The Tater Tot Is American Ingenuity at Its Finest

F. Nephi Grigg grew up producing potatoes and corn on his family's farm in Idaho. In the 1940s, he understood the future of frozen food and opened a flash-freezing plant in Oregon with his brother. They named the company Ore-Ida, after the two states. The Grigg brothers made a fortune processing potatoes into frozen french fries. But cutting potatoes into fries presented a problem, in that the potato pieces that were too small to use were hard to separate from the fries.

When an equipment manufacturing company inexplicably showed up at their plant to demonstrate a prune sorter, Nephi and his plant superintendent Slim Burton chatted with them about a redesign. Could the barrel be redesigned so that it would eliminate the unwanted pieces of potatoes from the very wanted french fries? It could.

This being the northwest, and with the Grigg brothers’ company surrounded by farmland, Nephi decided that the scraps would go to feed the cattle and other livestock owned by the Grigg family. This was fine for a while, until Nephi realized that these cattle were getting enormous amounts of potato product. He was an entrepreneur, goddammit, and not one to waste anything, especially “product that has been purchased from the grower, stored for months, gone thru the peeling process, gone thru the specking lines and trimmed of all the defects, only to be eliminated into the cattle feed,” as Nephi wrote in a letter to an Ore-Ida representative in 1989.

You can see where this is going. It was those little scraps left over from making french fries that ended up in Tater Tots. Read the rest of the story of how Tater Tots were developed at Eater. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Flickr user Lower Columbia College (LCC))


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This Turkey Sandwich May Be NSFW

Some people act as if they have genitalia on the brain, claiming clean images are obscene if they look the least bit like private parts, which makes me wonder how they manage to eat a banana without feeling ashamed.

Which is why I'm always skeptical about claims an innocent image is secretly filthy, but you've gotta admit there is something vaguely NSFW about the meat on that turkey sandwich, and once you see it you cannot unsee the booty.

After AV shared his smutty turkey sandwich on Twitter people LOLed and shared the pic until it went viral, but some didn't see the beauty in the sliced turkey booty- so they made it more PG.

But not everyone saw smut when they gazed at the turkey slices- this guy saw gators and proved not everyone is willing to admit they have a dirty mind!

-Via Distractify


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The 16 Best Cooking Tricks I Learned In Culinary School

Jesse Szewczyk graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and now writes for Buzzfeed. He shares some basic tips for making your home-cooked dishes taste more like what you'd get in a top restaurant. If you've been cooking for a long time, you might know some of these things already, but it's always good to have a refresher course. For beginning cooks, it's an eye-opening list.  

5. Completely dry your meats before cooking them.

Whether it's roasted chicken or seared scallops, drying them ensures you'll get a crisp, golden skin that won't stick to the pan. Pat them dry with paper towels or let them air-dry in the cooler for a few hours before cooking them.

6. For maximum flavor, toast your nuts and spices.

Toasting nuts and spices brings out their flavors and takes your cooking to a whole new level. For spices, give them a quick toasting in a dry pan over low heat or bloom them in hot oil. For nuts, toast them in a 350° F oven for 10-15 minutes before cooking with them.

See all 16 tips at Buzzfeed.


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Firefighters Rescue Piglets From Fire Then Later Gobble Them Up

People love to hear stories about police officers, paramedics or firefighters saving the lives of animals trapped in deadly situations because they show us how much emergency responders actually care about life.

But this story of firefighters rescuing animals is a little different, and may make some animal lovers a bit angry- because the rescued animals were later eaten.

Firefighters in southern England were called to a farm near Pewsey to handle a barn fire and ended up rescuing 18 piglets, so to thank the firefighters for their hard work farmer Rachel Rivers served them sausages-made from the piglets:

The 18 piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw 60 tonnes of hay catch fire.
In a potentially controversial move, farmer Rachel Rivers thanked the Pewsey fire team by giving them sausages.
She said: "I'm sure vegetarians will hate this." The firefighters however said the bangers were "fantastic".
The pictures of their impromptu barbecue have since been removed from the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service's Facebook page.

The animals were given a six-month stay of execution when they were rescued from the farm at Milton Lilbourne.
But, having been reared for meat, they have since been slaughtered and the sausages were delivered to the fire station team, which barbecued them.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Boing Boing


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Dry Yet Tasty Memes Every Wine Enthusiast Will Enjoy

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Oenophiles like to boast about their exquisite taste, claiming their obsession with wine began when their perfect palate allowed them to taste the very soil the grapes were grown in before they became wine.

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But the rest of us who simply enjoy drinking wine and the warm, fuzzy feeling we're left with after a bottle or two recognize wine for what it is- a tool for survival in this crazy world we live in.

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But as great as wine is there's definitely a time and a place for and drinking at work is definitely a no-no unless you're a sommelier, aka the job every wise wino should set as their career goal.

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See 54 Memes That Will Make Winos Spit Wine All Over Their Screens Laughing here


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Got a Cold? Break Off a Piece of This Kit Kat Bar

Cough drops sometimes try to taste like candy, but have you ever heard of a candy trying to taste like a cough drop? Well, Kit Kat apparently thought it was a great idea because that's the newest flavor they're releasing to Japan. The good news is that because it has 2.1% throat lozenge powder mixed in with the white chocolate, it could hopefully actually help if you have a sore throat -and that powder is just enough to make the treat "fresh and invigorating."

Via Eater


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Scientists Discover Why Whisky Tastes Better With Water

I'm either trying to savor that fine barrel-aged flavor straight up or I'm trying to catch a buzz when I drink whisky, and either way water seems like a waste of time to me.

But scientists Björn Karlsson and Ran Friedman have proven people were right about adding water to whisky- because the water helps enhance the flavor compounds on the surface of the whisky and release complex aromas:

"The taste of whisky is primarily linked to so-called amphipathic molecules, which are made up of hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts,” explained Karlsson. “One such molecule is guaiacol, a substance that develops when the grain is dried over peat smoke when making malt whisky, providing the smoky flavour to the whisky.”

The scientists found that guaiacol was more likely to be present at the “liquid-air interface” of a whisky with concentrations of ethanol up to 45%. “This suggests that, in a glass of whisky, guaiacol will therefore be found near the surface of the liquid, where it contributes to both the smell and taste of the spirit,” said Freidman.

“Interestingly, a continued dilution down to 27% resulted in an increase of guaiacol at the liquid-air interface. An increased percentage, over 59%, had the opposite effect, that is to say, the ethanol interacted more strongly with the guaiacol, driving the molecule into the solution away from the surface.”

The study therefore concluded that the taste and aroma of guaiacol – as well as other similar compounds in whisky – are “enhanced when the spirit is diluted prior to bottling, and this taste may be more pronounced on further dilution in the glass”.

-Via The Spirits Business


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Tentacles Have Never Looked So Tasty

Have you ever wanted to taste a monster from the deep but worried it would be a little hard to catch and too salty and tough to enjoy? Then you'll want to head to Auckland, New Zealand, where you can get your hands on this colossal squid cone loaded with 3D printed cripsy cones and rich chocolate goodness from Giapo ice cream shop. The crazy creations are so popular that people often wait hours to get their hands on these tentacle treats. 

Via Thrillist


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Hip Smirnoff Vodka Ads From The 1960s

Back before there were fancy vodka brands on the market making people pay hundreds of dollars a bottle just to impress others there was Smirnoff- the vodka that leaves you breathless.

Smirnoff has been the world's best-selling vodka for decades, and part of that success is due to their hip and edgy ad campaigns that make their brand feel very modern, like these ads from the 1960s starring some seriously famous faces.

The jazzy and stylish Smirnoff ads of the 60s starred people like Groucho Marx, Eartha Kitt, Woody Allen, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Johnny Carson, just to name a few.

They even got the famous poet and playwright Langston Hughes to pose for a Smirnoff ad in 1959, so their brand not only looked hip but progressive as well.

See more Hip Smirnoff Vodka Ads from the 60s at Dangerous Minds


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Hot Pocket Stuffed Burgers

We've seen a lot of pizza/burger combinations, including a burger baked inside of a pizza and a pizza inside of a burger inside of a pizza, but for most people, making these outrageous pizza creations is just too crazy. On the other hand, following these instructions from Oh Bite It to make a burger with a Hot Pocket inside seems pretty straight forward -and best of all, you can switch it up to have a burger stuffed with turkey, broccoli and cheddar or hickory ham and cheddar -or whatever your favorite Hot Pocket flavor happens to be.

So make your burger a Hot Pocket pocket with these simple instructions.


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Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick

The State Fair of Texas opens September 29 and runs through October 22. But competition is already underway among concessionaires for the Big Tex Choice Awards for the best state fair foods. Winners will be crowned August 27. Texas Monthly runs down the ten finalists with a fictional tasting. Here's what they had to say about deep-fried chicken noodle soup on a stick.

“There’s been a mistake,” said the man. He hoped it was a mistake.

“What do you mean?”

“Says here this is soup. I don’t see no soup.”

“The soup’s in the little balls,” said the woman. “You can try it if you want. I won’t ask for payment. Not for you.”

The man wavered. It felt like an insult, but his curiosity was potent. He looked at the stick of fried dough encasing the soup like a funeral shroud and took his hand out of his duster. The woman took a step forward and gently offered him the stick. He took the stick, but he didn’t eat it.

Editor’s note: Please pay the State Fair vendors, and absolutely try the deep-fried chicken noodle soup on a stick.

See what they think of the Surfin’ Turfin’ Tator Boat, the Tamale Donut, the Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger, the Fried Texas Sheet Cake, the Gulf Coast Fish Bowl, Pinot Noir Popcorn, Texas Fajita Fries, Deep Fried Froot Loops®, and something called a Fat Smooth, all at Texas Monthly. -Thanks, Walter!   


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The Origin Of Those Delicious, Gravity-Defying Piescrapers

Piescrapers are the perfect combination of food art and flavor fusion, and the recent wave of piescraper mania has been attributed to one woman- Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, founder of Pies Are Awesome.

Jessica came up with the idea for her multi-layered pies after deciding to give up sugar for a year, her craving for desserts leading her to recipes for sugar free fruit pies and a dessert history lesson: 

"In Tudor times and Medieval times, pies used to be really complicated and tall. They were a central feature at all sorts of events," she explained excitedly. "I realized that now, pies just aren't treated the same way as other desserts in terms of pop culture representation and other interesting techniques. I wanted to see if I could do something about that."

The vertical element came into play when she began thinking about the wedding possibilities for these intricate pies.

"A lot of people really want pies at their weddings instead of cake, but they end up going with cakes anyway," she explained. "Because of the low profile of pies, they just don't look as great on the buffet table. So I started thinking, how can I build them up?"

But making a wedding cake-inspired tower of pies was easier said than done:

"It was pretty hilarious, actually," she admitted. "Finally, I hit upon a way to stabilize different tiers using techniques from paper sculpture, another hobby of mine. I realized how to double up certain layers of dough with egg in the middle, allowing me to push these experiments higher and higher."

(YouTube Link)

Read These Insane-Looking Vertical "Piescrapers" Might Be The New Wedding Cakes here


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The Bloody San Antonio Origins of Chili Con Carne

An article earlier this summer hinted that the defining factor in the development of Texas chili is chili powder, but the ingredient that makes chili a Tex-Mex dish is cumin, a spice imported from the Old World. Chili con carne is the crowning achievement of San Antonio cuisine. Most historians date its origin to 1880, with the rise of the "chili queens" that sold the dish to the public in outdoor stands. But that date is an function of the name chili con carne existing in published sources. A stew of meat and chili peppers had been around long before that. So how do you define chili con carne in order to find its origin? An article at Texas Monthly gives some of the conflicting origin stories, including one that goes back as far as an uprising in 1813. It was another in the long line of wars fought over Texas.

Most of that, save for the two post-San Jacinto Mexican incursions, is well known. Far fewer people remember the troubles of 1811 and 1813, even though the latter of those conflicts featured the bloodiest battle ever fought on Texas soil, and, according to San Antonio tradition, produced the first Chili Queen.  

Were it not for the fact that the (partially) American side lost in ignominious fashion, movies would have been made about the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition of 1812 to 1813.

Encouraged by the near-success of the 1811 Casas Revolt in San Antonio, and with covert support from Washington, D.C., Spanish Texan revolutionaries traveled to Louisiana and enlisted Anglo and Louisiana Creole soldiers of fortune in a joint “Republican Army of the North” to sever Texas from Madrid for good. (The Spanish and Anglo contingents had different plans—the former wanted Texas as part of a free Mexico, while the latter preferred annexation to the U.S., or perhaps an independent republic as envisioned by Aaron Burr. It seems both sides agreed to set that matter aside until they had seized Texas.)

And from there is born a love story, when a wealthy young Louisiana Creole fell for a teenager from a prominent San Antonio family. Read that story and how Jesusita de la Torre became the first of the "chili queens" at Texas Monthly. -Thanks, Tim!


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Every State's Most Important Food Innovation

Every state has added something unique to the American culinary landscape, whether it be a classic sauce, a popular chain restaurant or even distinct sandwich. Over on Thrillist, you can read about the best culinary invention created by each state. Granted, it might seem a little weird to claim a state's best innovention is a potato or crab legs, but it's more about what they helped popularize as a dining option -not just new recipes. 

So do you agree with your state's food innovation on the list?


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Victorian Banana Candy with Banana Facts

Gregory Cohen of Public Displays of Confection (previously at Neatorama) knows that we love watching the process of making hard candy with images inside.

(YouTube link)

Cohen also knows that the process can be tedious, even on video, so as the candy is being cooled, pulled, shaped, and pulled again, he tells us everything he knows about bananas. Like, how they are cultivated, the internal structure of a banana, and why banana candy usually doesn't taste like a banana. The candy factory is also a soda fountain called Lofty Pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida, so Cohen is fairly enamored of the bananas he uses for banana splits.  


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The World's Oldest Unopened Bottle Of Wine

The old adage "wine gets better with age" should be followed up with a "but only if..." to clarify the real rules of aging wine, so people who buy into the adage don't go looking for ancient bottles of wine to open.

Apparently you can drink a properly aged bottle of wine over 200 years after it has been bottled, but as Josh Jones of Open Culture shows us the world's oldest bottle of wine (circa 350 AD) definitely isn't drinkable:

A 1.5 liter “glass vessel with amphora-like sturdy shoulders” in the shape of dolphins, the bottle is of no use to its owner, but no one is certain what would happen to the liquid if it were exposed to air, so it stays sealed, its thick stopper of wax and olive oil maintaining an impressively hermetic environment. Scientists can only speculate that the liquid inside has probably lost most of its ethanol content. But the bottle still contains a good amount of wine, “diluted with a mix of various herbs.”

The Römerwein resides at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer, which seems like an incredibly fascinating place if you happen to be passing through. You won’t get to taste ancient Roman wine there, but you may, perhaps, if you travel to the University of Catania in Sicily where in 2013, scientists recreated ancient wine-making techniques, set up a vineyard, and followed the old ways to the letter, using wooden tools and strips of cane to tie their vines.

-Via Boing Boing


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A Brief Tour of European Wedding Cake Traditions

Sweet treats, often including a very specific type of cake, are a near-universal part of a wedding celebration. We are used to the traditional tall wedding cake in America, and we've posted many modern interpretations. Wedding cakes and their traditions vary widely in other countries.  

At weddings in France and parts of Belgium the croquembouche is served. The name croquembouche derives from the French “croque en bouche” meaning crack in mouth. This is apt as croquembouche is a tall, conical structure of cream-filled pastry buns enveloped in hard sugar. On top of the croquembouche are a set of figurines symbolizing the newlyweds. Similar to a croquembouche are the Icelandic wedding cake known as kransakaka and the Danish kransekage. These are wreath cakes consisting of multiple almond pastry rings of decreasing size placed one atop the other to form a cone of cakes. Each ring cake is decorated with white icing and the whole cake is filled with confectionary. According to Danish tradition the newlyweds should remove the top layer with the number of layers that adhere to it indicating how many children the couple will have.

Read how the idea of a wedding cake came to be, and how that tradition is interpreted in different European countries at FolkloreThursday. -via Strange Company

(Image credit: Eric Baker)


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Why We Should All Be Eating Adult Lunchables

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Lunchables weren't exactly what you'd call a healthy lunch when they first came out, and many kids who brought Lunchables to school were still hungry afterwards, unlike those of us who brown bagged it or ate a hot lunch.

But the concept behind Lunchables is solid, and as adults we often eat food much worse than Lunchables on a daily basis, so maybe it's time to let the Lunchables back into our lives- after an adult makeover.

Skillet's Claire Lower makes a great argument for why we should start making adult Lunchables, but first the rules of Lunchables:

  1. The contents within must require no cooking, and must be able to be eaten as-is without further prep, preferably without utensils.
  2. The various foods within must be able to be combined with every other food contained within the Lunchable in a pleasing way, the only exception being the optional dessert, which should be consumed last. (And should, preferably, be an Oreo cookie or a fun-size Snickers bar.)
  3. The food stuffs within must be compartmentalized neatly, and in a way that almost whispers to the consumer “Hush now, you are safe. There is order in this world after all.”

And here are some of Claire's tasty ideas that will make you want to buy a bento box and start bringing your own adult Lunchables to work every day:

  • Salami + rounds of crusty bread + shards of Parm + grapes
  • Grilled chicken chunks + mini pita + hummus + sliced grape tomatoes
  • Fancy crackers + sliced figs + the sharpest of sliced cheddar
  • Mortadella (fancy bologna with attitude) + American cheese (yell at me) + Ritz crackers (yeah, yell some more)
  • Rice crackers + cooked, cold shrimp (or that fake Krab meat) + cucumber slices + wasabi paste + packets of soy sauce

-Via Skillet


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Anthony Bourdain's 6 Sushi Bar No-Nos

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Anthony Bourdain has hung out with many of the top chefs in the world and eaten their amazing food too, and his culinary adventures have made him a bit of an expert on international cuisine.

One of Anthony's all time favorite foods is sushi, a taste for which he developed while hanging out at the bar at Sushi Yasuda in New York City, where he met and became friends with legendary sushi master Naomichi Yasuda.

So when Bourdain tells you what not to do at a real sushi bar you should heed his advice- or risk pissing off your sushi chef. Here are Bourdain's six punishable by death sushi bar don'ts:

1. Do Not: Make a slurry with all the wasabi and soy sauce you can get your hands on and then douse your fish with it. Make sure to taste your fish first.

2. Do Not: Dip your sushi rice down into the soy sauce—“unless you want to watch your rice crumble and disintegrate into an unholy mess in the wasabi slurry that you probably already made.” If you feel your sushi needs soy, lightly dip it fish side down.

3. Do Not: Say loudly, "This sushi is so fresh, dude." Unless you’re in a place where that concept would even be in question.

4. Do Not: Consider a sushi selection that includes mayonnaise. “Don’t get me wrong, I love mayo. Tuna salad on white bread is our version of Edo-style sushi. But it belongs nowhere near raw fish.”  

5. Do Not: Mistake a lame pan-Asian place for a sushi spot. “You know the ones; unst, unst, unst music is playing in the background, edamame comes with a cloud of dry ice. A great sushi bar is like the perfect Irish pub. You make decisions with your sushi chef, with your bartender, over the course of the night, and you leave feeling extremely well cared for.”
6. Do Not: Order a California Roll. No explanation necessary.

I think of Bourdain's advice every time I make a wasabi-soy slurry and soak my California Roll in it...

-Via Travel + Leisure


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Taco Bell's Newest Monstrosity? A Spicy Pop Rock Burrito

(Image via outthereflourishing [Instagram])

Taco Bell is known for creating crazy foods, but it's one thing to make a taco shell out of a piece of fried chicken and a whole different thing to add spicy Pop Rocks to a burrito -and that's just what they've started doing. The new creation, called the Firecracker Burrito is only available at four test locations in Orange County and it features rice, nacho cheese, sour cream, beef, and red tortilla strips. What makes it truly bizarro though is the option to get a side of "popping crystals," which are essentially chili-flavored Pop Rocks that give it a "sweet-spicy flavor along with a fizzy texture," according to Foodbeast.

Personally, I'll take my candy far away from my burritos, thanks.

Via LAist

https://www.foodbeast.com/news/taco-bell-spicy-pop-rocks-burrito/

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Chefs Share The Stupidest Food Orders They've Ever Received

Most chefs aren't anything like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, so they'll be accommodating to customers and customize their orders so they leave full and happy with their dining experience.

But everyone who works in the food service industry knows it's tough to deal with customers who are really dumb, really demanding and really cheap, three of the worst qualities in a diner.

You know what else makes a chef hate a customer, according to the chefs chiming in on the ChefTalk forum? When customers order a dish minus all the stuff that makes the dish delicious:

Chadateit

My personal favourite was a banquet order for a Caesar's salad (for a party of about 100 people) that, 20 minutes before plating, was updated saying that the Caesar dressing couldn't have anchovies, garlic, or egg. What do you even say to that?

Will

Well-done steak tartare.

Ramiro Exposito Gaspe

Paella without rice please.

And then there are those weirdos who don't understand how food allergies or diet restrictions work:

Just Jim

"I'm very allergic to garlic, is there any in the special?" "Yes, there is a little" "Well, as long as I can't see it I'll be okay. I'll have the special."

RAS1187

Order for well done burger. Not unusual, but the guest told the server, "My doctor told me I can't have any red meat" and was dead serious.

Just Jim

"Can I get the special with fettuccine? I'm allergic to penne." "You're allergic to a shape?"

But the worst diners of all are those lunatics who don't understand how food works at all. What planet are these crazy people from?:

Colomboshute

Today's special was sirloin a la plancha and a customer asked my wife if we could make it vegetarian...

Recky

Customer complains after eating her omelette that the menu didn't explicitly state that it contained “so much egg...”

RAS1187

French onion soup, no onions.

Locomoco

The other day I got a ticket that read: “Cheese plate (no dairy).”

Sergeant Pepper

Vegetarian filet mignon.

Read Chefs Share 58 Of The Stupidest Food Orders Ever here


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This Magnificent Cheetos Restaurant Will Only Be Open Three Days

Real food fans know that Cheetos are one of the finer things in life and now, for three glorious days (August 15-17), the snack food company itself will be running a restaurant in New York, called the Spotted Cheetah, where every item features some kind of Cheetos product. The menu consists of:

Cheetos Crusted Fried Pickles; Creamy Ranch, Cheetos Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup; Cheetos Meatballs; Purrfectly Fried Green Tomatoes (breaded with White Cheddar Cheetos crust); Flamin' Hot and White Cheddar Mac n' Cheetos; Cheetos Mix-ups Crusted Chicken Milanese; Spicy Cheetos Nachos; and Flamin' Hot Limon Chicken Tacos.

But save room for dessert, which consists of Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake; Cheetos Sweetos Sweet and Salty Cookies; and White Cheddar Cheetos and Cheetos Sweetos Apple Crepes. Those might sound strange, but if you've had the Cheetos Sweetos, you already know how sweet Cheetos are surprisingly tasty. 

Via Gothamist


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How Ice Cream Helped America at War

During World War I, the military needed enough food to fight, and civilians back home sacrificed so that they had it. But there weren't any treats. In fact, ice cream was considered "not essential," so the sugar that would have gone into its manufacture was diverted elsewhere, despite the pleas of the ice cream industry. That would change drastically over the next two decades, as Americans turned to ice cream during Prohibition as a substitute for alcohol, and then during the Great Depression as a rare affordable treat. Ice cream came to be associated with the American way of life. So when the U.S. joined in World War II, ice cream went with them.

In 1942, as Japanese torpedoes slowly sank the U.S.S. Lexington, then the second-largest aircraft carrier in the Navy’s arsenal, the crew abandoned ship—but not before breaking into the freezer and eating all the ice cream. Survivors describe scooping ice cream into their helmets and licking them clean before lowering themselves into the Pacific. By 1943, American heavy-bomber crews figured out they could make ice cream over enemy territory by strapping buckets of mix to the rear gunner’s compartment before missions. By the time they landed, the custard would have frozen at altitude and been churned smooth by engine vibrations and turbulence—if not machine-gun fire and midair explosions. Soldiers on the ground reported mixing snow and melted chocolate bars in helmets to improvise a chocolate sorbet.

Read more about the American obsession with ice cream, and how the frozen treat went to war, at the Atlantic. -via Metafilter


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How to Make Cotton Candy Without a Machine

Vitaly says he loves science, but he really, really loves cotton candy! In this video, he wordlessly shows us how to make it at home without a cotton candy machine. You'll need a cardboard box (let's hope it's clean), a jar lid, a soda can, and some tools. And sugar.

(YouTube link

If this looks like too much effort, he will also show you how to repurpose a blender to make cotton candy, or the power drill you already used. And how to build your own cotton candy machine. Just be prepared to clean sugar off every surface of the kitchen before you get the hang of it. -Thanks, Tracey!


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An Aladdin-Inspired Piescraper Palace

Piescrapers are a dessert creation we've all dreamt about but never dared hope we'd actually get to see, much less eat, in real life, but just like the Piecaken and the Pizza Pot Pie this dessert dreams has come true.

And if your piescraper dream involved Aladdin as well then you're going to find this Palace Piescraper creation made by Pies Are Awesome doubly delicious- even though it's almost too good looking to eat!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

Sunday morning I found ten zucchinis on the railing of my back deck. It had to be one of my two next-door neighbors, because anyone else would have left them on the front porch. I went to Google and found out they were two days early. Trying to get a jump on the rest of the neighborhood.   

Every year, millions of backyard gardeners decide to grow a variety of vegetables, including zucchini. Yeah, they'd like a loaf of zucchini bread (they think). But there are many seeds in an envelope, and even if they buy plants, they usually come in at least a four-pack. But even when they only have one surviving vine, zucchini produces way more than you need. What to do with all these vegetables? Give it to your neighbors, even if they don't want it! 

"Everyone who has grown zucchini knows that it can be difficult to keep up with the yield. The gourds grow quickly if not picked, and do not freeze or can well," said Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension. "Since you can only bake so many loaves of zucchini bread, many folks find giving their zucchini to neighbors is a great solution. To celebrate the holiday, you are to quietly sneak up to your neighbors' porch, and leave them a pile of homegrown zucchini."  

August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. The holiday was launched by Tom Roy at Wellcat Holidays & Herbs in Pennsylvania. They have some zucchini jokes and recipes that will help you deal with what you may find on your porch today. Otherwise, you might take some to your local food pantry.  


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The Rise of Mock Turtle Soup

Turtle soup was a high-class delicacy for special occasions in the 1860s, like President Lincoln's second inaugural banquet. When one couldn't afford turtle soup, there was an alternative: mock turtle soup. So what was mock turtle soup made of? Believe it or not, beef was the substitute.

Mock turtle soup, on the other hand, was made with a whole calf’s head, which allegedly mimicked the flavor and texture of real turtle soup. Despite being made with a comparatively inexpensive cut that might have been discarded, it was still considered high-end, and was even erroneously described on menus as being French. It was priced accordingly: On Manhattan restaurant Sullivan’s 1900 menu, for instance, it is one-and-a-half times as expensive as any other soup. It was offered on upmarket tables at the Waldorf-Astoria, The Plaza, and the St. Regis, and in the pages of the White House’s 1887 cookbook, flavored with a medley of sherry, cayenne pepper, lemon, sugar, salt, and mace. There, it appeared right next to the recipe for actual turtle soup.

It seems hard to believe that people valued a soup made of turtle meat over a soup made of calf, but that was a different time. Eventually, people began to prefer mock turtle soup to the original -as they should. Of course, neither is popular today, because we can make soup without butchering our own meat now. Learn more about turtle soup and its alternative, mock turtle soup, at Atlas Obscura.


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The Best Regional Hot Dog Styles in America

Just like the Reese's slogan, there's no wrong way to eat a hot dog, and this list at Thrillist proves just how true this expression is. Over on Thrillist, you can learn about some of the most popular styles of hot dogs from around the US -and there are a whole lot of them. One strange example, the Philly Combo:

A grilled all-beef hot dog, split down the middle and laid upon a wide steamed or toasted bun, layered with sweet, vinegar-based coleslaw and a stripe of spicy mustard, and completed -- curiously enough -- with a fish cake.

Or maybe you'd prefer Maryland's crab mac n' cheese dog:

An all-beef hot dog, grilled and nestled into a soft, chewy bun, then loaded with lump crab meat, hot, gooey macaroni & cheese, and a generous dusting of Maryland’s all-time favorite sodium source: Old Bay.

I personally recommend trying a Tijuana/danger dog if you ever get the chance:

A hot dog made of unidentified meat, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, then tossed into a soft bun and topped with any number of condiments, including (but not limited to) fried onions, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and grilled jalapeños.

Don't miss some of the many other hot dog styles available over on Thrillist.


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Mom Causes Outrage By Making Brownies For Bake Sale Using Her Breast Milk

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It's great when parents can contribute homemade stuff to school fundraisers and bake sales, but in order to stay safe and allergy friendly many schools have banned homemade goods from school functions.

And people like the anonymous mother in this story are the ones to blame for this safety hysteria- because she thought it was all right to make brownies using her own breast milk.

Now I'm all for moms using their own breast milk at home as they please, but serving up brownies made with breast milk at a school bake sale is just plain gross- and understandably made parents really upset.

And then the internet joined in and made the whole situation even more gross:

-Via Bored Panda


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What Exactly is Bubble Gum Flavor?

We know exactly what someone means when they say "bubblegum flavor," because we've tried bubblegum. But if you were to describe that flavor in terms of flavors found in nature, you might be stumped. What flavors go into bubblegum to make it taste that way? The best I could decipher from an article at Spoon University is that it's like "tutti-fruiti."

Bubble gum flavor is one of the secrets of the gum industry, with a cocktail of artificial fruity flavors at the center of it. Homemade versions tend to utilize the more easily available strawberry flavor, but true bubble gum flavor is more complex, composed of multiple notes.

I never thought of fruit when chewing bubblegum, but there it is. You'll find even more information in the discussion thread at Metafilter.

(Image credit: Mary (Mayr))


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