Eat the Week: First Vegan College Chow Hall, Zen & the Art of Circumventing Compulsive Snacking, Old Pink Pisser Becomes Sandwich Parlor, and Purple Potatoes Bring the Beat Down

Eat the Week: First Vegan College Chow Hall, Zen & the Art of Circumventing Compulsive Snacking, Old Pink Pisser Becomes Sandwich Parlor, and Purple Potatoes Bring the Beat Down

1. The home state of steers and studs, stallions and ten-gallons—yes, that’s Texas—doesn’t seem it would also house this country’s first all-vegan college cafeteria, on the University of North Texas campus, Denton. But it does. Since its opening last week, the “Mean Greens” mess deck has been sewn up by line after line of students, vegetarian, vegan, health-minded, or just curious. Here’s a little snip of the menu: biscuits and chocolate gravy, black forest cake, mac ‘n’ cheese, shepherd’s pie, waffles, jambalaya. Hmm. Health-minded. But, in fact, the full menu does largely comprise creative vegetable and bean- and grain-based dishes, a big offering of good nutritional decisions waiting to be made. Hats off to you, UNT.

2. Outback Steakhouse got forked back in April 2010, when nearly 12,000 Minnesotan food servers filed a lawsuit against the chain for requiring them to put a cut of their earnings in the restaurant tip pool. Tuesday, the U.S. District Court determined that the surly waitstaff would be awarded their $1.25-million settlement, and, subsequently, that bussers and hosts could get bent.

3. An oddly fortunate story out of a remote corner of McHenry County, IL: a broke carpenter discovered on Monday two bags filled with cash—$150,000—in his backyard garden. The bags were poorly concealed, thrown beneath some vegetables, and must not have been put there until Saturday or the days following, the man claims, corroborating the claim with his 5 a.m. fireside beer-drinking session. Police haven’t found the money’s rightful owner yet, but we have an idea: the man evidencing his supremely limited knowledge of this Encyclopedia-Brownish case with tell of an all-night, alcohol-fueled, solitary-contemplation party?

4. Second-best place to get some serious thinking done: the kitchen. First place: the WC. So, it only makes sense that, after some serious thought, a vacuous, ninety-year-old, out-of-use bathroom in Boston Commons—the oldest public park in the U.S.—is being converted into a restaurant. The news was flushed onto the people Wednesday; set to open next spring, an Earl of Sandwich branch will pay $50,000 per year to occupy the facility.

5. Side-by-side with a worldwide study of resource availability released Wednesday, a new color-coded map of the globe, the Food Security Risk Index, indicates varying intensities of food-security risk by nation. It’s frightening, as well it should be. The reality of the situation, however, is that if you live outside of Sub-Saharan Africa and the Horn, as well as India and certain Middle Eastern countries, you probably have the means to eat tomorrow, at least. We’re not sure exactly what to do with this unsettling information, other than place it at the top of the list of awful side-effects resulting from land grabbing, irresponsible investing, and the growing biofuel market. Maybe tell China, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K. to start buying enormous stake in developing countries’ food-crop industries instead of inedible agriculture?

6. Here’s a more spirit-lifting map, drafted by a wine-loving, San Franciscan doctor of architectural history who asserts that the birthplaces of wine were and are essentially urban, that France’s appellations are, thusly, best depicted in the manner of city subway maps—with colorful snakes taking the viewer from Nantes to Orleans, Dijon to Lyon, making viticultural station stops the whole way through.

7. A small, soon-to-be-published study headed by one of Pennsylvania’s University of Scranton chemistry professors showed twice-daily intake of six to eight unpeeled, microwaved, purple-fleshed potatoes significantly lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. The heart-health benefits—almost equivalent to those of oatmeal—presumably stem from these specific potatoes’ comparatively high levels of antioxidants. And we just thought they looked pretty on the plate.

8. This week, in a clever effort to bypass profit loss from the mandatory trans fat labeling on hydrogenated vegetable-oil products, Monsanto this week petitioned the USDA for the final green light on their bean-unseen, suspicious, FDA-approved GMO soybean, said to produce oil lower in saturated fat. Thankfully, the Department of Agriculture is in no rush to approve it.

9. Marky Mark can’t stop, won’t stop raking in the dough. From his numerous lucrative film-screen ventures—acting and producing—to his unintentionally humorous musical career, the man makes money. It’s no surprise, then, that Wahlberg and Bros. are poised to not only open a restaurant in Boston, called “Wahlburger’s,” but also to televise, in reality-TV fashion, its foundation and progress. Soon, you’ll be able to eat a hamburger named after the Wahlbergs that was cooked by a Wahlberg (the head chef is Paul Wahlberg) and watch yourself afterward on a show that’ll most likely be called…Wahlbervich. Wahlbervich Wahlbervich, Wahlbervich. Wahlbervich. Wahlbervich Wahlbervich.

10. Ever eaten stale popcorn that’s been sitting out simply because you’re watching a flick? Well, we have. And a new paper authored by psychologists at the University of Southern California and published in this month’s issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin tells us why. Citing the habits of participants eating tubs of either fresh popcorn or week-old popcorn at the movies, the study concludes that habitual eating is untethered from taste, poor or pleasurable. It was shown that those participants who usually ate popcorn in a theater ate as much week-old popcorn as they did fresh. But, interestingly, they ate less stale popcorn than fresh when asked to eat with their non-dominant hands—when the habitual action was disturbed. Take-away lesson: you can totally trick your brain into thinking about what it’s making you do.

Photo: totalAldo