Tara Yarlagadda

Contributing Writer

Tara is a multimedia storyteller and freelance writer of culture, science, travels, soul-sucking books, movies/TV and great eats. In addition to HowStuffWorks, Tara has been published in The New York Times 360, PBS NewsHour, Paste, Bedford + Bowery, Hyperallergic and The New Food Economy. She’s also worked as a fact-checker for The New York Times. Before subsisting on instant ramen as a freelance journalist, Tara received an M.A. in Literary Reportage from New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and a B.A in Political Science/South & Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California – Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter @TaraYarla, for writing-related musings and check out her website here:

Recent Contributions

Shallots Are Onions' Cute Little Cousins

Shallots belong to the same family as onions, leeks, scallions and garlic. They look like small, elongated onions but have a sweeter, milder flavor.

Heart of Palm Is Totally Delicious, Underrated and Much Better Fresh

Heart of palm, with a similar taste and texture to artichoke heart, is a staple in Central and South America and a healthy addition to almost any menu.

How Did Constantinople Become Istanbul?

The modern city of Istanbul, Turkey, has a long and tumultuous history. Once known as Constantinople, it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the center of cultural and religious activity and a hub for trade in Eurasia.

Fallingwater Is Considered Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece. Here's Why

Set over Bear Run, a tributary of the Youghiogheny River in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, Fallingwater is perhaps the architect's best-known work.

Jerry Lawson Forever Changed the Video Game Industry

If you're a gamer, you've got Jerry Lawson to thank for inventing the first commercial home video game console with interchangeable game cartridges.

Bessie Coleman: America's First Black Female Aviatrix

You've heard all about the exploits of Amelia Earhart, but do you know the story of Bessie Coleman, the first Black American woman to receive a pilot's license?

Kate Warne: First Female Pinkerton Detective Thwarted Lincoln Assassination Attempt

Kate Warne was bold enough to walk into the Pinkerton Agency in 1856 and step into her role as the first female detective in U.S. history.

The Magical Art of Cambodian Shadow Puppetry Has Entertained for Centuries

The tiny Southeast Asian country of Cambodia has achieved a worldwide reputation for perfecting the art of shadow puppetry. But the practice is in danger of dying out.

Rhubarb: The Poisonous Veggie You Can Totally Eat

What vegetable is often mistaken for a fruit, has poisonous leaves but is still edible and is often harvested by candlelight? Yep, that would be rhubarb.

The Legacy of African American Spirituals in Today's Gospel and Blues Music

Today's gospel and blues music and the freedom songs of the civil rights movement all have historical roots in traditional slave spirituals, which were songs of sorrow, but also jubilation at the promise of freedom.

Lawns to Legumes: Minnesota Pays Homeowners to Plant 'Bee Lawns'

The rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis) is on the verge of extinction and the state of Minnesota is doing something about it.

Seals Clap Underwater to Communicate

Seals have long been known as dry-land clappers, but the first-ever percussive clapping observed by scientists has blown seal clapping theory out of the water. Or should we say under the water?

Mushrooms: Wash 'em or Brush 'em Off?

Aaah, mushrooms – all those beautiful shapes and colors, textures and flavors. But what about the dirt and debris that always seem to come along? We find out whether it's best to wash them, brush them or just go au naturel with them.

What's So American About Apple Pie?

Baseball, hot dogs, mom and apple pie. Of all these iconically American things, the apple pie holds a special place in the lexicon of American symbolism, but why?

8 Wild and Sprawling Facts About Mongolia

Mongolia is a country struggling to maintain its nomadic ways while stepping boldly into the modern 21st century world.

What's All the Buzz About Manuka Honey? 

This native New Zealand 'liquid gold' honey may make you want to abandon the bear. But does it really have medicinal properties, and why is it so expensive?

What's the Difference Between an Alaskan Malamute and a Husky?

There are two types of huskies and they both look an awful lot like malamutes, so it's no wonder people can't tell them apart.

IV Drip Bars Are a Hot Trend, But Are They Safe?

Feeling hungover or rundown? Just walk into an IV drip bar, sit down and roll up your sleeve. Is this a good idea or a fad that will go the way of the sauna suit?

6 Cheesy Facts About Cheeseburgers

On National Cheeseburger Day, we're celebrating — what else? — the all-American cheeseburger.

Coyotes: The 'Song Dogs' of North America

Though ol' Wile E. never did catch the Road Runner, coyotes are some of the most ingenious and adaptable animals on the planet.