Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • The Secret Life of Your Taste Buds

    CheeseCheeseBarb Stuckey, author of Taste: Surprising Stories and Science About Why Food Tastes Good, shares why we think "mmm" or "eww" for certain foods, and what our preferences really mean.

    Do you abhor stinky cheeses? You might be a "tolerant taster" who sports fewer tastes buds. Tolerant tasters are generally unfussy eaters, unless they happen to also have an excellent sense of smell. Then strongly scented foods like blue cheese are out of balance: The taste doesn't match up with the smell, which leads to dislike.

    PLUS: 27 foods to never buy again >>

    Would your dream meal be french fries and ice cream? You might be a survivor of multiple ear infections, which can damage the "taste nerves." Instead of experiencing sensations like bitterness and fattiness in balance, you may perceive a more pronounced fatty sensation, making rich foods extra tempting.

    Does dark chocolate remind you of coal? You could have damage to your trigeminal "touch nerve," which often happens during mouth surgery. In

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  • America’s Weight Gain Has Supersized Some Surprising Things

    ThinkstockHere's weighty news: Americans' expanding waistlines have caused some alarming beefing-up in places you wouldn't expect.

    Ambulances: American Medical Response, the largest ambulance company in the United States, introduced bariatric ambulances in 2001. Their cots can accommodate up to 1,600 pounds, compared with older models that hold only up to 800 pounds.

    PLUS: 13+ Things Facebook Won't Tell You >>

    Caskets: A standard-size casket for adults used to be 24 inches wide, but 28-inch-wide models are becoming more common, according to the Casket & Funeral Supply Association of America (CFSA), a trade association for the funeral-supply industry, based in Lake Bluff, Illinois. One company, Goliath Casket, began making 29-inch caskets in the 1980s (the new models hold up to 1,000 pounds) but sold only about one per year. Now they ship half a dozen oversize models every month.

    PLUS: 50 Secrets Your Surgeon Won't Tell You >>

    Fuel Usage: Extra pounds cause cars, trucks, and planes to Read More »from America’s Weight Gain Has Supersized Some Surprising Things
  • 8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Academy Awards

    MoviesBest your pals at your annual movie-awards party with our slate of Academy Awards trivia.

    1. Three films have tied for winning 11 awards, the most ever: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Titanic (1997), Ben Hur (1959).

    2. The youngest ever Oscar winner was Tatum O'Neal, 10, for Paper Moon (1973); the oldest was Christopher Plummer, 82, for his role in Beginners (2011). In 2013, two actresses made history as the youngest and oldest nominees ever named in the category: Quvenzhané Wallis, 9, for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Emmanuelle Riva, 85, for Amour.

    PLUS: 5 money resolutions to save cash fast >>

    3. Singer Michael Jackson paid $1.54 million in 1999 to Sotheby's for David Selznick's Best Picture Oscar for the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind.

    PLUS: 27 foods you should never buy again >>

    4. Walt Disney holds the records for both the most Academy Award nominations (59) and Oscars won (26).

    5. Peter O'Toole holds the record for most Best Actor nominations without

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  • Ted Allen Has a Stash of Secret Ingredients

    ChoppedChoppedLeave the truffle oil at the kitchen door! Ted Allen, host of the hit show "Chopped," shares his picks for kitchen staples that can dress up many dishes.

    You Can Do It!

    If there's one message about cooking that Chopped host Ted Allen would like to get across, it's this: "You can do it." With a little time, desire, and his picks for secret ingredients-really, everyday items from alcohol to eggs-you too can cook like a pro.

    PLUS: 13 things TV chefs won't tell you >>


    A little-known flavor-booster might be sitting on your home bar. "When we think tequila, a lot of us think of frat parties and over-indulgence. But tequila is an excellent flavor to use in food," says Allen. "Tequila has notes of vanilla, and it's very sweet." So instead of deglazing a pan with wine or chicken stock, add a splash of tequila for an unexpected note.

    Smoked Paprika

    Check your spice rack for this flavor front-runner. Add a dash of smoked paprika to chili, deviled eggs, soups, or

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  • How Successful People Approach a New Year

    Want to come out ahead in 2013? According to the recent article, "Ten Resolutions the Most Successful People Make and Then Keep," which is aimed at business goals but applicable for personal gain too, you should:
    • Spend more time on your not-to-do list
    • Do what's essential first, then email second

    Anti-resolutions showed up on, which among other ideas suggested you:
    • Not make excuses
    • Not cheat
    • Not waste time

    Speaking of time-wasters, several prominent people keyed in to turning the Internet off, or at least down. Harper Reed, the Obama campaign's chief technology officer, recently walked away from information for about a week and concluded, among other things:
    • "Books are important." and
    • "Taking time to do something slower than you normally would is a privilege that should not be ignored."

    But even before Reed went dark, many writers imposed social media breaks in 2012 and discovered:
    • They had healthier

    Read More »from How Successful People Approach a New Year
  • Internet Security: How Not to Get Hacked

    How not to get hacked.If you send e-mail, post updates on Facebook, check your bank account balance online, or do most anything that requires the Internet, you're at risk of being hacked.

    In fact, last August, Mat Honan, senior writer for tech magazine Wired­-someone presumably well aware of the dangers of hacking-got hacked. He lost data from his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, including all photos of his one-year-old daughter. "My entire digital life was destroyed," he wrote on Luckily, embracing the Luddite lifestyle isn't your only option. These five simple steps can greatly reduce your chances of being hacked.

    1. Be aware of what you share You don't have to delete your Facebook or Twitter account to say safe, but posting birth dates, graduation years, or your mother's maiden name-info often used to answer security questions to access your accounts online or over the phone-on social-media sites makes a hacker's job even easier.

    Plus: Salt, healthy? Why it's not longer public enemy #1 >>

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  • Smart Ways to Save Energy Costs in Winter

    Cold house.Don't get stuck with impossible insulation or a failing furnace. Instead, use these savvy ways to save energy and freeze out the frost.

    For every degree you set back your thermostat back, you'll save 3% on heating costs. Try these easy ideas:

    Under doors Place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door. Why? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, decreasing drafts can reduce your energy use by 5 to 30 percent.

    On the ceiling Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to push warm air downward.

    PLUS: Genius ways to save on gas >>

    In the basement Clean your furnace filter once a month during the heating season for increased
    airflow, and consider switching to a permanent filter, which traps around 88 percent of debris.

    Online Free stuff? Sure! Some states offer energy-saver incentives, like free programmable thermostats and insulation upgrades. Visit the Database of State Incentivesfor Renewables and Efficiency ( for potential deals.

    PLUS: 27 foods you

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  • Football Safety: Why I Broke Up with the Sport

    FootballA sportswriter and longtime fan won't be tuning in anymore. The reasoning behind his decision is a must-read for anyone who loves the game.

    I was in town visiting a former NFL lineman. Call him Max. The hotel restaurant was closed, so we ate at the bar.

    During his time in football, Max was hit in the head. A lot. He has since endured nine brain surgeries. He has serious trouble remembering things, as the main character in the movie Memento did. Max and I were both carrying notepads, but for different reasons.

    There was a game on. Saints-Cardinals. The first contest of the NFL preseason. Max had his back to the television. Once upon a time, he was an avid hunter. He owned a successful business. Today, he's unemployed. Pretty much broke. Lives in a trailer outside his brother's house. He probably shouldn't drive, probably shouldn't own guns. He gets angry. Has a hard time sleeping. Misses his family. His estranged wife and children are afraid of him.

    Survival story:

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  • 13 Things Your Mall Salesperson Won’t Tell You

    Mall Salesperson won't tell you.We talked to the folks at your local malls to get the lowdown on sneaky, smart ways you can save money when shopping.

    1. If your cart is vibrating, proceed with caution.

    Some retailers are adding raised floor tiles and carpet to certain areas because they make you walk more slowly, giving you extra time to check out the goods. Studies show it can boost your spending by up to 8 percent.

    2. If you can, skip the shopping cart altogether, or at least carry a smaller basket. Studies show that you up to 40 percent more if we double the size of your cart, because you subconsciously want to fill it.

    PLUS: 27 foods you should never buy again >>

    3. When you find what you're looking for, use a price-comparison app like RedLaser or Google Shopper to else if the same item is cheaper somewhere else. You can also ask the salesperson to call you if the price drops.

    4. We often have better deals on weekdays. That's when new merchandise comes, so we do markdowns then. Plus, store traffic is slowRead More »from 13 Things Your Mall Salesperson Won’t Tell You
  • Win/Fail: Which “As Seen on TV” Products Are Worth It?

    As seen on TVThe best and worst "As Seen on TV" products, from dog-hair picker-uppers to hands-free wine drinking, as tested and rated by Reader's Digest editors.

    Sticky Buddy
    Price: $10 + $6.99 S&H

    What the company says: It's the "super-sticky lint roller that has the power of glue without the goo!" Use it on clothing, carpet, or furniture to easily remove "hair, dog hair, crumbs, cat litter, and much more!"

    What we say: Let's throw our hands in the dust-free air for the Sticky Buddy! "This was great. I picked up hair and dirt from my carpet. And it all came off the Sticky Buddy with a simple wash in the sink," said one editor. "Perfect for small jobs," crowed another, especially for "cat hair." "There's a thing called a vacuum cleaner …" was the sour chorus sung by others.
    Overall: 3.5 out of 4 stars

    PLUS: Genius ways to save on gas >>

    Price: $14.95 + $4.95 S&H

    What the company says: "Bibs aren't just for babies!" "The stain-defending, commute-protecting, and stylish

    Read More »from Win/Fail: Which “As Seen on TV” Products Are Worth It?


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