Whether you’re a "natural" juicer who likes to squeeze their own fruits and vegetables into a fabulous purée of flavors, or someone who enjoys a nice Sunny D in the morning before heading to work, many of us find joy in juice. There’s something so refreshing about an ice-cold glass of orange juice — and it’s even better when you throw in a little cranberry juice to make your own mix of flavors. Most of the time when we’re buying bottled juices, we aren’t thinking about checking out each ingredient before we throw the bottles into our cart — but perhaps we should, as some of them might surprise you.
"Needless to say, there are some ingredients that you should be mindful of when you’re purchasing your favorite bottled juice to drink alongside your bagel in the morning"
There are many things that drive us to purchase a bottled juice. Maybe we saw a cool commercial about a new beverage or a billboard that advertised a product with half the sugar of typical juices. And while these claims might very well be true, it’s imperative to remember that many bottled juices contain some pretty surprising ingredients that you might not have even realized were bad for you. Brands that have been on the market for a while, like Sunny D, Capri Sun, and Tropicana, have tried to shed their bad reputations of containing high-fructose corn syrup by substituting in ingredients like rebaudioside A, or Reb A, which is the sweetest of all the natural compounds found in the stevia leaf. Even with these new sources of sweetness, though, most Sunny D, Capri Sun, and Tropicana products still contain some pretty strong amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.
We’ve heard about companies using stevia as a "healthy" alternative to high-fructose corn syrup, but just how good for you is the sugar replacement? According to the Pure Via website, "Reb A is more than 200 times sweeter than sugar," so consumers need to be careful with what they are depositing into their bodies. These drinks, while oftentimes marketing themselves as low-calorie and low-sugar, can be loaded with some pretty absurd ingredients, such as sucralose, niacinamide (which in doses of more than 3 grams per day can cause liver problems, gout, ulcers of the digestive tract, loss of vision, high blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, and other serious problems), and yellow 5 and yellow 6. You probably shouldn't be too concerned with the liver problems associated with high doses of niacinamide because most juices like Trop 50 only contain about 4% of the daily value of niacin. But these yellow dyes, the second and third most common food colorings respectively, have been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children and other potential risks such as kidney and intestinal tumors.
Needless to say, there are some ingredients that you should be mindful of when you’re purchasing your favorite bottled juice to drink alongside your bagel in the morning. Now, this doesn’t mean that all bottled juices are terrible for you. Some of Tropicana’s original juices actually contain 100 percent natural Florida orange juice with no preservatives, for example. We even found some ingredients in your bottled juice that are good for you and offer valuable sources of vitamins!
To help you decipher your juice bottle's ingredient label, we came up with a list of 10 ingredients to be wary of consuming in great quantities, all of which were found in a number of juice products on the market right now.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Everclear
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Once we’ve spent enough time in college, we like to think that we’re totally in control whenever we go drink at a party or at the bars. However, alcohol can be tricky. And Everclear, the near-poison vodka, is the trickiest alcohol there is.
Gif courtesy of theasterisktoday.com
This is probably the only time I’ll disagree with Ron Swanson, because Everclear is possibly the only wrong way to consume alcohol. It turns the best of us into hot messes and can basically ruin your life. Plus, you don’t really know anything about it. Let’s change that.
1. There is literally no alcohol in existence that’s more potent.
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Everclear is 190-proof. Let me make that clear. It is 95% alcohol. By comparison, most rum and vodka clock in between 40% to 60%, or 80 to 120-proof. As of right now, Everclear is deemed the strongest alcohol on earth: chemistry doesn’t allow anything stronger than 191-proof to exist.
Some people basically consider it poison, but hey, a party is a party. Plus (as we’ll get to later), the government is so against it that a bunch of states have tried to ban it from sale.
2. It’s so pure, it doesn’t have room for the “bad stuff.”
Because it has such a high alcohol content, there’s no room in Everclear for additives that plague so many of our other drinks. There isn’t added sugar or caffeine.
All you have to worry about is the sugar in the juice or soda you mix your Everclear with (please, please, please mix it). So I guess that’s 1 point for E-Clear?
3. Some states have made it illegal.
It’s so bad that it’s literally illegal to buy the 190-proof in somewhere between 14 and 16 states (nobody seems to agree on the definite number). So that many state legislatures have got together and said, “This is not okay.” These states include California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.
There are also some states, like Pennsylvania, where you can only buy Everclear if you can prove beforehand that you’re not going to drink it, but are going to use it for non-drinking purposes (like cleaning). Somehow, it manages to find its way into every state’s party anyway.
4. It’s featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Gif courtesy of cnsnews.com
I mean, it’s pretty impressive to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. You probably won’t be surprised why this booze made the cut.
It won the award for “Most Alcoholic Drink in the World.” So even though that might sound sort of exciting, take a second and picture how drunk you get on your much lower-proof rum.
5. Like most drinks, the calories are kind of crazy.
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For one shot (or 1.5 fluid ounces), Everclear clocks in at an uncomfortable 285 calories. (Comparison point: most hard liquors clock in at around 96 calories per shot). To be fair, if you’re doing straight shots of Everclear, chances are you’re not so worried about calories as much as you’re trying to spiritually depart from the planet into the netherworld.
If you’re not doing straight shots (the only semi-smart way to approach this), keep in mind that your mixer has calories as well. Drinking on a diet is possible, but Everclear makes it tricky.
6. The makers of Everclear also sell a less potent version.
While also banned in some states, Everclear’s baby version is a 151-proof drink, or 75.5% alcohol. It seems less intimidating when you think of some Bacardi 151 you may have had. It’s also come under fire less in state legislature.
But don’t be fooled. Everclear will always mess you up.
7. It’s odorless.
Gif courtesy of gifwave.com
Be wary of jungle juice. Although most people who’ve had Everclear can know it by taste, some might not catch it from mixed drink swigs. It doesn’t have the distinct gasoline smell of most horribly potent liquors, so you could drink quite a bit.
Then (see #1) the Everclear will catch up with you so fast you may as well have been drinking it all your life.
8. It’s made from modified corn.
This is more of an overlooked thing, but, don’t forget, drinking is basically like eating vegetables. Old, fermented vegetables.
And not only that, but they use GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. So your fermented corn has been altered for the drink. GMOs aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re not always the best thing.
9. The hangovers are different and worse.
This is an experience you can share with anyone who’s had an Everclear hangover. If you haven’t had one, you don’t understand and you cannot understand.
An Everclear hangover is not a pounding headache and a queasy stomach. An Everclear hangover is the feeling of looming misery and self-disgust (although, some weirdos claim it gives them no hangover at all. Maybe they don’t use any mixers.)
That, coupled with the knowledge that you’ll be drinking it again the next night.
10. Drinker Beware: It will trick you every time.
This is literally the most dangerous thing about Everclear and if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s well worth mentioning. No matter how many times you’ve had Everclear, you will never be able to control your reaction to it. And you will never drink “the right amount.”
Here’s the truth: you will think you’re not drunk when you start because Everclear gets you drunk faster than you can feel it. So you down a few extra drinks until the buzz kicks in and, at that point, you’re so drunk you’re drinking it straight.
15 Recipes to Make in Your Vitamix that Aren’t Smoothies
New and longtime Vitamix owners alike tend to, at some point, fall for the gadget so hard that they look for any excuse to use it more often. Maybe smoothies were your gateway recipe, but you quickly found yourself moving to homemade nut butters , pestos , sauces , dressings , and even raw chocolate tortes . The power of the mixer means you can completely transform a sturdy vegetable such as kale into a silky soup. Here are a few of our favorite ways to give the Vitamix a workout.
1. Hollandaise Sauce
The power of the blender means that the sauce shown here is somewhat less likely to break on you, and it sure makes it a breeze to make. This recipe is a twist on the classic French croque madame , swapping in Parmesan for Gruyère and adding springy asparagus, to boot.
2. Green Goddess Dressing
The best green goddess sauces are delicious on salad, alongside roast chicken, and in dip or dressing form. Bright, packed with herbs, with a luxe character thanks to buttermilk or mayonnaise, they’re also quite flexible. If you don’t have the green herbs called for, experiment with more cilantro and less parsley, for example. A blender gives the dressing in particular a lovely viscosity.
3. Raw Chocolate-Orange Torte
A thing to keep in mind when you’re feeling stuck on new ideas is “which foods have I always wanted to purée but have feared to purée? Enter: soaked cashews. Spun with cacao powder, agave, orange juice and zest, and a few other ingredients, they make a creamy, dreamy filling for this raw chocolate-orange torte .
4. Dutch Baby Pancake
If you’ve never made a Dutch baby pancake before, know that there’s almost nothing in the world so delightful as watching one weeble and wobble to life in a hot oven. This one, laced with the berries of your choice, is ready in just 40 minutes. The Vitamix helps the batter aerate fully, producing a bigger puff in the finished product.
Whether you’re making a basil , parsley , or kale pesto , nothing will make it creamier and silkier than a top-notch blender. Use it (plus a little pasta cooking water to help the sauce come together) to completely douse noodles. Or make this knockout pizza layered with paper-thin potato slices and blue cheese.
6. Nut Butter
Peanut butter, such a simple thing, is a game changer when it’s homemade. Completely smooth and emulsified, it’s so much better than most of what you can buy in a jar. This homemade nut butter guide gives you a few options for using your Vitamix to its fullest capacity, and includes a chocolate-hazelnut spread you might just end up obsessed with, too.
Vegan, tropical pudding is as simple as adding fruit and tofu to a blender and folding in bright bits of pineapple. This Mark Bittman recipe is as smart as it is simple, requiring 35 only minutes. The toasted coconut garnish adds welcome crunch.
8. Almond Milk
The better the blender, the creamier and more delicious the homemade almond milk. If you’ve been buying it at the store, consider making your own. With a bit of patience, high quality raw almonds, and a splash of agave if you like yours a little sweeter, you’ll be delighted by the results.
Perhaps the very best thing about Vitamix -ed gazpacho is how much it reduces mess. Say goodbye to a watering cutting board full of chopped tomatoes with this recipe, you can simply get rid of blemishes and seeds in a big bowl, then blitz the fruit with cucumbers and bell peppers. (For the silkiest texture, do take the time to blanch the tomatoes and get rid of their skins.)
As is true of nut butters, once you’ve made your own hummus in a blender, there’s almost no going back. Silky as can be, with a kick from whatever spices you choose to add, it’s delightfully smooth. Pro tip: Make it in smaller batches, as it’s best the day you make it.
11. Chocolate Avocado Mousse
The Vitamix achieves a wonderful light and fluffy texture in this healthy take on chocolate mousse. Combining chocolate, avocados, almond milk, maple syrup and optional matcha (green tea powder), this luscious vegan mousse will satisfy any sweet tooth.
12. Açai Bowl with Berries and Coconut
Açai bowls are the trend that’s here to stay. Frozen açai puree, which is made from a tropical fruit that grows in South America, is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Blended in a Vitamix with a splash of almond milk and maple syrup, frozen açai purée forms the perfect base for a thick puree that’s especially delicious topped with a thoughtful array of fresh fruit.
13. Carrot-Coconut Soup With Fresh Ginger
As long as you put safety first when making soup (make sure those roast veggies are no longer piping-hot), a Vitamix makes them restaurant-worthy. Think: parsnips, carrots, and tough vegetables that you wouldn’t imagine could ever be quite so luscious and puréed. This carrot-ginger soup takes advantage of the fact that you can “cook” the veggies right in the blender it’s that strong. Keep the oven off, use the stovetop to sauté aromatics, and go to town.
14. Linguine with Easy Roasted Tomato Sauce
Start with roasted tomatoes in a Vitamix, blend in a thin stream of olive oil, and the resulting sauce is so simple and delicious that you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t know about it all along. Silky smooth, full of flavor, the sauce perfectly cloaks each strand of pasta. Whole roasted cherry tomatoes add an extra punch of flavor.
If we had to pick a favorite aspect of the Vitamix beyond smoothies, it might be what it can do to kale, as in this soup. It completely breaks down the green, and look at that color. Cauliflower lends a robust quality to the texture, chicken broth helps everything go a little farther, and you’ve just snuck the kids a vegetable without them being the wiser. Everyone wins.
Who doesn’t love apple pie? Who doesn’t love an exotic sangria to amplify the flavors of fall? Well, if you love both of the above, then you’ll simply adore this apple pie sangria. To render the perfect cross between a hearty dessert and a cosmopolitan beverage, you need the following:
- 1 green apple
- 1red apple,
- 1 pear½ an orange
- 1 bottle of white wine
- 1 cup of salted caramel vodka
- 3 cups apple cider
- a quarter cup of apple pie spice simple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks for garnish.
Cut the apples and pears into cubes, and the oranges into wedges. Next, put them into a large pitcher, and top with wine, apple cider, simple syrup, and vodka. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Stir before serving and garnish with a fresh cinnamon stick.
Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’: 15 Things You Didn’t Know
The story of Pet Sounds is the story of art versus commerce, youthful optimism versus adult cynicism and the independent spirit versus the mundane status quo. It’s also a story of tremendous courage. In 1966, 23-year-old Brian Wilson hijacked the Beach Boys, a multi-million-dollar industry consisting of his two brothers, cousin and childhood friend, to give voice to the sounds he heard in his head and the emotions he felt in his heart. The result was an album that had leading musical figures struggling to match his technical innovation, lyrical depth and melodic genius. Half a century later, it’s questionable whether anyone has.
Pet Sounds has become shorthand for a fully realized artistic vision that owes little to trends and everything to the soul. “We were trying to capture spiritual love that couldn’t be found anywhere else in the world,” Wilson has said. In doing so, he gave popular music one of its finest touchstones.
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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the seminal album’s release, here are some little known facts about Pet Sounds‘ creation.
1. Pet Sounds‘ lyricist penned jingles for Barbie dolls, Max Factor cosmetics and Gallo wine.
In an effort to craft material that moved beyond the Beach Boys’ lightweight fun-fun-fun-in-the-sun fare, Brian Wilson sought to work with a lyricist from outside the band’s usual circle. In late 1965, he tapped Tony Asher, a copywriter at the prestigious Carson-Scott advertising agency, who had written campaigns for Mattel toys (“You can tell it’s Mattel &ndash It’s swell!”), as well as Max Factor, Gallo Wines and a host of other high-profile clients. The pair was loosely acquainted through mutual friends, and had recently crossed paths in the recording studio where Asher was producing advertising jingles. The meeting was short and uneventful, but the urbane and articulate ad man stayed on Wilson’s mind.
“A few weeks later, I got a phone call, ” recalled Asher in an interview for the Pet Sounds 30th-anniversary box set. “And Brian said, ‘Listen, I have an album that is overdue. Would you want to help me write it?’ I thought it was somebody in the office playing a joke on me.'” After confirming it wasn’t a prank, Asher secured a leave of absence from his job and reported for duty at the pop star’s Beverly Hills home several days later. Though it may sound like an unusual pairing, Asher’s experience turning long meetings with ad clients into crisp copy and memorable slogans made him an ideal partner for Wilson. Most of their writing sessions began with abstract conversations about life and love, which would inevitably seep into their work. As Asher relayed to Nick Kent: “It’s fair to say that the general tenor of the lyrics was always his and the actual choice of words was usually mine. I was really just his interpreter.”
2. “You Still Believe in Me” was originally called “In My Childhood” and had completely different lyrics.
For Asher’s first assignment, Wilson handed over a cassette of an instrumental track for a song called “In My Childhood.” The composition already had a complete melody and set of lyrics, which Wilson underscored in the arrangement with youthful sounds from a bike horn and bell. But he had grown unhappy with these words and tasked Asher with writing new ones. “That was a good way to start things off,” Asher said. “It’s a great luxury &ndash at least for a lyricist &ndash to write to tracks because you have a much better sense of what the musical mood of the song is. And here was a case where it was real clear what Brian had in mind.”
The next day, Asher returned with the lyrics to “You Still Be Believe in Me” scrawled on a yellow legal pad. The new lyrics were recorded over the “In My Childhood” instrumental track, which retained its innocent horn and bell as the only vestiges of its prior incarnation. “Brian never let me hear the [original] lyric to it,” Asher remembered. To date, no trace of the “In My Childhood” verses have ever surfaced.
3. The instrumental “Let’s Go Away for a While” was slated to have lyrics.
Brian Wilson always had a special fondness for “Let’s Go Away For a While,” labeling it “the most satisfying piece of music I have ever made.” The complex dynamics and elusive theme make it one of the most fully realized arrangements of his career, but he claims it’s missing a major component: lyrics.
“The track was supposed to be the backing for a vocal, but I decided to leave it alone,” Wilson said in 1967. “It stands up well alone.” This revelation would explain why no obvious tune springs from the melodic figures (“Try to hum it!” he challenged years later). Some reports published in the Nineties accuse Capitol Records, anxious for their overdue album, of forcing Brian to use the vocal session to mix Pet Sounds &ndash or even of confiscating the incomplete tapes outright. It remains to be seen whether these tales are based in reality or rock revisionism. Tony Asher, for his part, denies ever penning words for the tune. “I never heard any lyrics to that song, although I understood there were some. I don’t know if they were recorded or who wrote them, if in fact they ever existed.”
4. “God Only Knows” was written in under an hour.
The track has become one of the most beloved in the band’s canon, famously praised by Paul McCartney as the greatest song ever written. Its legendary status is even more remarkable considering that it came together in less than an hour. According to a 2015 Guardian interview, Wilson claims that he and Tony Asher composed the song in just 45 minutes. “We didn’t spend a lot of time writing it,” confirms Asher. “It came pretty quickly. And Brian spent a lot of time working on what ended up being the instrumental parts of that song. But the part that has lyrics really was one of those things that just kinda came out as a whole.”
Author Jim Fusilli theorized that the song’s title was born out of a love letter Wilson wrote to his wife Marilyn in 1964, signing off with “Yours until God wants us apart.” Whatever the true genesis, this reference to God created a dilemma for the two collaborators. “We had lengthy conversations during the writing of ‘God Only Knows,'” remembers Asher. “Because unless you were Kate Smith and you were singing ‘God Bless America,’ no one thought you could say ‘God’ in a song. No one had done it, and Brian didn’t want to be the first person to try it. He said, ‘We’ll just never get any airplay.'” Though a handful of Southern radio stations banned the song for blasphemy, it was warmly received nearly everywhere else.
5. “God Only Knows” had a sax solo at one point.
The intricate vocal round on the bridge of “God Only Knows” serves as the song’s heavenly centerpiece. It’s jarring to hear anything other than perfectly interlacing harmonies in those eight measures, but the ungainly honk of a saxophone seems especially out of place. Amazingly, that’s exactly what Wilson intended at one point. An early mix has a sax solo front and center, rudely interrupting the song’s finely wrought musical elegance. He wisely edited the part out soon after.
Wilson spent a great deal of time experimenting with the sonic possibilities of “God Only Knows.” He originally sang the song himself before deciding that Carl Wilson’s airy tenor was better suited to the piece. “I said my brother Carl will probably be able to impart the message better than I could, so I sacrificed that one,” he said in 1996. For the fadeout, he had composed an elaborate 30-second a cappella break. “He had all the Beach Boys, Terry Melcher and two of the Rovell sisters [Wilson’s wife Marilyn and her sister Diane] on it,” says Bruce Johnston, who had recently joined the band as a full time member after filling in for Brian Wilson on live tour dates. “It just got so overloaded it was nuts. So he was smart enough to peel it all back.” Ultimately the final fadeout has just three voices &ndash a double-tracked Brian Wilson harmonizing with himself on the high and low parts, and Johnston in the middle.
6. The original title of “I Know There’s an Answer” caused major conflict within the band.
While Brian Wilson was busy writing and recording instrumental tracks for Pet Sounds, the rest of the Beach Boys spent early 1966 touring Japan on the back of their most recent hit, a brainless campfire cover of the Regents’ “Barbara Ann,” which Wilson had tossed off in the fall to fulfill record-company commitments. When the group reconvened in the studio that February to record vocal parts for what they assumed would be another sunny Brian Wilson anthem, one of the first things they heard was a track called “Hang on to Your Ego.” Written with the band’s road manager Terry Sachen, the lyrics were inspired by Wilson’s experience using LSD. The whole band was taken aback by this jarring new direction, but Mike Love reportedly took particular offense to the piece, which he rejected as “a doper song.”
“The prevailing drug jargon at the time had it that doses of LSD would shatter your ego, as if that were a positive thing,” explained Love in 1996. “I wasn’t interested in taking acid or getting rid of my ego.” During outtakes from the sessions, Love can be heard belching in the background, singing the lyrics in the manner of Jimmy Durante and James Cagney, and generally clowning around. Clearly he wasn’t a fan of the tune. “Mike was very confused by it,” confirms Al Jardine. “Mike’s a formula hound &ndash if it doesn’t have a hook in it, if he can’t hear a hook in it, he doesn’t want to know about it.”
Ultimately, Wilson let Love alter the title to a less inflammatory “I Know There’s an Answer,” but it was the start of ongoing tensions between the two. Love reportedly found some of Tony Asher’s lyrics “nauseating” and dubbed the project “Brian’s ego music.” Asher recalls Love hissing the immortal phrase “Don’t fuck with the formula!” at Wilson during one of the recording dates. While Love dismisses these accusations as “a bunch of bullshit,” he’s admitted that “some of the words were so offensive to me that I wouldn’t even sing ’em.”
7. Bruce Johnston is having a conversation about cameras in the background of “Here Today.”
Lending credence to the rumor that Capitol Records rushed Brian Wilson into completing the album, session musician Steve Douglas claims that the album was mixed in a single nine-hour marathon session. “I remember when Brian turned in Pet Sounds,” he said in the 30th-anniversary liner notes. “I was working as a producer at Capitol at the time. It was full of noise. You could hear him talking in the background. It was real sloppy. He had spent all this time making the album, and zip &ndash dubbed it down in one day or something like that.”
The tracks were mostly tweaked to Beach Boy perfection before they were pressed to vinyl, but keen-eared fans have noticed talking during the instrumental break of “Here Today.” Beginning at 1:55, Bruce Johnston can be heard having a conversation with a photographer about a camera he purchased on the band’s recent tour of Japan. A few seconds later, Brian Wilson’s voice cuts through, bellowing, “Top, please!” &ndash his way of asking the engineer to rewind the tape so the band could attempt another vocal take. This quirk was omitted from the 1996 stereo mix of the album, apparently at Wilson’s request.
8. “Pet Sounds” was written as a potential James Bond theme.
The record’s bossa nova-flavored title track began life as an instrumental called “Run James Run.” The James in question is 007 himself. Perhaps inspired by the 15-second James Bond-esque theme that opens the American version of the Beatles’ 1965 Help! soundtrack, Wilson apparently decided to take a stab at a full track. “It was supposed to be a James Bond-theme type of song,” Wilson revealed in 1996. “We were gonna try to get it to the James Bond people. But we thought it would never happen, so we put it on the album.” The cinematic orchestration hints that Brian Wilson could have had a strong future in film scoring.
9. Brian Wilson sped up his vocals on “Caroline, No ” in order to make himself sound younger.
For the album’s emotional closer, 23-year-old Brian Wilson cast his mind back to his teenage crush on a cheerleader named Carol Mountain. He had been obsessed with the girl as a student, rhapsodizing about her beautiful complexion and long dark hair. By 1966, Wilson had discovered that Mountain was married and still living in their hometown of Hawthorne, not far from his Hollywood home. Though also married, Wilson began to call his unrequited high-school love, who had no inkling of his true feelings until decades later. “He didn’t sound drugged or anything, but it was very strange,” Mountain told author Peter Ames Carlin. “He’d call at 3 a.m. and want to talk about music. … But it was nothing inappropriate. It was just a strange thing he was going through, calling and connecting.”
Though they didn’t meet in person, Wilson grew depressed that the torch he carried for Mountain had begun to dim. “If I saw her today, I’d probably think, ‘God, she’s lost something,’ because growing up does that to people,” he explained decades later. He relayed this story to Tony Asher, who penned a chorus in the form of a dialogue between the two: “Oh, Carol, I know.” Wilson misheard this as “Caroline, No,” giving the song its pleading title. The recording became one of the most heartbreaking tunes ever committed to wax, plodding ahead at a depressive crawl. He played the song to his father (and onetime band manager), Murry Wilson, who advised his son to speed up the tape a full tone to give his voice a sweeter, more youthful quality. The effect made him sound like the lovesick teenager that, in many ways, he still was.
“Caroline, No” was released under Brian Wilson’s own name in March 1966, the first solo single for any Beach Boy.
10. Session musicians used Coke cans, water bottles and orange juice jugs for percussion.
The arrangements on Pet Sounds boast a dazzling array of percussion previously unseen in the rock-music arena. Sleigh bells, timpani, güiro, vibraphone, bongos and other exotic instruments all add color to the album, but certain sounds aren’t instruments at all. In order to create the music in his head, Wilson improvised a number of percussive instruments from whatever he had on hand. For the Latin-tinged “Pet Sounds” track, he encouraged drummer Ritchie Frost to tap two empty Coke cans for a distinctive percussive beat.
Drumming legend Hal Blaine, unofficial chief of the crack team of session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, had something special up his sleeve for the clip-clop rhythm that kept “God Only Knows” galloping forward. “We used to drink orange juice out of the vending machines,” he explained. “I took three of these small six- or eight-ounce plastic orange-drink bottles, and I cut them down to three different sizes in length. And I taped ’em together, and I used a little vibraphone mallet. Brian loved that kind of stuff.” Session man Jim Gordon (later of Derek and the Dominos) actually played the OJ bottles, but Hal pulled off a similar trick on the introduction for “Caroline, No,” playing upturned Sparkletts water jugs like bongos.
11. Brian Wilson considered bringing a horse into the recording studio.
In addition to his meticulous instrumental arrangements and vocal layering, Wilson also spent some sessions making avant-garde recordings with friends and family. These ranged from echo-drenched rounds of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” stretching over seven minutes, to humorous skits (including a particularly sophomoric one entitled “Dick”) and sound effects for a proposed psychedelic comedy album. He would revisit the concept when working on Pet Sounds‘ follow-up, Smile, later that year, but these early runs were almost totally scrapped.
The only fragment from the tapes can be heard on the final seconds of the album. As the flutes from “Caroline, No” fade away, the melancholic sound of a passing train is heard while dogs wail. The locomotive whistle was sampled off a 1963 effects album called Mister D’s Machine (“Train #58, the Owl at Edison, California”), but the barks come from Wilson’s own dogs: Banana, a beagle, and Louie, a Weimaraner. Their barking made for an unusual session, but studio chatter reveals that he had a bigger beast in mind.
“Hey Chuck, is it possible we could bring a horse in here if we don’t screw anything up?” he can be heard asking engineer Chuck Britz. “I beg your pardon?” comes the stunned reply. But Wilson won’t be deterred. “Honest to God, now, the horse is tame and everything!” For whatever reason, he ultimately decided to stick with the canines.
12. The band had a less-than-harmonious relationship with the animals on the cover.
The Beach Boys and photographer George Jerman traveled to the San Diego Zoo on February 15th, 1966, to shoot the cover art for their new album. The final image showed five of the bandmates (the newly enlisted Bruce Johnston couldn’t appear on the cover for contractual reasons) feeding goats in the children’s petting paddock. The scene looks wholesome enough, but apparently the band didn’t endear themselves to the zoo staff.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Zoo officials accused the Beach Boys (reportedly Dennis Wilson in particular) of “mistreating the animals.” The group, for their part, claimed that they were the ones who were mistreated. “You know the big white [goat] on the front? The most obnoxious animal I’ve ever known in my life,” Al Jardine complained during a 1966 interview on Hartford’s WDRC. “Pushed me, and all of us, all over the place. If you had a little piece of something in your hand, he’d know it. And he’d almost trample you trying to get that thing!” Even decades later, Bruce Johnston never forgot the ill-tempered creatures. “The goats were horrible! They jump all over you and bite. One of them ate my radio. The zoo said we were torturing the animals, but they should have seen what we had to go through. We were doing all the suffering.”
13. The record label tried to bury Pet Sounds with a greatest-hits album.
Brian Wilson’s Pet Sounds odyssey took up more 10 months and cost a then-unheard-of $70,000, making it one of the most expensive albums ever recorded at that time. The Capitol executives were hoping for a hit-packed album to recoup their sizable investment. But when they heard the final mix that April, they were puzzled &ndash and horrified &ndash by the decidedly un-sunny sounds. Instead of a celebration of youth, Capitol got a melancholic musical missive straight from the heart of their young maestro. “It was played at a sales meeting, and the marketing guys were really disappointed and down about the record, because it wasn’t the normal ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.,’ ‘Help Me, Rhonda,’ ‘Barbara Ann,’ kind of production,” remembered A&R rep Karl Engermann. “Capitol didn’t see the evolution,” Bruce Johnston lamented. “Pet Sounds was so radical compared to the nice ‘Barbara Anns’ we had been making, which Capitol had been successfully selling and they just wanted more.”
Unsure how to market Wilson’s introspective artistic statement, Capitol hedged their bets by hastily preparing a greatest-hits compilation and throwing their full promotional machine behind it. Best of the Beach Boys was rushed into shops less than two months after Pet Sounds‘ release. It promptly went gold, while Pet Sounds, effectively left to sell on its own merits, barely cracked the Top 10. It was a major drop-off from the Number One million-sellers of prior years. Capitol felt vindicated, and Brian Wilson was crushed. “In my heart of hearts, I think that the reason [Pet Sounds] isn’t a billion-selling album is simply that the label didn’t believe in Brian,” Johnston reflected on the album’s 30th anniversary. “They turned their back on him by releasing Best of the Beach Boys. Why wouldn’t you allocate a massive budget to promote Pet Sounds? This album is timeless and forever, and the label turned it into an ignored stepchild.”
14. Bruce Johnston’s Pet Sounds promo trip almost broke up the Who &ndash but inspired the Beatles.
If Capitol wasn’t going to properly promote Pet Sounds, then Bruce Johnston vowed to do it himself. On May 16th, he began a self-guided London excursion “to do some hustling” for the album, which had been released that very day in the States but had yet to be issued in the U.K. Upon landing, Johnston was immediately befriended by Keith Moon, drummer for the Who and one of England’s biggest surf fanatics. Moon played genial host to the American abroad, chauffeuring him to the best clubs, restaurants and parties in his Bentley &ndash specially outfitted with a record player and a stack of the Beach Boys’ old records.
The pair attended a taping of the rock television program Ready Steady Go! and dropped by the after-party with Moon’s bandmate, John Entwistle. The revelry went on a little too long, and the trio missed the start of Who’s gig that evening. When they finally arrived at the venue, they were stunned to discover that the other half of the band &ndash Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey &ndash had begun playing without them. Enraged, Moon instigated a drunken onstage brawl with his bandmates. “They got in the biggest fight I’ve ever seen,” Johnston confirmed in later years. “Guitars are swinging, everybody’s in a frenzy. … guys were bleeding.” When the dust cleared, Moon and Entwistle quit the Who in a huff. Thankfully, the split would prove short-lived.
Bruce Johnston’s trip had a much more positive effect on the Beatles. John Lennon and Paul McCartney dropped by Johnston’s Waldorf Hotel suite to say hello and scope out this new Beach Boys album that was setting the English music papers abuzz. “John and Paul made me play it twice. They loved it,” Johnston said. “We all knew that it was a really wonderful thing to be listening to. There wasn’t much to say it was like collectively watching a great movie, and you go, ‘Wow!’ and just know it was cool.” According to legend, the two Fabs said their farewells and headed to McCartney’s nearby apartment to pen a Pet Sounds-style preamble for their lush “Here, There and Everywhere.” The track found its way onto Revolver that August, but it was their 1967 follow-up that truly bore influence of Brian Wilson. “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened,” admitted Beatles’ producer George Martin. “Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds.”
15. Several songs didn’t make the cut for Pet Sounds &ndash including an iconic smash.
In addition to the aforementioned comedy skits and alternate lyrical takes, Brian Wilson also recorded a handful of original songs that didn’t make the final album cut. Among the most notable is “Trombone Dixie,” a playful instrumental that came together in the studio. “I was just foolin’ around one day, fuckin’ around with the musicians, and I took that arrangement out of my briefcase and we did it in 20 minutes,” he said in a 1995 interview with Record Collector. Though slight, the song demonstrates Wilson’s flair for arrangement and dynamics. It languished in the vault until Pet Sounds was issued on CD in 1990. “Three Blind Mice,” included on 2011’s The Smile Sessions, is less complete than “Trombone Dixie” &ndash though far more unusual. The session dates to October 1965, just before Wilson began working in earnest on Pet Sounds, and includes a 43-piece orchestra.
It’s doubtful that these instrumentals, little more than momentary flights of studio fancy, were ever seriously considered for inclusion on Pet Sounds. However, an R&B-tinged track entitled “Good Vibrations” was included on original track lists submitted to Capitol Records. Wilson taped the initial version of the song on February 17th, and recorded a rough vocal featuring lyrics from Tony Asher a few weeks later. This version was charmingly far-out, but Wilson envisioned greater possibilities. “At the time, we all had assumed that ‘Good Vibrations’ was going to be on the album, ” Al Jardine said in 1996. “But Brian decided to hold it out. It was a judgment call on his part we felt otherwise but left the ultimate decision up to him.”
Wilson spent the next six months tirelessly laboring on the song, adapting it to his new working methods. Rather than capturing complete instrumental performances, he adopted a modular approach, recording small sections of music and piecing them together like a filmmaker. By September he had recorded more than 90 hours of tape, and racked up a studio bill of more than $50,000 &ndash making “Good Vibrations” the most expensive single ever recorded at the time. Unlike Pet Sounds, the song was a smash when it was released that October with new lyrics from Mike Love. It would be Brian Wilson’s final Number One production.
7. Norwegian Aquavit Is Well-Traveled
Denmark and Sweden consider aquavit a clear spirit, but in Norway, there’s a strong tradition of cask-aging. Norwegian aquavit matures in sherry oak casks that give the spirit a golden color and full-bodied character with hints of vanilla. Linie Aquavit is one of Norway’s most famous because of its unique aging process that was accidentally discovered in the early 19th century, when a ship transporting barrels of aquavit reportedly returned with none sold. When opened, they had taken on a dark, caramel hue. Linie means “line,” as its oak barrels are loaded onto ships that cross the equator twice, supposedly enhancing the spirit’s flavor and smoothness due to the barrels’ constant rolling on the ocean and temperature fluctuations.
Marmite: Ten things you'll love/hate to know
1. It was invented by accident. In the late 19th Century a German scientist, Justus Liebig, discovered brewer's yeast could be concentrated, bottled and eaten. In 1902 the Marmite Food Company was founded in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, where the raw material was readily available from the town's brewers. The original recipe contained salt, spices and celery. Later folic acid, vitamin B12, thiamin and riboflavin - vitamins which occur naturally in some foods - were added in high concentrations.
2. Marmite won two world wars. OK, that's not strictly true. But it was included in soldiers' rations in World War I and, along with bully beef, Spam and condensed milk, it was popular among civilians and the military between 1939 and 1945. In 1999 the company sent extra supplies to homesick British peacekeeping troops in Kosovo.
3. Marmite is French. Well, the name comes from the name of a French casserole dish called a marmite (pronounced Marmeet). In the Normandy port of Dieppe, a popular fish stew is known as a Marmite Dieppoise. Ever since the 1920s the red and yellow label on the jar has had a picture of a marmite on it.
4. Jail staff are not keen on it. There's an urban myth that it is banned in British prisons because it can be used to make hooch. In 2002 it was reported that inmates at Featherstone jail, near Wolverhampton, were using it, along with fermented fruit and vegetables, to make moonshine. In 2009 it was reported that inmates at Dartmoor prison were cooking up a brew called a Marmite Mule. But a Prison Service spokesman said on Wednesday it was not banned as it could not be used to make any alcoholic drinks.
5.There's more than one Marmite. In New Zealand and Australia the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing company sells Marmite but it has added caramel and sugar to its version, which obviously gives it a sweeter taste. Sanitarium bought the rights to use the brand name back in 1908.
6. Marmite does not just come in jars. Other products in the range which you might also hate are Marmite Mini Cheddar Bites, Marmite crisps, Marmite jumbo rice cakes and Marmite flavoured oven-baked cashew nuts.
7.Marmite used to be made in London. The product became so popular that the company's factory in Burton-on-Trent could not keep up so they converted a former brewery in Vauxhall, south London to create a second plant. One resident of the area recalls on a local history blog: "When I was a kid we lived near the Marmite factory at Vauxhall. The smell from the factory was disgusting! People living close by applied to have their rates reduced because of the stench (they failed of course)." The factory closed in 1967.
8. A sculpture has been built in Marmite's honour. Last year Unilever, the conglomerate which owns the brand, spent £15,000 on a sculpture of a Marmite jar. The sculpture, nicknamed Monumite, now takes pride of place next to the main library in Burton-on-Trent.
9. Marmite may keep away mosquitoes. Several newspapers, including the Guardian, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph, have claimed the yeasty spread to be the perfect defence against mozzies.
10. It's good for you. Despite the Danish doubts about the effects on people's health, Marmite could actually be good for you. Nutritionist Melanie Brown says: "Marmite plays such a useful part in many people's diet, and it's incredibly useful for older people who are short in vitamin B-12. It's full of folic acid, and there's lots of evidence that many women, young women of child-bearing age are deficient in folic acid."
Despite Coke's world domination, there is one country where they don't have a complete stranglehold on the beverage community. In India, Coke can't hang with Thums Up — that's right, without the "b". But Coke still wins. In 1977, the Indian Government expelled Coke from the country (Pepsi too). To fill the gap, Parle Agro produced a "Coke-like" product called Thums Up. What they lack in spelling they made up with in domination, enjoying an 80 percent hold on all cola consumption. After 16 years, the Indian people must have tired of drinking Rum and Thums because the ban on Coke lifted. Coke re-entered the market and did the only reasonable thing, they bought Thums Up. So even when you try and hold back Coke they still come through like a shiny penny.
Pour that leftover pickle brine into ice cube trays, and then save them in resealable bags in your freezer. You&rsquoll get your jars back, ready to reuse, and you&rsquoll have a freezer full of cold flavor-infused cubes ready to go for any of the items on this list.
And finally, if you don&rsquot want to eat it or drink it, you can always use leftover pickle brine to clean greasy stovetops and copper-bottomed cookware. (Here&rsquos another easy way to clean copper.)
Just strain it first, and you&rsquove got a vinegar solution that&rsquos ready to make your kitchen sparkle and shine.
Once you start using pickle juice here and there, you&rsquoll quickly find it&rsquos a condiment all on its own. And wondering what to do with &lsquoleftover&rsquo pickle juice will become a thing of the past.
Hey there, Rural Sprout reader, my name is Tracey, and I’m so glad you popped over to my bio. Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 12 years.
I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead.
He built our rough-hewn log cabin when I was seven years old, and I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.
I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.
We were always busy. Whether it was pressing apples for homemade cider or trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, there were always chores with each new season.
I learned how to preserve what we grew in our garden.
And dad was organic, long before it became the popular buzzword that it is today.
As an adult living in the modern world, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi, and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. But I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.
So, these days I consider myself to be almost a homesteader.
I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want, and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood simply because they bring me joy.
I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.
I garden, even when the only space available is the rooftop of my apartment. I’ve been a knitter since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. And if you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. I can’t go more than a few days without a trip deep into the Pennsylvania State Game Lands looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.
My gift of gab and sense of humor via the written word keeps me busy as a copywriter and freelance blogger.
If you need copy that grabs your readers by the eyeballs and keeps them glued to your page, then I’m your gal. You can find me at BesemerWrites.
Follow all of my crazy homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram @traceyleezle
Vegetarian Pesto Gnocchi
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald
This quick and easy pesto gnocchi dish is meatless, but you won't notice because it gets so much wonderful flavor from basil pesto, which you can buy premade or make it yourself. Or, as the recipe suggests, you might want to consider making pesto from something other than basil. Kale? Sun-dried tomatoes? Fennel? The choices are endless.
Get our recipe for Vegetarian Pesto Gnocchi.
And for more ways to make meal prep easier, don't miss these 52 Life-Changing Kitchen Hacks That'll Make You Enjoy Cooking Again.