Eat the Week: Subway Conquers McDonald’s, Rush Limbaugh vs. Michelle Obama, Google Reveals Recipe Search, and Minnesota Gives Fast Food Immunity
1. Subway has toppled McDonald’s from its throne as the largest fast food retailer in America. The quick-sammy franchise has nearly 34,000 locations — compared to the paltry 32,000 flying golden arches. Entrepreneur breaks down the business strategy of the chain, attributing its success to those annoying Jared commercials, creative location choices, and fairness to its franchisees.
2. You know we aren’t shy about comparing restaurants to cults, we coined the term and made the master list. But even we think the Indiana restaurant that compared itself to Jim Jones’ People’s Temple was pretty idiotic. Sure it was in poor taste, but we’re in no position to take issue with that — we just don’t understand how they thought asking customers to conjure up images of mass suicide over frozen margaritas would be an effective strategy. Plus, Jim Jones was a douchebag who doesn’t deserve to be glorified on billboards. The scandalous campaign ended when the restaurant pulled down billboards claiming they were “like a cult with better Kool-Aid.”
3. Like millions of other food-obsessed web surfers, we’re psyched about the launch of Google Recipe search. Being able to filter by ingredients and cooking time is pretty amazing.
4. Rush Limbaugh defended calling Michelle Obama fat this week by claiming it was part of “highly civil” discourse. Keeping it classy, FLOTUS isn’t dignifying the chubby nutjob with a response. Our thoughts? The successes of the “Let’s Move!” campaign will not only help bring the obesity epidemic to a close and teach a generation of young people how to eat responsibly, they will also assure that Americans are capable of providing their own national security in the future. Right now, 21% of military recruits are rejected for being overweight. Surely even Limbaugh’s fat face can understand what that means for America if we keep ignoring the eating habits of the nation. Man, highly civil discourse is fun.
5. We can’t help but wonder what Rush will say about this one: Guy Fieri (and, we assume, his backward sunglasses and frat boy wardrobe) is heading to the White House kitchen to cook a meal for the first family. We’re not sure if 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue qualifies as a “diner,” “drive-in,” or “dive,” but we are pretty sure that President Obama will be eating a sandwich bigger than his head.
6. The NY Post reports that cookbook author Lisa Skye is suing her publisher for stealing an idea for a book about bacon, called I Love Bacon. While we dig Skye’s work and assume she’s in the right here, we can’t help but giggle at this story. There are currently 772,000 Google results for “I love bacon,” and we can’t think of a single bacon-eating American that hasn’t had the idea that a book about bacon might sell. Also on the cookbook beat, an unofficial Mad Men food tome is in the works.
7. InBev, the gigantic corporation that owns Anheuser-Busch, is pissed that small breweries are allowed to self-distribute in Illinois, and think they should be allowed to do the same. The system in place demands a middle man between producer and consumer. InBev is moving to nullify self-distribution from the little guys (which could crush some of our favorite craft breweries), and the whole thing will get played out over the next month in the Illinois House and Senate. You can help save the beer by going here.
8. Elsewhere in the heartland, a Minnesota House panel decided that people are responsible for what they put in their mouths, and approved sending a bill to the floor that forbids lawsuits against fast food chains. The bill, cheekily known as the “Cheeseburger Bill,” not only ignores the power marketing dollars can have over consumers, it doesn’t take into account that corporations should exercise some degree of social responsibility. Cars shouldn’t explode, toys shouldn’t have lead paint in them, and cheeseburgers shouldn’t kill you.
9. We’ve been swooning and cringing over the trailer for Foodies, a web series about a group of Los Angeles foodies that promises to bring the drama and the pompous David Chang jokes. The show premieres March 9th. We’ll be watching with cheese puffs. Also on the pop culture beat, Super Size Me is back — this time in comic book form. Supersized: Strange Tales from Fast Food Culture will be in your local comic store on March 9th.
10. No surprise here. The Huffington Post reports that genetically modified foods are incredibly difficult to avoid — even for those of us who are keeping an eye out for them. The reason? Most corn and soy is genetically modified, and the two ingredients make up the bulk of our diet directly (in many food items) and indirectly (in the diets of livestock).
Photo: Vincent Desjardins