How Do You Do Groceries?

When I was fresh out of college, back in the days where we still thought email was a substitute for letter-writing instead of a method of assigning and confirming responsibilities, I wrote a friend a long email letter about my low-paying telemarketing job and the realization that grocery shopping was my only form of discretionary spending.

(Later, when I watched The Office, I got to the part where Ryan Howard says “Now that I’m back to doing the job of a temp, again, I find that food is one thing I can control,” and laughed uncomfortably.)

So I used to spend more time in the grocery store, looking at everything and thinking about what I could buy.

Our Health Food Obsession

David Sax has an op-ed in The Los Angeles Time which discusses how we have a tendency to spend so much of our money on health food trends (because we want to eat the things we are told are good for us), but most of those trends end up being debunked:

On Class Rage And Green Juice

I love Jami Attenburg's tumblr, and her post about sharing in some class rage with the woman making her juice today is <3:

Our Nuggets Under the Microscope

A professor of of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center examined random chicken nuggets from two unnamed restaurants and discovered that chicken nuggets actually don't have very much lean, white meat. Aren't chicken nuggets on the level of hot dogs by now? Hot dogs are also often a mish-mash of different parts but they're popular among kids as well. And they're popular among kids, as we learned from Jamie Oliver, even when kids know what the nuggets are made of. We live in a world of $1 billion Doritos Los Tacos sold. Also chains like KFC know that people can be turned off by this mish-mash so they are quick to advertise that their nuggets are entirely made of breast meat. And they're delicious.

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.

I Don’t Own a Microwave, AMA

As for me, I am on the right side of history, if by history you mean overly-paid trend forecasters as cited on Quartz.com. My kitchen in my last apartment had a built-in microwave, so I threw my busted $30 one out, and in this apartment there is truly about six inches of counter space so I don't know where I'd put one if we had it. *shuffles to stand in front of the KitchenAid mixer, crosses arms*

Americans Pouring Ranch All Over Everything

The Salt reports that NPD Group, a consumer market information company, has found that ranch dressing has becoming the number one dressing "shipped to the country's cafeterias, restaurants and institutions."

Next on the Grill: Synthetic Meat

Google founder Sergey Brin paid $325,000 for a two-year project to test out the idea of whether or not we can grow meat in a laboratory. The answer so far is: Yes, we can, but it's crazy expensive.

More Women Are Vegetarian But More Men Are Vegan

According to NPR, more women are vegetarian but more men are vegan. You can also read that sentence as, more women are kind-of-annoying but more men are super-annoying. (I can say that, I’m vegetarian.) (Or can I? I’m sure you’ll tell me.) Anyhoo, vegan dudes are trying to broaden our limited notions of gender and food:

[Old school green-eating men include] Bronson Alcott, a vegan and father of Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women. Alcott saw his veganism as a continuation of his advocacy against slavery and for women’s rights. According to his daughter, though, Alcott never did any cooking. … 

Something hard core about veganism does seem to appeal to some men. In fact, according to a Harris Poll commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group, more women are vegetarian than men, but slightly more men are vegan. John Joseph of the punk band the Cro-Mags and author of a pro-vegan manifesto has rejected animal products for more than 30 years. “I come from jails and gyms where guys were eating Alpo burgers,” he says. “The dudes were like, ‘If it’s good enough for my pit bull, it’s gonna give me more strength and energy!’”

“If it’s good enough for my pit bull” is totally my new motto.

On a macro level, vegetarianism/veganism is generally considered better for the planet. On a micro level, it’s better for your bank account: LearnVest did a test and concluded that veganism is the cheapest diet. A vegan might save $3.50 a day over a meat eater.

French Restaurant Institutes Fine For Wasted Food

Here's a fun one, via the Morning News: The proprietor of the French restaurant in Switzerland called Patrizietta was sick of seeing patrons load up on the buffet and waste a bunch of food, so he took matters into his own hands. At La Patrizietta, membership to the Clean Plate Club is free, but you face a fine of five francs if you don't join:

The Ritual of the Last Meal

The latest issue of Lapham's Quarterly is out, and the theme is Death. Hooray! You can read Brent Cunningham's wildly fascinating essay about the last meals of the soon to be executed online, and I would highly recommend it, if you are into that sort of thing. Or aren't into that sort of thing at ALL but still can't help but be fascinated by the fact that Timothy McVeigh's last meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.