Archive for Worth a Fork

Come on and work it on out

It is generally accepted that a kid’ll eat the middle of an Oreo first. (How to do it? You unscrew it.) It was this particular characteristic, I presume, that gave birth to this Walmart/Sam’s Club knockoff of the Oreo:

Great Value Twist & Shout

I await a Lorna Doone-alike named for Eleanor Rigby.

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Perfect for your tuna sandwich

Now available on a limited basis:

The Blue Jin Café, a café and bakery based in Japan, are making cat lovers’ dreams come true with their new Ironeko Bread (“neko” being the Japanese word for “cat”).

The feline-shaped bread comes as part of Blue Jin’s reopening celebration — the purrr-fect way to celebrate following a renovation project.

Cat bread from Japan

Note the shape, which is carefully designed to suggest felinity without infringing on any Sanrio trademarks. Just the same, it’s incredibly sweet:

This comes as a result of the flour having been kneaded in hot water, which gelatinizes the starches to “draw out more of their inherent sweetness.”

The bread, which is sold in packs of five slices, went on sale on 26 May for ¥350 (£2) per pack.

Is this worth sixty-odd cents a slice? Of course it is. Don’t be silly.

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Tragedy of the condiments

Actual Whataburger advertisement found on last night:

Advertisement for Whataburger-branded ketchup and mustard

Although it’s probably more convenient than stuffing a couple of dozen packets into your purse while you imagine no one is looking.

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Slices of life

The proverbial space invaders, once they’ve conquered this big blue marble, might look over the scene and proclaim: “This species developed a pizza-centric economy.”

I wouldn’t disagree. Several pizza joints deliver coupons to your door every single week. And the last time I hit up Papa John’s, they left me a reusable coupon, redeemable online only: it’s good for 50 percent off all regularly-priced items, any time between now and Labor Day.

Now I wonder: who among us hardy travelers has ever paid full price for a pizza, from Papa John, from another chain, from a local shop? Because everybody seems to have coupons.

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You got your kale in my chocolate

Somehow that just seems unforgivable:

We’re all for exotic food mashups. And when you combine two things so far apart in the food world, it’s really exciting. The California-based chocolatier Compartés has created a kale chocolate bar that combines your favorite super-foods, and we’re practically swooning.

The kale and dark chocolate bar is “Filled by hand with a mouthwatering combination of kale crisps, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. This healthy chocolate bar has no added sugars, just delicious fresh seeds and crispy kale chips covered in Compartés famous chocolate,” according to Compartés’ website.

Compartés kale & chocolate bar

I don’t know. It might not be half bad, even if it looks like scrapings from the world’s filthiest petri dish.

If this is a bit much for you, they also have a white chocolate/avocado bar. Each of these will run you $9.95.

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Excess air

At candy prices, yet:

A lawsuit alleging that Hershey is intentionally under-filling packages of Whoppers, Reese’s Pieces and other candy has gotten the green light to move forward.

Robert Bratton of Missouri claims that the $1 packages of chocolate he bought last fall were only partially full. The box of Whoppers, he argued in the lawsuit, was about 59 percent full, while the box of Reese’s Pieces was 71 percent full. He says Hershey is short-changing customers by being “misleading, deceptive and unlawful,” and is asking the company to pay back at least $5 million to its customers.

As a Whopper-hater of long standing, I’d say Mr Bratton was lucky.

The Hershey Co. disputes the allegation that its packaging is deceptive and sought to have the lawsuit thrown out, but U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey last week ruled that the case could move forward because “the Court cannot conclude as a matter of law and at this stage of the litigation that the packaging is not misleading.”

Anyone over the age of seven should know that boxes of grocery products are never filled to the brim. (Nor are bottles, except for mouthwash: Listerine, store brands, whatever, all of them will spill when you open them for the first time if you exert the slightest pressure.) What I want to know, though, is this: Where’s he getting this stuff for a buck? It’s $2.50 down at the movie house.

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Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal

If this describes you, and you’re somewhere near Los Angeles, polish up your personal custom spoon and go for it:

[N]ow, LA residents can enjoy a bowl of cereal in a brand new cereal bar in the Virgil Village neighborhood. The bar is called Cereal and Such, and was opened by musician, producer, and fashion designer Theo Martins, who moved to LA just five years ago to get more involved with the city’s art scene.

Martins opened up Cereal and Such in a refurbished shack in the back patio of a clothing store called Virgil Normal, Eater reports. Cereal and Such opened on May 5 and started selling bowls of cereal at $4 a pop, along with a menu of coffee, tea, and t-shirts. The cereal menu will move in a rotation of six different cereals, and there will always be one vegan and gluten-free option for those with diet restrictions to enjoy. While on tour in Japan this month, Martins says he will bring back cereal from his trip to sell at the bar.

L.A.’s best-known cereal-eater is not likely to put in an appearance, having (on video!) admitted that she doesn’t really like cereal.

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The pepper, it burns

We begin with a relevant review:

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.

So spake an Adweek staffer after trying a single tortilla chip imbued with the Carolina Reaper chili pepper, now the second-spiciest pepper on earth.

Wait, what? Second- spiciest?

Alas, it is true:

Death by chili pepper may not be a common way to die, but it’s certainly a possibility for unlucky souls adventurous enough to try Dragon’s Breath, the new hottest pepper in town.

Mike Smith, the owner of Tom Smith’s Plants in the United Kingdom, developed the record-breaking pepper with researchers at the University of Nottingham. He doesn’t recommend the pepper for eating, however, because it may be the last thing a person ever tastes.

So how exactly do hot peppers, such as Dragon’s Breath, maim or kill those who try to eat them? Let’s start with the pepper’s spicy stats: Dragon’s Breath is so spicy, it clocks in at 2.48 million heat units on the Scoville scale, a measurement of concentration of capsaicin, the chemical that releases that spicy-heat sensation people feel when they bite into a chili pepper. Dragon’s Breath is hotter than the current record-holder, the Carolina Reaper, which packs an average of 1.6 million Scoville heat units, as well as U.S. military pepper sprays, which hit about 2 million on the Scoville scale, according to the Daily Post.

Individual samples of the Reaper are reported to have broken the two-million mark, but 2.48 is just out there.

Dragon’s Breath, in contrast, is so potent that it will be kept in a sealed container when it goes on display at the Chelsea Flower Show from May 23 to 27 in London, the Daily Post reported.

It better be more thoroughly sealed than, say, the average mayonnaise jar off Funk & Wagnalls’ porch.

(Via a woman who is apparently not trying to kill me.)

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Something in between

The first sandwich, we are told, was a piece of salt beef between two slices of toasted bread, and it was named for, if not necessarily created by, John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). With Lord Sandwich’s tricentennial upon us, we should not be surprised that the definition has spread out a bit:

Personally, I’m not a purist, but I am loath to classify a Pop-Tart as a sandwich.

(Via Neatorama.)

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It’s all about the width

Last night, while the sound of lightning was doing nothing to enhance my AM-radio reception (Dodgers vs. Pirates, if you care), an ancient jingle popped into my head, complete with fuzzy visuals:

The Chunky was reformulated when Nestlé acquired it: gone were the cashews and Brazil nuts, replaced by comparatively mundane peanuts. And of course it’s no longer a nickel; in bulk from Amazon, they’re about a buck apiece.

And is that Casey Kasem doing the voiceover?

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Penes from heaven

In case you wanted someone to go, um, eat a bag of dicks:

Remember that look of joy you got on your face on Christmas morning when you went downstairs and unwrapped a big bag of socks? Us neither.

Dicks by Mail is the easy way to send that feeling to anyone in your life that deserves that feeling of sadness, disappointment and betrayal (or laughter).

In only a few minutes you can send a literal Bag of Dicks to that special friend or dickhole in your life. Dickhole, you ask? You know the one. The annoying guy at the office. Your Ex who decided to see other people before telling you. The Teacher that doesn’t care about your dead grandma. The person that murdered your grandma.

Now if your teacher murdered your grandma, mere gummy weeners may not do the trick.

(These guys sent me an email invitation. Go figure.)

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Chewy, chewy

Or maybe it’s not. I haven’t tried it:

Newport Jerky Company offers 16 varieties of buglunch at several price points. For a mere $12.99, you can get, um, Mixed Pupae.

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Impulses dampened

Stephen Green says this was the inevitable result of switching to online grocery-ordering:

My wife and I switched to online ordering almost as soon as it became available. What we no longer spend on impulse purchases must cost our local grocer hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year — just on my one small family. And many of those impulse buys would have been high-margin treats for our boys, who are locked out of the online shopping experience.

My own expenditures have dropped by about 10 percent, though I’m hardly immune to impulse purchases; I attribute at least some of the decrease to buying fewer steaks.

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Lovely Spam, wonderful Spam

Here’s a couple who couldn’t have a wedding without Spam:

[T]he love for a brand and the love of a couple brought the first-ever Spam wedding to reality when Mark I Love Spam Benson — who last year legally changed his name as a declaration of his love for the brand — wed his fiancée, Anne Mousley, in Austin, Minnesota. The couple, who hail from Liverpool, UK, were married in a Spam-themed wedding complete with Spam cake and Spam-colored bouquets of roses at the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota.

Where else could it have been? I mean, really.

Spam wedding at the Spam Museum

Spam is canned precooked meat made by Hormel Foods that was first introduced in 1937 and gained popularity worldwide after its use during World War II. Benson’s love for the Spam brand is rooted in family tradition, with his grandfather and uncle both having worked at a Liverpool Spam manufacturer when the brand first became linked to happy family memories. Knowing her groom would love nothing more than a Spam wedding, Mousley reached out to Hormel Foods. After learning about the couple’s story and Benson’s love for Spam products, Hormel agreed to make it a reality.

“The Spam brand is truly lucky to have such a passionate fan base, and we’re always looking for ways to engage with them in a fun and unique way. When Anne approached us with the idea for their wedding to be hosted at the Spam Museum, we knew it was the perfect place for them. It’s not every day we get a request like this one, so it was an easy decision and one that we think demonstrates the fun, quirky side of the brand,” said Nicole Behne, marketing director of the grocery products division at Hormel Foods.

And no bloody Vikings, either.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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None more dark

Or, presumably, more green either:

GREEN & BLACK’S is a chocolate brand founded on sustainable and ethical cocoa sourcing principles, based on our conviction that great taste comes from the finest ingredients. Green symbolizes our commitment to always sourcing ethical cocoa. Black stands for our high quality and the delicious intensity of our chocolate.

The first GREEN & BLACK’S chocolate was created in London by original founders, Craig Sams and Jo Fairley. They launched the brand with an organic dark chocolate bar with 70% cocoa. And today you will still find a dark chocolate bar with 70% cocoa in our organic line!

Now, the GREEN & BLACK’S collection includes a wide variety of offerings, all expertly crafted with hand-selected, ethically sourced cocoa beans and the finest ingredients from around the world.

From developing our unique chocolate recipes to selecting ingredients like hand harvested Anglesey Sea Salt and Mediterranean Almonds, we take great pride in creating distinctively smooth and rich chocolate experiences.

That “today you will still” suggests they’ve been around a long time, and, well, 1991 seems quite a long time ago at times.

Still, what does it take to get someone to ante up five bucks for a 100-gram chocolate bar? In my case, it was extreme curiosity:

Our Dark 70% chocolate is made from fine Trinitario cacao beans, providing complex fruit notes and intense bittersweet chocolate aromas.

And six hundred calories, if you care about that sort of thing. The wrapper declares: SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS, if you care about that sort of thing. And really, it’s quite good, much more complex than what those guys at Hershey’s (among others) keep shoving out. There are indeed serious fruit notes, and they manifestly didn’t clutter up the recipe with more than a few percentage points of organic raw cane sugar.

Still: five bucks? And said bucks do not end up in the pockets of a couple of eccentric Brits, but in the deep bank account of Mondelez International, which acquired it from Cadbury, purchasers of the original company in 2006. For now, I don’t really care where it came from, as long as Amazon keeps selling them for $3.24.

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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.

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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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