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MinnPost Picks: on the history of kitchens, Pluto’s ice volcanoes and the death spiral of an American family

Our weekly roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

“Kitchen interior” by Marten van Cleve, c. 1565
“Kitchen interior” by Marten van Cleve, c. 1565
Wikimedia Commons

The History of Kitchens: From the Great Banquets to the Built-in Furniture, Arch Daily

From fire to the InstantPot, this history of the kitchen by Giovana Martino in ArchDaily shows how the kitchen became the center of homes (at least for people who can afford it). But Martino’s most interesting description could be that the kitchen we know of today is barely 100 years old and was based on the work of women architects.
—Peter Callaghan, state government reporter

Ice Volcanoes Reshape Pluto and Hint at a Hidden Ocean, The New York Times

Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status in 2006 hasn’t stopped NASA from investigating this tiny ball of ice circling the sun. After years of study from images provided by the New Horizons spacecraft, scientists think they’ve found evidence of cryovolcanoes that have recently erupted ice lava, giving credence to the hypothesis that present-day Pluto is an ocean world.
—Corey Anderson, creative director

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The death spiral of an American family, The Washington Post

Andrew PutzAs you can probably guess by the title, this isn’t exactly a fun read. But the story, about a downwardly mobile family trying to scratch out a living outside of Detroit, offers a compelling and raw glimpse of the debt cycle so many Americans find themselves in — a story powerfully told by one of the best nonfiction writers working today, Eli Saslow.
—Andy Putz, editor

Minnesota canoeist’s spring outing on frigid Mississippi River went very wrong, Star Tribune

How early is too early to put your canoe in the river? It’s an urgent question for cooped-up-by-winter canoe owners who feel the air warming up on the first days of spring (water, of course, takes longer to warm). This essay by Minnesota writer Frank Bures about an early outing on the Mississippi that ended badly serves as a cautionary tale about early season paddling, and it’s an enjoyable, if a bit harrowing, read to boot.
—Tom Nehil, news editor