Archive for Worth a Fork

The Element of Pasta

The British have long feasted on things like stodge and spotted dick, so I figure Pinkie Pie is a step in the right direction:

You should probably keep cans of this stuff all over town, in case of food emergency.

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It’s cheap to be the King

From 1989 to 2002, Burger King was owned by the British conglomerate Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo). In 2010, it was acquired by the equity firm 3G Capital, with offices in New York and roots in Brazil. Now it’s about to become Canadian:

The Wall Street Journal‘s Liz Hoffman and Dana Mattioli report Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Horton’s to pull off a “tax inversion” that would allow it to avoid U.S. taxes.

The new holding company would be based in Canada, the pair report.

Whether one will be able to pick up Timbits with a Whopper is not yet known.

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It beats my cooking all to hell

David Pilling recommends the following:

Then wash it down with some of this:

On the typical Sustenance For Football Fans On The Sofa scale, this is probably about 50th percentile.

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Also not available in dark

We regret to inform you that this does not actually exist:

Perry's Chicken Wing Ice Cream

It was, in fact, Perry’s April Fool joke for 2013, recently recirculated through the Web in someone else’s attempt at reprankage.

However, the idea does seem to stick in one’s mind:

We asked seven Capital Region chefs to play a game called “Can You Make It into Ice Cream?” When they agreed to participate, all they knew was that they’d be randomly assigned an ingredient — one not usually associated with summer’s favorite treat — and tasked to make ice cream with it.

Rachel Fleischman Mabb of Troy’s The Ruck tried her hand at chicken wings:

Ice cream: Two versions: one with an egg-custard base the other with cream thickened with xanthan gum; one with sharper blue cheese and the other a mild brie-style blue. Served with chicken-skin cracklins and a glass of imperial porter.

How she did it: Mixed braising liquid from chicken thighs into the cream base for chicken flavor; there is no actual chicken in the ice cream.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

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Hold your nose and dig in

Everyone, please welcome our new intern, Durian McFlurry.

No, wait, that’s wrong. This is a Durian McFlurry:

Durian McFlurry from McDonald's Singapore

The offering of this product indicates a certain gutsiness on the part of McDonald’s Singapore locations:

The fruit has a very distinct odor that is strong and penetrating even when the shell is intact. We have not tasted it yet, but we have come to recognize the smell. You can identify it a mile away. It truly is hard to describe … a sweet, gross, stinky smell like a very overripe piece of fruit or leaking gas.

Many people love it and say it has a smell similar to almonds. Other people would say it smells like rotten onions, turpentine, raw sewage, or smelly socks. I have seen the taste described as gasoline with bananas, vanilla pudding with onions, or something between a rotting carcass and blue cheese.

Do you think hedgehogs will eat it?

(Inspired by something Roger said.)

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Serving suggestion for March 15th

Caesar dressing by Kraft, stabbed in the back

(A reddit find from Miss Cellania.)


We so ex-seitan

They told me it was a gag. It is nothing of the kind:

GlutenFreeSingles started when two health conscious friends, one with celiac disease and the other gluten intolerance recognized the need for a gluten-free dating community that focused on singles with similar dietary needs. By creating GlutenFreeSingles we hope to help the 3 million people who have celiac disease and those who are gluten intolerant find valuable information, self-improvement, and long fulfilling gluten-free relationships.

Jack Sprat was not available for comment.

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In the absence of Purina People Chow

A strange interchange on Facebook, and one rude intrusion in the midst of it:

The Marmoset Thread

Many chains were pulled during this thread, I believe.

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Benson & Hersheys

Actually, I just made that up. But candy cigarettes are still a thing, albeit a weak one, and Will Truman bought some:

The “Carton” doesn’t actually say “cigarettes” on there anywhere. I don’t know if that’s a recent development or they never did. I can see why they don’t now… The pieces themselves don’t look nearly as cigarette-y as I remember them. I suspect this was the case before. But in my mouth they look as much like a glorified toothpick as anything… They taste exactly as I remember them.

This looks like the package Truman posted; interestingly, the inevitable “Frequently Bought Together” section lists those candy bracelets that always broke when you tried to stretch them, and the infamous Nik-L-Nips, wax bottles containing some mysterious colored liquid.

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A wiener is you


I expect that once again, they will fail to address the following:

I mean the fact that there are always too many hot dogs, and not enough buns, has been clearly unacceptable!

Come on people! Why can’t Oscar Meyer and Wonder just call a truce and negotiate a settlement on what the proper number of dogs and buns to a package should be!

I vote for eight: buns remain unchanged, and a pack of eight franks will cost less than a pack of ten. Not that anyone these days is likely to do the math.

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Also, I don’t use jelly

My mother would have objected to this, but then she’s seen me eating peanut butter out of the jar:

Shelf full of Kellogg's Jif cereal

On the upside, there’s no debate on how it’s pronounced.

(Via Cameron Miquelon.)

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Somewhat unlike Mountain Dew

At least, that’s what I’ve been given to believe:

You know, plants, if you’re just gonna hurl all over the place — well, I don’t know if it’s worth it burning all that Shell V-Power just to get you guys some carbon dioxide.

If you can deal with this, you can use it to wash down some Kale Granola Chocolate Bark by Coracao Confections.

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A word to health-conscious zombies

In the theme to the Popcap videogame Plants vs. Zombies, Laura Shigihara, as Sunflower, issues a warning to the zombies: “Brains are quite rich in cholesterol.”

It appears she was understating the case:

I once ran across a product called pork brains and milk gravy which I immediately bought. I never ate any of it, I just bought it to show to my friends. It came in a small can about the same size as the cans that Vienna sausages come in which I assumed was one serving.

The health label informed me that the can contained slightly over one thousand percent of the cholesterol that I could healthily wolf down in one day. In other words, ten days cholesterol in one sitting; a heart attack in a very small can.

Do zombies worry about heart attacks? Maybe they should.

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Semi-square meal

This is the sort of thing that causes sadness to well up from somewhere this side of the duodenum:

So, it turns out that a habanero ranch bacon cheeseburger with fries in Buffalo sauce followed by a half pound of Skittles and a Drumstick ice cream cone isn’t something my system is prepared to handle any more.

Man. This sucks.

Especially since the Drumstick is basically the anti-Buffalo: they’re supposed to cancel themselves out sometime before you need to break out the Tums.

Also at that link: a potato salad recipe that you won’t need to raise tens of thousands of dollars to produce.


You bet it’s solid

It was a modest crowdsourcing request: ten bucks to help make a batch of potato salad.

That was the third of July. By now, it’s grown far, far beyond that. At $1000, it was announced that the actual production of the potato salad would be livestreamed. What can they do at $30,000? It’s a shame the Ross Sisters are gone; they’d be perfect for this event.

Speaking of the Ross Sisters, the last couple of frames of their magnum opus remind me of the last couple of frames of this.

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But does it taste like chicken?

The Chinese division of Walmart is taking steps to improve packaged-food quality:

Wal-Mart plans to triple spending on food safety in China, where fox meat was found in packages labelled as “Five Spice” donkey meat in January.

The masquerading meat came from a local supplier. After the discovery, the company said it would increase checks on vendors to ensure they have the necessary permits and do DNA testing of meat sold in China.

I don’t know which possibility is more worrisome: that people can’t tell the difference between fox and donkey, or that they can.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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Whose vault is this?

Part of the Coca-Cola legend is its quadruple-secret formula, allegedly known to only a few:

After Dr. John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, the formula was kept a close secret, only shared with a small group and not written down. In 1891, Asa Candler became the sole proprietor of Coca-Cola after purchasing the rights to the business. Then, in 1919, Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors purchased the Company from Candler and his family. To finance the purchase Woodruff arranged a loan and as collateral he provided documentation of the formula by asking Candler’s son to commit the formula to paper. This was placed in a vault in the Guaranty Bank in New York until the loan was repaid in 1925. At that point, Woodruff reclaimed the secret formula and returned it to Atlanta and placed it in the Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust Bank, where it remained through 2011. On December 8, 2011, the Coca-Cola Company moved the secret formula to a purpose built vault in a permanent interactive exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Headquartered just up the road from Coca-Cola, in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is an eatery whose recipes, until this week, were owned by somebody else:

It might seem completely irrational for a fast-food company to not own the recipes that it uses every day, but that’s exactly what fried chicken place Popeyes has been doing for the last 23 years. The company has been paying an outside company $3.1 million per year in royalties for certain recipes that are crucial to its business, and recently paid $43 million for the rights to them.

If you’re wondering how this happens and how you can get into the rent-a-recipe business, it helps to know that the company that owned the recipes was started by the chain’s founder, Al Copeland, in 1984. Diversified Foods and Seasonings is a separate entity that sells most of the food that a Popeyes franchisee needs, from biscuit mixes to chicken batter to premade soups and macaroni and cheese.

In 1994, the company filed for bankruptcy and reorganized, and Copeland was ousted from the company he founded. He got to keep some Popeyes franchises … and DFS, the company with the contract to supply Popeyes restaurants with, well, food and seasonings.

Al Copeland didn’t live to see this development; he died in 2008 at sixty-four.

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More green for those greens

It wasn’t all that long ago that hipsters discovered quinoa, with one predictable result: the price skyrocketed. The same thing seems to be happening to collard greens:

They’ve become a “superfood,” a catchphrase embraced by yuppies who think they can eat their way to health, and they’ve also become something edgy and hip that hipsters eat — these brave new explorers on the food frontiers who miraculously “discover” things like inexpensive, nutritious fruits and vegetables from exotic locales like the backyard gardens of the people they kick out of gentrifying neighborhoods, or offal. Hipster menus are increasingly filled with foods that were once considered discards by the middle class, things that people disdained as soon as they could afford not to eat them.

Consequently, something troubling is happening in the grocery store aisles. As foods get popular with people who have more money, grocery store owners are raising the prices on these foods, secure in the knowledge that they now have a higher-paying audience for them. This, in turn, makes it harder for the poor communities who once relied upon them to afford them. The price of kale went up 25% after it became a hipster food, and this was in a recession, when even many hipsters were struggling to make a living in an economy that was collapsing in on itself. What can collard greens expect?

Having grown up as a less-than-affluent Southerner, I’m of course familiar with the stuff, and once swore, in sort of a sideways-Scarlett style, that as God is my witness, I’d never eat it again. I am not prepared to see it as a seven-dollar side dish, though vendors of soul food are going to have to make up for price increases somehow.

Oh, well. At least they haven’t dubbed it “Dalmatian cabbage.” Yet.

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You can probably guess the menu

Bell Buckle, Tennessee, population 500, is known for two things: the Webb School, the oldest continuously-operating boarding school in the South, due for its sesquicentennial in 2020; and the twenty-year old RC Cola-Moon Pie Festival:

[O]n June 21st this quiet little town will become a bustle of excitement and activity when it celebrates the 20th Anniversary of its wildly popular RC-Moon Pie Festival. This year’s festival will spew forth the biggest Box Office news of the year — The return of your favorite Synchronized Wading Characters! After two decades of dry humor on a wet stage, the beloved characters will once again reunite. The stage will be a little different, the story may have changed, but your favorite characters are reuniting to celebrate in a way no one else could ever celebrate marshmellow and carbonation glory!

Known as the first “fast food” meal, these two Southern traditions, RC and a Moon Pie, are brought together for a grand celebration Bell Buckle style. The idea for the Festival first began in 1994 as a way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Moon Pie and to bring tourists to Bell Buckle. Bell Buckle called the Chattanooga Bakery to see about throwing a Birthday Party for Moon Pie. Little could anyone have expected what a huge event this would become!

Wikipedia claims the Moon Pie actually was invented in 1917, and therefore would have been 77 years old that first year in Bell Buckle; Royal Crown Cola (home town: Columbus, Georgia) dates back to 1905.

Incidentally, the Webb School was actually founded in Culleoka, Tennessee, but William R. “Sawney” Webb, founder and headmaster, uprooted it:

[I]n 1886, the town of Culleoka incorporated, making the sale of liquor legal within the city limits. This was too much for Webb, an ardent prohibitionist. Sawney and his boys packed up and headed to Bell Buckle, a village thirty-five miles west on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. On six acres of beech forest, about one-third of a mile from the depot, Webb dug a well and built a bigger and better schoolhouse than that in Culleoka. Leading citizens of Bell Buckle supported the move by raising $12,000 for the new school.

Today, according to Google Maps, Bell Buckle is 50 miles east of Culleoka. Go figure.

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One or two lumps?

Make it three, and keep your sexist remarks to yourself:

Sweetness is code for feminine. It’s code for not being able to handle “reality” and having to cover it up. Because people really need to read that much into a desire to eat or drink something that tastes good/actually listen to your palette when it says that you do or don’t like something.

There is an odd cult of masculinity around things that taste like shit and being able to eat things that taste like shit and/or hurt you when you eat them (cinnamon challenge anyone?). Oddly, putting oneself in situations that require pain or discomfort is seen as good and manly and powerful and strong, whereas actually doing things you enjoy is seen as girly (unless it’s eating a steak which gets a pass because killing things and eating their flesh is also manly). And for that reason, eating things that are sweet is considered feminine. It’s delicate, because only weak ladies feel the need to consume things that go down easy.

I have long suspected that said “cult of masculinity” originally coalesced around a group of guys who couldn’t tell you which end of a stick of butter you shove into the toaster. (How big this group is, I’m not sure, though it’s surely not insubstantial.) By general cultural agreement, the Confirmed Bachelor lives on an indiscriminate diet rivaled only by the jackal’s, which explains that part of his beer belly that isn’t actually attributable to beer. But this, too, is a stereotype.

Food is an important cultural signifier. We use it to communicate our values (see veganism and vegetarianism), to communicate our in-groups (through ethnic food or family traditions), to bond with each other (group meals), and to communicate how we fit into the world (eating disorders are a good example of this, but many people choose their food to signify what kind of a person they are). We don’t often look to food consciously as a way to reveal our prejudices or assumptions, but it’s woven into every day of our lives (even when we’re not eating it).

Or, as I once said:

Nobody eats arugula for the taste. It’s a status indicator, pure and simple. If you could get it in a salad at Wendy’s, no one would pay however many dollars a pound for it.

Why, yes, I think I will have another strawberry daiquiri.

(Via this @syaffolee tweet.)

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Myocardial ingestion

Way back in ought-six, I did a paragraph or two about the Heart Attack Grill, then in Tempe, Arizona, and noted that they were seeking other locations.

They apparently have relocated to Las Vegas, where Wombat-socho gave them a try:

One of the reasons I like Carl’s Jr./Hardees is their in-your-face response to the food Puritans who think we all ought to be eating local-source organically-grown artisanal tofu, and the Heart Attack Grill turns that attitude up to 11. Nothing, absolutely nothing on the menu is good for you in the traditional sense*, and the staff takes great relish in dishing up the Bypass Burgers — available up to Octuple Bypass Size with eight half-pound patties, cheese, chili, onions, tomatoes, and an optional 40 slices of bacon — Flatliner Fries cooked in lard, milkshakes with the world’s highest butterfat content, beer, booze, unfiltered cigarettes, wine served in intravenous bags … it just goes on and on, set against a backdrop of hilarious movie parody posters and a “Last Supper” style mural in which Dr. Jon serves a quadruple bypass burger and flatliner fries to his fast food mascot apostles. Diners are provided with hospital gowns on entry, which is helpful if you’re a messy eater; patients who fail to respond to treatment (i.e., not finishing their burger) are spanked by the “nurses” or “doctors” on duty as appropriate. And those nurses have some quality arms, let me tell you — not from personal experience, mind you; I finished my burgers. Oh yes — diners who weigh in at 350 or more pounds get their Bypass Burger for free with purchase of beverage, and since I am a wombat of bulk, if not definition, I took full advantage of this — but tipped as if I had paid for the burgers, because I’m not a schmuck.

That specific weight figure saddens me just a little, since I actually have been over 350. (I’m not now.) And really, I don’t think I can eat that much anymore; my modest trencherman days have long since passed.

Oh, to complete the footnote:

* They do have bottled water, which may be the one thing on the menu that nutritionists would agree is good for you.

Yeah. But screw ‘em anyway.

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She should not feel so all alone

Previously declared by Nicole (and mentioned here):

Kids might still pick some up and eat them anyway (kids with no taste) but if an adult is fed these unbeknownst to them they are simply a dunderhead who has no sensory awareness at all.

Maureen Dowd, thy head is made of dunder:

The caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars I used to love as a child.

Sitting in my hotel room in Denver, I nibbled off the end and then, when nothing happened, nibbled some more. I figured if I was reporting on the social revolution rocking Colorado in January, the giddy culmination of pot Prohibition, I should try a taste of legal, edible pot from a local shop.

What could go wrong with a bite or two?

And then, of course, she found out:

As my paranoia deepened, I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me.

It took all night before it began to wear off, distressingly slowly. The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

(Via this tweet by HuffPo’s Sam Stein. Originally scheduled for 4:20, but moved up.)

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An occasionally forbidden fruit

As fulsome praise for fruit goes, this is right up there with the fulsomest:

Have you eaten a ruby red grapefruit lately? I bought a big bag of them last week and have been enjoying one per day ever since. Each one is massive and almost completely edible, even the white fleshy membranes. So tender. They are juicy beyond belief, like biting into the ocean. But a sweet, tangy ocean. They need neither salt nor brown sugar to temper the powerful flavor, because they are naturally perfect lately. When your teeth grip the pink, webbed meat and fruit juice splashes in your mouth, you can literally hear the vitamins collide with your blood cells (it sounds like sparklers on the Fourth of July), and within minutes your future seems brighter, stronger, more likely to improve. I ate one this morning and my bank account instantly went up by like forty three bucks.*

* No, it didn’t.

Some folks, however, dare not touch Big Citrus like this. I spent several years on a statin, during which time grapefruit was absolutely verboten. About two years ago, I quit taking them and didn’t tell anyone; my cholesterol remains at the same old 165. However, there are other drugs on my daily regimen which will mess me up if they catch me digging into a grapefruit.

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Cheap chicks

Earlier this week, on the subject of fried chicken:

[A]ll else being equal, I’d just as soon grab an eight-piece bag from one of the local supermarkets, which will serve just as well (and just as many) for well under ten bucks.

Last such bag I got was $8.49. Under the counter, though, were whole birds that had gone through the rotisserie, for a mere $5. Surely it doesn’t cost that much to piece them out.

Of course, I missed the most obvious explanation:

[M]uch like hunters who strive to use every part of the animal, grocery stores attempt to sell every modicum of fresh food they stock. Produce past its prime is chopped up for the salad bar; meat that’s overdue for sale is cooked up and sold hot. Some mega-grocers like Costco have dedicated rotisserie chicken programs, but employees report that standard supermarkets routinely pop unsold chickens from the butcher into the ol’ rotisserie oven.

Not that I’m complaining. And neither is Will Truman:

We’ve become big fans. I bring home one more than half of the time I go to Walmart, in part because theirs are better than the other place I shop at. It provides for at least a couple of meals, just you can tear it up and put it in other things to add a little more meat.

And “tear it up” is literal: the stuff practically falls off the bone.

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With a Texas record at steak

I might have been able to pull this off when I was younger. I certainly can’t today.

Meal consists of: Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Potato, Salad, with Roll, Butter, and of course the 72 oz. Steak

Entire meal must be completed in one hour. If any of the meal is not consumed (swallowed) … YOU LOSE!

A Nebraska woman laughs at this puny threat:

Molly Schuyler, weighing in at 120 pounds, ate not one but two 72 oz. steaks at Amarillo’s Big Texan Steak Ranch.

Most who attempt the challenge cannot finish one steak but in less than 20 minutes Molly put away two 72 oz. steaks.

And if you want to watch this spectacle:

This is someone I’d be afraid to ask out, if only for the potential threat to my wallet.

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A colonel of truth?

What the world needs now is — love, sweet love? No? How about an index of places that serve fried chicken?

Because there’s a lot of variation in fried chicken — bone-in or otherwise, skin on or otherwise, battered or dusted or crumbed, flavored or just chicken-flavored, and the classic question of pan-fried or deep-fried. So just knowing if a restaurant is, in general, good or not, doesn’t tell you much about the chicken. A very fine restaurant that sells peppery battered chicken is not my chicken place, though it might be someone else’s.

Of the major chains, I remain partial to Popeye’s, though, all else being equal, I’d just as soon grab an eight-piece bag from one of the local supermarkets, which will serve just as well (and just as many) for well under ten bucks.

Still, what we need is information like this:

How could you know, if you’re not told, that the crust on the skinless “put a bird on it” chicken at The Original in Portland has some weird magical ingredient that makes it taste rather as if it isn’t skinless?

Now that, I’d like to see. And taste.

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Arby’s has just wrapped up its first 13-hour commercial, which is intended to remind you that the brisket in their Brisket Sandwich is actually smoked in a proper smoker for exactly that length of time. It’s not, admittedly, particularly scintillating, unless you get off on watching meat:

In the dialogue-free commercial, a brisket is placed in a smoker that has been fitted with a glass window and internal light, and it cooks on the screen in one uncut shot. Finally, the brisket is removed from the smoker and Neville Craw, Arby’s corporate executive chef (only his arms and apron-clad torso are seen), slices off some and assembles the sandwich, which includes smoked Gouda cheese, crispy fried onions and barbecue sauce.

The live-TV airing on channel 6.2 in Duluth — Guinness insisted it be carried somewhere on actual television to qualify for Longest Commercial honors — will be followed by a Webcast at on Wednesday, starting 8 am Central.

How this compares in excitement level to, say, the Yule-log broadcasts at Christmas, remains to be seen.

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Contains no feldspar

I took just enough chemistry in my younger days to be able to snicker at the organic-produce bins; I mean, it’s not like the alternative is inorganic produce, cobbled together out of stray minerals or something. Still, it hasn’t kept me from actually buying out of that bin now and then.

Then I picked up this bundle of organic bananas from Chiquita, sourced from somewhere in Ecuador. The usual green-plastic ribbon was in place, but now it’s bilingual: not only does it tell you “Organic Bananas,” but also, in French, “Bananes Biologique.” Hey, they’re “biological,” unlike that lump of stuff two bins down for twenty-five cents less. Who can argue with that?

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Hi, Drox!

There was a time when things were so bad for Sunshine Biscuits that they resorted to creating an animated version of cookie filling: their Hydrox cookie, said the ads, were the only ones with the friendly Drox, whom you should happily greet. (The Drox itself, in animated form, looked like a distant cousin of Casper the Friendly Ghost.) Sunshine eventually wound down, was merged into Keebler, and Keebler was subsequently absorbed by Kellogg’s. Except for a brief not-necessarily-100th Anniversary edition, Kellogg’s kept Hydrox buried.

No more. Kellogg’s is no longer calling the shots, and Hydrox is coming back:

Hydrox cookies, those Oreo-like chocolate sandwich cookies, could reappear on store shelves as early as September, says Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, which recently acquired the rights to the unused Hydrox trademark.

“The cosmic difference between Hydrox and Oreo is that Hydrox is a little more crispy; a little less sugary and stands up better in milk,” says Kassoff, who will make the official announcement later this month at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago on May 20.

New Hydrox packaging

This isn’t the original Leaf Brands, creator of Whoppers, Milk Duds and the Heath bar, long since lost to merger. Kassoff, nephew of Ed Leaf, revived the company in 2011. And he has childhood memories of Hydrox:

As a young kid raised by parents who were Orthodox Jews, he was only permitted to eat Hydrox — not Oreos — because, he says, at the time, Oreos were not kosher but Hydrox were. Today, both are kosher.

There still exists a fan page for Hydrox on Facebook.

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Way before supersizing

I had just left a job at McDonald’s (yes!) when these prices went in, which would be about 1970-71:

McDonald's menu board, early Seventies

Back then, when they said “limited menu,” by Grimace, they meant “limited menu.”

And the 60-cent Quarter Pounder, adjusted for inflation since 1971, would now be, um, $3.50. I had been making $1.95 an hour, 20 cents over the minimum wage; that would be $11.48 today. Make of that what you will.

(Via HistoryInPics.)

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