Archive for Worth a Fork

T’ain’t funny, McD

Debuting in 1948 at the eatery owned by Dick and Mac McDonald:

“The Speedee Service System applied the principles of production line manufacture to fast food, and formed the foundation of what Ray Kroc would later leverage to create the world’s largest food outlet chain, and epitomise the Business Format Franchise Model.”

What the System was like, two decades and change later:

Day 1: I started “dressing buns,” that is, applying mustard and ketchup and pickles to the hamburger buns and from there, every 6 weeks, I rotated to another department, french fries, grill, milk shakes, etc., and after I had mastered every one of them I reached the honorable and greatly sought position of working on the counter, taking orders, using the cash register. WOW! It was not until AFTER I learned the entire system was I allowed to step right up front and represent the whole company to the public at large. (now, they stick the ugliest and stupidest people on the counter and just taking your order, with every convenience in the world, is almost more than they can muster — true genetic defects — individual and corporate)

Yep, each order — and there were hundreds each day, was written down in detail in little “ticket books” and get this, less than 60 seconds later the customer received their HOT order. The cash register was the old skool type where you had to type in the prices of each item and then hit the “Total” button that then printed a small receipt. No colorful pictures on the screen, no automated anything, all of it done by hand, the long way, but very fast and very efficient.

In 1970 McDonald’s full menu consisted of: hamburger 19 cents, cheeseburger 24 cents, dbl hamburger 29 cents, dbl cheeseburger 34 cents, big mac 45 cents, fish sandwich 35 cents, french fries 19 cents, coke, root beer, orange, sprite 19 cents small and 24 cents large, milkshakes — choc, van, straw 35 cents, apple pie 19 cents. There ya go, McDonald’s circa 1970 entire menu, complete.

Meanehile, halfway across the country, I was working at a Mickey D’s, and the only thing I remember that was different was that we had even older old-skool registers: we took the orders with an actual pencil, and rang up only the total on the shiny stainless-steel machine.

Oh, and this:

Amazingly, very few people got fired from McDonald’s, everybody was glad to have the opportunity to work. Most that were in my age group simply moved on eventually. Me? After almost year at $1.15 an hour, I graduated from 2 different schools a couple weeks before my 17th birthday and received a job offer from the largest architectural firm in the county so I quit. My new job paid $1.45 to start.

Amazingly, I was getting paid a buck ninety-five to do the same things, mostly because I was able to work flexible schedules: I could close the store one night at 11 and open it the next morning at 9. (This was before McDonald’s reinvented breakfast.)

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Ketchup with the budget

A letter to the editor of the Oklahoman, published yesterday:

I have a simple solution for Oklahoma’s budget crisis. If we were to add a dime tax to every order of french fries sold in Oklahoma per day, no one would notice! Tax dollars raised would cover teacher pay, DHS, law enforcement, fire, construction and everything else we need to fund. Obesity kills many more Oklahomans than smoking does. Oklahomans will quit smoking, but they will never give up french fries.

Scott Uselton, Edmond

Does this include hash browns? Tater Tots? For Heinz’ sake, man, we need details!

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Bring more napkins

So this crossed my path:

Looks sort of like a chocolated version of Rice Krispies Treats, and with good reason.

She sent me a link to a recipe, which I pass on to you.

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Bring napkins

An acquaintance of mine is in Paris this week, but I can’t imagine her stopping by this place:

Paris has opened its first-ever naked restaurant where diners can dig into their food while completely naked.

The aptly named O’Naturel restaurant is located in the French capital’s 12th arrondissement, on Rue de Gravelle, and had its grand opening this past Thursday. There is space at the restaurant for up to 40 diners, with meals starting at around €30.

Upon entrance, guests are asked to remove all their clothes and leave them in the restaurant’s wardrobes.

And no, passersby won’t see them through the windows:

“We don’t see anything from the street. We know what’s happening. It’s not a massage parlour.”

I’m pretty sure I could deal with something like this, but I don’t anticipate getting the opportunity. For now, I order takeout and (un)dress accordingly.

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This truly takes guts

Stahlys Vegetarian HaggisNot real guts, of course:

Made with a blend of oatmeal, mixed vegetables and spices, Stahly Vegetarian Skinless Haggis is perfect for vegetarian and vegans as a quick, tasty meal any time of year and as a tasty alternative for Burns Night with your friends.

Like all the Stahly haggis range, it is made in Scotland and canned “whole” within a synthetic skin. The haggis, therefore, presents itself as a traditional product with the convenience of a long shelf life, no need for refrigeration and it is easily transported.

I’m trying to imagine a prepper filling up a cabinet with this stuff. At £6.45, it doesn’t seem all that expensive.

Serve in the traditional way with haggis, neeps and tatties or choose one of these tasty dishes.

“Neeps and tatties”?

“Neeps and tatties.”

(Via Finestkind clinic and fish market.)

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The refrigerated dairy case must be busted

That’s probably the least painful explanation for this:

Ad for Velveeta juice

Either that, or this is some awfully Krafty marketing.

(From Bad Newspaper via Miss Cellania.)

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Mutton doing

From the Repository of Reasonable Questions:

In mere minutes came the Definitive Answer:

Yeah, that would do it.

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Utensil strength

The Japanese apparently care about this very much:

While certain cultures may equate the sound of noodles and moisture violently sucked between a pair of lips with, say, nails on a chalkboard or a wet dog farting, in Japan it is as commonplace as politicians shouting through megaphones in the middle of the street.

Which is not a Good Thing, as far as the Japanese are concerned.

Inevitably, there would come to be a de-slurping device:

It’s like those pricey noise-canceling headphones, only, um, yummier.

(Via American Digest.)

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Overly refried

Yet another mysterious item from the Walmart online-grocery machine:

Rosarito Spicy Jalapeno Refried Beans

Maybe they should have stopped at just “Fried.”

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Only steal from the best

Gee, this meal tastes familiar:

A Long Beach restaurant is under fire after customers found out the restaurant was re-serving Popeyes Louisiana Chicken.

For the last four years, Kimberly Sanchez has been serving up breakfast and lunch at her restaurant, Sweet Dixie Kitchen.

And some people thought it was, well, her lunch:

The restaurant’s troubles started after a customer allegedly saw Sweet Dixie employees carrying Popeyes boxes into the kitchen. The customer then wrote a Yelp review relaying his dissatisfaction with having to pay a premium for fast food fried chicken.

A Sweet Dixie employee confirmed they source the fast food chain for their chicken and waffles, which sells for about $15. You can buy chicken at Popeyes for much less without the fixings, Sanchez adds, but she’s not apologizing.

“My kitchen is not set up for frying. We’re an old building. I don’t actually have a proper kitchen back there,” she said to ABC7. “I love Popeyes chicken. I love it. I think it’s the best chicken out there.”

Yelp, for its part, is reacting reactively with an Active Cleanup Alert:

This business recently made waves in the news, which often means that people come to this page to post their views on the news.

While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.

Bless you, Yelp.


Signs of the rhymes

There’s something faintly compelling about having a Whataburger half a mile away: of the national chains, only Popeye’s and Jack in the Box are closer. I ordered probably too much food, pulled ahead to the next window, and the shuffle in the music box duly served up the next song: Rebecca Black’s lovely cover of Troye Sivan’s “Wild.” Which would not be at all notable, except that the last time I went through the drive-thru at this Whataburger it played a different Rebecca Black song.

And the time before that.

This would seem to defy the odds: there are 5,090 songs on the playlist, including eleven by Rebecca Black.

And then this, postmarked “Metroplex MI 480,” was waiting for me back home:

Note received from Rebecca Black, October 2017

Maybe I’ve been doing something right these past six and a half years.

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Groundwork being laid

I live in a city with thirty-seven Sonic Drive-In locations, not including the suburbs. (Heck, the secret Sonic HQ is in Bricktown, just down the road a piece.) Not everyone is so blessed:

Sonic has 3,500 locations across the country, yet how is it that everywhere I turn there’s a Sonic commercial on TV, or a billboard advertising Sonic’s new breakfast menu? I have never eaten a Super Sonic Double Cheeseburger, nor have I ever actually seen a Sonic in person. Yet, the ads belies this disbelief that one ever existed. I always figured Sonic was just as confused as I am about its whereabouts, up until now that is.

If you’re living in a Sonic-deprived state with a misleading amount of Sonic billboards and TV commercials: it’s not a mistake, nor an advertising miscalculation. According to Sonic’s CEO Cliff Hudson, it’s all part of the plan.

The hype machine goes to work early:

“It’s cheaper and more efficient, because we do business in 45 out of 50 states, to buy nationally,” [said Hudson]. “You get the airtime cheaper and you get the better placement.”

Long-term strategies, building up the hype also plays a role in this uneven location-to-advertisement ratio. Customers are invested in the fast-food chain, even before one opens in the area.

And there is room for growth:

Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee are riddled with Sonics, while Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut residents have to forge quite a trek to get their hands on a Sonic Dog or any number of their Blast Milkshakes. Same goes with California and Florida, that — despite their potential to hold 1,000 locations — have less than 100 Sonics.

It’s rather frightening to imagine that people are being subjected to silliness like this all across the nation:

Then again, it’s October now. They were probably a lot thirstier in July.

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I suspect there ain’t no Moore

Walmart’s grocery search continues to be, um, unreliable:

This is not something by Dinty Moore

I suspect Hormel would not be amused.

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Kitty and the Colonel

So I was thumbing, to the extent one can be said to be thumbing with an optical mouse, through the Sanrio Hello Kitty Wiki, and happened upon this unexpected page:

Colonel Sanders goes to Japan

KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) are a popular international chain of fast food restaurants specialising in fried chicken. Its headquarters are in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States. Its brand ambassador is Colonel Sanders, an American business man who was the founder of the KFC company and appears on the KFC logo.

There follows a list of nine KFC stores “promoted by” Sanrio, four in Tokyo proper and five in Saitama Prefecture. By no means is this the extent of KFC’s distribution in Japan; there are literally a thousand more locations. And their biggest sales day, every year, is the 25th of December, as Japan Today has explained:

The tradition of eating KFC at Christmas [began] when an expat customer at the chain’s Aoyama store observed that, in a land bereft of Yuletide turkey, fried chicken was the next best thing. The store’s canny manager was paying attention and passed word on to the higher-ups, leading the company to launch its ludicrously successful Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! (“Kentucky for Christmas!”) campaign in 1974.

Why wouldn’t Sanrio want a piece of that? Or maybe an 8-piece bucket.

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Tastes even better than asbestos

Or so I’m assuming, anyway:

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The following is a public-service announcement

You have several weeks to prepare:

If you have circus peanuts, don’t wait until October to dispose of them.

(Via @BayAreaFrau.)

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As Her Majesty turns away

Fortunately, we were left some nourishment:

Majestic ass biscuit

And also fortunately, we can get our hands on something that costs less than butter.

(Frighteningly, via a Tweeter of the same name.)


I believe he can be saved

Note: It’s only September, fercryingoutloud. Don’t go smashing any pumpkins.

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Almost certainly true

I would not expect to find one speck of fish in this can:

Caroline's Fishless Tuna (ha!) does carry this product, with a slightly different label, for $2.29 a can. Customer reviews have been pretty favorable, though I’m waiting to hear from Jessica Simpson.

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Improving on perfection

Is that even possible?

Some things in life are simply sublime. Like a walk in the park on a sweet summer morning. A glass of wine after a hard day’s work. Or you know … chocolate. Chocolate has changed quite a while since it was first brewed by the Aztecs but nowadays, the main types of chocolate are pretty well established: you get the classic milk chocolate, the exquisite dark chocolate, and the mild white chocolate. But what if there was a new kind, a new sensorial experience?

That’s exactly what the chocolate engineers at Barry Callebaut claim to have done: invented a new type of chocolate. They call it Ruby Chocolate.

“Mild”? White chocolate? Indeed. “It isn’t chocolate. It isn’t even Facebook friends with real chocolate. It isn’t even a LinkedIn 3rd connection with real chocolate.”

So what’s with the Ruby?

“Ruby chocolate is an intense sensorial delight. A tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness,” they write in a press release. “Ruby chocolate is made from the Ruby cocoa bean; through a unique processing, Barry Callebaut unlocks the flavor and color tone naturally present in the Ruby bean. No berries or berry flavor is added. No color is added.”

What makes this type of chocolate unique is not only the reddish color, but the fact that the berry fruity taste emerges naturally, from the Ruby cocoa bean. The texture is also reportedly different, more creamy and refreshing than other chocolates. But not everyone is convinced.

Any time you want to send me some for evaluation, just drop me a line.

(Via SteveF.)

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Truly a half-sour pickle

Another cultural icon circles the drain:

You think that’s bad? Imagine the situation in Nashville:

And if you can’t find half-sour pickles locally, make your own.

(Via @neontaster.)

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Not the least bit quick

Quick Quaker Oats, if you ask me, was never quite as perfect as the old style, stand-by-the-stove-all-morning variety. Still, that’s no selling point for a new, slower variety:

Enter: overnight oats. The make-ahead breakfast is a popular breakfast choice because it’s generally a super convenient, good-for-you meal that you can tweak to fit both your nutrient goals and your taste preferences. Overnight oats are transportable, so you can grab a pre-packed mason jar-ful on your way out the door, and they don’t require any heating or fuss. All you have to do is dump all your ingredients into a mason jar (or your favorite container), stir and shake, and then leave them in the fridge overnight.

Recently, the oat mavens Quaker have caught on to the craze, and are now selling five new overnight oats flavors in single-serve cups. While we’re huge proponents of companies offering convenient, healthy and plant-based options to customers (and might even pick up a serving or two for ourselves!), we also have enjoyed making our own overnight oats ourselves. They’re easy, delicious, and can range from simple to decadent.

Quaker’s 65-gram cup, about half-full from the store, contains the following instructions:

Add your favorite milk to fill line and stir well.

Cover and refrigerate to cold steep all night.

Simply stir & enjoy for a cool & creamy yet hearty breakfast experience.

“All night” is defined as a minimum of eight hours, and you’re expected to ensure that your milk and yogurt (optional) are properly pasteurized.

The available flavors have names like Blueberry Banana & Vanilla Bliss.

And if you were wondering, the deadly-serious chap in the Quaker hat is named “Larry.”

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The Orange Dreadful

Looks like candy corn to meA bag containing about seven pounds of candy corn — actually, 111 ounces, which is something like 6.94 lb — has arrived at my porch after a trip from Texas, and I’m pretty sure it would have been more sensible to have ordered it in a cold month, which August is most assuredly not, at least not in this hemisphere. (And I’m also pretty sure that this particular vendor doesn’t ship to Ecuador or to Tierra del Fuego.)

That said, the mandatory Nutrition Facts label promptly presented itself for inspection, and you’ll be pleased (or appalled) to hear that one serving = 19 pieces of the dreaded wedge = 140 calories. For your future reference or bar-bet use, this means that one piece of candy corn (Brach’s, if it matters to you) contains 7.4 calories.

And as long as we’re pretending this stuff has food value, here’s a recipe for deep-fried candy corn.

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Wendy, we miss you

Well, no, she’s not gone or anything. Still, I wonder if she’s been forgotten:

From the mountains of Walla Walla, Washington to the sandy beaches of Florida, fast-food burgers are adored across the country. But while burger love is universal, different states have different ideas on what — and who — makes a great burger.

In a recent poll, Ranker asked more than 10,000 burger fans nationwide to name their favorite burger from a major fast-food establishment or restaurant chain. You can see the favorite fast-food burgers for every state below.

The United States of Burgers

No surprise here: Texas and Oklahoma (and, yes, Louisiana) respondents preferred Whataburger. Missouri opted for its homegrown Steak & Shake. (As did North Dakota. Go figure.)

But those guys in Illinois and Hawaii and Colorado don’t even have any In-N-Out Burger locations. What’s the deal?

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“Bite me” to the one you love

Troll Cake: I Wish Judge Judy Would Curbstomp YouThis subtle little confection is a Troll Cake, and in this case “troll” is a verb. (Yes, it’s that kind of troll.) The bakers thereof will be more than happy to explain it to you:

1. We take an internet comment.

2. Make it into a cake.

3. And then box it up and mail it to the troll who said it. The box includes a copy of their original comment.

If you have the troll’s street address, it’s $35 for what is actually more of a frosted and sparkled chocolate-chip brownie. If you don’t, they’ll track ’em down for an extra $25. (Five bucks off if you’re sending to Donald Trump, and yes, they know where he lives.)

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At least it’s not circus peanuts

Because I never would have ordered 7 pounds of circus peanuts:

May Lewis Black forgive me.

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Awaiting rollback

Friday night is when I hit up Voldemart’s Web site for my weekly grocery haul, which I pick up on Saturday afternoon. This week I dug a little deeper into the Bakery section, and saw something I might like, but not at this price:

Walmart price of 43 dollars for cherry turnovers

Last time I was able to make it to Crest, a comparable package was $3.75. So no, I didn’t add this to my cart.

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Go ahead and ask for seconds

It’s things like this that make me grateful for Whataburger:

Theme restaurants are nothing new. There was the highly-touted Fashion Cafe, which allowed diners to sip cocktails next to Elle McPherson’s autographed photos; Ninja New York, complete with chefs wielding weaponry from feudal Japan; and the lamentable Hulk Hogan’s Pastamania, a self-explanatory failure.

The latest novelty eatery to experience a surge of attention is actually tucked inside an existing gimmick: In the Hard Rock Hotel of Ibiza, Spain, is an invitation-only room dubbed Sublimotion. And at more than $2000 per person — not including gratuities — it might be the world’s most expensive dining experience.

For two grand, they better have virtual-reality broccoli.

Wait, what?

The addition of technology is what sets Sublimotion apart. Projected images appear on walls and even on top of the single, 12-seat serving table. Virtual reality menus allow visitors to pluck vegetables and desserts from thin air; treats appear to be air-dropped from the ceiling. For the current “season” of gastronomic fanfare, the restaurant has planned for diners to experience a virtual callback to a 20th-century cabaret or sample the tasting menu while “flying” in a plane [pdf]. Previous programs have included edible admission tickets and levitating desserts. (The business has a consulting magician on hand.)

Dear me.

Now this was two years ago:

Suddenly I feel better about the $13 tab at Whataburger.

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Perhaps a vanishing art

So this turned up in ye olde timeline:

I suggest the P. J. O’Rourke method:

Buy the most expensive steak you can find, about as thick as the heel of a Bass Weejun. Salt and pepper it liberally and don’t worry that salting the steak before it’s cooked will make it tough. Salt does not make steak tough. Poverty makes steaks tough, sometimes absent entirely. Put half a shot glass of any kind of oil but motor or olive in a skillet. Heat up until the oil smokes like hell. Now take the batteries out of your smoke detector and put the steak in the pan. Fiddle with the steak, turn it over a lot and poke it constantly with a fork and knife. This does nothing for the steak, but it keeps you from wandering off and starting to watch a basketball game and turning the T-bone into a flight jacket. As soon as you think the steak should cook just a little longer, stop cooking it.

I’m here to tell you that this does actually work, though it’s not too hard to see the drawbacks inherent in the system.

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And 58 flops

H. J. Heinz is known for — says so right on the label — “57 varieties.” (Actually, I think they have more than that, but you don’t throw away a perfectly good trademark.) It would be heinous, I think, for them to obtain a new one by slapping a different label on an old one.

And especially in this case:

“Chicago is an amazing city full of traditions — [one] of them, as you well know, is never putting Ketchup on your Chicago Dog,” reads an oddly capitalized press release. It continues: “While Heinz respects this time-honored tradition, the brand is hoping that Chicagoans will reconsider their anti-ketchup stance.”

Nah. Chicago’s good.

Heinz’s new “Chicago Dog Sauce” — a limited-time-only cheap marketing ploy that disguises the company’s normal, bland ketchup with a new label — is an insult to Abe Froman and the rest of Chicago’s encased-meat community.

“But our marketing survey … ?”

No one here cares about that “random” sample of gullible tourists who deemed this behavior acceptable. These traitors were caught on film along the lakefront. They might as well be Packers fans.

(Via E. M. Zanotti.)

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