The Atlantic has quickly become on of my favorite sources for interesting articles about food, drink and such. Take Yoni Appelbaum's brief but thorough history of Manischewitz sweet Concord grape wine. In "The 11th Plague? Why People Drink Sweet Wine on Passover", the author grapples with the history behind the reality that Manischewitz wine isn't all that good, but people love it anyway. From raisin wine to cheap, easily supervised Concord grape production, through Prohibition and into the present day, Appelbaum lays out the history of Passover wine in America, and the uniquely American drink that Manischewitz became. It's even become a fad among hip young Jews and gentiles alike. For instance, as Appelbaum says:
...a modern bistro attracts a trendy crowd with offerings that include the Drunken Pharaoh, a Manischewitz-and-bourbon cocktail. Concord wine, it turns out, has hipster cred. It is also enjoying a boom in exports to Asia, home to the world's fastest-growing wine markets.Catholic boy here will occasionally buy a canister of kosher macaroons at Giant when he finds them. As for the Manischewitz wine: I haven't tried it, but now I'm gonna have to go out and buy some just to see what Appelbaum is saying.