly Millennials age but instead of the older sibling in this rivalry conceding to the point, they dispute it...with receipts. Ouch, this one probably stings a bit. Chris Bautista uploaded a video response to TikTok addressing the young whippersnappers telling Millennials they look old to explain why they feel that way.

The answer is quite simple. Millennials set the bar for what aging looks like for people approaching middle age according to Bautista.


"I'm gonna say this a little bit louder for the Gen Zers in the back that didn't hear me the last time. Millennials look fantastic for our age and you cannot tell us otherwise," Bautista starts. "The reason why you think we don't look great for our ages is because we have set the new standard of what it looks like to age."

Then he pulls out receipts. Pictures of celebrities who were the age Millennials are right now when the pictures were taken. Yikes! Most Millennials look no where near the age of the people in the pictures, but maybe the camera added 10 years?

Watch the video:

@bautistud This needs to be said for millenials 🫡 #millennialsoftiktok #genzvsmillenial #aging ♬ original sound - Chris Bautista

"It's cause all millennials used the St. Ives peach scrub exfoliating wash and we achieved eternal youth," someone surmises.

"It's gotta be the Flintstone vitamins," another guesses.

"I don't know, I am 40 and got stopped at my son's high school security guard because he thought I was a student. No one ever believes my age," one person writes.

"But seriously like what's the reason? Cause this life has been stressful," someone else asks.

So is Gen Z really aging poorly or did Millennials get some weird radioactive Flintstone vitamins laced with asbestos that is causing their cells to age slower? The world may never know but hopefully these two generations forever keep the sibling banter alive.

Man points out racial bias in coverage of Angel Reese's 'flagrant' foul

Whether you're a basketball fan or not, there is no escaping the names Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark. The two powerhouse players catapulted into public consciousness when their friendly rivalry went viral in 2023. There's no denying that each player is amazing at the sport. In fact, they were both drafted to the WNBA right after their last college season and almost immediately hit the court as professionals.

Their rivalry has brought more eyes on the WNBA breaking viewership and attendance records but some fans have noticed a discrepancy in how Clark is treated versus Reese. Mr. Ernest Crim III, a former classroom teacher took to social media to highlight what he believes is racial bias, and he brings some receipts to back up his claims.

Clark is a white player who transitioned from the University of Iowa to the WNBA's Indiana team and Reese is a Black player with the Chicago Sky whose Louisiana State University team won the 2023 championship.


The two have explained that they respect each other's game and have no ill intentions toward each other, but this doesn't seem to stop the inflammatory headlines or comments. Crim brings up how fouling is applied differently for similar instances depending on if the person being fouled is Reese or Clark. The former teacher tied in statistics on how what he sees as implicit bias leads to harsher punishments for Black girls and women.

Implicit bias isn't something that people do on purpose. In fact, most people don't even realize they may be acting with any sort of bias because it's not intentional.

"This reminds me of how Black girls are disproportionately treated at school and as a former classroom teacher, I just gotta keep speaking on it. Because Caitlin Clark was intentionally bumped and it was upgraded to a flagrant 1 but when Angel Reese was intentionally bumped it was just a regular foul," Crim says.

Reese came to the defense of her teammate who received a flagrant foul for bumping Clark, encouraging reporters to review the clip, "go check the clip, it's the same."

Crim presents multiple examples in the video below:

The man wasn't the only one thinking there was something off with the treatment of the two basketball stars, commenters shared their thoughts as well.

"THIS. Thank you for your support. Appreciate you," one person says.

"Angel Reese is also one of the main reasons the WNBA is getting a larger support base. Not just Caitlin Clark like so many are saying. I will say I am disappointed in the WNBA alumni in their treatment of Reese and Clark," someone says.

"Not to mention the fact that she waved her hand at the ref which is whatever and Caitlin has done it several times and not been thrown out although she was assessed technical fouls. I love them both but the BS narrative continues but she will continue to fight against it and the difference now is she has a lot of support whereas in past years or decades she might have been run out of the league," another commenter explains.

Pop Culture

Nazis demanded to know if ‘The Hobbit’ author was Jewish. He responded with a high-class burn.

J.R.R. Tolkien hated Nazi “race doctrine” and no problem telling his German publishing house about it.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler handed the power of Jewish cultural life in Nazi Germany to his chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels established a team of of regulators that would oversee the works of Jewish artists in film, theater, music, fine arts, literature, broadcasting, and the press.

Goebbels' new regulations essentially eliminated Jewish people from participating in mainstream German cultural activities by requiring them to have a license to do so.

This attempt by the Nazis to purge Germany of any culture that wasn't Aryan in origin led to the questioning of artists from outside the country.

Nazi book burning via Wikimedia Commons

In 1938, English author J. R. R. Tolkien and his British publisher, Stanley Unwin, opened talks with Rütten & Loening, a Berlin-based publishing house, about a German translation of his recently-published hit novel, "The Hobbit."


Privately, according to "1937 The Hobbit or There and Back Again," Tolkien told Unwin he hated Nazi "race-doctrine" as "wholly pernicious and unscientific." He added he had many Jewish friends and was considering abandoning the idea of a German translation altogether.

The Berlin-based publishing house sent Tolkien a letter asking for proof of his Aryan descent. Tolkien was incensed by the request and gave his publisher two responses, one in which he sidestepped the question, another in which he clapped back '30s-style with pure class.

His publisher sent the classy clap-back.

In the letter sent to Rütten & Loening, Tolkien notes that Aryans are of Indo-Iranian "extraction," correcting the incorrect Nazi aumption that Aryans come from northern Europe. He cuts to the chase by saying that he is not Jewish but holds them in high regard. "I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people," Tolkien wrote.

Tolkien also takes a shot at the race policies of Nazi Germany by saying he's beginning to regret his German surname. "The time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride," he writes.

Here's the letter sent to Rütten & Loening:

25 July 1938 20 Northmoor Road, Oxford
Dear Sirs,

Thank you for your letter. I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by arisch. I am not of Aryan extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of Jewish origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have no ancestors of that gifted people.

My great-great-grandfather came to England in the eighteenth century from Germany: the main part of my descent is therefore purely English, and I am an English subject — which should be sufficient. I have been accustomed, nonetheless, to regard my German name with pride, and continued to do so throughout the period of the late regrettable war, in which I served in the English army. I cannot, however, forbear to comment that if impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride.

Your enquiry is doubtless made in order to comply with the laws of your own country, but that this should be held to apply to the subjects of another state would be improper, even if it had (as it has not) any bearing whatsoever on the merits of my work or its sustainability for publication, of which you appear to have satisfied yourselves without reference to my Abstammung.
I trust you will find this reply satisfactory, and
remain yours faithfully,

J. R. R. Tolkien

assets.rebelmouse.io

This article originally appeared on 2.15.22