Restaurant Week With Fair Labor Practices

Here’s a spin on “restaurant week,” which happens in various cities across the country and allows diners to try prix fixe lunches and dinners at participating restaurants for what is usually a fraction of the price: High Road Restaurant Week.


What It’s Like to Work as a Professional Frozen Food Taster

Matthew is a 24-year-old freelance illustrator and a former professional “sensory panelist” for a frozen foods company. We recently talked about his experience eating french fries and other frozen fried foods for four hours a day, three days a week over the course of eight months. “I’d come home with huge blisters in my mouth from the salt,” Matthew said. He earned $4,200.


Calculating the Costs: Spaghetti With Olives and Anchovies

Sometimes when I’m not sure what I’ll be having for dinner, I’ll look in my cupboard to see what I have on hand. The other day, it was pasta and anchovies, and after a quick Google search, I found a recipe for spaghetti with olives and anchovies from Nigella Lawson.


TV Dinners No Longer Hip

Frozen meals are a 9-billion dollar business in the U.S., one that has reportedly made it into 99% of homes (who are you 1% of people who has never eaten a Lean Cuisine?!) but according to Roberto Ferdman and the Atlantic, sales are down and things aren’t looking so good for the old TV dinner.


Here Is Your Open Thread

Today in “Markets in Everything”: Spaghetti-flavored popsicles.


Lizard Heads, Frogs, Crickets: The Things We Find in Our Lunch Salads

Yesterday, a customer from a Manhattan chain restaurant found the head of a lizard in her salad.


How a Stanford Professor Made A Really Good One-Cup Coffee Maker

Have you ever had a cup of coffee made with an AeroPress?


Our Guacamole Is at Risk

California is in the middle of a drought, and I am now officially paying attention. CNN Money covers Chipotle’s call-to-action:

The restaurant chain, in an annual report, listed drought and global weather change among a long list of business risks faced by the company.

“Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients,” Chipotle said in the filing last month.

If the cost of ingredients jumps, the company said it “may choose to temporarily suspend” serving items such as guacamole or some salsas.

Apparently Chipotle uses 97,000 pounds of avocado a day (18,000 tons a year!) — 70 avocados go in a single batch, God bless America. Their commitment to local, organic, and sustainable produce means they’d be greatly affected by rising prices and environmental factors. Since they pledge to use produce from within 350 miles of each restaurant, odds are you Californians would be affected first.

Which means that, as per usual, the fate of our nation lies with renowned Chipotle supplier (!!!) Jason Mraz.

Photo: SweetonVeg


Just Add a Capri Sun

Lunchables, the lunch kit launched by Oscar Mayer in the early ’90s geared towards busy moms who needed give their kids something fast and easy to eat during school lunches, has rebranded the kit as “portable protein packs” for adults. Michael Moss explained the lunch kit origin story last year in The New York Times Magazine in a story called “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.” I don’t think I will be swayed to pick this up at the grocery store, but perhaps the nostalgia will get some of you to pick up a package. [via]


Why Do We Tolerate Whole Foods-ian Pseudoscience?

Michael Schulson writes for the Daily Beast, questioning why many of us are eager to dismiss the pseudoscience of Creationism but politely tolerate, or even choose to passively half-believe, all the dietary pseudoscience around health food and products sold in places like Whole Foods.


On Food, Farmers’ Markets and the Farm Bill

On Fridays this summer in Chicago I went to the Department of Human Services offices on 63rd Street to invite people to visit the farmers’ market. Unless I had more outreach to do in Woodlawn or South Shore, I didn’t ride my bike. The first time I rode over, I was encouraged by the security guard to bring it in and since I hated the time it took to lock up my bike and ostentatious display of bike-riding, I just started walking over from my office a couple blocks away. Timing was everything for this outreach: If you went at 9 when the office opened nobody was there, and any later than 11 and the same was true. The benefit of going at 10 meant it wasn’t too hot yet and I’d still manage to grab a donut and iced coffee at Robust Coffee Lounge on my way back.


Order the Largest Pizza You Can

From Quoctrung Bui and Planet Money comes this fun chart explaining why ordering the larger pizza is worth it.