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Behold the World's First Gravity-Defying Coffee Cup

Behold the World's First Gravity-Defying Coffee Cup

Astronauts, mathematicians, and professors have invented a cup that allows space explorers to enjoy a cup of coffee in space

Many of us have seen the footage of astronauts in space floating around, playing cards, and controlling complicated technology all with little gravity. However what many of us don’t see is the complicated task of drinking a simple cup of coffee. Fortunately, a group of professors and scientists are hoping to make space-bound astronauts' morning routine a little better — by making the world's first anti-gravity cup of coffee.

Weislogel and some of his colleagues have recently been granted three patents for devices invented. One is a microgravity condensing heat exchanger, one is for a device that separates and controls multiphase fluids, and the last one (and we think the most important) is for a low-gravity coffee cup. “Absent the pull of gravity, pouring liquids can be very tricky," says Mark Weislogel, a physics professor at Portland State University, in a recent video. He explains that by the time an astronaut in space actually completed pouring a cup of coffee, he'd probably have no use for the coffee by then.

The cup, invented by Don Pettit, astronaut, Weislogel and mathematicians Paul Concus and Robert Finns, is a bit complicated. One side of the coffee cup has a sharp corner, and in the microgravity environment (the reason all that stuff floats in the space shuttle’s and space ships), the design of the cup forces the liquid to flow along the sharp edge of the channel, straight to the lips of the drinker. “This may well be what future space colonists use when they want to have a celebration," says Pettit.

It all goes back to a cheap, circa-1980s Mr. Coffee electric drip maker𠅊 Christmas gift from a boyfriend who would become my first husband. (I𠆝 shared my growing interest in espresso and this is what he bought me, which may go to explaining why he is no longer my husband.) Did every cup of coffee taste like plastic just a little bit or was that me?

Then there was my self-funded upgrade𠅊 Bodum Chambord French press system—that looked sexy on the counter, but that always seemed to produce too much sludge at the bottom of my cup. And wobbled way too much every time I plunged. And was a bear to clean.

I eyed friends’ expensive coffee makers but never loved what they made, so kept my money for other indulgences. A post-husband boyfriend smack-talked places like Starbucks while performatively crafting small cups of bitter brew in his prized Moka pot (he later was forced to take a job—post our breakup𠅊t a Starbucks in a fitting turn of fate). More recently, I craved the sleek, midcentury-modern-perfect Chemex, but was a nervous executor of the perfect water pour (How much? How fast?). In a way, I feared I would be a disappointment to it.

At my office, I endured nostalgic-looking (but awful tasting) diner-style coffeemakers, growing so frustrated I ran out to Target and bought a bright red Keurig single-cup maker—on sale�spite a gnawing sense of my contribution to landfill disaster. I bought a reusable filter. That was a bear to clean.

I gave up. I stopped making coffee at home or work altogether, becoming a steady customer of coffeehouses large and small, taking advantage of fresh roasts, careful measures, and thereby sweet pour-overs and bracing cortados. I kept a bottle of Trader Joe’s French Roast coffee concentrate in my refrigerator for desperate times.

Aleksandr Mostovoi/Getty Images

I may sound like they pay me to say this (they don’t), or I may just sound like a born-again evangelist. Which I am. This inexpensive, genius creation of inventor Alan Adler, who also invented the Aerobie flying disc (look it up: it flies farther than the original Frisbee!) is the best coffee maker I have ever encountered. It is the easiest to use and hands-down makes the most delicious, low-acid cup of coffee (and espresso-style coffee) day in and day out. It’s a breeze to clean, easier still to store, requires no electricity, and in its weirdly not-pretty way, is adorable. I even follow it on Instagram and dream of attending the World Aeropress Championships (not as a competitor but merely as a groupie).

Challenging cake recipes

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Toffee apple cake

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Polka-dot strawberry cake

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Chocolate & caramel ombre cake

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2.) Vegan Canna-nut Oil

It’s always good to include a plant-based option. Taco Bell has the Fresco Style Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, and the world of weed edibles has Marijuana-infused coconut oil. The preparation process is largely the same as canna-butter, but there are a couple key changes.

Ingredients and Recommended Dosage:

Approximately 1 ounce of weed per 1 pound of coconut oil.

Preparation Time:

Cooking Time:

(OPTIONAL STEP: Once again, to get the most potent dairy-free cannabis oil possible, it’s beneficial to decarb your bud. Set your oven to 245 degrees F and bake your weed for 30-40 minutes.)

  1. Grind marijuana as finely as possible. Use a coffee grinder if one is nearby and excused from its coffee duties.
  2. Pour a couple inches of water into your crock pot, turning the heat to low.
  3. Add the coconut oil into the crock pot, melting it into the water.
  4. When the oil is thoroughly melted, add the ground weed and stir well.
  5. Follow steps 5-11 in the Crock “Pot” Canna-butter recipe. Be sure to cross out any mention of ‘butter’, replacing it with ‘coconut oil’.

My New Favorite Gadget Completely Changed the Way I Make (and Drink!) Tea

I can’t live without my cream-splashed morning coffee. But often after that first cup I crave the comfort of another, and another — especially when I’m stressing at work. The problem is, instead of making me alert, all that caffeine makes me sleepy! Apparently it’s a thing and it has something to do with a build-up of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that causes fatigue, combined with dehydration (remember, coffee is a diuretic).

With that in mind, I made a vow a few years ago to drink only one cup of coffee a day, and then switch to tea. Green tea is supposed to be one of the most antioxidant-packed things we can possibly consume, so it made sense to make a concerted effort to drink more of it.

I had no trouble finding incredibly delicious teas to build my new habit around. Living in Portland — the birthplace of big tea brands like Stash, Tazo and Steven Smith — we’re happily swimming in tea shops, and I stocked up on sachets of green tea, white tea, and herbal blends. And that’s when I realized, dang, premium bagged tea gets really expensive. A box of 15 sachets of green tea from my favorite local shop costs $12.99 for 1.3 ounces, or about $10 an ounce. A tin of the same tea, in loose-leaf form, costs $20 for 3 ounces, or about $6.66 an ounce.

So I made the switch to loose-leaf, but none of my infusing options made me happy. My stainless steel tea balls never had enough room for the tea leaves to expand, and when I had a cup of rooibos, the little needles and bits would always escape. I bought a couple tea mugs with built-in infusers, but they’d leave a big messy puddle when I pulled them out. Plus, they meant I couldn’t use my favorite mugs. A box of fill-your-own paper filters solved a lot of those problems, but felt a little wasteful.

134. Hats AKA Hair Bows for Grownups

Here in Seattle, folks mostly use hats as protection from inclement weather. Usually, these “hats” come attached to the collar of one’s jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt. Yep, I’m talking hoodies. Considering how our weather changes more quickly than a teenager’s love interests, it helps to be prepared. Because we wouldn’t want to carry an umbrella. Umbrellas are for tourists.

For Southerners, hats fall into two major categories: A. Functional or B. Fashionable. Although one could argue that even the most fashionable hat serves a function i.e. rectifying a bad hair day situation.

I’m mostly talking about women’s hats because, frankly, Southern men’s hats aren’t all that interesting. For every ruggedly handsome gent in a cowboy hat, you’ll spot twelve dozen dudes sporting baseball caps or fishing hats.

Women, on the other hand, have options. Watch any Southern movie, “Gone with the Wind” to “Steel Magnolias” and you’ll see what I mean. From floppy garden hats to prim pill boxes. Pastels to basic black. Traditionally feminine to futuristically flamboyant.

You’ll find hats at every occasion, from weddings and graduations to baptisms and funerals. But never will you see a more extravagant display of head coverings than at the Kentucky Derby. Which, truth be told, is less of a horse race and more of a HAT competition. Buying one of these gravity-defying, view obscuring headpieces can set you back a car or mortgage payment. As far as I know, there’s no official contest or wagering system. But I can say with speculative certainty that if you bought your hat off the rack at Belks, you lose.

This summer, my sister snagged an invite to a fancy garden party, which she used as an excuse to purchase a decorative hat. Having become a recent convert to Downton Abbey, she set her sights on something Mary might wear to afternoon tea. Alas, such hats are a wee bit harder to locate without 1. a props department or 2. the Grantham’s recovered wealth.

Her quest began on the Internet, the ideal place to find goods of questionable quality. Unfortunately, all the hats that met with her approval surpassed her budget. Besides which, the date of the party was quickly approaching, so she had to abandon the mail order idea and make do with what she could find nearby. Much like Scarlett with the dress made of curtains, except in Jenna’s case there was no sewing involved.

Turns out she was in luck as our friend Tammy had a gorgeous brown Downton-esque hat with teal accents that would have been perfect had Jenna’s dress contained similar hues. As I may have mentioned before, not matching is never an option for Southerners.

Y’all who know my sister will remember that she begins every story with “After our ancestors stepped off the Mayflower…” and doesn’t finish until every minute detail has been mentioned and expounded upon. I’ll fast forward a bit.

Hello, gorgeous: Tammy T and Jenna

After all this (by which I’m referring to a heap of stuff I edited out), she found out that Mom’s collection of hats was safely tucked away at dad’s house.

“Oh!” I said, “I wore one of mom’s hats to a party once.”

“Sort of a 20’s cloche style with an off-white lace band and a red silk flower on the side.”

Even if she’d had time to run over to Dad’s, my sister’s under the mistaken notion that all sales are final, so she stuck with what she had. And looked totally adorable. Because that’s how she rolls, y’all.

One of the highlights of working at Red Lobster during college (and there are not as many as one might hope, let me tell you) was seeing the after-church crowd decked out in some of the most extravagant hats I ever did see. Plenty of bright colors: violet, magenta, electric blue, cherry red. With ribbons, lace, flowers, feathers, and occasionally all of the above. Hats that enter the room before the wearer does to announce, “I am HERE, y’all!” Plus men in suits. Suits! Know what they wear to church in Seattle? Fleece.

Mom rocking one of her many hats.

Me–carrying on the tradition.

Do you wear hats? When, where, and why? Or why not? Please do tell.

Photo Credits: Pink Derby Hat available from LadySalisbury at Etsy, Blue Fascinator available from RealHousewifeHats at Etsy, White Derby Hat available from theoriginaltree at Etsy. All other pictures from Holloway Family Archives.

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130. Dixie-Style Party Food: Dip it Good!

Spinach artichoke dip–click for recipe.

Upon second thought (and perhaps taking a moment to swallow) I added, “But there’s really nothing here Geoff would eat.”

“The dip? It has shrimp in it.”

“They won’t let him eat SHRIMP?” Mom said, horrified.

“Who? The vegetarian police?”

“Well, I think he ought to be able to eat shrimp. It’s just a little bit of meat. And it’s so good.”

Like many folks here in the Pacific Northwest, Geoff doesn’t really understand the concept of dip. Sure, he’ll spread a little hummus on flatbread or add an olive tapenade to toast, but that’s about it. Unless you count chutney, which I don’t.

I, on the other hand, come from a long line of folks who’ve perfected the art of dunking carbs into fat.

The last gathering I attended in Mississippi featured no less than three dips and a variety of dip-delivery vehicles. In order of my personal preference, we had: 1. Rotel embellished with sausage and cream cheese with Fritos Scoops for dipping 2. Creamy spinach dip with Hawaiian bread (vegetable = “healthy”) and 3. A garlic and onion dip made with a spice pack my sister bought at the fair. I believe the last one was served with Chicken in a Biskit crackers to compensate for the meat-less dip.

Dip mix booth at the MS state fair.

Dips are the ultimate communal Southern food. Even more comforting than casseroles. Why? Because you almost always eat them while standing around chatting with folks. Whether you’re attending a party or a wake, the camaraderie that develops around a dip bowl is palpable. Until some asshole double dips. But then the rest of the group has a new topic of gossip–with a shelf-life of YEARS. Decades, even.

Communal dipping allows some mighty powerful self delusion, such as:
• Calories don’t count when you eat standing up.
• Each dipped chip is just a small bite. It’s not like you’re eating a whole entire PLATE of nachos.
• You deserve something yummy after eating all those vegetables (doused in Ranch dressing).
• Since there’s no food on your plate, folks will assume you’re still keeping track of those Weight Watcher points.
• You may never encounter such a wealth of dips again–better stock up!

There is some truth to that last one. One never really knows where the next dip is coming from. Oh, sure, you could whip up a batch of Rotel and eat it at home in front of the TV, but this completely eliminates the self-delusion factor. With every dunk of the chip, you’re just waiting for the Biggest Loser folks to sneak in and film you. Or maybe I’m the only one with this particular fear…

Now that we’ve discussed the hows and whys of dipping, let’s talk about the whats.

Like most Southern snacks, dips fall into two distinct categories: Sweet and Savory.

On the savory spectrum, you’ll find two separate but equally tasty groups (although occasionally cross-pollination occurs). Let’s call them cheesy and creamy.

Creamy dips tend to be a bit mayonnaise-y in nature, but can also feature sour cream as the main ingredient, seeing as some folks harbor mild to severe aversions to oil and egg emulsions. These include everything from your basic, store bought French onion dip to homemade comeback sauce. You’ll also find cheese-less versions of shrimp or bacon dip, but they are probably not as good. In fact, when I started writing this paragraph, I thought there would be a long list of creamy dips, but I’m kinda drawing a blank. Even after spending far too much time poking around on Pinterest. So let’s move on…

Got a pen? Well, you don’t even need one it’s that easy.

Mix 8-oz of softened cream cheese with one jar of marshmallow fluff. Serve with any fruit you like. It would probably be awesome on cookies, if you don’t even want to bother pretending to be healthy.

You’ll find copious recipes for sweet dips on the Internets featuring everything from chocolate chips and cream cheese to peanut butter and bananas. Salted caramel, cake batter, cookie dough, Oreos, s’mores…endless variations of stuff to plunge Nilla Wafers or Graham crackers into. Or pretzels for the sweet & salty lovers among us.

I’ve put together a handy reference on Pinterest for y’all. You’ll find links to all manner of yummy-looking dips. I have not personally made any of them (yet), but I did make sure they all link to actual recipes. Proceed with cautious optimism.

What’s your all-time favorite party dip? And do you consider solo dipping a taboo?

Photo Credits: Spinach Artichoke and Monster Cookie Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything Hail Mary Dip from ‘liciousfood Dip Stand Pic courtesy of Jenna.

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Siphon Brewers How They Work

A siphon coffee maker works on the principle of expansion and contraction of gases — actually one gas, water vapour — that allow the device to brew a full infusion style of coffee and filter the grounds efficiently, leaving a generally clean, pristine cup.

Siphon coffee makers are made up of four parts:

  • the bottom container (or vessel, or “bottom chamber” or “bottom globe”l) where the water initially sits and the brewed coffee eventually rests
  • a top container (or vessel, or “top chamber” or “brewing chamber” or even “siphon chamber”) that has an open ended siphon tube attached to it, where the coffee brewing takes place it’s the vessel with the siphon tube attached to it
  • a type of sealing material (usually a rubber gasket) to help create a partial vacuum in the lower vessel while brewing is taking place and
  • a filter, which can be made of glass, paper, metal, or cloth.

There is also a heating source needed, and there’s usually three readily available types: a cloth-wick alcohol burner (slowest) gas or electric stovetop (faster) or a specialty butane burner (fastest). There are also fourth heating source found often in Japan and some high end coffee bars: halogen light heating devices designed for siphon coffee brewing.

When the bottom globe of the siphon coffee maker is filled with water to a specific level, then heated up, eventually the water will start to vaporize into steam. Steam is what makes everything happen in this brewing device. Steam forces liquid water (at near-boiling temperatures) up the internal siphon. Steam keeps the brewing chamber’s action at optimal brewing temperatures. And the reduction in steam (and it’s conversion back to water) helps the “vacuum” stage of the brewing process, where your finished brew is drawn back into the lower chamber.

It’s always been fascinating how this brewing method was designed in 1840 in France. Even more so that it was the preferred brewing method in millions of American homes in the 1930s. With very few improvements (like safety glass), this brewing method, and its design remains largely unchanged to this day, but still looks like super science coffee brewing.

For the purpose of this simple Step By Step, I’ll be using a Hario Technica 3 Cup brewer which retails for around $70, but you can find nice 5 Cup Models by lesser known brands for under $40.

We’re also using an aftermarket butane burner for this guide. It allows for much better control over the brewing process, and speeds up the heating of the water. Butane burners can cost as much as $100, or as little as $20 (like this one, a “Sterno” model).

For the amount of coffee to use, stick with our tried and true ratio of 7 grams of coffee for every 100ml of water used. Don’t have a scale? A very slightly rounded tablespoon of ground coffee is about 7 grams. A 3 “cup” model siphon can brew about 350ml of coffee (maybe 400ml to the max). To keep things simple, we measure out 300ml of water to use, and 21g of coffee, ground slightly finer than drip.

With all this out of the way, let’s get into the Step by Step portion of this guide!


Urban was born on 26 October 1967, in Whangarei, New Zealand. [3] He is the youngest son of Marienne and Robert "Bob" Urbahn. [1] He lived with his parents in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia. His father, who owned a convenience store, put an ad for a guitar teacher in his shop window. [5] Urban took lessons from his teacher, Sue McCarthy, [6] and began entering local competitions, in addition to acting in a local theatre company. [3] Urban has stated that his guitar playing was influenced by two rock players, Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) and Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac).

In 1983, Urban was a contestant on the Australian TV talent show New Faces. [7] A few years later, he began making inroads into the Australian country music scene, with regular appearances on the Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program, Mike McClellan's Music Program, and various other TV programmes performing duets with local Brisbane girl Jenny Wilson. They won a Golden Guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Urban also performed regularly on stage at the Northern Suburbs Country Music Club in Bald Hills, where he was a member. He was in a band called 'Kids Country', which performed during school holidays at various venues and made appearances on the Reg Lindsey show and Conway Country.

1990–1999: Early years Edit

In 1990, Urban signed with EMI in Australia and released his self-titled debut album. [3] He appeared on the 1990 compilation album Breaking Ground - New Directions in Country Music, which was nominated for the 1991 ARIA Award for Best Country Album. [8] He toured as a backup act to Slim Dusty between 1993 and 1994. In the mid-1990s, both people recorded a re-worked duet of Dusty's classic "Lights on the Hill". Urban appeared for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry backing Dusty. [9] He also sang backing vocals on INXS's live album Live Baby Live (1992).

Urban moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1992. The next year, he appeared in the music video for Alan Jackson's rendition of "Mercury Blues". [10] He and Vernon Rust co-wrote "Jesus Gets Jealous of Santa Claus" on Toby Keith's 1995 album Christmas to Christmas, [11] 4 Runner's 1996 single "That Was Him (This Is Now)", [12] and "Tangled Up in Love" on the Raybon Brothers' 1997 self-titled album. [13] In 1997, he formed a band known as The Ranch, which included drummer Peter Clarke and bassist Jerry Flowers. The Ranch released one self-titled album for Capitol Records Nashville and charted two singles on the Hot Country Songs charts that year: "Walkin' the Country" and "Just Some Love". [14] Throughout the late 1990s, Urban also played guitar on several other artists' albums, such as Paul Jefferson, [15] Tim Wilson, and Charlie Daniels.

1999–2001: Keith Urban Edit

Urban released his self-titled American debut album in 1999 under the production of session pianist Matt Rollings. It was led by the number 18 single "It's a Love Thing", followed by the number four single "Your Everything", which made him the first male New Zealand performer to reach the Top 10 on the US country charts. [16] Its follow-up, "But for the Grace of God", written by Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos, became his first number 1 hit on the charts. The last single, "Where the Blacktop Ends", written by Steve Wariner and Allen Shamblin, went to number three. He won the Top New Male Vocalist Award at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards and the 2001 Country Music Association's Horizon Award. Allmusic's Thom Jurek described the first and third singles favorably, and praised the instrumental track "Rollercoaster", saying that Urban was "flat picking his Stratocaster like it was another extremity he was born with." He thought that those songs "balance the slick and sometimes too-soft production on the record". [17]

2002–2006: Golden Road & Be Here Edit

Urban released his second American album Golden Road in 2002. Of the 13 songs included on this album, Urban produced seven himself and co-produced the other six with Dann Huff. [18] The album's lead-off single "Somebody Like You" was released in July 2002 and spent six weeks at number one. The second single was the number three hit "Raining on Sunday", which Radney Foster had previously released as a single from his 1998 album See What You Want to See. [19] The third and fourth singles from the album, "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" and "You'll Think of Me", went to number one, with the latter winning him the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 2005. [20]

On 22 September 2005, Urban's third studio album Golden Road was certified triple platinum, for sales of 3 million copies. [21]

In 2002, Urban posed nude for Playgirl. On the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he stated that he regrets posing nude despite not showing any full frontal nudity. [22]

Urban performed "Lights on the Hill" for Tamworth's 2004 tribute concert following the death of Australia's Slim Dusty, an artist whom he had both written for and covered. [23] [24]

In 2005, Urban performed in front of European audiences for the first time. In May, Urban supported Bryan Adams on his UK and Ireland tour, which included dates at Earls Court, London, SECC, Glasgow, and The Point, Dublin. On 6 June a UK-only album, Days Go By, was released. The album contained songs from both Be Here and Golden Road.

"You Look Good in My Shirt" was originally intended to be the fifth single from this album. [25] Instead, Capitol chose to release "Days Go By", the lead-off to his third American album Be Here. By late 2004, this song became Urban's fifth number one hit on the country chart. Although it was not officially released, "You Look Good in My Shirt" spent one week at number 60 on the country charts in July 2004 [26] and remained a fan favourite. [25] The next single from this album was the #2 "You're My Better Half", followed by the five-week number 1 "Making Memories of Us", which was written by Rodney Crowell and previously recorded by both Tracy Byrd [27] and Crowell's side project The Notorious Cherry Bombs. [28] The next singles from this album were "Better Life" and "Tonight I Wanna Cry". The former, which Urban wrote with Richard Marx, spent six weeks at number 1 and the latter spent three weeks at number 2. After this song, "Live to Love Another Day" spent 14 weeks on the country chart, reaching a peak of number 48, although it was never officially released as a single. [26]

2006–2008: Love, Pain, & The Whole Crazy Thing and Greatest Hits: 18 Kids Edit

On 21 August 2006, Urban's "Once in a Lifetime" debuted at No. 17, setting what was then a new record for the highest-debuting country single in the 62-year history of the Hot Country Songs chart. [29] Despite the high debut, the song peaked at number 6. [20] Following it was "Stupid Boy", which was co-written by Sarah Buxton, went to number 3, and won him his second Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 2007. [20] The album's next two singles, "I Told You So" and "Everybody", respectively peaked at numbers two and five. [20] Urban released his first greatest hits collection Greatest Hits: 18 Kids on 20 November 2007. This compilation contains all of his Top 10 hits, along with two new songs, "Got It Right This Time (The Celebration) and a cover of Steve Forbert's "Romeo's Tune"."

In January 2008, Urban embarked on the "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride World Tour" with fellow country singer Carrie Underwood. In early May 2008, Urban debuted a new song at the Grand Ole Opry titled "A New Sunshine". That same month, Urban recorded a new version of "You Look Good in My Shirt" and released it as a single in June of that year. "Over the years it ("You Look Good In My Shirt") has always played like a hit song," Urban said. "That, combined with numerous requests from both fans and radio about why it was never a single, inspired us to get back into the studio and re-record the song." The single was a precursor to the "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy World Tour" concert DVD release in the fall of 2008. Later that year, Urban served as a duet artist for Brad Paisley's single "Start a Band," on which both he and Paisley sang and played guitar. This song was included on Paisley's album Play and it went to No. 1 in January 2009.

2008–2010: Defying Gravity Edit

Urban announced that the lead single for his fifth studio album would be titled "Sweet Thing". This song became his 10th number one hit. Capitol Records released the album, Defying Gravity, on 31 March 2009. The second single, "Kiss a Girl", [30] was released in March 2009. Urban performed this song on American Idol, during the season 8 finale, as a duet with eventual winner Kris Allen. "Only You Can Love Me This Way", the third single, went to number one. The fourth single, "'Til Summer Comes Around", went to number three. The fifth and final single "I'm In" is a cover of a song by Radney Foster, taken from the same album as "Raining on Sunday" was. This song was also recorded by The Kinleys, [19] whose version had been a Top 40 single in 2000. Urban's rendition went to number two. Between the two, Urban also made a guest appearance on then-labelmate Emily West's single "Blue Sky," which charted at number 38.

Urban's 2009 Escape Together tour, supporting the Defying Gravity album, featured many big-name opening acts, such as Taylor Swift, Sugarland, and Jason Aldean. On 27 June 2009, Urban filmed a video for the song, "Only You Can Love Me This Way", at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 2009, Urban was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.

2010–2012: Get Closer Edit

In May 2010, Urban entered the studio to begin work on a new album. [31] The recording process was documented in a blog on his official website. At the beginning of September, it was announced that the album would be titled Get Closer and would be released on 16 November. "Put You in a Song" was released as its first single on 13 September. [32] It went to number 2, followed by "Without You", "Long Hot Summer", and "You Gonna Fly", all of which went to number one. Urban wrote, "Put You in a Song" with Sarah Buxton and Jedd Hughes, and "Long Hot Summer" with Richard Marx. Preston Brust and Chris Lucas, who constitute the LoCash Cowboys, co-wrote "You Gonna Fly" with Jaren Johnston, then-member of the group American Bang. After "You Gonna Fly" fell from the charts, Urban released "For You", which was featured as the theme song of the 2012 action film Act of Valor and appeared on the film's soundtrack. The song peaked at number six on the country charts.

On 10 April 2012, Urban was invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Vince Gill at the third annual We're All for the Hall benefit concert which Urban organized. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on 21 April 2012. [33]

Urban plays guitar on Tim McGraw's early-2013 single "Highway Don't Care", which also features a guest vocal from Taylor Swift. This song is the third single from McGraw's album Two Lanes of Freedom.

2013–2015: Fuse Edit

On 13 May 2013, Urban released the single "Little Bit of Everything", produced by Nathan Chapman. [34] It was the first single from his eighth studio album, Fuse, which was released on 10 September 2013. [35] The official music video for "Little Bit Of Everything" debuted on VEVO on 25 July 2013. Unlike his previous albums, Urban co-produced with 10 other producers on this album. [36] [37] The album's second single, "We Were Us", is a duet with Miranda Lambert. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in December 2013. The third single, "Cop Car", was released in January 2014. A fourth single, "Somewhere in My Car" was released in June 2014. A fifth single, a duet with Eric Church, "Raise 'Em Up," was released to country radio on 26 January 2015. It reached number 1 on Country Airplay in May 2015.

2015–2017: Ripcord Edit

In June 2015, Urban released "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16", as the lead single to his eighth American studio album, Ripcord. [38] In October 2015, Urban teased a new song called "Break on Me" it was released to the public on 23 October. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart. On 22 September 2015, Urban celebrated the 10th anniversary of his third studio album Golden Road being certified triple platinum, for sales of 3 million copies of his record. [39] "Wasted Time" was released as the album's third single and it went on to reach the number one spot on the Country Airplay chart. "Blue Ain't Your Color" was released as the album's fourth single and became a huge hit for Urban. It topped the Hot Country Songs chart as well as the Country Airplay Chart, spending 12 weeks at number one on the former chart. "The Fighter", a duet with Carrie Underwood, was released as the fifth single from the album.

In 2016, Urban was selected as one of 30 artists to perform on "Forever Country," a medley of "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "On the Road Again", and "I Will Always Love You" which celebrates 50 years of the CMA Awards. [40]

2017–2018: Graffiti U Edit

On 8 November 2017, Urban released a new song titled "Female", which has been described as "an empowerment anthem partially inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal." Urban said that the song, "[a]s a husband and a father of two young girls. It affects me in a lot of ways. And as a son -- my mother is alive," he added. "It just speaks to all of the females in my life, particularly. For a guy who grew up with no sisters in a house of boys, it's incredible how now I'm surrounded by girls. But not only in my house I employ a huge amount of women in my team. The song just hit me for so many reasons." Kidman provided background vocals on the song. The song would serve as the lead single for Urban's tenth studio album. [41]

It was announced that Urban's tenth studio album would be titled Graffiti U and that a world tour in support of it would begin in summer 2018. [42] On 19 January, the Ed Sheeran co-written song "Parallel Line" was released as a single in Australia and the United Kingdom. [43] On 21 March, Urban released the album's second single "Coming Home", a heavily pop-influenced, upbeat song featuring a duet with pop singer Julia Michaels. This song also features a revamped version of the opening riff of Merle Haggard's hit "Mama Tried" throughout it and with his family's blessing, Haggard even received a posthumous credit for writing the song. Coming Home reached number one on the Mediabase Country Chart on 5 August 2018. [44] As well as Julia Michaels, the album also features duets with Lindsay Ell, Shy Carter, and Kassi Ashton. [45] Never Comin’ Down was released to radio as the fourth single in August 2018. [46]

2019–present: The Speed of Now Part 1 Edit

On 16 May 2019, Keith Urban released a brand new single, "We Were", a reflective mid-tempo ode to mischievous youth. "I like the idea that life just happens. At some point, whether in the moment or not, you just gotta go with it", he said. [47] The track was co-written by Eric Church. [48]

On 24 November 2019, Urban played the halftime show at the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup championship in Calgary. [49] [50]

On 27 February 2020, Urban released the single, "God Whispered Your Name" to country radio. [51] The track was co-written by Contemporary Christian artist Chris August. [52] On 24 April, Urban released the promotional single, "Polaroid". [53] [54]

In May 2020, Keith Urban hosted a drive-in concert for medical workers. His latest gig was mostly just him and two other musicians playing on a flatbed truck in front of about 125 cars. Urban played at the Stardust Drive-In movie theatre, about 60 km east of Nashville, Tennessee, for a crowd of more than 200 medical workers from Vanderbilt Health. [55]

Later in May 2020, Urban announced his eleventh studio album, The Speed of Now Part 1, would be released on 18 September 2020. [56] [57] [58] In July 2020, Urban released another promotional single, "Superman". [59]

In the week prior to the album's release, Urban hosted the rescheduled 55th Academy of Country Music Awards and premiered the third single off the album, "One Too Many" with Pink, [60] which would become Urban's first Top 10 all-genre song in his homeland of Australia. [61]

In December 2020, Urban was listed at number 29 in Rolling Stone Australia's "50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time" issue. [62]

He is a featured artist on Taylor Swift's track "That's When" from Fearless (Taylor's Version), Swift's first re-recorded studio album, which was released on April 9, 2021. "That's When" is one of six "from the Vault" tracks that did not make the 2008 album. [63]

The Voice Edit

On 23 November 2011, Urban was confirmed as one of the four vocal coaches in the Australian version of the reality singing competition alongside Seal, Joel Madden and Delta Goodrem. The Voice. [64] On 14 September 2012, Urban released a statement that he would not be signing back on for season two. [65] On December 15, 2020 it was announced that Urban would return to The Voice Australia season 10 for his second season alongside Jessica Mauboy, Guy Sebastian and Rita Ora. Last serving on the panel during Season 1.

American Idol Edit

The Fox Broadcasting Company officially announced on 16 September 2012 that Urban would replace Steven Tyler as a judge in season 12 of American Idol alongside Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. [66] On 1 August 2013, it was officially confirmed that Urban would return as a judge for season 13. [67] [68] [69] He was joined by former judge Jennifer Lopez and newest judge Harry Connick Jr.. On 23 June 2014, Fox announced that Urban would return to the judging panel for season 14. [70] Urban returned to judge the 15th season of American Idol in 2016. [71]

Slim and I Edit

Urban features in the 2020 Australian documentary film Slim and I, directed by Kriv Stenders, talking about the influence on his life of acclaimed Australian country music husband-and-wife duo Slim Dusty and Joy McKean. The film features interviews and covers of McKean songs by acclaimed contemporary artists including Urban (Lights on the Hill), Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly, and Troy Cassar-Daley. [72] [73]

In October 2013, during a concert in Tampa, Florida, Urban announced he would sell 'signature' guitars and accessories through Home Shopping Network (HSN). [74] HSN offered the guitar packages twice in six months, resulting in 42,000 sales. [75] [76]

While living in Nashville, Urban frequently used cocaine. [77] After reaching a personal low point in 1998, he became determined to stop using the drug and checked into Cumberland Heights, a treatment centre in Nashville.

Urban met Australian actress Nicole Kidman at G'Day LA, a Hollywood event promoting Australia, in January 2005, and they began dating six months later. They married on 25 June 2006 at the Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel in the grounds of St Patrick's Estate, Manly, in Sydney.

On 19 October 2006, Urban checked into the Betty Ford Center in California. On 20 October, he issued a statement saying: "I deeply regret the hurt this has caused Nicole and the ones who love and support me. One can never let one's guard down on recovery, and I'm afraid that I have." On 18 January 2007, Urban announced his completion of rehab and his plans to go on tour to promote his album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing. [78]

On 2 February 2007, Urban filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey painter by the same name, who has a website called The singer wanted to acquire the rights to the URL. [79] The painter counter-sued. [80] The lawsuit was settled in the painter's favour.

On 1 October 2007, Urban skidded off his motorbike when a paparazzo followed him near his home in Sydney. He was not hurt. In a statement released by his publicists, Urban said that the incident was "the result of one person's desire to do his job and my desire to maintain my privacy". Urban said that he tried to avoid an oncoming car and dropped his bike. He said the photographer came to his assistance without taking photos. [ citation needed ]

On 7 January 2008, Kidman said she and Urban were expecting their first child together. Kidman's publicist said, "the couple are thrilled and cannot wait". Kidman gave birth to a daughter in 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. On his website, Urban said:

"Earlier this morning Nic gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban. We want to thank everybody that has kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We feel very, very blessed and grateful that we can share this joy with all of my loving fans today." [81] [82]

In 2010, Urban and Kidman had a second daughter, Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, by surrogate at Nashville's Centennial Women's Hospital. [83]

Urban is a citizen of New Zealand, his place of birth, as well as a citizen of both Australia and the United States. [84]


The term "cake" has a long history. The word itself is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse word "kaka". [2]

The ancient Greeks called cake πλακοῦς (plakous), which was derived from the word for "flat", πλακόεις (plakoeis). It was baked using flour mixed with eggs, milk, nuts, and honey. They also had a cake called "satura", which was a flat heavy cake. During the Roman period, the name for cake became "placenta" which was derived from the Greek term. A placenta was baked on a pastry base or inside a pastry case. [3]

The Greeks invented beer as a leavener, frying fritters in olive oil, and cheesecakes using goat's milk. [4] In ancient Rome, the basic bread dough was sometimes enriched with butter, eggs, and honey, which produced a sweet and cake-like baked good. [5] Latin poet Ovid refers to his and his brother's birthday party and cake in his first book of exile, Tristia. [6]

Early cakes in England were also essentially bread: the most obvious differences between a "cake" and "bread" were the round, flat shape of the cakes, and the cooking method, which turned cakes over once while cooking, while bread was left upright throughout the baking process. [5]

Sponge cakes, leavened with beaten eggs, originated during the Renaissance, possibly in Spain. [7]

Cake mixes

During the Great Depression, there was a surplus of molasses and the need to provide easily made food to millions of economically depressed people in the United States. [8] One company patented a cake-bread mix to deal with this economic situation, and thereby established the first line of cake in a box. In so doing, cake, as it is known today, became a mass-produced good rather than a home- or bakery-made specialty.

Later, during the post-war boom, other American companies (notably General Mills) developed this idea further, marketing cake mix on the principle of convenience, especially to housewives. When sales dropped heavily in the 1950s, marketers discovered that baking cakes, once a task at which housewives could exercise skill and creativity, had become dispiriting. This was a period in American ideological history when women, retired from the war-time labor force, were confined to the domestic sphere, while still exposed to the blossoming consumerism in the US. [9] This inspired psychologist Ernest Dichter to find a solution to the cake mix problem in the frosting. [10] Since making the cake was so simple, housewives and other in-home cake makers could expend their creative energy on cake decorating inspired by, among other things, photographs in magazines of elaborately decorated cakes.

Ever since cake in a box has become a staple of supermarkets and is complemented with frosting in a can.

Cakes are broadly divided into several categories, based primarily on ingredients and mixing techniques.

Although clear examples of the difference between cake and bread are easy to find, the precise classification has always been elusive. [5]

Butter cake

Butter cakes are made from creamed butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. They rely on the combination of butter and sugar beaten for an extended time to incorporate air into the batter. [11] A classic pound cake is made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Another type of butter cake that takes its names from the proportion of ingredients used is 1-2-3-4 cake: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs. [12] According to Beth Tartan, this cake was one of the most common among the American pioneers who settled North Carolina. [13]

Baking powder is in many butter cakes, such as Victoria sponge. [14] The ingredients are sometimes mixed without creaming the butter, using recipes for simple and quick cakes. [ citation needed ]

Sponge cake

Sponge cakes (or foam cakes) are made from whipped eggs, sugar, and flour. Traditional sponge cakes are leavened only with eggs. They rely primarily on trapped air in a protein matrix (generally of beaten eggs) to provide leavening, sometimes with a bit of baking powder or other chemical leaven added. Egg-leavened sponge cakes are thought to be the oldest cakes made without yeast.

Angel food cake is a white cake that uses only the whites of the eggs and is traditionally baked in a tube pan. The French Génoise is a sponge cake that includes clarified butter. Highly decorated sponge cakes with lavish toppings are sometimes called gateau, the French word for cake. Chiffon cakes are sponge cakes with vegetable oil, which adds moistness. [15]

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cakes are butter cakes, sponge cakes, or other cakes flavored with melted chocolate or cocoa powder. [16] German chocolate cake is a variety of chocolate cake. Fudge cakes are chocolate cakes that contain fudge.

Coffee cake

Coffee cake is generally thought of as a cake to serve with coffee or tea at breakfast or a coffee break. Some types use yeast as a leavening agent while others use baking soda or baking powder. These cakes often have a crumb topping called streusel or a light glaze drizzle.

Flourless cake

Baked flourless cakes include baked cheesecakes and flourless chocolate cakes. Cheesecakes, despite their name, are not cakes at all. Cheesecakes are custard pies, with a filling made mostly of some form of cheese (often cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, or the like), and have very little flour added, although a flour-based or graham cracker crust may be used. Cheesecakes are also very old, with evidence of honey-sweetened cakes dating back to ancient Greece.

Layer cakes

Layer cakes are cakes made with layers of sponge or butter cake, filled with cream, jam or other filling to hold the layers together.

One egg cake

One egg cakes are made with one egg. They can be made with butter [17] or vegetable shortening. [18] One egg cake was an economical recipe when using two eggs for each cake was too costly. [19]

Although clear examples of the difference between cake and bread are easy to find, the precise classification has always been elusive. [5] For example, banana bread may be properly considered either a quick bread or a cake. Yeast cakes are the oldest and are very similar to yeast bread. Such cakes are often very traditional in form and include such pastries as babka and stollen.

Cakes may be classified according to the occasion for which they are intended. For example, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cakes for first communion, Christmas cakes, Halloween cakes, and Passover plava (a type of sponge cake sometimes made with matzo meal) are all identified primarily according to the celebration they are intended to accompany. The cutting of a wedding cake constitutes a social ceremony in some cultures. The Ancient Roman marriage ritual of confarreatio originated in the sharing of a cake.

Particular types of cake may be associated with particular festivals, such as stollen or chocolate log (at Christmas), babka and simnel cake (at Easter), or mooncake. There has been a long tradition of decorating an iced cake at Christmas time other cakes associated with Christmas include chocolate log and mince pies.

A Lancashire Courting Cake is a fruit-filled cake baked by a fiancée for her betrothed. The cake has been described as "somewhere between a firm sponge – with a greater proportion of flour to fat and eggs than a Victoria sponge cake – and a shortbread base and was proof of the bride-to-be's baking skills". Traditionally it is a two-layer cake filled and topped with strawberries or raspberries and whipped cream. [20]

Cakes are frequently described according to their physical form. Cakes may be small and intended for individual consumption. Larger cakes may be made to be sliced and served as part of a meal or social function. Common shapes include:

A plate of white chocolate cake balls

The kransekage is an example of a conical cake

Special cake flour with a high starch-to-gluten ratio is made from fine-textured, soft, low-protein wheat. It is strongly bleached and compared to all-purpose flour, cake flour tends to result in cakes with a lighter, less dense texture. [21] Therefore, it is frequently specified or preferred in cakes meant to be soft, light, and/or bright white, such as angel food cake. However, if cake flour is called for, a substitute can be made by replacing a small percentage of all-purpose flour with cornstarch or removing two tablespoons from each cup of all-purpose flour. [22] [23] [24] Some recipes explicitly specify or permit all-purpose flour, notably where a firmer or denser cake texture is desired.

A cake can fail to bake properly, which is called "falling". In a cake that "falls", parts may sink or flatten, because it was baked at a temperature that is too low or too hot, [25] [26] when it has been underbaked [26] and when placed in an oven that is too hot at the beginning of the baking process. [27] The use of excessive amounts of sugar, flour, fat or leavening can also cause a cake to fall. [27] [28] A cake can also fall when subjected to cool air that enters an oven when the oven door is opened during the cooking process. [29]

A finished cake is often enhanced by covering it with icing, or frosting, and toppings such as sprinkles, which are also known as "jimmies" in certain parts of the United States and "hundreds and thousands" in the United Kingdom. The frosting is usually made from powdered (icing) sugar, sometimes a fat of some sort, milk or cream, and often flavorings such as a vanilla extract or cocoa powder. Some decorators use a rolled fondant icing. Commercial bakeries tend to use lard for the fat, and often whip the lard to introduce air bubbles. This makes the icing light and spreadable. Home bakers either use lard, butter, margarine, or some combination thereof. Sprinkles are small firm pieces of sugar and oils that are colored with food coloring. In the late 20th century, new cake decorating products became available to the public. These include several specialized sprinkles and even methods to print pictures and transfer the image onto a cake.

Special tools are needed for more complex cake decorating, such as piping bags and various piping tips, syringes and embossing mats. To use a piping bag or syringe, a piping tip is attached to the bag or syringe using a coupler. The bag or syringe is partially filled with icing which is sometimes colored. Using different piping tips and various techniques, a cake decorator can make many different designs. Basic decorating tips include open star, closed star, basketweave, round, drop flower, leaf, multi, petal, and specialty tips. An embossing mat is used to create embossed effects. A cake turntable that cakes are spun upon may be used in cake decoration.

Royal icing, marzipan (or a less sweet version, known as almond paste), fondant icing (also known as sugar paste), and buttercream are used as covering icings and to create decorations. Floral sugarcraft or wired sugar flowers are an important part of cake decoration. Cakes for special occasions, such as wedding cakes, are traditionally rich fruit cakes or occasionally Madeira cakes, that are covered with marzipan and iced using royal icing or sugar-paste. They are finished with piped borders (made with royal icing) and adorned with a piped message, wired sugar flowers, hand-formed fondant flowers, marzipan fruit, piped flowers, or crystallized fruits or flowers such as grapes or violets.

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