How airplane food goes from the kitchen to your flight
> Gate Gourmet is one major player in the airplane catering game, feeding about 750 million passengers a year in about 60 countries. On a typical day at its Dulles International Airport branch, in suburban Washington, the company is responsible for getting 18,000 meals onto 275 flights. In busy seasons, that number jacks up to 25,000 meals.
How these American dishes evolved from foreign roots
> Gumbo. Chile con queso. California roll. Spaghetti and meatballs.
> The names are as familiar as household brands. Yet how much do you know about these dishes? Based on the names alone, with their roots in other languages and other cultures, each dish sounds like an import. In some ways, they are. But each dish also morphed and adapted to its new environment, transforming into something uniquely American.
Incenters of chocolate-iced cakes
> Grandma made a cake whose base was a square of size 30 by 30 cm and the height was 10 cm. She put chocolate icing on top of the cake and on the sides, but not on the bottom. She wanted to divide the cake fairly among her 9 grandchildren so that each child would get an equal amount of the cake and the icing. How should she cut the cake?
How Tax Policy Gave Us White Claw
> Because of this tax quirk, beverage companies have long sought ways to make flavored cocktail-like beverages for the U.S. market by brewing instead of distilling. Zima, Smirnoff Ice, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade are all “malternative” beverages, brewed from grain, like beer. A problem with malternatives has been the need to find ways to mask the beer-like flavor that results from brewing. To that end, these drinks have added sugar and strong citrus flavors, which a lot of consumers like. But they don’t serve as a replacement for a vodka soda.
> The key advancement with White Claw and its competitors in the “spiked seltzer” market is the use of sugar base for fermentation, which leads to a more neutral flavor than you can get by fermenting barley or other grains.
Yelp is Screwing Over Restaurants By Quietly Replacing Their Phone Numbers
> The phone numbers add tracking before connecting to a restaurant so that Grubhub can bill for a marketing fee.
> “There’s a button where you could hit play and so I was like, what is this?” he said. “I hit play, and the first call was me on the phone, which freaked me out because I didn’t know I was being recorded.” The call was a customer who had his restaurant confused with another restaurant. It took four minutes to figure this out before the customer hung up without placing an order. “I got charged almost $8 for that phone call.”
This year, Joey Chestnut marched on New York with a hot-dog entourage
> Chestnut, a Northern Californian with a placid demeanor, also stars in “The Good, the Bad, the Hungry,” a new ESPN documentary about his surprisingly complex relationship with longtime rival Takeru Kobayashi. And the ESPN marketing machine had gone into overdrive to burnish the hot-dog champion’s image. They arranged to have Chestnut arrive at Citi Field with his sausage posse to throw out the first pitch and later hand out hot dogs — presumably the nonhuman kind.
To Evade Pre-Prohibition Drinking Laws, New Yorkers Created the World’s Worst Sandwich
> Bar owners insisted on this bizarre charade to avoiding breaking the law—specifically, the excise law of 1896, which restricted how and when drinks could be served in New York State. The so-called Raines Law was a combination of good intentions, unstated prejudices, and unforeseen consequences, among them the comically unsavory Raines sandwich.
> So “-bachi” is now an English suffix for any food prepared live by Asians on a metal plate.
Forced rhubarb – a vegetable deprived of sunlight for extra sweetness
> A notoriously fickle vegetable to harvest, Yorkshire forced rhubarb is anything but easy to grow. It thrives in the county’s cold winters, but if the soil is too wet, it can’t be planted. If the temperature is too hot, it won’t grow; and 10 or more frosts are needed before a farmer can even think about forcing it. Only then can horticulturalists remove the heavy roots from the field, then clean and replant them inside the forcing sheds where photosynthesis is limited, encouraging glucose stored in the roots to stimulate growth. It demands patience, expertise and good fortune, and, ultimately, it is engineered for maximum taste: once deprived of light, the vegetable is forced to use the energy stored in its roots, making it far sweeter than the normal variety.
How to Stop Hating Your Least Favorite Food
> Cucumbers are my nemesis. I want to fight every food in the melon family and many melon-adjacent foods, but melons avoid my primary disdain because they usually take their rightful place as easily avoidable fruit-salad filler. Cucumbers, though. Cucumbers. They hide in all kinds of things that otherwise seem safe to put in my mouth: sushi rolls, salads, sandwiches, the takeout “lunch bowls” that restaurants near my office sell for $14.
> As far as I can remember, I’ve never liked cucumbers, mostly because they taste bad. If they’re present, they’re the first thing I notice, and it’s like someone has sprayed a middle schooler’s eau de toilette from 2002 on my food. Most other people appear to live on slightly different planes of cucumber reality from mine, which I’ve learned over several decades of watching people somehow eat them voluntarily.
Of all the foods to have as nemesis.
I Sell Onions on the Internet
> How did all this start? I’m a web guy. I’m not a farmer.
I found two identical packs of Skittles, among 468 packs with a total of 27,740 Skittles
> This is a follow-up to a post from earlier this year discussing the likelihood of encountering two identical packs of Skittles, that is, two packs having exactly the same number of candies of each flavor. Under some reasonable assumptions, it was estimated that we should expect to have to inspect “only about 400-500 packs” on average until encountering a first duplicate.
> So, on 12 January of this year, I started buying boxes of packs of Skittles. This past week, “only” 82 days, 13 boxes, 468 packs, and 27,740 individual Skittles later, I found the following identical 2.17-ounce packs:
Oh, We Don’t Sell Food At This Restaurant — We Purvey Provisions
> Greetings and welcome to Victual, an old-time public house and purveyor of fine provisions that has been foisted upon you by someone who lives in the West Village. Before you ask, yes, this Gingham shirt and denim apron are sewn directly into my skin to save time.
For cramped New York, an expanding dining scene
> My first culinary encounter was with pizza, a mysterious kind of baked tlayuda, covered in macerated tomatoes and milk coagulation, and occasionally smothered with a type of thinly sliced lap cheong called pepperoni. The odd dish, sometimes referred to as a pie, washed ashore from Naples some years ago. While the taste takes some getting used to, pizza can be enchanting when done properly.
> Look no further than Roberta’s in up-and-coming Brooklyn, a dangerous, brooding suburb accessible through the city’s antiquated system of underground metal cars (similar to Los Angeles’ Metro system, but more expensive). It was, nevertheless, worth the arduous trip to enjoy a Lil’ Stinker pizza ($18), covered in tomato mash and curdled milk, along with garlic and tangy peppers.
The Perfect Container
> Sometimes, it’s possible to create something that’s too useful, that is designed for a niche purpose but is so well-attuned to that purpose that it attracts other people, who find a similar value but different use case than was intended. And because of the sheer prevalence of said useful tool, it suddenly is everywhere—finding purpose as a cheap alternative to a trip to the local department store. If you’re the maker of that too-useful something, whaddya do? Well, in the case of the dairy industry, you use your political influence to try to ban all those college students from using milk crates. In today’s Tedium, we talk about the bizarre legal status of the plastic milk crate.
> “They are looking for people who are doing even the smallest crime, because, what we’ve learned is, those who will go out and steal a milk crate, for example, are the same people who are probably breaking into cars, breaking into your house.”
The Internet of Food
> You know something you can’t get through the internet’s wires, at least not on its own? Food. We’ve been working on it for years, but no, we’re not at the point where we can deliver nourishment directly via the series of tubes. But food has always been something of a means to an end—a way of driving the internet forward, making it something people would actually like to use.
Plus tons of links.
Bud’s Super Bowl Ad Threatens to Derail Beer Alliance
> The rift began when AB InBev ran three Super Bowl TV ads earlier this month highlighting MillerCoors’s use of corn syrup in Coors Light and Miller Lite. MillerCoors responded on Twitter and with a full-page newspaper advertisement addressed to “Beer Drinkers of America” defending its use of corn syrup as a part of the brewing process.
Vodka firm loses valuable iceberg water in apparent heist
> A Canadian vodka distiller has lost 30,000 litres of valuable iceberg water in what appears to be a heist.
Consumers Don’t Confuse Almond Milk and Cow Milk–Painter v. Blue Diamond
> A putative class claimed Blue Diamond “mislabeled its almond beverages as ‘almond milk’ when they should be labeled ‘imitation milk’ because they substitute for and resemble dairy milk but are nutritionally inferior to it.” The lawsuit fails.
Gluten Free Antarctica
> Far below the Antarctic circle, I watch a woman cry real tears because she can’t get gluten-free toast.
> Mary is a plummy old English lady traveling alone, an Agatha Christie figure who I expected would spend her time solving mysteries on the ship. When people started disappearing in the Ross Sea, Mary would work the case and gather everyone in the ship’s saloon for the spectacular reveal.
> Unfortunately, Mary turned out to be a bit of a shipboard bully, bad-talking the other passengers instead of helping to solve their murders. But I am still not ready to see her go to pieces over toast.