Hot fudge mail

This year, the U.S. Postal Service is celebrating soda fountain favorites, with stamps depicting a double-scoop ice cream cone, an egg cream, a banana split, a root beer float, and a hot fudge sundae. The illustrations, by artist Nancy Stahl of New York City, have geometric silver-toned patterns in the selvage to evoke the chrome trim of a classic soda fountain. It's an homage to the sweet history of mineral water, long touted as having curative properties.

In 1806, a Yale University chemistry professor began pumping water full of carbon dioxide gas to mimic the effervescent liquid found in natural springs. A local apothecary featured his concoction, as did two soda fountains in New York City. The trend spread, and manufacturers started making ornate marble fountains to dispense the fizzy water; before long, soda fountains sprang up inside American restaurants, candy shops, department stores and pharmacies.

By the late 1800s, soda jerks began offering a wide variety of ingredients and syrups to flavor their product, such as lemon, raspberry, pineapple, sarsaparilla, cola and egg cream. It's not clear when someone added a scoop of ice cream to the concoction and created the ice cream soda, but it was a hit. Soda fountains became popular gathering places, especially after Prohibition banned alcohol sales, and during World War II, when soda fountains on military bases here and abroad reminded soldiers of home. The rise of fast food in the 1960s contributed to the demise of soda fountains.

So now we have stamps. To order these and see other 2016 offerings, visit

More winter markets

Bachman's on Lyndale (6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.) will again host three winter markets at its Garden Greenhouse. Local growers, craftsmen and food artisans from Fulton and Kingfield markets will be on hand with their produce, breads, meats, cheeses, canned goods and handmade items for sale. Look for beer and wine available for sale by the glass, and live music. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, Feb. 27 and March 26.

King Arthur crowns a recipe

King Arthur Flour has announced its 2016 Recipe of the Year, and it's inspired by Minnesotans Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, authors of the bestselling "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day." The No-Knead Crusty White Bread springs from four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and salt — and you know which brand of flour is recommended. KA touts the recipes as "a wonderful way to get into yeast-bread baking. The easy stir-together dough rests in your refrigerator, developing flavor all the time, until you're ready to bake. About 90 minutes before you want to serve bread, grab a handful of dough, shape it, let it rise, then bake for 30 minutes." For the recipe, visit