Archive for Worth a Fork

For the love of an Enchirito

We are, as you may have noticed, overly fond of pointing out the scene in Demolition Man in which Sylvester Stallone is advised by Sandra Bullock that as a result of the Franchise Wars, now all restaurants are Taco Bell.

At least part of that scene has become reality, for a limited time only:

Taco Bell has made its name selling high-cal, low-price junk food (note: that’s not an insult), but one California Bell is classing things up — at least temporarily — by offering a valet parking service to customers.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Bell in Walnut Creek, CA — about 20 miles east of Oakland — is mixing in valet parking with its chalupas and Dorito-shelled tacos, but not because it’s trying to fancy up the joint.

Instead, this Taco Bell is trying to keep customers happy during the ongoing construction to its surrounding shopping center. By using valet parking, customers don’t have to deal with looking for parking.

And we didn’t even have to wait until 2032, either.


Saved by the Bell

Original Taco Bell designThe very first Taco Bell, built in the dear, dead days of 1962, hasn’t served up anything from the mothership in nearly thirty years, and with its little corner lot in Downey worth a lot more than it used to be, corporate has decided to save Numero Uno by moving it:

Taco Bell is saving its first fast-food restaurant from the wrecking ball by relocating the iconic 400-square-foot food stand from Downey to its corporate headquarters in Irvine.

“This is arguably the most important restaurant in our company’s history,” said Taco Bell chief executive Brian Niccol. “When we heard about the chance of it being demolished, we had to step in. We owe that to our fans; we owe that to Glen Bell.”

Earlier this year, new development for the vacant Firestone Boulevard site triggered demolition plans for the nostalgic building, dubbed “Numero Uno.” An uproar in the community followed. Taco Bell remained relatively quiet, though it did encourage the #SaveTacoBell campaign on social media.

This particular design — I worked in one just like it briefly — was eventually abandoned because there was no real way to splice a drive-thru window into it.

The structure’s 45-mile overnight journey begins Thursday at 10:30 p.m. It should garner much attention as it traverses the cities of Downey, Norwalk, Cerritos, La Palma, Buena Park, Anaheim, Orange and Tustin. Throughout the four to five hour trip, Taco Bell is encouraging fans to follow the historic relocation via a live webcam.

Eventually, of course, all restaurants will be Taco Bell.

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Pass the Hot Pockets

It’s bad enough that we produce carbon dioxide, say the Worriers of the World. But they can’t lecture us about that all the time, because sooner or later someone’s going to run them over with a Hummer H2. (Just in case you thought that pseudo-militaristic trucklike, um, thing had no practical applications whatsoever.) So in between times, they’re going to complain about how we eat:

Living by yourself can be great — it means you have the option of never wearing real pants at home, guilt-free Netflix binges on sunny days and the ability to eat your meals in front of the open refrigerator by picking through whatever it is you happen to have in there. On that last note, researchers say living solo has a downside: it means you eat like crap.

Without roommates or a partner around, people tend to have less healthy diets, according to an analysis of 41 studies published in the journal Nutrition Reviews by researchers at Queensland University of Technology.

It gets funnier:

What is it about living solo that takes such a toll on the diet? One of the researchers notes that people who live alone might lack the motivation to shop for groceries or cook. As anyone who’s ever cooked a recipe for themselves knows, it can be rough to eat leftovers of the same meal for a week straight, which is the only alternative to losing money on all those groceries you bought to cook.

I’ve been eating my own cooking four or five times a week for the last 33 years. Believe me, I know how to cut a recipe down to size. And maybe twice in that time I’ve had leftovers hang around for more than a single day.

Besides, what is this “losing money” garbage? Are we buying food for the purpose of investment? What are those two vintage-2002 York Peppermint Patties in the fridge worth on the open market?

I’d like to suggest something for the worriers to eat. In fact, I suggest a whole bag of ’em.

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Several boatloads

Radiation in terms of bananas:

Science, which often talks about things in increments of light-years, femtometers and picograms, has some really weird measurements. For example, did you know that you actually receive a dose of radiation from eating a banana, and that the dosage is sometimes used as a basis for measurement? The amount of ionizing radiation is .1 microsieverts per banana, which of course means nothing to most of us who have no idea how much radiation is in a microsievert or in a full-size sievert either, for that matter. This figure is sometimes referred to the “Banana Equivalent Dose.” The important number for those of you who enjoy bananas is 35 million, because that’s how many bananas you’d have to get together to kill a person with radiation. You’d be in just as much danger from the weight of all that fruit, and in any case would probably have perished quite a bit earlier from whichever beautiful bunch o’ ripe banana hide the deadly black tarantula.

And while we’re on the subject:

Although the amount in a single banana is small in environmental and medical terms, the radioactivity from a truckload of bananas is capable of causing a false alarm when passed through a Radiation Portal Monitor used to detect possible smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports.

Harry Chapin was not available for comment.

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But she bought the hat

And I don’t think I’ll speculate further:

Note the complete absence of bacon.


Twizzled out

My candy-acquisition rule for Halloween is simple enough: get stuff I’ve heard of. Worst-case scenario: if the goblins peter out early, at least I’ll have something familiar to nosh on. (There’s a secondary rule, which says basically “Finish the year’s bloodwork before Halloween”; I trust this needs no explanation.)

This time around I picked up a bag of Twizzlers, and of course the dreaded phrase “Fun Size” came into play: no item likely to be tossed into a kid’s bag is likely to be truly fun-sized. The Twizzlers, I reasoned, would be three to a packet, cut down to a couple inches each. After looking at them more closely, I realized that they weren’t like this at all: instead, there’s a single stick, individually wrapped. Worse than that, the wrapper is damnably difficult to remove, even with bladed utensils handy.

Maybe I’ll get rid of these first.

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In answer to the Great Bacon Scare

First, anything under United Nations control (such as WHO) is almost certainly full of crap and invariably politically motivated. You’re not going to see any pronouncements that might upset, say, Hamas.

Second, in your face, porkophobics:

Bet your bottom dollar their biscuits (not in the British sense of “biscuits”) are better than yours.

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Geometry works for you

Something else I should have thought of, but didn’t:

All of you already knew this, right?

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Baron von Toll House reports

I think he has this one right:

But phrased this way, they can charge seven bucks for it.

(Via Dan McLaughlin.)

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Meanwhile at Sugarcube Corner

From now until late November, there exists a My Little Pony cafe in Japan:

MLP cafe in Harujuku

For a limited time, Harujuku, Japan will have its very own My Little Pony-themed cafe. The restaurant will be serving up colorful dishes with pictures of ponies emblazoned right on the food. Diners can enjoy ponies both new and old, with characters from generations one and four.

Besides themed food and menus, there’s also a giant mural on the back wall and cut-outs to pose with, and pony dolls and stuffed animals are scattered around the establishment. Before you leave, you can also buy themed merchandise like notebooks and keychains.

Twilight Sparkle place mat

The most expensive item on the menu is around $11; T-shirts and such run $20ish. (Yen exchange rate may vary.)

Assuming there were no logistical problems, would you take a date to this place? (There is, of course, no point in asking me this.)

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Now they’ve gone too far

Or … have they?

Pumpkin spiced salmon

Says Miss Cellania:

This picture of pumpkin spice salmon was posted as an example of the trend taken too far. Then in the discussion at reddit, salmon lovers said this sounds pretty good, if you don’t put any sugar in the spices. Then there are those who say a sugar rub on salmon is actually delicious. I’m not much of a fish eater, especially at $12.99 a pound, so what do I know?

On this matter, I’m with Sergeant Schultz: I know nothing.

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Clearly there is no Cure

Somewhere in Portland, Oregon is a food trucklet called “Fried Egg I’m In Love”:

This food cart creates Portland’s best breakfast sandwiches. Each fried egg sandwich has a punny name, a perfectly cooked egg, and is crafted with love. We also have the best gluten-free breakfast sandwiches in Portland. Our vegan burrito is immensely popular, and vegetarians LOVE our SortaSausage — made from gluten-free oats and polenta, and created right here in Oregon.

For seven bucks, for instance, you can get Sriracha Mix-A-Lot:

Fried egg, seared ham, fresh avocado, tomato, havarti cheese, and Sriracha. Jump on it.

This did not make it to the top of Atlas Obscura’s list of food trucks with punny names, but it was clearly my favorite. (Second place? Another Portland vehicle, Comfortably Yum, temporarily closed following a fire.)

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I feel his pain

It’s a pain I would just as soon not have to deal with:

Fried chicken: Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson craves it and he knows it’s off his menu in the effort to lose as much as 25 pounds.

So when a certain commercial comes on the television, Big Al grabs for the remote.

“Every Popeye’s commercial I see, I have to turn the TV off,” Jefferson said Thursday.

If you’re Al Jefferson, I hope you have a heck of a season, and please don’t click on this.

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So much for Extra Lean

Vegans may want to click on something other than thisanything other than this — right about now:

Location based dating apps like Tinder are great for assessing prospective dates based purely on their looks and proximity, but sometimes you can’t help but feel like it would be nice to know a little bit more about this person before you swipe them into your life. Sometimes you have want the answer to some deeper questions, like “do you prefer turkey bacon or pork bacon?” If the answer to this question is make or break in your prospective relationships, you might be interested in Oscar Mayer’s new bacon-based dating app called Sizzl.

Possibly the most ridiculous but admirable marketing product of all time, Sizzl will allow you access to a network of bacon lovers, which makes your chances of finding that perfect someone look pretty good.

There are people who love bacon even more than I do, but they’re probably wearing the stuff already; it hardly seems necessary to develop an app to find them.

There is, of course, a subtle form of discrimination afoot:

Right now Sizzl is available exclusively on the apple store for free on versions iOS 8 and later, so sorry Android users, it looks like you’ll have to eat your bacon alone this evening. We feel a bit left out.

It’s always something, isn’t it?

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Porked over

The eternal struggle to obtain the McRib just got more complicated:

The McRib is back on the McDonald’s menu (McYaaaay), but this year, only around 8,000 of the roughly 14,000 restaurants will be serving the cult-classic sandwich (McNoooo).

CNBC reports that McDonald’s gave franchisees the option to decide whether they want to carry the McRib or not, and only a little over half of them said yes (McWhyyyy).

What were the other ones thinking?

As of today, there is no McRib to be had within a couple hundred miles. This cannot be allowed to stand.

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No sugar tonight

If this be blasphemy, I plan to make the most of it. Start here:

I’m also trying to clean up my diet. Oh, I eat pretty healthfully to begin with but I panic over these things and I actually wrote NO SUGAR! NO SUGAR AT ALL for the next week on the kitchen calendar. I worry, probably needlessly, about type II diabetes (and yes, I know: it’s how you eat all the time, not just in the week before bloodwork, but I want things to look their best). I think the tv ads I see for the million medications they have, some you have to inject, some with scary sounding side effects, that has the paranoid part of my brain convinced that probably everyone is actually diabetic and just doesn’t know it yet.

Fifty percent are there or close to it, say some of the alarmists.

But here’s the kicker: WHO issues a definition of Type 2 and it’s based entirely on readings. Oh, it says “with symptoms,” but everybody and his kid sister has symptoms of some sort. One arbitrary number applies to all seven billion humanoids, regardless of age, creed, color, national origin, metabolism, or astrological sign. This is convenient for those who compile statistics, and for nobody else.

It really does feel like everything is a moving target: you do, but you could do MORE. And it just wears me out. More exercise, more vegetables, less food that actually tastes pleasurable, less time spent just relaxing. (And I’ve seen several sites lately that remind us how awful sitting is for us, and we should, I guess, stand all the time, like horses or cattle…)

And I get that I’ll eventually not be able to outrun the Grim Reaper, it’s not that … it’s the whole fact that medicine in some sectors seems to be coming back to an idea not unlike the “you sinned, so you got sick” idea of the medieval era — “You sat too much on the job, now you have diabetes.” or “You relaxed when you could have exercised, now you have heart disease” and it feels to me like unless I keep pushing, pushing, more, more, more, eventually something terrible is going to happen and someone in the health-insurance office is gonna shrug and go, “You were insufficiently pure so you are on the hook for this financially, even if you can find a doctor willing to treat you.”

“Some sectors” eventually will be all sectors, because government.

I am resigned to not living forever. However, I reserve the right to sneer at the Reaper, that scythe-wielding son of a bitch, any time I please. And should some Deputy Associate Death Panel member object to this cavalier treatment of their true god — well, chuck you, Farley, this is why you get no respect from the population, while I’m having a bowl of ice cream in any flavor other than Pumpkin Spice.

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Giant exiled from valley

He’s jolly, he’s green, and he’s outta here:

General Mills has had enough frozen and canned vegetables, it seems, as the company announced it’s selling off its Green Giant and Le Sueur brands for $765 million in cash. It’s been trying to move away from packaged food as consumers’ tastes have changed, and this appears to be one more way it’s shedding its old image as it looks for a new approach to selling food.

The new owner is B&G Foods, a company that owns brands like Molly McButter cheese flavoring and Pirate’s Booty, though General Mills said it will still operate Green Giant in Europe and other export markets under license from B&G, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Said Booty, I have learned, is a cheese puff with actual cheese.

And as I may have mentioned before, this isn’t the worst thing ever to happen to the Giant.

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Appropriate sustenance

“One does not,” Boromir pointed out, “simply walk into Mordor.” For one thing, it’s a long trip and you’ll need to eat. How much, you ask?

Throughout the series of fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, we are treated to complaints about the lack of food to meet a hobbit’s voracious appetite. Now, thanks to a study by Skye Rosetti and Krisho Manaharan that was published in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, we have an idea of just how hungry the hobbits might have realistically been. In order for all 9 members to walk 92 days to Mordor, they’d need to consume exactly 1,780,214.59 calories.

This is not just a one-off study. To calculate the whole caloric need of the trip, Rosetti and Manaharan had to first figure out the individual energy needs of the several different species in the fellowship, which includes four hobbits, one elf, one dwarf, and three humans. A previous work of Rosetti’s and Manaharan’s does this, which is aptly titled Modelling the [Base Metabolic Rate] of Species in Middle Earth]. Hobbits require a daily diet of about 1,800 calories, while elves can survive on just 1,400.

The evil that does not sleep presumably has needs of its own, which may or may not be nutritional in nature.

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Wearing off the green

“Is your taco salad healthy? “Of course it is. It’s a salad, isn’t it?

Well, Mr. Real Man of Genius, those few shreds of lettuce don’t mean squat:

Charles Benbrook … and colleague Donald Davis developed a nutrient quality index — a way to rate foods based on how much of 27 nutrients they contain per 100 calories. Four of the five lowest-ranking foods (by serving size) are salad ingredients: cucumbers, radishes, lettuce and celery. (The fifth is eggplant.)

Those foods’ nutritional profile can be partly explained by one simple fact: They’re almost all water. Although water figures prominently in just about every vegetable (the sweet potato, one of the least watery, is 77 percent), those four salad vegetables top the list at 95 to 97 percent water. A head of iceberg lettuce has the same water content as a bottle of Evian (1-liter size: 96 percent water, 4 percent bottle) and is only marginally more nutritious.

It’s worse than that, even:

The makings of a green salad — say, a head of lettuce, a cucumber and a bunch of radishes — cost about $3 at my supermarket. For that, I could buy more than two pounds of broccoli, sweet potatoes or just about any frozen vegetable going, any of which would make for a much more nutritious side dish to my roast chicken.

Lettuce is a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table.

I’m almost tempted to send back that bottle of Evian and order, yes, a Bud Light.

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Dining alone

Unless I’m on the road, I eat out once a week, maximum; that leaves six evening meals of varying complexity which I prepare on my own, inasmuch as no one is going to do it for me. And I don’t have a problem with that:

When I was a kid, cooking for singles wasn’t an issue, because you were generally married not long after you got out of high school.

And in the not too distant future it won’t be a problem because you’ll order whatever you want from Amazon Instant Delivery and it will arrive ten minutes later, delicious, steaming hot, and ready to eat.

But in this interregnum with “boys” cowering in basements rightfully fearing commitment, and women shrieking that they need men the way fish need birth control, there are a lot of hungry singles out there.

And almost none of them even know how to boil water.

Trust me, I can boil water. (The trick, of course, is to marinate it in bourbon for several minutes.)

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Demand being what it is

Yours truly, at the end of a post about something sort of relevant, five and a half years ago:

The highly-prized Chilean sea bass used to be known as the Patagonian toothfish.

Turns out it was even more highly prized than I thought:

Consider the Patagonian toothfish. Ugly and obscure, yet large and easily caught, it was the perfect candidate for a rebranding. To make it more appealing to Americans, fish wholesaler Lee Lantz coined the name “Chilean Sea Bass.” The resulting surge in the fish’s popularity made it a staple at chic restaurants, but it also devastated the Antarctic’s wild toothfish stock. Though international law restricts toothfishing, unscrupulous captains routinely flout these regulations.

Interestingly, it’s not called the Chilean sea bass in Chile; there, it’s referred to as “Bacalao de profundidad” — “cod of the depths.”

(Via Nancy Friedman.)


The beef retains the name

McDonald’s Quarter Pounder has always started with a 4-ounce — 0.25 pound — beef patty, before cooking. It was down to 2.8 ounces once done, but hey, everyone understands beef shrinkage, right?

Well, it’s still going to shrink, but now they’re starting out bigger:

Fast food giant McDonald’s has quietly made a change to one its most popular items: the Quarter Pounder.

The sandwich now defies burger math and includes 4.25 ounces of beef, slightly more than its former size of 4 ounces before cooking.

Assuming the same shrinkage rate, it should end up at 2.975 ounces.

Still unknown: (1) whether the price will be raised; (2) whether they’ll change the name in France.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Déjà chew

Did you ever wonder just what mysterious stuff is inside your half of a Kit Kat bar? It’s not exactly chocolate; it’s vaguely crunchy, which eliminates contenders like nougat; and it’s described nowhere in the advertising. And there’s a perfectly good, if perhaps off-putting, reason for that:

You see, not every chocolate bar is created perfectly. When they roll off the production line, Quality Assurance technicians remove the Kit Kats that have too many exterior air bubbles, or off-centre wafers, or any other imperfections right down to those that simply aren’t shiny enough. As far as the manufacturers are concerned, consumers don’t want imperfect chocolate bars.

But rather than being thrown away, those second-class bats are recycled back into the production process. After being ground up into a fine paste, they form the filling you find between the Kit Kat’s wafers. In many ways, it’s a stroke of genius — no edible Kit Kat is wasted!

Um, okay. But knowing this is a long way from answering these questions:

For example, how old is the oldest part of a Kit Kat? If all Kit Kats contain the remains of imperfect Kit Kats, and not all Kit Kats are perfect, then every Kit Kat that gets recycled contains the remains of older Kit Kats, which contained older Kit Kats, which contained older Kit Kats … so how far back does that actually go?!

Chicken and egg are still squabbling over this one.

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Leave our wieners alone

Lynn thinks these folks might be just a hair high-handed:

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that there is one Proper Way to Eat a Hot Dog. I would like to believe this is tongue-in-cheek but I fear they are serious.

In other news, there is a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

First of all, they tell us that we must use only “plain buns or those with poppy or sesame seeds.” I use whole wheat buns. Is that okay, Your High-and-Mightiness? I haven’t seen any sun dried tomato or basil buns but I would try them. Then they tell us the exact order in which the condiments must go on the hot dog. Sorry, I put the onions on first, then the chili. And I’m right; the Hot Dog Council is wrong. Putting the onions on first keeps them from falling off.

Make that two votes for onions before chili. After all, the onions aren’t going to prevent you from getting chili all over your arm.

They tell us that we should take no more than five bites to eat a hot dog, seven if it’s a foot-long. Seriously?! I just … I can’t even! I hardly know what to say about that. I suppose if you’re a really big guy and you normally take bigger bites than the average person just five bites might be acceptable but normally if I saw someone eating a hot dog like that I would think, “What a pig!”

I have a certain degree of, um, burliness, but no way am I going to polish off a foot-long in seven bites. If the Council wants to do good by us, they ought to start by reconciling the packaging counts for hot dogs and buns.

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Thin but mintless

It was inevitable, I suppose, that I would somehow talk myself into a package of Oreo Thins, and after stalling for a week and a half, I pulled the tab — Keebler, thou shouldst steal this idea, as thy current packaging sucketh — and grabbed a handful.

On the most severe tests of Oreos, the results were mixed. I managed to unscrew several without breaking the cookie or tearing the Stuf, what little Stuf there is. However, they don’t seem to dunk particularly well: it takes roughly twice as long to absorb the milk.

Flavor? Well, they do taste sort of like Oreos, though the mouthfeel is a bit off, and there’s a hint of aftertaste one does not find in the original; I suspect that they’ve monkeyed with the recipe a little to meet the calorie goal of 35 per. Overall, I think a variation on the original Lite Beer slogan would work here: it’s everything you always wanted in a cookie, and less.

Meanwhile, this seems to be the most useful advice:


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Puts the “ack” in “snack”

So apparently this is what we get for complaining about Cool Ranch Doritos:

Lay's Hot Chili Squid Chips from Thailand

The keepers of the late, lamented Munchies Blog tried a bag and lived to tell:

We at Munchies Blog have tried many strange chips here, but none had us as scared as Lay’s Hot Chili Squid. As Roy opened up the bag he simply exclaimed “Oh my god” and smelled the bag, “it’s like rotten fish.” I went to the bag and took a whiff and it was all true, it smelled like the bottom of the sea, but would it taste like it?

And actually, it wasn’t quite as repulsive as it sounds:

[T]he taste itself wasn’t particularly fishy or squidlike, but rather a mild fishlike taste and a semi-spicy kick at the very end. As you take the bite the hardest part is actually overcoming the smell of the chip and allowing yourself to eat them. Once that first bite is down, however, they aren’t so bad.

And I suppose that there are worse flavors out there.

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Crisper material

Then again, perhaps not yours or mine:

If you care, this is the Homeland store at 18th and Classen, widely derided as the weakest link in the chain. To me, these so-called “green beans” look like they’ve spent a long time in someone’s ears.


This stuff can kale you

Avoiding kale, if not exactly a priority, has certainly been a factor on my task list, on the sensible basis that “flavorful,” that popular foodie term, does not, I believe, necessarily imply that the flavor in question is at all desirable.

But some foodies may soon be turning their backs on the stuff, not for flavor considerations, but for something a bit more intensive:

[A]lt-medicine researcher and molecular biologist Ernie Hubbard … began to notice an odd trend among some of his clinic’s clients in California’s Marin County, a place known for its organic farms, health-food stores, and yoga studios. Extremely health-conscious people were coming into to complain of “persistent but elusive problems”: “Chronic fatigue. Skin and hair issues. Arrhythmias and other neurological disorders. Foggy thinking. Gluten sensitivity and other digestive troubles. Sometimes even the possibility of Lyme Disease.”

Hubbard began to find detectable levels of a toxic heavy metal called thallium in patients’ blood samples — at higher-than-normal levels — as well as in kale leaves from the region. Meanwhile, “over and over,” he found that patients complaining of symptoms associated with low-level thallium poisoning — fatigue, brain fog, etc. — would also be heavy eaters of kale and related vegetables, like cabbage.

And he found, in the form of this 2006 peer-reviewed paper by Czech researchers, evidence that kale is really good at taking up thallium from soil. The paper concluded that kale’s ability to accumulate soil-borne thallium is “very high and can be a serious danger for food chains.” And here’s a peer-reviewed 2013 paper from Chinese researchers finding similar results with green cabbage; a 2015 Chinese study finding green cabbage is so good at extracting thallium from soil that it can be used for “phytoremediation” — i.e., purifying soil of a toxin — and a 2001 one from a New Zealand team finding formidable thallium-scrounging powers in three other members of the brassica family: watercress, radishes, and turnips.

Excuse me while I smile at “thallium-scrounging powers.”

Up until about the early 1970s, you could buy thallium sulfate at your local hardware store: it made a good rat poison. Turns out, of course, that it can poison lots of critters besides rats. Still, it’s not like the whole earth is just saturated with the stuff; while thallium is not exactly rare as elements go, the most common sources are industrial. One of those industries, however, is big in these parts: oil drilling.


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Now post me a sandwich

The only way this could be better would be if you could actually download a grilled-cheese sandwich:

Cheese Posties is a new initiative by the folks behind hot sauce subscription service Lick My Dip.

In other news, there exists a hot-sauce subscription service.

The idea is pretty straightforward: you subscribe and they send you a toastie every week. Well, the ingredients for a toastie. You do obviously have to toast it yourself. I’m pointing this out because some very pedantic killjoys have repeatedly made the point that a toastie isn’t a toastie unless it’s toasted, and therefore they’re “posting you a sandwich.” I think these people need to find some love in their lives.

You don’t need a grill or a George Foreman to toast your toastie, because it comes with its own toaster bag. All the ingredients arrive in a letterbox-sized package, safely separated up so you can construct your toastie the way you like it.

Our author samples the wares:

Varieties, you ask?

Other recipes include Chocolate Cheesecake (cream cheese and Nutella), Mascarpone & Biscuit Butter, Blue Stilton & Raspberry, Balsamic Blueberry & Cream Cheese and Gouda & Tigernut Relish (no, I don’t know what that is either).

On reading the recipe list, I noticed a distinct lack of the world’s best cheese — halloumi — and asked the question. They assured me that a Halloumi & Honey variant is in the pipeline. Praise cheesus.

Admittedly, this is a bit lower-tech than, say, faxing a beer, but it has its charms.

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Unsmart cookie

First we find out that Double Stuf falls short of being truly Double. Now we’re getting an Oreo in which you can barely see the Stuf:

Oreos are getting a skinny new look, and its maker says the new cookie is a “sophisticated” snack for grown-ups that isn’t meant to be twisted or dunked.

Mondelez International Inc. says it will add “Oreo Thins” to its permanent lineup in the U.S. starting next week. The cookies look like regular Oreos and have a similar cookie-to-filling ratio, except that they’re slimmer. That means four of the cookies contain 140 calories, compared with 160 calories for three regular Oreos.

For those who will sit there and eat half the package at a sitting, this is essentially meaningless.

And apparently the Thins are (quelle surprise!) fragile:

[I]t took months for the company to perfect manufacturing for the Thins. Early on … 60 percent of the cookies were breaking, but that the rate eventually came down to 3 percent.

Perhaps this could be alleviated with a Double Stuf Thin, though I suspect that isn’t happening. In the meantime:

You can twist the Oreo Thin, but three out of every four cracked when we tried — unlike the original, which as we all know, usually separates with ease.

So clearly the manufacturer is invoking the original first definition of “sophisticated”: “deprived of native or original simplicity.”

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