Archive for Worth a Fork

The Stuf your dreams are made of

Once upon a time, Oreo gave us Double Stuf, and it was good; they followed with Mega Stuf, and it was better. Is it time to up the ante again?

Announcement of More Stuf Oreo from The Junk Food Aisle

“Actual product photo,” says The Junk Food Aisle. I want to believe.

“Same taste, more filling,” says Fark.

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No more Mr. Rice Guy

And how long did it take to count all those grains, do you think?

Do not eat my lunch I have 7 shrimp and 4,377 rice

Oh, surely longer than that.

(From Bits and Pieces via Miss Cellania.)

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Hanging that name

I’ve eaten at Ruby Tuesday exactly once. So maybe it’s all my fault:

Then again, I thought they were better than Applebee’s.

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Worst pork chops ever

Wait, what?

Maybe I’ll skip dessert.

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The lowest form of cuisine

Circle K might not be your first choice for dinner:

No, not even QuikTrip.

Still, the person who’s never had so much as a 7-Elevem Slim Jim has had no opportunity to build up the kind of immunity our well-traveled road warriors count on.

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Not quite cultural appropriation

America’s Defining Restaurants are perhaps not so good at that “definition” business:

Two of the restaurant chains (Taco Bell and Domino’s) are basically watered-down bastardizations of another country’s food type. Taco Bell is barely Mexican, and Domino’s is barely Italian — much as is the case with Spaghetti Warehouse and Olive Garden. (I do take issue with the author’s lionization of made-in-Italy pizza, by the way. I think you get better pizza in New Jersey and Chicago than anything made in Rome, for instance.) That both Domino’s and Taco Bell are so popular — despite their tenuous relationship with their specific ethnic origins — is fine, I guess; but it does point to the homogenization of the American diet, which is not so good.

Number of Taco Bell locations in Mexico: zero (at the moment).

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Looking forward to a weekend in 2041

I know this feeling perhaps better than I ought to admit:

(If you care, she’ll be 44.)

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Rolls over

I had grumbled about Walmart: “They delivered six trays of rolls, with eight rolls each.”

Six days later, I still had four trays left. I hauled the lot off to the workplace, where they disappeared fairly quickly. (One chap even offered to pay me for a tray.)

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The Bismarks are sunk

There are, as they say, compensations.

Walmart substitution record

They delivered six trays of rolls, with eight rolls each. Forty-eight of these sons of guns.

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Have one for Lois

The Clark Bar is coming back:

Originally, the D. L. Clark Company produced the Clark Bar at a Pittsburgh facility on Martindale Street — which today houses an establishment called the Clark Bar and Grill.

D. L. Clark also made the Zagnut bar, currently a product of Hershey’s.


Just a hint of dairy air

A friend you supposedly don’t have in these cheeses:

Suddenly marscapone doesn’t seem so bad.


What, no nutrition information?

For that matter, what the hell is that priciest item?

Menu board from hell

(From Pleated Jeans via Bad Menu.)

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Thank you, I’ll pass

I am suddenly frightened by the spectacle of Wasabi Double Stuf.

(Via ABC 33/40, in northern Alabama.)

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Says Papa Steve

In lieu of the usual menu specials and whatnot that arrive in my mailbox literally every day, Steve Ritchie, new CEO at Papa John’s Pizza, sent along this apologetic missive:

I know that for the past 6 weeks people have been talking about the name on our pizza boxes — and what that name stands for. And I’ve been quiet about it for too long.

Some of you may have seen my statement from Friday, but there’s more I want to say. I shared it on my twitter feed and want to say it again here.

I’ve been listening along with my team members. I’ve heard their hurt, disappointment and anger, and that of our franchisees, our customers — and those who used to be.

And now we’re all looking inwards, reclaiming the responsibilities Papa John’s has to our partners, customers and communities. And in thinking about what we want the Papa John’s name to stand for moving forward, we’re now going where we should have been all along.

United in the belief that we — company, community and country — are better together. Joining the voices for fairness, social justice, equity, representation, and inclusion. Standing against hateful words, deeds and attitudes.

I shared the first steps towards achieving this vision in our Values statement, but know that at an organizational level, we are committed to adding more diversity to Papa John’s leadership team and supplier base. We are forming a foundation that will focus on supporting organizations that are working to eradicate the biases that keep us apart, while also supporting and celebrating those groups that bring us together. And we’ll be creating a franchise expansion and development program for women and minorities.

At the ground level, we’re making changes that will impact every pizza that leaves our stores. We want to improve customer service and offer you a better, more delightful ordering experience through our app and website. We want to ensure that every pizza is delivered on time, hot and fresh, and we are investing in technology to improve order accuracy and quality control, so that those pizzas are always up to the standards that you expect.

We recognize that this is only the beginning. But please hold us accountable to these words and commitments. Hold me accountable to them.

On behalf of the 120,000 team members in the Papa John’s family, you have my promise: we will always strive for better.


Steve Ritchie,
CEO, Papa John’s

There isn’t anything here that couldn’t have been cut and pasted from the portfolio of one of those Diversity Consultants out there, but Steve gets credit for this: he did not attach a coupon. This suggests, to the suggestible, that there might be something more important than right-now commerce. Few organizations will ever allow themselves to imply such a thing.

So yeah, I ordered a pizza. Of course, I had a coupon.

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Billions and billions ago

Which no one, I submit, ever predicted:

The McDonald Brothers, before opening Store #1

Seventy years later, McDonald’s is almost everywhere, though the founding brothers have long since passed on.

(From the HistoryPorn subreddit via TYWKIWDBI.)

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An argument for some other flavor

Vanilla is crazy-mad expensive:

The vanilla orchid is native to Mexico but it is only a minor producer, having been overtaken by Madagascar in the 1960s. Indonesia is the other big producer.

French colonists first brought vanilla to Madagascar’s neighbouring island of Réunion in the early 19th century. It grows as a clinging vine, reaching lengths of up to 300ft (90m).

The vines grow well outside Mexico — but no fruit, in the form of vanilla beans, was produced. Horticulturists eventually discovered what was missing.

The pollen on a vanilla orchid flower is inaccessible to most insects, including typical honey bees. The small Melipona bee, which lives in only Mexico, was the only one able to reach the vanilla pollen and fertilise the flowers. Still, relying on the bees for pollination is a hit-and-miss affair as the pale white orchids bloom for just one day each year and the flower is fertile for only eight to 12 hours after it blooms.

Now you know why the stuff got up to $250 a pound last year. This isn’t saffron territory, but it’s close. Were it not for the invention of an artificial vanilla, most of us might never have tasted it at all.

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It’s not easy staying green

Now this is a handy six-pack:

It would take me about a week to get through that package so … yes, yes.

(Via Emily Thomas.)

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A clean break with the pasta

Okay, it isn’t exactly Fermat’s Last Theorem, but it’s enough to drive you at least slightly batty:

It is a puzzle that has perplexed physicists for decades: hold a strand of dry spaghetti at both ends, bend it until it snaps, and you will always end up with three or more pieces.

In 2005, researchers in France finally discovered why: after the initial break, the brittle stick flexes back in the opposite direction, snapping itself again.

Yet a lingering question mark still hovered over the culinary conundrum. Was it possible, with the right technique, to snap a strand of spaghetti into two pieces?

After breaking apart hundreds of pieces of pasta in a specially-constructed apparatus, a team of mathematicians led by Jörn Dunkel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded it is possible, provided you add a twist into the mix.

Sometimes it takes MIT to solve a problem.

Using a pair of clamps, they twisted strands of spaghetti almost 360 degrees before bringing the two clamps together until the strand broke. With this method, the found they could reliably snap the spaghetti into just two pieces.

Journal reference: PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1802831115

(Via JenLucPiquant.)

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Just add water

The Campbell Soup Company is still a behemoth, but staying that way requires more and more work:

I’m inclined to trace the bad times to Campbell’s 1995 acquisition of Pace Foods, makers of a picamte sauce that’s not made in New York City. God forbid anyone should find out that Campbell’s is based in Camden, New Jersey.

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Frank commerce

Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs pops up on the streets of northern Minneapolis, and by all accounts is doing fine business.

Mr. Jaequan Faulkner is all of thirteen years old, and thereby hangs a tale:

He operates Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., serving about 20 customers a day. He likes the sense of accomplishment and enjoys projecting a positive image of black youth in his community, something he’s aware isn’t always shown.

The business started in 2016 when Faulkner saw an old hot dog grill at his uncle’s house. After two years of starts and stops, Faulkner stuck with it this summer.

Then he hit a snag: The Minneapolis Health Department called. Someone had complained to the city about the hot dog stand.

But instead of shutting Faulkner down, the Health Department decided to help him meet its standards.

Health Department staff made sure he had the necessary equipment — thermometers, food containers, hand sanitizer and utensil-cleaning stations — as well as knowledge about proper food handling. Once he passed his health inspection, inspectors paid the $87 for the special event food permit, and the city-sanctioned stand opened for business.

Eventually, Mr. Faulkner would like to own his own food truck. And props to Minneapolis city government for not doing what every other city would almost certainly have done.


Meanwhile in the food desert

Lindsay Jill Eirikson sends this along:

Seedless watermelon from store in Nunavut

To anyone in Canada who still doesn’t believe there is a food crisis in the North, this is in Nunavut, when was the last time you paid $70 for a watermelon??

Hmmm. “Produce of Mexico,” distributor in California’s Inland Empire.

Shipping costs?

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Extra cheese

As Papa John transitions from person to unperson to eventual cartoon character, the new head of the pizza chain that bears his name dons the robe of penitent. I got this in email yesterday along with the obligatory coupons:

This past week was the hardest week in my 22 years with Papa John’s. I know the words of John Schnatter were offensive, and nothing pains me more than knowing they hurt you. To be clear, those words in no way represent my views or the values of our company. As the leader of Papa John’s, I’m sorry.

Racism and insensitive language — no matter the context — will not be tolerated at any level of our company. Period.

Papa John’s is not an individual. Papa John’s is a pizza company with 120,000 corporate and franchise team members around the world. These are the people in your communities from all walks of life who work hard to provide you with better service and better pizza. These are your local owners and operators who do so much in your community.

Still, you deserve actions, not just words, so here’s what we’re going to do about it:

  • We’re in the process of bringing in outside experts to help audit our company’s culture and diversity and inclusion practices. This will allow us to identify our strengths and weaknesses. We will then set clear goals to do better.
  • Our senior management team will be on the road, listening to our employees and franchisees and getting their feedback on a path to move forward.
  • We’ll be transparent with you along the way. We want you to hold us accountable.

I will personally be leading this effort because there is nothing more important for Papa John’s right now. We want to regain your trust, and we will work hard to earn it. I know this will take time.

The entire team at Papa John’s wants to thank you for your loyalty. We are only in business because of you. And it’s our sincere wish that we’ll continue to have the honor of serving you.


Steve Ritchie
CEO, Papa John’s

Frankly, I’d feel better about this whole thing if I hadn’t had to read that “culture audit” business; you shouldn’t have to write a large check to “outside experts” to know that John Schnatter was a dumbass.

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Yo no quiero

How can a restaurant fail with more bacom?

When it’s Taco Bell:

Me, I miss the Bellburger/Bellbeefer.

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A bit too much paternalism

Papa John’s knows more than I do about pizza. It is not wise, however, for them to act like it:

There are better local pizza joints, but this remains my choice of the chains. And the local franchisor, at least, is aware of the price issue: in any given year they’ll send me upward of 300 online coupons. My standard-issue pie — medium, standard cheese volume and crust thickness, sausage, beef and pepperoni — retails locally for $17.17. It probably costs them less than $5 to assemble, so letting it go for half price, $8.59, strains them hardly at all.

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Cirque du Soufflé

Recently in Tree Lobsters:

Cirque du soufflé by Tree Lobsters issue 782

I don’t think I can afford to eat at this place.

(Via Miss Cellania.)


He says it’s spinach

And he says the hell with it:

A 12-year-old Canadian boy called 911 not once but twice because a parent made him eat a salad he didn’t like, according to police.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said officers first got a call around 10 p.m. Tuesday from the boy. Before they could even get to his home, he called 911 again to ask when police would arrive and once again expressed dislike of the salad.

Of course, the RCMP viewed this as a teachable moment:

“While many can relate to the dislike of a salad at times, this raises a more important issue that warrants discussion at all ages,” Hutchinson said. “The improper use of 911 is an issue with all age groups and it ties up valuable resources, preventing emergency first responders from dealing with real emergencies.”

I’m guessing he probably didn’t get dessert. Canadians have rules, y’know.

(Via Fark.)

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To each according to their desire

To quote the estimable Rocket J. Squirrel, “But that trick never works!”

An all-you-can-eat restaurant has racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt and been forced to close because diners ate so much food.

Chinese restaurant Jiamener was open for less than a month despite having more than 500 customers a day.

The owner was offering a $25 loyalty card, which is about £19, for unlimited food for a month. Unsurprisingly customers took full advantage of this incredible offer, and the restaurant was soon in more than $100,000 worth of debt. There are also reports loyalty card holders passed their cards onto family and friends.

The restaurant, which is in China, opened on June 1 and was forced to close after just two weeks.

To borrow a phrase, there is all you can eat, and there is “All You Can Eat.”

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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International House of Blather

This is how you do social media, Part N, where N = some amazingly high number:

How Wendy’s manages to field a steady flow of customer comments and still come up with stuff like this is nothing short of miraculous.

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Undissolved creepiness

This could be more offputting only if Robert Stack himself appeared as a stuffed sub-Muppet:

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To go, and then some

We were still on C-rations when I was one of the troops, or at least that’s what we thought; officially, the C-ration had been discontinued in the 1950s, but the newer Meal, Combat, Individual was so much like a C-ration that the new name never did catch on. Finally the Army came up with the Meal, Ready to Eat, and the MRE has sustained troops in the field ever since. Of course, being Army chow, it was instantly derided: “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians” is only one of the derisive terms being tossed about.

Still, the Department of Defense is sworn to improve the product, and there is a new pepperoni-pizza MRE due out Real Soon Now:

The pepperoni pizza entrée has been added to the 2018 Meals, Ready to Eat menu and should be on its way to the field soon.

The pizza MRE will include cheddar and jalapeno cheese spread, Italian breadsticks, cookies, cherry-blueberry cobbler and a chocolate protein drink powder.

The pizza can be eaten cold or heated with a flameless ration heater.

“You know, for a pizza that has to last for at least three years … it’s pretty stinking good,” said Jeremy Whitsitt, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Combat Feeding Directorate.

And that’s always been the issue: longevity and flavor seldom keep close company.

The pizza is made with a high-heat-tolerant mozzarella cheese and a process that controls moisture levels, pH and oxygen levels to ensure a three-year shelf life, [Whitsitt] said.

Then again, DoD is not going to throw away stuff just to get the pizza into S4 units faster, either.

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