Eat the Week: Man Forgets Jail Is Jail, Pepsi Remembers It Sells Pepsi, Restaurant Forgets It Can’t Discriminate, and Taco Bell Remembers TV Is Mesmerizing

Eat the Week: Man Forgets Jail Is Jail, Pepsi Remembers It Sells Pepsi, Restaurant Forgets It Can’t Discriminate, and Taco Bell Remembers TV Is Mesmerizing

1. This past Monday, an Illinois man on trial for murdering his wife shouted out in court, “There is no food!” Accused vegetarian uxoricideRobert Stolberg requested that the Lake County Jail accommodate his diet (and pickiness) by bringing in fresh fruits and vegetables. The judge denied Stolberg’s plea then reminded him that there is indeed food.

2. President Obama took House Republicans to task on Wednesday for their attempts at short-changing the FDA’s food-safety allowance. As part of the give-and-take necessary for reducing national deficit, the GOP looks to maintain tax breaks for bigwigs, including jet owners and oil companies, while cutting $285 million from the Food and Drug Administration’s budget. And Barack wasn’t having any of it.

3. PepsiCo scuttled to get themselves together last week for the airing of their new advertising campaign, “Summer Time Is Pepsi Time.” Lately, the corporation’s been getting guff from other soda sultans because of the lack of focus they’ve been paying their flagship drink — Pepsi-Cola — and the subsequent attention diverted to selling healthier products, such as chewy granola bars. Never fear! PepsiCo is now climbing back from third place and employing the standard underhanded ad tactics we’re all so fond of: throwing Coke under the bus.

4. In May, America’s Next Great American Restaurant spawned Minnesota’s Soul Daddy, the fast-casual soul-food joint, opening 3 locations in 3 different cities. As of Tuesday, however, founder Jamawn Woods was officially done for, forced to close his final restaurant, in Bloomington’s Mall of America, due to dearth of sales. Looks like another tragic case of O-Town Syndrome

5. Restaurant News also reports: bouncing back from their recent fake-beef fiasco, Taco Bell announced June 29 that, by 2015, they’d be installing entertainment networks and free Wi-Fi in all of their U.S. locations, up from their 40 currently wired restaurants. What good is an in-store Chicken Nachos Bell Grande without a 42” flat-screen within reach, right?

6. Gray, Tennessee’s Second Harvest Food Bank is right now in the process of testing a pilot program that saves damaged cans from being discarded. The head of goods acquisition for the bank discovered that if compressed and dented containers — usually trashed in fear of bacterial spoilage — are placed in a vacuum sealer and re-expanded to their initial form, only those foods with leakage are unfit for consumption. This effort has already resulted in hundreds of salvaged canned items.

7. Although no opening date has been revealed, Bryan Voltaggio talked with the Baltimore Sun this past week about his 2012 venture, tentatively titled North Market Kitchen: a 10,000-sq/ft venue featuring retail fronts, exhibition-style kitchens, and stand-alone dining zones. Distinct from NYC’s Eataly, its admitted mould, the rustic, down-home market will sizzle and serve local, sustainable, organic cuisine and spotlight the Chesapeake region.

8. Last weekend, a Boston-area eatery shunned a table of 13 and a pack of accompanying service dogs. Six of the would-be diners, who are legally blind, were informed by restaurant management that the large number of animals posed a potential allergy problem and, summarily, might jam up the establishment’s buffet swarm. Police were called, apologies issued, and invitations extended. Yea…we don’t think they’ll be coming back.

9. It was reported last Friday that an unrelenting bear in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountain repeatedly attempted to snatch some sweets from a 2-year-old girl, following her closely, retreating, and returning, despite being shot at by the hand-gun-wielding father. Whoever said taking candy from a baby was easy?

10. Researchers from Britain’s Newcastle University announced at the American Diabetes Association’s meeting in San Diego on Saturday that they may have found a cure to Type 2 diabetes: meager meals. The study conducted supports a hypothesis that substantial weight loss by regulated means — a special 8-week, 600-calorie diet — will eliminate diabetes by significantly decreasing fat levels in the pancreas. Even after returning to a normal diet, most of the patients showed no persistent signs of the disease.

Photo: Bob Jagendorf