Eat the Week: Fast Food Employees Gone Wild, Nutmeg as a Recreational Drug, Bad News About Soy, and Racist Cupcakes
1. An argument between a 20-year-old Detroit Burger King employee and a 67-year-old customer ended tragically this week — the work punched the customer, killing him. A lawsuit has been brought against a Chicago-area McDonald’s for a similar incident — a drive-thru worker spat in the face of a customer after a disagreement about an order. Meanwhile, reports of a man pulling a gun on drive-thru employees have come from several different Orange County fast food establishments. More bad news for the fast food industry came this week when the city council voted for a ban on all new stand-alone fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles.
2. ABC News reported this week about a new trend in teenage recreational drug use — nutmeg. The winter spice contains a compound called myristicin, which has hallucinogenic effects but also cause severe gastrointestinal problems, along with a host of nerve and heart problems.
3. Baking mix giant Duncan Hines is under scrutiny for a video about “hip-hop cupcakes” that features chocolate-iced cupcakes that resemble black face. After facing a hefty amount of criticism about the video’s racial insensitivity and general lameness, the retailer pulled the video from YouTube. But you can watch it here.
4. On Monday, President Obama will sign into law the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. A major victory for the effort to fight childhood obesity, the bill will “significantly improve the quality of meals that children receive at schools,” according to First Lady and child nutrition advocate Michelle Obama. Also helping in the fight against childhood obesity are these amazing Superfoods Muppets PSAs. In Korea, a comical hip-hop video instructing kids to ditch the junk food for kimbap has become a sensation.
5. A 12-year retail marriage between Starbucks and Kraft is in its final days, and it ain’t pretty. The reason for the split? According to neglected spouse Starbucks, Kraft just didn’t try hard enough. According to Kraft, Starbucks was unfaithful — selling retail in coffee shops and taking business away from the grocery store. The split may put the parties in direct competition on grocery shelves.
6. The record for the fastest selling non-fiction book went to Jaime Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals this week. The best-selling tome, which costs $45, has been flying off shelves since its release. In other cookbook news, many outlets have rolled out their annual best lists and the Huffington Post rounded ‘em up for you.
7. Wondering what the hell is going on with the Food Safety Bill? It’s gone from limbo to sealed to limbo to sealed more times than we care to mention, but as of Wednesday it passed the House, although big produce companies are not happy about the inclusion of the Tester amendment, which exempts small farms from some of the new rules. Time magazine published an excellent piece by Josh Ozersky this week about why this bill matters.
8. Obesity was the biggest social concern of 2010 (no pun intended), and according to David Frum, it’s also a threat to national security. In his piece for CNN this week, the former special assistant to George W. Bush argues that obesity is a huge problem (really, no puns intended) for the armed services. Want the numbers? “In 2008, some 634 military personnel were discharged for transgressing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” That same year, 4,555 were discharged for failing to meet military weight standards.” Yikes. Fortunately, according to a new study, there may be a way out of the obesity struggle: just think about what you eat. Researchers found that people who imagined eating food before the moment of consumption ate less of it.
9. Missed the star-studded holiday episode of No Reservations? No worries, Eater has compiled the plum comments from the non-denominational extravaganza. Our favorite? “Fuck your turkey, Grandma.”
10. As if worrying about Monsanto isn’t enough, new research has found the use of a known neurotoxin, hexane, to be common in soy food processing. There’s more. Research shows that soy can depress thyroid function, skyrocket estrogen levels, and even cause Alzheimer’s. And you’re eating more of it than you think. Thanks to its popularity as an additive in processed foods, the average America gets 1/5 of her daily calories from soy. The average Japanese person consumers only two tablespoons per day.