Eat the Week National: McDonald’s Goes Meatless, Public Potty Training, and Saucy Ice Cream Suit
1. McDonald’s announced Tuesday they’ll be opening their first ever vegetarian-only location, in India, sometime next year. Many of the chain’s outlets in India already cater to vegetarians, with offerings like the best-selling potato-based McAloo Tikki burger and the cheese-based McSpicy Paneer, but the Amritsar restaurant near the Sikh Golden Temple, in Punjab, will mark a completely meatless flagship, to be joined shortly afterwards by another veg-only shop in Kashmir. “Potato-based” — yes. McDonald’s — yes. “Best-selling” — also, yes.
2. It turns out you’re not alone in your suspicions that “organic” means “more expensive” and almost nothing else. Tuesday, a Stanford study was published in Annals of Internal Medicine after four years of research which shows organic food is not markedly better than conventional food. Lower risk for bacterial contamination, excessive pesticide residue, and a nutritional leg-up are either nonexistent or negligible in foods labeled as organic. Don’t shoot the messenger.
3. If you ever feel ashamed showing up at a picnic with boxed wine, maybe you should stop feeling ashamed. Or just consider classing it up with the Vernissage fancy handbag wine. A couple years old, this purse-style bagged wine concept started in Sweden and is, for the first time, coming to the States by the end of the month. Aside from adding a Versace-like aesthetic to non-bottled wine, bagging Vernissage’s Rose, Shiraz, and Chardonnay Viognier (1.5 liters for $20, 3 liters for $40) preserves the wines’ flavors and lengthens their shelf-lives from a couple days to a couple weeks.
4. Contrary to general belief that Yelp reviews have no effect on a business’s success or failure, a new study, in Economic Journal, that concentrated on 328 San Francisco restaurants shows us that, yeah, they sort of do have an effect. A half-star increase in rating can make it “30–49% more likely that a restaurant will sell out its evening seats.” Good thing Yelp is populated by people with discerning tastes and unbiased views.
5. With enough peer pressure, our government will reveal any secret. Well, as long as it pertains to beer, that is. Last Friday, the online petition supplicating for the release of the White House’s homebrewed Honey Ale and Honey Porter recipes succeeded. Not only is there a behind-the-scenes video of the process, the supply site Northern Brewer has already started selling kits containing everything needed to brew both beers.
6. A woman was filmed in a Utah deli allowing her two children to tinkle and kaka into potty-training seats, right out in the open and amidst at least dozens of other people attempting to eat their meals. Breastfeeding in public is one thing. Letting your naked kids shit into plastic tubs mere feet from somebody else’s food is an awful, awful, completely different thing. Obviously, the mom is now an Internet spectacle and should be made to buy sandwiches for everyone who had to witness firsthand her terrible sense of decency.
7. That full-grown, British toddler who cooks (and yells at cooks) for a living — Gordon Ramsay — is facing vitriol of his own this week, as his father-in-law’s former mistress, with whom Ramsay’s had provoked run-ins before, is suing for major disturbance of her privacy. The chef had a PI follow and photograph the woman, and then threatened to sell the pictures to the press. Surprise?
8. In-N-Out is being sued this week by two over-40 African American men who claim the burger chain chose not to hire them solely because of age and race. Asking for damages and back-pay, the men’s lawyer is also searching for additional plaintiffs to join in their class-action suit. In response to the allegations, In-N-Out’s VP had the standard discriminatory hiring retort on deck, but forgot to mention sex in the list of bases on which they don’t discriminate. We are forced to conclude, then, that every employee is actually female.
9. The saying about falling down, getting up, and trying again applies to failures such as not looking where you’re walking, tripping, and falling down, but when it comes to situations involving inevitable contamination of foodstuffs by listeria (e.g., cantaloupe), can you really blame someone for just throwing in the towel? Burch Farms, in North Carolina, had to recall 580 crates of the melon due to detection of listeria back in July, and, though nobody got sick, the recall frenzy was so stressful that Jimmy Burch has decided to stop farming cantaloupe. He’s been defeated. There’s no way to guarantee contamination-free shipments, he says, no matter the precaution and preparation, and that sort of liability weighs heavily on a soul. FDA investigation was ongoing as of September 5.
10. Vermont’s frozen treat kings, Ben & Jerry’s, have just won a racy court case against Caballero Video, makers of porn with titles reminiscent of the creamers’ flavors — such as “Boston Cream Thighs,” “Chocolate Fudge Babes,” and “Peanut Butter D-Cups” — in the “Ben & Cherry’s” DVD series. Basically, Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t want to be associated with such filth, unless they come up with the names themselves, of course. “Schweddy Balls,” anyone?