Food

Link Roundup!: Popcorn Secrets; Theme Weddings; Return of the King (Bloomberg)

+ All you need to make air-popped popcorn: a microwave; some kernels; a brown paper bag. Cheap and delicious.

+ Theme weddings! Pro or con? The wedding my little family went to this past wedding was at a camp, and the theme of all camp weddings is “let’s pretend we’re kids again, or at least young 20-somethings, and don’t mind cold outdoor showers.” Other themes are more elaborate and, potentially, controversial. But how could anyone argue against Mexican “Star Trek”?

Up until two years ago, I, myself, had never had the privilege of attending any wedding with a theme other than “whoops, she’s pregnant” or “might as well.” Besides going to a lot of weddings, I’ve also been married twice. My first wedding was to a nice dude I met at 21 and married at 22. The wedding was themed “let’s get married.” In August of 2012, I planned on marrying for the second time. This time around I was 30 years old and marrying my partner of the previous five years. After the proposal, it took us maybe 20 minutes to decide on what sort of party to plan. We agreed upon the one thing that always brought us together as a couple, gave us great joy and happiness through the years, and defined us both as human beings. No, it wasn’t a Bruno Mars song or a certain kind of flower. It was Star Trek. We both love THE FUCK out of Star Trek. And since I am from a Mexican family and there is no way I could get married without the inclusion of mariachi music and Mexican food, we decided to have a Mexican Star Trek wedding and call the theme “Trek Mex.” …

Star Trek-themed attire was suggested, but absolutely not required. The only rules were have a good time and if you are white and choose to come as a Klingon DO NOT DO SO IN BLACK FACE. More people than expected showed up in all sorts of costumes. My dad wore a Worf mask that he refused to take off for all of our family photos. 

+ Michael Bloomberg is back in at Bloomberg LP. Yay?

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Are Family Dinners Anti-Feminist?

What could be more wholesome than a family gathered together to eat a home-cooked dinner around a kitchen table? Thanksgiving in miniature reenacted on a daily basis! Helping us soothe not merely our bellies and but our souls, and bond, parents and children alike, as we carve time from our hectic, digitally-connected-yet-solitary lives to reconnect with one another, to speak face to face and share the same simple pleasures, eating and drinking in tandem. Who could have an argument with family dinner? Amanda Marcotte at Slate, of course. Motto: If it weren’t contrarian, it wouldn’t be Slate.

The mothers they interviewed had largely internalized the social message that “home-cooked meals have become the hallmark of good mothering, stable families, and the ideal of the healthy, productive citizen,” but found that as much as they wanted to achieve that ideal, they didn’t have the time or money to get there. Low-income mothers often have erratic work schedules, making it impossible to have set meal times. Even for middle-class working mothers who are able to be home by 6 p.m., trying to cook a meal while children are demanding attention and other chores need doing becomes overwhelming.

Money is also a problem. Low-income women often don’t have the money for fresh produce and, in many cases, can’t afford to pay for even a basic kitchen setup. One low-income mother interviewed “was living with her daughter and two grandchildren in a cockroach- and flea-infested hotel room with two double beds,” and was left to prepare “all of their food in a small microwave, rinsing their utensils in the bathroom sink.” Even when people have their own homes, lack of money means their kitchens are small, pests are hard to keep at bay, and they can’t afford “basic kitchen tools like sharp knives, cutting boards, pots and pans.”

OK, so, this is indisputably true. My own (type A, perfectionist) upper-middle-class mom made herself crazy working full-time and then rushing home to prepare and serve dinner every night, including a fancy meal with guests on Fridays. It was one of many ways to she sacrificed her sanity on the altar of The Family, and one of the many reasons I was like, hell no am I gonna be a mom. Maybe a dad, since my dad mostly got to read the paper while chaos whirled around him. But a mom? HA.

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The Best Things in Life Are Free (Food)

It isn’t until I am actually standing in front of the dumpster that I begin to understand what we’re doing.

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When Restaurant Workers Can’t Afford to Eat

In July, the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of New York, an organization dedicated to improving wages and conditions for people who work in restaurants, released a report called “Food Insecurity of Restaurant Workers.” The report, based on surveys and interviews with people in the restaurant industry in New York and San Francisco, shows the ways in which the employment conditions of restaurant work make it very difficult for workers to feed themselves.

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How Much More Are You Spending at the Grocery Store?

On Aug. 11, Mary Ellen Burris, a senior vice president of consumer affairs for Wegmens, a family-owned grocery chain in upstate New York wrote a blog post titled “Sky High Beef” to explain to customers why beef prices have risen lately.

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Amusement Park Tally: What It Cost, What It Was Worth

As promised, my little family hit up Coney Island this weekend for some sun, fun, and bruising brought on by the Cyclone, one of America’s oldest and ricketiest wooden roller coasters. Here’s what we spent and an analysis of whether each purchase was justified:

+ NYAquarium tickets

COST: $24 for two adults. Babygirl got in free.

WORTH IT?: Mostly. Did you know there are penguins in South Africa? Warm weather “jackass” penguins! They are small and adorable; in the water, swimming, they resemble ducks.

The aquarium is pretty small. A good chunk is still under construction, post-Sandy. Babygirl enjoyed trying to catch the tiny, iridescent fish in the tanks and was less enthusiastic about the sea lion show: she shrieked in terror at the sight of their sleek, monstrous bodies emerging from the water to clap their fins. Overall, it was a fun family outing, though I wouldn’t rush to do it again.

+ One Cyclone ride

COST: $9

WORTH IT: Ben emerged battered and hoarse with a huge grin on his face. Unequivocal yes, says he.

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Time to Panic About Hazelnuts

Not to worry, via my old favorite Venessa Wong at Businessweek, Nutella owns 25% of the world’s supply of hazelnuts and has acquired Oltan Group, the leading supplier of hazelnuts. Nutella will be fine. They account for 70% of all U.S. sales of chocolate spreads and are, somehow, a 2.5 BILLION dollar company. That’s a lot of people studying abroad and then coming home feeling really cultured because they put Nutella on their toast now. (BEEN THERE.) But it’s the other guys, the little confectioners, that have to worry.

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$100 Worth of Ice Cream From a Man Named Bubby

Thank you Grub Street, thank you Bubby’s High Line, the restaurant in the Meatpacking District of NYC, where said ice cream can be purchased. And lastly thank you AMERICA, land of the free:

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Jimmy John’s Employees File Lawsuit Re: Working Off The Clock

Those of you who know me know that there are a handful of brands I love so much that I shill them perpetually on my favorite social media channels: Fireball whiskey, the Gorilla Workout, Amtrak, and of course Jimmy John’s, home of the best sandwich in the entire world, the Number 6 With Pep.

I order Jimmy John’s more than I care to admit; at $8 for the sandwich and the freaky fast delivery, it’s an extremely justifiable expense, plus there’s a long stupid Proustian thing about how the sandwiches remind me of adult independence and happiness that I just don’t want to get into right now. (To make a long story short: some of my most formative moments occurred in the company of a Jimmy John’s sandwich, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that keeps happening.)

Which is why I regret to inform you that two Jimmy John’s employees have filed a lawsuit against Jimmy John’s, to wit:

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The Budget-Friendly Way to Avoid Alzheimer’s

Eat fishReally? Fish? Yes. Does it have to be salmon? No. But it has to be … fish? Yes. So saith Science.

“There wasn’t one type of fish that was the best,” Raji told me by phone, probably while eating fish. “All that mattered was the method of preparation.” Fried fish had a unique dearth of benefits to the human brain. “If you eat fish just once a week, your hippocampus—the big memory and learning center—is 14 percent larger than in people who don’t eat fish that frequently. 14 percent. That has implications for reducing Alzheimer’s risk,” Raji said. “If you have a stronger hippocampus, your risk of Alzheimer’s is going to go down.” “In the orbital frontal cortex, which controls executive function, it’s a solid 4 percent,” Raji said. “I don’t know of any drug or supplement that’s been shown to do that.” … Up to half of cases of Alzheimer’s disease “are potentially attributable” to seven modifiable risk factors: diabetes, midlife high blood pressure, midlife obesity, smoking, depression, cognitive inactivity or low educational attainment, and physical inactivity. Minimal inroads in those areas, they say, could result in millions fewer cases of Alzheimer’s.

We talk a lot around these parts about how to, and much to, save for retirement. So much will depend, though, on whether one and/or one’s partner is healthy enough to enjoy one’s last years — especially outside of that crooked home we saw on “60 Minutes.” Plan for the future: eat fish. It won’t bankrupt you, or at least, it doesn’t have to. 

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Here Is Your Open Thread

In The New Republic, a case against office snacks (provided to employees for free as a perk):

In fact, employees may not even fully register that they are consuming office goodies—in part because they are so convenient. When it comes to snacking, we are especially bad not only at self-control, but also at knowing how bad we are at self-control. In one recent study, 40 adult secretaries were offered chocolate in various degrees of proximity. As the chart below shows, they ate more candies when the candies were visible and near, and only slightly fewer when they had to get up to get the candy but it was still visible. This tendency to eat more when the sweets are near seems obvious, but the tendency to eat more was fuelled by quantitative misperception: The secretaries also tended to underestimate their consumption when the candy was close and to overestimate how much they had consumed when it was farther away.

Also: The snacks at Tumblr, where Meaghan used to work, is “stocked with granola bars, chips, yogurt, fresh fruit and veggies, cold brew coffee, and a seltzer machine.”

I’d be totally cool with over-snacking on veggies and seltzer.

Photo: Nate Grigg

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