Archive for Worth a Fork

A front-nine breakfast

I’m not sure I want to know how this might have happened:

You have an early-morning golf match. You make coffee and contemplate the optimal breakfast to help you hit the ball straighter and calm those first-tee jitters.

For now, skip frozen hash browns sold in nine states under the Harris Teeter and Roundy’s brands. The potatoes may contain pieces of golf balls, according to the hash brown maker.

Says the recall notice from McCain Foods:

McCain Foods USA, Inc. announced today it is voluntarily recalling retail, frozen hash brown products that may be contaminated with extraneous golf ball materials, that despite our stringent supply standards may have been inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make this product. Consumption of these products may pose a choking hazard or other physical injury to the mouth.

The impacted products include the following: Roundy’s Brand, 2 lb. Bag of Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns (UPC 001115055019) and Harris Teeter Brand, 2 lb. Bag of Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns (UPC 007203649020).

The Roundy’s products were distributed at Marianos, Metro Market, and Pick ‘n Save supermarkets in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin. The Harris Teeter products were distributed in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Maryland. Distribution occurred after the date of January 19, 2017.

Which explains the production code: B170119.

As usual with food recalls, you can turn them in at the store where you got them, or you can just pitch them out. I suggest a 5-iron.

(Via Kim Severson.)

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Was this meal Happy?

I don’t think I’d have had the nerve at eighteen, let alone at eight:

An 8-year-old East Palestine [Ohio] boy used YouTube videos to learn how to drive his father’s van to McDonald’s on Sunday.

East Palestine Patrolman Jacob Koehler responded to the restaurant that evening after the police department received reports from several people who witnessed the boy driving the van effortlessly through the downtown area.

Koehler said that according to reports from witnesses … the boy obeyed all traffic laws, stopping properly at red lights and waited for traffic to pass before making the left turn into the McDonald’s parking lot.

The staff assumed this was some kind of joke:

When he pulled up to the drive-through window after ordering a cheeseburger he had been craving and intended to pay for using money he gathered from his piggy bank, the McDonald’s workers at first thought they were being pranked.

“The workers thought that the parents were in the back, but obviously they weren’t,” Koehler said.

The boy had his 4-year-old sister along as a passenger.

There are people a lot older than 8, and you probably know some, who can’t manage a mile and a half trip without knocking something over, or at least hitting a curb, especially if a left turn is involved.

Staff sprung for meals for the lad and his sister, the parental units were notified — apparently a friend of the family recognized the van — and they all lived happily ever after.

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Back to the basics

Advertising for the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chain — they started on opposite coasts and eventually sort of grew together — has occasionally ventured a tad onto the risqué side in recent years.

Not anymore, at least for now:

Not to be a spoilsport, but Carl Karcher and Wilber Hardee were not necessarily anything like this. I think. I figure I’ve eaten too much of their food to worry about it.

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The wrong sort of buzz

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time:

Just recently, Cheerios removed Buzz the Bee from their cereal boxes to promote their Bring Back the Bees Campaign. Cheerios’ campaign is quite straightforward. They plan to send out 100 million wildflower seeds and urge people across the nation to plant them.

You might think “Buzz” an obvious name for a bee, but General Mills has not done well with cereal mascots over the years: the silly rabbit who so vainly pursues a bowl of Trix is supposedly named, um, “Tricks.”

And in this case, the absence of Buzz may not be helping:

[S]ome experts warn that the company’s wildflower initiative might actually do more harm in some areas. According [to] a report from My Central Oregon, some of the wildflower seeds being distributed by Cheerios could grow into a highly invasive plant that is not helpful to native bee species.

“No plant is inherently ‘bad,’ but many species can and has caused a great deal of damage when they are introduced into locations outside of their native range,” ecologist Kathryn Turner told Lifehacker:

“Invasive species can out-compete the natives they encounter, they can take up all the space and use up all the resources, they can spread disease, and cause other physical changes to their new homes, all of which can have detrimental effects on native species, and on humans.”

Further, said Lifehacker’s Beth Skwarecki:

What’s odd is that Cheerios partnered with Xerces, an organization dedicated to supporting pollinators, but didn’t use their locally customized, ecologically friendly seed mixes. If you’d like to plant a wildflower garden, maybe start with those instead.

Xerces has nine different plant lists, each one right for a particular region of the States.

(Suggested by reader Holly H.)

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The Heinz is passed

The genius of Don Draper, however many years ago:

The genius of Don Draper, this week:

Don Draper’s ketchup-less pitch for Heinz was rejected by the marketer’s fictional team on Mad Men, but now the real-life Heinz team is embracing the idea.

Creative agency David is taking only some of the credit for its newest Heinz campaign, which includes three New York billboards and ads in two print publications. The ads are nearly identical recreations of ads Mr. Draper, played by Jon Hamm, showed the client during a 2013 episode of the AMC series.

Heinz has been selling ketchup since 1876. I am told that there are competitors, sort of.

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The steaks have never been higher

The George Pub and Grill in County Durham, says, “is selling a steak dinner that weighs more than a newborn child.”

Did you say you want some more? Well, here’s some more:

With seven items on its “challenge” menu, including the UK’s largest mixed grill and a kebab sandwiched between two chicken parmos, the George could well be the meatiest place in Europe.

This makes Arby’s “We Have The Meats” claim seem rather, um, undernourished.

Pub owner Craig Harker has set the challenge for four diners to eat the mammoth six kilo rump in 45 minutes.

The Holy Cow 220oz Steak Sharer costs £124.95, and requires 24 [hours] notice so Craig can get the meat from the butchers.

Harker said the piece of beef, which is so big it has to be served on a metal tray, takes two and a half hours to cook to medium rare before it is served with with chips, onion rings and coleslaw “to help it go down.”

Then again, 220 ounces — 13 pounds, 12 ounces — makes for an awfully large newborn child.

And if it doesn’t quite go down?

Harker said that losers will win a free ride to hospital once cardiac arrest sets in.

Try that at Arby’s.

(Via Fark.)

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At least it doesn’t taste like chicken

I’m not entirely sure I understand this particular sales pitch:

One thing we might actually know: the fish you got at Wally World is a boy, not a girl.

Commercially grown tilapia are almost exclusively male. Being prolific breeders, female tilapia in the ponds/tanks will result in large populations of small fish.

Instead of more-or-less stable populations of larger fish.

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Hard up for protein

Or how about “Six legs, no waiting”?

With food shortage expected to become a major problem in the next decades, many experts believe that insects could become a major source of nutrients for people in the future. We already have plenty of insect based recipes and restaurants have begun putting bugs on their menus, but we need an effective way of using them as replacements for staples of our current diet, like wheat. Well, a couple of Brazilian food scientists have make a breakthrough in that area after successfully turning a species of cockroaches into flour and using it to bake bread.

I take back anything bad I ever said about Mrs. Baird’s.

Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon, two engineering students at the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil, have developed a flour made from cockroaches that contains 40% more protein than regular wheat flour and can be used to make all kinds of baked goods. It also contains lots of essential amino acids, as well as amino acids and lipids. And before you start acting all disgusted, the flour is not made from bugs like tho ones crawling through your kitchen at night, but of a species called Nauphoeta cinerea. They are sourced from a specialized breeder, where they are produced according to the hygiene requirements of the ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency, and fed exclusively on fruits and vegetables.

In other news, Brazil has health standards for cockroaches.

And no, this bug doesn’t crawl through our sort-of-northern kitchens, but it’s got plenty of range.

Still: why?

“We chose the cockroach because it was the insect that had the highest protein content — almost 70 percent. It contains eight of the nine essential amino acids, it has high-quality fatty acids (such as omega-3 and omega-9) and we can use almost 100 percent of it, with very little residue,” the two scientists told VICE Munchies.

Something deep down inside of me doesn’t want to believe any of it, and the link where VICE had this story has gone 404. And I’m not sure what to make of this:

Um, no, I didn’t ask for a sandwich. Why do you ask?

Perhaps the most reasonable observation comes from the Friar: “No damn way.”

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More pep in one’s pepperoni

What’s it worth to you to (maybe) get your pizza a few minutes faster? Do I hear three bucks?

Papa John’s is taking a page from the airline industry and testing a fee that lets people bump their pizza orders to the front of the line.

The chain says the $2.99 “Papa Priority” fee was recently launched in select locations, and it’s looking for ways to expand the test.

It says the fee doesn’t guarantee delivery within a set time, but sends an order to the “front of the line so that it is made faster.” The option is limited to five orders each night per location.

Papa Priority hasn’t come here yet, so far as I can tell, though curiously, the usual “30 to 40 minutes” delivery time frame, specified in the email confirmations of my online orders, is lately appearing as “23 to 33 minutes.” Hmmm…

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The machines have not yet won

In support of that bold (or bald) statement:

Let’s hear it for staying on script.

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Four-piece spicy, with a side of TimBits

Well, hey, it could happen, couldn’t it?

Restaurant Brands International Inc. will buy Atlanta-based Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. for $1.8 billion.

Popeyes shareholders will get $79 in cash a share at closing — a premium of 27 percent based on Popeyes’ 30-trading day Volume Weighted Average Price as of Feb. 10.

The deal, expected to close by early April 2017, brings the New Orleans spicy chicken brand to the same company that owns Burger King and Tim Hortons.

Will we see Popeyes/BK combined eateries? And if so, what’s going to happen to my Vast Waistline?

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No carbs for you

There are folks who never get near carbohydrates, and they’re perfectly happy about that. And then there are the rest of us:

My take has long been that if you like low carb — if you find it a pleasant way of eating, feel good on it, and lose the weight you want — then by all means, great. I’ve written several posts explaining that my experience on such diets has consistently been the opposite. I find them tremendously unpleasant, feel physically bad while adhering to them, and to top it all off I don’t even lose weight.

My own rule on such matters is simply this: any dietary advice intended to be all-inclusive will eventually prove to be utterly worthless. For all I know, by 2030 they’ll be pushing Cool Whip as the One Perfect Food, and Cheez Whiz as the Indispensable Supplement. Or they won’t. I don’t plan to give a damn one way or the other.

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Assuming that’s what it takes

It’s not my business to inquire.

(I wonder how many years this same sign has been popping up.)

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Since this has become an issue of late

Which wine goes with which Girl Scout cookies?

However, you should feel free to experiment, because you can be absolutely certain that everyone else will.

Complete analysis here.



Well, not in Topeka, but you gotta start somewhere:

McDonald’s is planning to launch a crab sandwich in the San Francisco Bay area.

The fast food giant says the sandwich consists of snow crab meat mixed with mayonnaise and served with tomato and lettuce on a sourdough bun. It says it worked with San Francisco chef and former Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott to create the sandwich.

Current testing is taking place in four locations in San Jose; if things go well, McCrab (or whatever it’s called) will spread across the Bay area, and perhaps even beyond.

Best snark so far:

(Via Fark.)

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You need not break me off a piece

In fact, please erase this link:

Americans and Europeans love Kit Kats, but not like the Japanese do. The Asian country has a huge variety of flavors of the chocolate candy, as well as entire stores dedicated to it.

And this month, to celebrate the opening of a new Kit Kat store in Ginza, Nestlé will begin offer Kit Kat sushi for a limited time.

Available from February 2 to February 4, the specialty treats are designed to look just like some of the most popular rolls, just with candy on top — and the fishy ingredients have been replaced, too.

Originally, this scheme was planned for a different month:

Certainly, Kit Kat sushi seems like a totally wild idea — in fact, the brand first announced the creation as a joke for April Fool’s Day.

The “joke” sushi actually looked quite a lot like the real thing they’re selling now, and was advertised with a sake-flavored Kit Kat, which is actually available to buy.

While supplies last, customers who spend ¥3000 ($26) will get the three-unit sushi set for free.

(Via American Digest.)

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And the food just makes you sicker

This cancer patient has enough to worry about, don’t you think?

It took a long time, but thanks to a couple of occupational therapist ladies and a food therapist, the nurses and other staff here eventually noticed that I was was physically wasting away due to a mixture of the poor diet being offered on the menu here and me suffering an almost complete loss of appetite due to said menu. For instance, a side salad consists of two tomato quarters, three slices of cucumber and a few slivers of lettuce. For the past couple of weeks, my daily food intake has been a couple of slices of toast with butter and a small bowl of Rice Krispies for breakfast, a couple of satsumas for lunch and maybe some more satsumas or nothing for dinner.

For “satsuma,” feel free to read “tangerine.”

Anyway, the staff dietician perhaps has cleaned up her act:

Now I’m being given special fruit energy drinks and fortified soups that they say I’ll still be able to receive for free when I return home. Also the occupational therapists and food therapist have said that I should turn the conventional healthy-eating rulebook on it head and eat the complete opposite. Fried meat and eggs. Double strength milk with lashings of cream and butter. Lots and lots of chocolate bars and bags of crisps. They’ve given me a four page leaflet filled with the most unhealthy foods you can imagine and told me that I should now follow this diet. Mind you, I’ll probably then end up dying of a heart attack.

As the late Warren Zevon once pointed out, “Life’ll Kill Ya.” And this is how it’ll do it.

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Feed me, see more

There are times when I wonder just what the hell we’re up to with some of these experiments:

A psychiatry professor [at Yale] wanted to see what happens in our brain during our feeding behaviors (when eating Brussels sprouts, the brain seems to be weeping and wailing, “Kill me now! Kill me now!”). So he used an experiment to “turn on” a section of a mouse’s brain that’s connected to its amygdala, a more primitive part of the brain that wakes up when we’re being predatory. The laser light shined on li’l Squeaker’s gray matter turned him into a wee ravening beast, attempting to attack and eat just about anything in his cage except other mice. Including things that aren’t actually edible, like bottle caps and rolls of tape. He didn’t stop until the laser was switched off.

Sounds like an ordinary teenager.

I wonder, though, what internal programming led the wee beastie to refrain from dining on Mouse #2 despite the laser show going on in his head.

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Too Moby for this bunch

Herman Melville: revered novelist, incompetent at restaurant-naming:

Moby Dick is universally considered to be one of the great American novels. It’s on the assigned reading lists of schools across the country.

But in Vancouver, some real dicks are refusing to lease part of their building to a fish-and-chips restaurant by that name. The restaurant is now suing the building’s owners.

The fight has been going on since the middle of 2015, when the former tenants, a restaurant named “The Change,” went out of business. Since then, “Moby Dick’s” has been trying to take over the space. Strata, the building’s owners, have insisted “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term,” and wouldn’t be allowed.

At least it’s not a hot dog joint.

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Approved by chowhounds

After a passel of cooking shows on the Food Network, a defense thereof:

[T]he reason I like these shows is probably the same reason a lot of people dislike or deride them: they are unrealistically ideal. The people in them seem to have fairly perfect lives — they must have a lot of money; their houses are always clean; they live near good places to buy food so they don’t have to fight the crowds at the Wal-mart and they don’t have to try to find the least-squashed-looking cauliflower in the produce section there. And you know what? I want that fantasy. I want to believe that someone out there doesn’t lead a life like mine, which feels like it’s about thirty percent making it up as I go along, twenty percent having no idea what I’m doing, and fifty percent fearful that I’m actually doing it all wrong. And I know (intellectually, again) that the people don’t have perfect lives — surely Ree Drummond and her husband argue sometimes, or their kids aren’t as sweet and cooperative as we see on the show, and Ina Garten probably gets angry at times or maybe has that one flakey friend who agrees to do something for her but never does — but emotionally, I want to believe there are people out there who don’t seem to have so many big messes in their lives.

I can’t imagine Ina Garten angry, at least not without the accompaniment of apocalyptic-looking storm clouds just above her brow.

On that Life Ratio, I figure there’s a 50-percent chance that I’m doing it all wrong, but I figure the rest of the species routinely faces basically the same unfavorable odds, which takes some (not all) of the sting out of it.

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The lowest form of taco

Yet it’s always in demand, and has been for many years:

[W]hen it comes to Jack in the Box tacos, there are two kinds of people: those who think they’re disgusting, and those who agree they’re disgusting but are powerless to resist them.

I ate a ton, or at least many kilograms, of these things during my sojourn in Southern California; I hadn’t thought about them for some time, but since Jack has opened up half a mile from me — second-closest fast-food chain, behind Popeye’s and just ahead of Whataburger — my mind keeps drifting back to an earlier, greasier time.

(Via Aaron M. Renn.)

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How smart are these cookies?

Or are they just easily manipulated?

I’ll bet someone was told to Stuf it.

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Download a Thin Mint

An author I follow on Twitter came up with this:

“Digitalcookie”? Yep. I tried it out. At your option, the Scout will deliver in person, or you can have them shipped to you for $9.95 (minimum order of four boxes). This Scout being in northeast Ohio, I don’t think she’s going to be wandering through my neighborhood any time soon.

I duly informed her mom:

Which is, I learned a long time ago, exactly what I would expect to happen. At the time, the little device on the Scout page indicated the sale of two boxes; I brought it up to seven, and as of this morning it had reached 32.

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Something fyshy

I suppose this was inevitable:

Tofuna Fysh, a small, 18-month-old Portland, Oregon, company marketing faux tuna fish, “fysh” sauce, and “fysh” oil, recently received a cease-and-desist letter over his trademark application for the name and a jingle on the company website. Founder Zach Grossman recognizes he’s probably going to have to give up the trademark, but he’d dearly like to hold on to the jingle.

Which may be why Tofuna’s current site contains no mention of “Chickpea of the Sea.” As for the jingle, I don’t think it’s that close to the classic Chicken of the Sea jingle, though I am not a lawyer and it’s been years since I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

“We have had a productive dialogue,” a Chicken of the Sea representative said. “We hope to amicably resolve the issue in a timely manner.”

Oh, Tofuna also makes “Crab Fakes,” which to me sound better than the “Krab” being pushed from seafood counters all over the place.

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It is, after all, the season

An unusual admission these days:

I like fruitcake. I am the only one in my family who does. The girls think it is gross. The boys don’t care because it isn’t pizza or beer. But I like it, so when we were at Costco yesterday I picked one up. $16, which is kind of a chunk of money, but each fruitcake contains about a zillion calories, so each calorie costs 16,000 zillionths of a cent, which means it’s like the cheapest food in the world. All you have to do is dole it out slowly.

It helps that eating it fast is sort of difficult.

An old friend of mine, long since moved away, was an expert at the fine art of fruitcakery. If Costco’s are worth five bucks a pound, hers were worth at least twenty.

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Oh. “Cashew.” Sorry I misunderstood you.

My usual nut supplier advised today that cashew prices would rise at least $1 a pound in 2017. (They currently sell a five-pound sack of raw whole cashews for $51.) Apparently this is why:

Get ready for some cashew sticker shock.

The global popularity of the kidney-shaped nut has been growing faster than any other tree nut — even almonds. Demand jumped 53 percent since 2010 and outpaced production in at least four of the past seven years, industry data show. Now the worst drought in a century for Vietnam, the largest exporter, is raising concern that supplies will be even tighter in a market valued at $5.2 billion.

A lack of rain in the once-fertile Mekong Delta and elsewhere in Vietnam has cut output of its major agricultural exports including rice, black pepper, coffee and seafood. This year’s cashew harvest fell 11 percent, and domestic prices jumped by as much as a third to an all-time high, a growers’ group estimates. That spells trouble for buyers in the U.S., by far the biggest importer.

It’s already trouble in Vietnam:

The domestic price of raw nuts has jumped to 52,000 dong ($2.33) a kilogram, the highest on record, from 38,000 dong at the start of the year, according to the cashew association.

That’s a lot of dong.

Fortunately, I use relatively few cashews.

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What the hay?

Somehow this seems disquieting:

A Dutch restaurant is now serving up some stallion with its scallions.

The offbeat food truck Keuken van het Ongewenst Dier, which translates to “The Unwanted Animal Kitchen,” now supplies its “My Little Pony Burger” year round to Babbe Hengeveld, a chef who runs her own restaurant Food Guerilla, reports Vice Munchies.

Keuken van het Ongewenst Die has been serving the burger periodically for years and the patty itself is made from the meat of butchered, aging horses that have worked at a local amusement park, Slagharen.

Many years ago, there was a small classified ad in the Oklahoman asking for “50 Head of Poor Horses” every week. They didn’t say that said equines were going to end up in sandwiches.

For what it’s worth, the Pony Burger is not a big seller:

“They don’t sell well because people do feel bad about the idea of eating horse,” Hengeveld told Vice. For some, horses will always be seen as pets in the same way dogs are. Cows and chickens, in many Western cultures, aren’t kept as pets so they’re okay for food.

“Will trade,” said the anguished dad in another classified ad, “two young ewes with friends and personality for two anonymous lambs for the freezer.” Or something like that.

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Tony the Tiger recoils in horror

This ain’t your pa’s Post Toasties:

One Degree Veganic Sprouted Ancient Maize Flakes

Well, let’s see what we have here:

Honest cereal made from the corn nature designed. Non-GMO, non-hybridized grain, sprouted to boost vitamins and minerals, ease digestibility. Sweetened with low-glycemic coconut palm sugar from Bali!

Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad. An Amazon retailer sells this for $12.99, about quadruple the price of Kellogg’s, but it took me about 30 seconds to find places selling it for half that or less. According to Vitacost, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is a mere $6.19. That won’t buy you a whole lot of Grape-Nuts.

(Via John Salmon.)

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All you need is one

Brent Scher has come up with the Top Ten reasons Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, is a swell choice for Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration. We’ll just recount one of them here:

And that was Number Ten.

Ed Driscoll, who posted the link at Instapundit, cracks in classic Letterman style: “From the home office in the third booth in the Ardmore, Oklahoma Carl’s Jr.” According to Yelpers, the Ardmore Carl’s Jr. has closed.

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The sin of gluteny

Joe Bob Briggs is going to explain this, just this once:

Gluten is a Latin word meaning “glue” and it’s the substance that makes dough elastic so we can shape it into bread, noodles, grits, tortillas, cakes, soy sauce, pies, beer, pretzels, macaroni, bagels, candy, cereal, croutons, lunch meat, salad dressing, potato chips, soup, and Belgian waffles. You might have noticed something about that particular food group. It’s stuff that tastes good.

But because we live in a masochistic bulimic anorexic food-hating universe of nutzoid crusaders who want to sell us colon scrapers and Lake Titicaca Quinoa Seeds, we have to get rid of it precisely because it tastes good.

What’s that? Oh, yes. Celiac disease. I know someone who has it. Probably so do you. That leaves, what, 198 people we know who don’t?

Then again, I’m having a snit these days because I have to push around a metal frame to get anywhere and I can’t force people to open the door for me.

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