Archive for Worth a Fork

Currently comestible

This is enough to make me reject the theory that “You are what you tweet” all by itself:

Some of those I can actually believe: sauerkraut in Wisconsin, cod in Massachusetts, grits wherever there are grits. But this is Twitter, and Twitter is part of the Internet, and the Internet is ruled by bacon, dammit.

Personal note: I have family in Missouri (two children, six grandchildren). If they’ve ever mentioned succotash, I missed it — and yes, at least some of them are cluttering up social media the way I do.

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Taking stalk

I have long suspected this, but actually doing the experiment myself was simply out of the question. Now, though, there is corroboration:

When something sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is. Take “negative-calorie foods” as an example. The notion is that digesting certain foods burns more calories than those foods provide. The faulty logic of this urban legend is based on the scientifically proven thermic effect of food (TEF), which simply means the amount of energy the body uses to digest a food. The thinking goes, if you were to eat a very low-calorie food — common examples include celery, apples, and limes — then you’d actually create a calorie deficit. In other words, these foods would end up costing less-than-zero calories.

Sadly, there are no negative-calorie foods. The TEF generally ranges from 10 percent to 20 percent of the calories in a food. So let’s say a celery stalk has seven calories. Even if you assume a 20 percent TEF, that means you’re still left with about five and a half calories.

In the specific case of celery, chewing the stalk is supposed to expend some smallish number of calories, though 5½ seems a bit high unless you’re one of those people who counts every chew up to N, where N = 32, probably.

Still, that isn’t the biggest problem with celery:

Which is almost certainly true.

(Via Violins and Starships.)

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Choosing your battles poorly

Not that their track record is good, exactly, but this seemed a bit more quixotic than usual:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) first shot at religious activism — a call to Muslims to observe a vegetarian Eid this October — has misfired. It met with violent protests [in Bhopal] on Monday.

“Misfired” may be a trifle generous:

PRTA woman volunteer Benazir Suraiya attempted to make an appeal to Muslims to go vegetarian at the legendary Taj-ul-Masajid, said to be one of Asia’s largest mosques.

Camouflaged in a green hijab, to highlight the importance of vegetarianism, she walked towards the mosque gates with a couple of PETA volunteers holding a placard in Urdu and English which read: “Make Eid Happy for All. Try Vegan.”

With less than a dozen policemen deployed, locals took the opportunity and shouted slogans asking her to turn back. She was forced to take cover along with another PETA volunteer in the market outside the mosque.

Besides, there are vegetable products that fail to qualify as halal:

[M]ost observant Muslims refrain from consuming food products that contain pure vanilla extract or soy sauce if these food products contain alcohol; there is some debate about whether the prohibition extends to dishes in which the alcohol would be cooked off or if it would be practically impossible to consume enough of the food to become intoxicated.

Tim Blair described the scene as “a clash of civilisations involving no actual civilisations.”

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Goodness in precise units

Gansito, a sort of Mexican Twinkie with a layer of raspberry, has been available here in some merely-Anglo stores for a couple of years; I pick up a box now and then. (Fillyjonk mentioned them here.) They’re quite tasty, and not appreciably pricier than their distant American relatives. (Grupo Bimbo, the Mexican bakery conglomerate that owns Marinela, producer of Gansito, has substantial American holdings, including, yes, Sara Lee’s baked-goods line.)

A box of Gansito contains eight of the little cakes and weighs precisely 14.11 ounces, a number which seemed awfully specific to me until I read the metric equivalent: 400g. Fifty grams per cake. Sounds almost elegant when you put it that way.

In Mexico, Marinela has a whole line of stuff, including Dálmata, a sort of chocolate-ish Twinkie with white frosting embedded with chocolate chips, and Pingüinos, a knockoff of the classic Hostess CupCake. I trust — and a glance at the Gansito box assures me — that these south-of-the-border treats are just as delightfully horrible for you as the junk we buy here. There’s a Mexican supermarket half a mile from Crest; perhaps I ought to look for some of them there.

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Cookie grail

I remember reading this for some now-forgotten reason:

In the United States, Mallomars are produced by Nabisco. A graham cracker circle is covered with a puff of extruded marshmallow, then enrobed in dark chocolate, which forms a hard shell. Mallomars were introduced to the public in 1913, the same year as the Moon Pie (a confection which has similar ingredients). The first box of Mallomars was sold in West Hoboken, New Jersey (now Union City, New Jersey).

Mallomars are generally available from early October through to April. They are not distributed during the summer months, supposedly because they melt easily in summer temperatures, though this is as much for marketing reasons as for practical ones. Devoted eaters of the cookie have been known to stock up during winter months and keep them refrigerated over the summer, although Nabisco markets other fudge-coated cookie brands year-round. Eighty-seven percent of all Mallomars are sold in the New York metropolitan area. They are produced entirely within Canada, at a factory in Scarborough, Ontario. The issue of Nabisco’s choice to release Mallomars seasonally became a parodied topic on a sketch delivered by graphic artist Pierre Bernard on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

I do remember my reaction, though: “Yeah, like I’ll ever see any of those here, in the land of nine-month summers.”

Today, I have a box of Mallomars, courtesy of Crest Foods. Now Crest usually discounts Nabisco stuff fairly heavily: the standard bag of Oreos is typically $2.50, occasionally as low as $1.99. I paid $4.50 for this. I’m wondering if I should keep them in the fridge — or in a safety-deposit box.

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Incomplete dataset

I spotted this last night on Fark:

Hot Pockets advertisement claiming premium meats and real cheese

Anyone want to guess how many products are in this line?

No, seriously, I have no idea:

There are more than 20 varieties of the traditional Hot Pocket, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner varieties. Nestlé also offers Lean Pockets, Pretzel Bread Hot and Lean Pockets, Hot Pockets Croissant Crust (formerly called Croissant Pockets), Hot Pockets Breakfast items, and Hot Pockets Sideshots. Nestlé formerly produced Hot Pie Express, Hot Pocket Pizza Minis (originally called Hot Pockets Pizza Snacks), Hot Pockets Subs, Hot Pockets Calzones, Hot Pockets Panini, and Hot Pockets Breakfast fruit pastries.

Then again, I often pay the long dollar at lunch for Stouffer’s, another Nestlé product, so maybe I should shut up already.

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Just a snack before I go

Last month, Maxim got a makeover of massive proportions: fart jokes and other juvenilia were cast aside in favor of an upscale, Playboy-ish look, though the dress code for the pictorials remains unchanged.

One feature they kept, fortunately, was “24 Hours to Live,” in which a gentleman of note is asked several questions regarding his last day on earth. This month, Anthony Anderson, star of this fall’s ABC series Black-ish, gets the call, and describes his last meal:

A 36-ounce, bone-in Kobe beef rib eye cooked medium with tarragon French fingerling potatoes, creamed corn with bacon, my daughter’s homemade cheesecake from scratch. And a Diet Coke.

Clearly a man of health and taste.

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Hardly seems fair

Jennifer McClintock saw this being vended at the State Fair of Oklahoma this week, and decided “Pretty sure I’m going to pass on this one”:

Scorpion Pizza at State Fair of Oklahoma

Apparently it was a big hit in Calgary back in July:

The owner of the Pizza on a Stick stand says she’s the sole scorpion pizza vendor at Stampede, and confirmed slices are expected to return this week.

“I’m hoping Thursday, but definitely by Friday,” Percsilla Larue told the Herald. Her stand ran out of $10 scorpion pizza slices Monday after demand was higher than expected.

“People love it. I had one guy come back twice for more slices,” said Larue, who describes it as “crunchy.” She said staff were surprised by how many people came asking on last Thursday’s Sneak-a-Peek.

I dunno. You tell me that a pizza with scorpions on it is sixty bucks, and the first thing I’m going to ask is “How much is it without scorpions?”

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Definitely fishy

The local supermarkets seem to sell a ton of tilapia, probably because it’s relatively cheap. Fillyjonk, for one, won’t touch the stuff:

Actually, some of the Healthists claim that Tilapia really isn’t all that great for you after all — something to do with the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 acids. (The fact that it eats excrement apparently isn’t even a blip on the radar)

Me? I hate most fish and won’t eat it. I make an exception for freshly-caught panfish and the occasional wildcaught salmon.

This particular claim by “Healthists” (I gotta steal that term) drew this open letter from a consortium of scientific types:

US Department of Agriculture statistics indicate that farmed tilapia and catfish contain somewhat more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. Most health experts (including organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association) agree that omega-6 fatty acids are, like omega-3s, heart-healthy nutrients which should be a part of everyone’s diet. Omega-6 fatty acids are found primarily in vegetable oils (corn, soybean, safflower, etc) but also in salad dressings, nuts, whole-wheat bread, and chicken.

Replacing tilapia or catfish with “bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts” is absolutely not recommended.

And that would seem to be that — except for this:

While working in Mexico I found that some Beltrán-Leyva Cartel types were feeding people they killed to farmed tilapia in the Puerto Vallarta area to hide the bodies. Other disturbing reports indicated that the Arellano-Felix Cartel people were doing it in Northern Mexico as well to get rid of their rivals. Apparently tilapia enjoy the meal and grow even more rapidly with the steady supply of protein.

Most of these fish find their way to tables in Mexico and to tourist destinations along the Mexican Riviera, so buying and eating them in the US is likely cartel-influence free. Personally I’ve been put off on eating them.

Beltrán-Leyva has supposedly been inactive for several years, but yes, that sort of thing is off-putting: you generally don’t see this issue with bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts.

(That cartel link via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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The future’s looking Tim

After the announcement of the fusion of Tim Hortons and Burger King last month, I expected some polite disapproval of the idea from north of the border. (Canadians are polite, right?) What I did not expect was this:

Tim Hortons is not a defining national institution. Rather, it is a chain of thousands of doughnut shops, several of which have working toilets.

Tim Hortons is not an indispensable part of the Canadian experience. Rather, it is a place that sells a breakfast sandwich that tastes like a dishcloth soaked in egg yolk and left out overnight on top of a radiator.

Tim Hortons is not an anti-Starbucks choice that makes you a more relatable politician or a more authentic Canadian. Rather, it is a great place to buy a muffin if you’ve always wondered what it would be like to eat blueberry air.

So if you were planning to boycott both BK and Tim’s for tax reasons, you may be assured that you’re not missing out on a whole lot.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

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The emetic in your refrigerator door

I am not fond of mayonnaise. (Then there’s McGehee, who is really not fond of mayonnaise.) Still, your go-to person for mayo hatred is Amelia:

When is it appropriate to use mayonnaise?
@BrianFaughnan

Dear Brian,

Never. Well, never as condiment, anyways. Mayonnaise is acceptable if you’ve ingested poison and need to induce vomiting, but only if other means are not available and time is truly of the essence.

Amusingly, this is the top of the Wikipedia page for “Vomiting”:

“Vomit” redirects here. For other uses, see Vomit (disambiguation).

“Emesis” redirects here. For the butterfly genus, see Emesis (genus).

“Heaving” redirects here. For the up-and-down motion, see Heave.

“Puke” redirects here. For other uses, see Puke (disambiguation).

When the aliens come, as they must, I’ll remind them that this world of ours is so incredibly diverse that there’s a disambiguation page for “Puke.”

(Typed while eating a ham sandwich. No mayo.)

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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.)

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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


Source: Fix.com

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.

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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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