Archive for Worth a Fork

24-carrot bunk

And make sure you know what the doctor himself eats. This showed up in the spam bucket yesterday:

Spam header: Doctor Eating Carrots Makes You Fat

This is the pitch:

Did you know eating carrots and other vegetables can cause you to gain weight, and linked to severe obesity?

That’s according to a shocking medical report that’s just been released to the public.

In it, several top scientists say that we’ve been getting weight loss “all wrong” for the last 30+ years…

And that if you really want to burn fat, drop pounds, and be healthier…

There are three major changes to your diet you need to make right now.

These new dietary changes will surprise you.

Never eat these vegetables if you want to lose weight.

What? And give up my night vision?

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And now it’s gone

Rob O’Hara remembers a favorite restaurant:

The restaurant’s name fit. The building was made of wood that smelled like it had been cut the day before. It had a green metal roof, rocking chairs on the porch, and a view of the Smoky Mountains off to the south. The sign out front said “MOUNTAIN LODGE RESTAURANT” and had a picture of a lodge at the base of a mountain range. That kind of summed the place up.

Inside, a dozen middle-aged waitresses were in charge. Every one of them had long, straight hair, homemade dresses that looked like patchwork quilts, and accents as thick as the coffee. They were the opposite of the cookie-cutter waitresses I often encounter, the ones that are trained to touch customers 2.6 times per meal and sign checks with a heart over the letter “i” to increase their tip. These women were real. It wouldn’t surprise me if every waitress there went by two names, like Peggy Sue, or Mary Jo.

That was the summer of ’15. Unfortunately:

On November 28, 2016, the raging wildfires in Tennessee moved into the southern tip of Gatlinburg and burned the Mountain Lodge Restaurant to the ground.

I’d almost certainly have liked that place.


Also for use with ganders

Brianna Bailey of The Oklahoman turned up a bottle of this exotic elixir at GW Zoo in Wynnewood:

PETA BBQ sauce

No trademark lawyers on hand, so far as I know.

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Embrace the gaffe

Jessica Simpson, 2003, on Chicken of the Sea brand tuna: “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish?”

In 2016:

The owners of the Chicken of the Sea brand obviously aren’t taking umbrage.

Sidelight: In 1978, the Dacron Republican-Democrat (the National Lampoon Sunday Newspaper Parody) carried an ad for the Food Clown supermarket, which was offering canned chicken under the “Tuna of the Land” name.


I blame the special sauce

The inventor of the Big Mac has crossed the bar, or maybe the bun, at the age of 98:

Michael “Jim” Delligatti came up with the iconic McDonald’s burger nearly 50 years ago.

The franchise owner from Uniontown, Pennsylvania put the stacked treat on sale at one of his restaurants in 1967.

Of course, it’s especially wonderful that someone named Michael would be called “Jim.” (Consider the case of my one surviving brother, James, who was named after our Uncle Pete.)

Delligatti’s creation irritated the McDonald’s brass, but it sold like the very dickens at all 48 of his stores, and McDonald’s eventually adopted it system-wide.

One thing has changed since I was manning Mickey D’s grill in 1970:

Big Mac Sauce is delivered to McDonald’s restaurants in sealed canisters designed by Sealright, from which it is meant to be directly dispensed using a special calibrated “sauce gun” that dispenses a specified amount of the sauce for each pull of the trigger. Its design is similar to a caulking gun.

That might have been almost fun for seventeen-year-old me, toiling in Greaseville for a buck ninety-five an hour.


In lieu of gluten

One test lab has turned up signs of glyphosate, the Monsanto herbicide sold as Roundup, in rather a lot of foods:

Independent testing on an array of popular American food products found many samples contained residue levels of the weed killer called glyphosate, leading the nonprofit organization behind the testing to call for corporate and regulatory action to address consumer safety concerns.

The herbicide residues were found in cookies, crackers, popular cold cereals and chips commonly consumed by children and adults, according to Food Democracy Now and the group’s “Detox Project,” which arranged for the testing at the San Francisco-based Anresco lab. Anresco uses liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), a method widely considered by the scientific community and regulators as the most reliable for analyzing glyphosate residues. The groups issued a report Monday [pdf] that details the findings.

Among those findings:

The tests conducted by Anresco were done on 29 foods commonly found on grocery store shelves. Glyphosate residues were found in General Mills’ Cheerios at 1,125.3 parts per billion (ppb), in Kashi soft-baked oatmeal dark chocolate cookies at 275.57 ppb, and in Ritz Crackers at 270.24 ppb, according to the report. Different levels were found in Kellogg’s Special K cereal, Triscuit Crackers and several other products. The report noted that for some of the findings, the amounts were “rough estimates at best and may not represent an accurate representation of the sample.”

And this means what, exactly?

The nonprofit behind the report said that concerns about glyphosate comes as research shows that Roundup can cause liver and kidney damage in rats at only 0.05 ppb.

Well, that settles it. No more Cheerios for my rats.

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Worse than a wash

First, the good news:

The McRib is back at McDonald’s but only at select locations. Fortunately, you won’t only be left to call or drive around in search of it this time around as the company has put out an official free McRib locator smartphone app.

Now, the bad news:

Unfortunately for Android users, currently it’s only available for iOS off of the iTunes store. You can find it here.

The universe continues to find ways to screw me over.

(Via HelloGiggles.)

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Valley of the jolly

Once an icon, everywhere an icon:

Tickles the Niblets, it does.


It’s just a substitute

But it may be cute, now that I think about it.

One of my regular items on the Walmart grocery run is a cheap cooked-ham product supplied by Hormel, deli sliced, for about four bucks a pound, there being some days in the week when nothing but a Dagwoodesque sandwich will do. This past weekend they apparently were out of the stuff, and requested (at curbside) permission to substitute, describing the suggested replacement as “Hormel Boneless Half Ham, Deli Sliced.” I was fine with that, since the price, as per Walmart policy, was the same $3.93.

And then I got it home. It was an actual half ham. By Hormel. A Cure 81 half ham. Worth about $13 at retail.

Maybe I should forget the sandwiches and just glaze the darn thing.


The sauce remains special

McDonald’s, constantly tinkering with its menu during this period of uncertain growth, has come up with a Bigger Mac:

The Grand Mac, as its name suggests, is larger than the Big Mac. The Grand Mac will include two patties that together weigh in at one-third of a pound before cooking, two slices of American cheese, special sauce, lettuce, minced onions and pickles, and is served on a larger sesame seed bun. The two patties in the original Big Mac total one-fifth of a pound.

On the other hand, you may not want so much Mac, and here, too, McDonald’s has you covered:

The Mac Jr. has one patty and skips the middle bun. McDonald’s said the single-layer Mac. Jr. has a bigger beef patty, yet is easier to eat on the go.

I have no idea if these will be offered in Paris, and if so, what they might be called.

(Via Fark.)

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Extortion alert

Supercriminal makes off with a 20-percent premium:

Justice has been served for a Farragut High School student after his suspension for buying an extra chicken nugget in the lunch line was overturned.

Carson Koller received the one-day suspension on Monday for buying the extra nugget.

Koller — a senior, Eagle Scout and the captain of the band’s drum line — was suspended for theft of property after he took six chicken nuggets from the lunch line instead of the usual five, to his mother’s outrage.

Mom was indeed wroth:

“How is it theft if he paid for it?” Koller’s mother, Carrie Koller Waller, wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s food. FOOD!!! Not weapons. Not drugs. Not alcohol. Not cheating on a test … I am shaking my head over this and not sure what to do. Laugh, punish, argue, dress him up as a nugget bandit, or let it go.”

For what it’s worth, the bottom of the chicken-nugget pyramid — a Banquet sub-meal with a handful of French fries, $1 at Walmart — contains a full six.

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Canonical snack

Between meals yesterday: not even close to a handful of Organic Raw Walnuts ($4.85 for 3.5 ounces from Tierra Farm, Valatie, New York). First thought: how much is that per pound? (A shade over $22.) More amusing was this warning on the bottom:

“Contains tree nuts. May contain shell fragments.”

I knew some guys in the Army who seemed to be nuts, though it never occurred to me to ask if they contained shell fragments.

Also in the shipment: dried apple rings, and two varieties of raisins, one of them covered in dark chocolate.

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As originally scheduled

Even though some small chain eatery secured a trademark on the term “Taco Tuesday,” it’s become a tradition of sorts all over the nation plus Canterlot High School. It occurred to me more than once while I was hospitalized that I wasn’t in any position to observe this particular tradition, and hadn’t been since mid-June. Came the first of November, and dammit, I decided, I’m going to have a Taco Tuesday.

I’d done this often enough in the past to have developed a routine, and at its peak it was possible for me to dish up twelve decently-stuffed tacos for somewhere around nine bucks. Not that I have any business eating 12 tacos, but reducing recipes is so disheartening. After four months out of practice, I hadn’t forgotten anything; but my wondrously annoying mobility issues made the production, which requires lots of movement around the kitchen, more difficult than I imagined, and cleanup, never fun, was even less so.

I admit to one shortcut: instead of slicing sections off a head of iceberg lettuce, I bought a bag of pre-shredded, and used about 40 percent of it. (Other veggies and trimmings were handled in the traditional manner.) This pushed the batch price closer to $10, but I spent nearly $10 yesterday at Popeye’s, and you’re not hearing me complain about them. Still, it may be a while before I try this again: it certainly won’t be next Tuesday, unless I suddenly take a turn for the better, which strikes me as highly unlikely.

This would be the ideal time to serve up Spike Jones’ 1956 single “16 Tacos,” were it out there to be served up. Alas, it is not.

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Everything in balance

And that’s the important thing, right?

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

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Temporary vegetative state

It’s Morgan Freeberg vs. the vegetables, and it’s a standoff:

The plastic bags on rolls they hang over the vegetables. What a disgrace. You peel them off and then you open them … and open them and open them and open them. One stinking bag, you struggle and struggle, while the clock ticks. A minute, two, three … five … to pry open your plastic bag for the damn green onions. Then do it again for the artichokes. While this is going on, a little old lady parks her cart in front of the artichokes so she can get some kale. I’m left leaning over her cart to try to retrieve artichokes … pretty sure I ended up with the two scrawniest.

On the upside, she didn’t slip any kale into his cart.

I historically — by which I mean “before my current period of enforced clumsiness” — have had little trouble with the bags, though finding the little twist tie to close up a bag is too often problematic.


A chili forecast

H. Allen Smith, on the deadly serious subject of chili, as quoted here in 2005:

Mr. [Frank X.] Tolbert of Dallas, who appears to be spokesman for the group called the International Chili Appreciation Society, declares that acceptable chili should contain no tomatoes, no onions, and no beans. This is a thing that passeth all understanding, going full speed. It offends my sensibility and violates my mind. Mr. Tolbert criticizes Lyndon Johnson’s chili recipe because it leaves out beef suet and includes tomatoes and onions. Yet the President’s chili contains no beans. To create chili without beans, either added to the pot or served on the side, is to flout one of the basic laws of nature. I’ve been told that when I was a baby and it came time to wean me, I was fed Eagle Brand Milk with navy beans frappéd into it. Thereafter, all through childhood and adolescence, I ate beans three for four times a week. If Chili Bill, back there in Illinois, had served his chili without beans, I would surely have deserted him and bought chocolate sodas for my lunch.

Roberta X, not so far from Illinois, explains this further:

Tam and people in the southwestern U.S. look askance at what we call chili up here in soybean-and-corn country. It’s a flavorful stew with ground beef, canned tomatoes, red kidney beans, onion, a little chili powder and, typically, elbow macaroni. I skipped the pasta and added a small can of mild green chilis, some hot Italian sausage with the beef, a single fresh tomato along with the canned, and good dark chili powder. It’s still nothing a Texan would call chili, so I put the word in quotes or name it by describing the contents, in order to avoid a long conversation on what does and does not constitute chili. In truth, “chili” is whatever you call chili, usually a red stew with meat, much as “science fiction” is whatever science fiction readers read, usually about the future.

Which is true, I suppose, even in Cincinnati.

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Picky eaters

When I was growing up, we had essentially two choices at dinner time: Take It or Leave It. I suspect this would have gone over well in that era:

So there.

Ball Park, incidentally, has introduced a flash-frozen hamburger patty, which I found pretty decent even when microwaved.

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Bet you can’t eat just two

For one thing, there’s only one chip per package, and that package sells for $4.99:

Paqui Carolina Reaper Madness tortilla chip

There is, of course, a reason for this:

That’s because this particular snack is spiced with fearsome Carolina Reaper peppers, widely touted as the hottest variety on Earth, topping the Scoville Heat Chart at 2.2 million SHUs.

As I noted during my Summer of Bland Hospital Food, the jalapeño can’t even manage 10,000 SHUs.

Said a tester at Adweek:

It was like a religious experience, mainly because our tongue was on fire. And that accursed conflagration was reaching down down down into our digestive depths, twisting us sideways/inside-out/round-and-round with searing waves of pepper-powered pain.

For twenty whole minutes.

I note for record that this torturous tortilla chip is certified kosher (by the Orthodox Union) and gluten-free.

(Via American Digest.)

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Point missed by several centimeters

I don’t expect the Ford dealer down the street to sell me a new Subaru. And I’m pretty sure this is comparably silly:

Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger is the target of a petition that demands the fast-food burger institution add a meat-free meal to its menu.

Launched last week on, the petition by Washington D.C.-based Good Food Institute said the burger chain has been “letting its fans down by failing to serve anything that would satisfy a burger-loving customer who wants a healthy, humane, and sustainable option.”

Au contraire. This is exactly what the fans want: not to have to deal with anyone who uses the word “sustainable” unironically. Do I expect the local vegan shop — or, for that matter, the nearest halal restaurant, which is closer by — to fix me a proper sausage biscuit? Of course not.

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Boned appetit

The Spectator warns us about an eatery at a British theme park:

There is a restaurant: the Little Explorers Lunch Box. It is a yellow shack roughly the same shape as the Bates Motel; I suspect, in this land of transformation, it could become the Bates Motel in 15 minutes, with Mummy barely changing expression to change role. A yellow blob with eyes smiles out of a fake window, like custard thrown in rage. Photographs of fruit bounce across the signage. The floor is a photograph of grass; the wall is a photograph of cows so well-lit they might have wandered out of cow Vogue; the lamps are wooden clouds; a child’s painting of an apple hangs on the wall, like an ancient, remote god. It is a rebuke. Since we are technically, if not spiritually, in Staffordshire, which has farmland, this quest for a dream farm is depraved, but not quite pointless, because it is not an homage to rural life. It is an homage to rural life brought to you by TV; that is, an homage to TV, and in this it succeeds completely.

After that, the actual food would be almost irrelevant, even if it were edible:

CBeebies Land knows the covetousness of children. So it gives them a paper box — a photograph of a lunch box — which the parent must assemble. Then the child picks a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a drink and a sad piece of fruit — it may be the last fruit — for £4.25. Adults get sagging paninis, salty sausage rolls and Pringles, which is a type of crisp for crystal meth addicts who eat crisps when they cannot get any crystal meth, and so seek the crisps which most resemble crystal meth, which are Pringles. The Little Explorers Lunch Box is a brightly coloured bunker dreaming of a world it both yearns for and despises; thus it teaches children more then they sought to know.

It taught me more than I sought to know about Pringles.

(Via James Cook.)

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How soon is two hours from now?

This past weekend in Chicago:

No meat at Riot Fest for at least two hours

The Smiths did, after all, issue an album called Meat Is Murder. Still, as Emily Zanotti points out:

And after all that, no Smiths songs and a weird tirade about police brutality, Bernie Sanders and bullfighting.

Has a light gone out, perhaps?


Also melts the heart

“Decadent Fudge Tracks,” I read, and after satisfying myself that this was in fact a Walmart “Great Value”-branded ice cream and not some weirdly intersectional punk-rock compilation, I added it to my grocery order for the week.

And damn me if it isn’t just incredible:

My favorite ice cream used to be Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Fudge (or whatever … chocolate ice cream with brownies) … now, THIS Decadent Fudge Tracks from Great Value is the BEST chocolate ice cream EVER! If you love chocolate on chocolate on chocolate with peanut butter smidges in it, you will absolutely fall head over heels IN LOVE with this ice cream! I figured it’d be okay, and I was honestly expecting a little grain-ey texture like other cheap chocolate ice creams … NO WAY! This stuff is what dreams are made of! This product is, BY FAR, the BEST chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted! Rich, creamy, no chunky ice pieces, with a bulky ribbon of fudge (that I swear is like a brownie) and just brimming with those little peanut butter cups! And those are great, too! This will forever be my favorite chocolate ice cream!

This reviewer, unlike me, is a twenty-ish woman; however, my reaction was almost exactly the same.

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So much at steak

Most store brands speak meekly: we’re probably just as good as those Other Guys, but we perform less wallet drain.

Not so meek, I suggest, is this alternative to the justly famed Heinz “57” Sauce:

Best Choice 59 Sauce

Remind me to see if they offer a 1200 Island salad dressing.

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The candy that zigs

No, wait. Every Zig was taken off for great flavor:

Brother Paul was particularly fond of Zagnut, mostly, I think, because he liked saying “Zagnut.”

Weirdly, both Zagnut and sibling Clark Bar are still in production, but today they have different owners.

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Neapolitan is dead

Now it’s Camo ‘n Cream:

Blue Bell Camo 'N Cream ice cream

Camo ‘n Cream Ice Cream is a combination of pistachio almond, milk chocolate and cream cheese.

“We are having a little fun with this flavor,” said Carl Breed, director of marketing for Blue Bell. “You see the camo design on everything these days, so we thought why not create an ice cream flavor that looks camouflage? The best part is these three flavors taste great together. We tried a few different combinations but chose these flavors because they complement each other so well.”

Yeah, but how do you know when the package is empty?

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Second verse, just a bit worse

Pleased with the results I obtained last time, I decided to give Walmart’s online grocery another shot. It was not quite so successful.

Departures from the ideal:

  • The stuff from last week’s order was inexplicably still in my cart, and clearing it out wasn’t exactly intuitive.
  • I got all my goods, and about six plastic bags full of someone else’s. I have no idea why. I took them back to the store.

I still recommend the service, but perhaps a shade less enthusiastically.

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Mr. Swift declines

He did say, however, that he appreciated the choice of entrées:

Please initial your choice of entree

Note: I found this on Twitter the day before yesterday, and scheduled a post; the person who tweeted it later decided to make his timeline private, so it was no longer available.

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Buckets o’ fun

So what would you do if a Secret Recipe came over the transom?

Our mission: find out if 11 ingredients handwritten on a piece of paper could be the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that go into Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe — a closely guarded formula that remains one of the world’s biggest culinary mysteries.

The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal.

We wanted to see — make that taste — for ourselves. So we put it to the test.

I won’t spoil it for you, except to suggest that there might be a twelfth ingredient.


Groceries 2.0

For the first time in two months, I had to restock groceries today, a task I was not at all feeling up to, what with this whole not-walking scheme. A friend suggested yesterday that I should try the Walmart Online Grocery system, and while I am not overly fond of Walmart, I am less fond of traipsing through a store when my traipsing equipment is below par.

So last night I went to the Web site they’d set up just for this function: Apparently it gives you the option to order online if it detects your IP address as being near one of their participating stores. (I am not quite two miles from the Belle Isle Supercenter.) The user interface was fairly intuitive, bumping up quantities was simple, and I rang up 18 items in short order. What’s more, since I’m a new customer and all, they knocked $10 off my initial over-$50 order.

I set pickup for today at 1 pm. At precisely a quarter to one, they called me to remind me. The instructions: call when you’re within 10 minutes of arrival. There are dedicated parking spaces on the side of the store. I called in, described my car (nothing you don’t already know), and took a space in the middle. Within about a minute they’d brought out a cart with all my goodies and loaded up the trunk. (Well, almost all my goodies; they’d substituted A&W root beer for Mug. I was fine with that.) Standard rule: “chemicals” (dish soap, for instance) are stashed on the right side. I was home before 1:30, though it took me three trips across the garage to move a dozen plastic bags of stuff out of the trunk. And apparently I got a price break on one item between last night and today.

Would I recommend this? If you have no emotional objections to all things Walmart, then certainly. The selections are somewhat limited compared to what’s in the store, but I noticed no items that were conspicuous by their utter absence. They did give me a small bag of samples I might want to try. And yes, there’s the inevitable survey: but it has only one line.

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Remote forage

From early on in The Sparkle Chronicles:

Next day at 5:56, the doorbell rang, and my heart did a couple of half-gainers off Kilimanjaro. It was the evening repast: bean sprouts and hummus and stuff Fluttershy wouldn’t dare feed Angel and sort-of-freshly baked bread and a couple of bottles of what was probably filtered tap water from Wichita. I was sufficiently crazed to demand no change from two twenties. The fellow’s truck — what, he didn’t ride a bicycle? — had just barely cleared the driveway when the feeble little bleep of my thirty-year-old wristwatch announced the hour, and an oval of light appeared on the concrete.

This paragraph was done with a local firm in mind, though I admit I hadn’t actually patronized that firm at the time. Now I have.

Dining Delivery Express of Oklahoma City, better known by its phone number — 858-TOGO — takes orders for participating eateries and arranges for delivery to your very porch. For those of us who aren’t in the mood to go crawl across town, this is ideal, if a tad pricey: a flat $5.99 delivery fee, plus an appropriate tip to the driver. Anyway, this was tonight’s decidedly not vegetarian repast:

858-TOGO invoice for Oklahoma Station BBQ

Ended up being close to $30 when it was all done, but it was worth it, and delivery took less than half an hour, competitive with the pizza parlors. Considering that my typical pizza order ends up over $20, and that barbecue joints are not known for being economical, I’m not about to complain.