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141 posts categorized "Food and Drink"

October 11, 2008

Marketing while brown: Nash Finch Co. adds hidden 10% surcharge at "hispanic" markets

The Nash Finch corporation is slaps a hidden 10% clawback on groceries at its Avanza Supermarkets, specifically those that serve predominantly hispanic communities.

Avanza employees interviewed by 9News in Colorado aren't sure exactly why the company prices goods this way, but the general consensus is that it has something to do with race:

When shoppers and 9Wants to Know asked store employees to explain the new pricing program, the store clerks and managers seemed confused.

"This is for taxes in Mexico and we think that people would feel better if they are charged for taxes as if they were in Mexico," one worker said.

"It's just a really weird, off-way to do business," said another clerk.

"Honestly, I don't know why they decided to lower the prices and then add the 10 percent," said an assistant manager in Denver.

"It's been a marketing tool, where we put a cheaper price out in front of the consumer," said a manager who would only identify himself as Jim. "We do it to cover freight and labor and to get the products to the shelf."

Nash Finch, which owns 50 grocery stores across the country, appears to only be tacking on the extra fee to its stores that cater to Hispanics. [9News]

So, who's putting the "class" in class warfare with race-based grocery gouging?

Nash Finch is the second-largest publicly traded food wholesaler in the United States with estimated annual sales of $4.5 billion. The president and CEO of Nash Finch, Alec Covington, rakes in over five million dollars a year in salary, stock awards, and other compensation.

Props to 9News for covering this issue. Stories like these represent local news coverage at its best.

[HT: Pandagon.]

August 07, 2008

More fun with confectionary use/mention distinctions

This just in from Cake Wreck:Use_mention_cake_2

August 04, 2008

When cake goes wrong

Use_mention_2 Via lotus, a confectionary hall of horrors.

The exhibit shown here illustrates the importance of the use/mention distinction in cake decorating.

July 30, 2008

Shanghai steamed soup dumplings recipe

I've often wondered how they get the soup inside the soup dumpling. Now I know, thanks to this remarkable illustrated recipe from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen.

July 24, 2008

"Power pork" USB drives

Usb_bbq_porkUSB drives also available in chicken wing and chicken drummette.

June 23, 2008

Pentagon employees glued to single-malt cam for national security reasons

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency has taken a keen interest in the webcam of a Scottish distillery, allegedly because the single-malt distillation is a lot like chemical weapons production, Sharon Weinberger reports:

Weapons inspectors may not have found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but they are closely watching operations at a Scottish distillery. 

Bruichladdich Distillery Company, which makes single-malt whiskey and allows Internet users to monitor its distillery via webcam, has found that a Pentagon agency has taken an out-sized interest in its operations. It turns out the Defense Threat Reduction Agency was closely watching its operations. "The distillery discovered the additional interest after the DTRA emailed to complain that the distillery’s webcam was out of action," Computing, a U.K. publication reports. "When Bruichladdich asked why the agency was interested in a distillery in a remote Scottish location, the agency said that the process of manufacturing chemical weapons and distilling whiskey were very similar so it was using the Bruichladdich web site to train its operatives." [Danger Room]

Sure, sure.

June 21, 2008

Food porn recommendation: In Search of Perfection

Ezra Klein discusses the Top Chef finale as food porn. Top Chef isn't food porn, it's a soap opera! Ugh. Who wants to eat soap?

The best food porn TV is Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection. Blumenthal is the chef proprietor of the Fat Duck, a critically-acclaimed UK restaurant. In the TV series, he uses food science to adapt classic recipes for the home kitchen. Heston is inspired by Harold McGee's classic study of food science and cookery, On Food and Cooking. Blumenthal calls McGee's book his Bible.

Cook's Illustrated takes a similar, empirically-minded approach to adapting recipes for the home cook. If CI is softcore food porn, ISOP is hardcore fetish.

Both CI and ISOP have successfully grappled with a classic porn problem: The story. On the one hand, you don't want a lot of complicated narrative cluttering up your porn. Otherwise it devolves into erotica. But without some kind of narrative structure, the merely explicit can seem clinical.

The successful foodporn formula, these innovators have discovered, is the narrative of scientific discovery: We set out to perfect the strawberry shortcake, we did this, and this, and that, and finally after much grunting and sweating, we hit upon PERFECTION!!!

In the ISOP Steak & Salad episode, he shows us how to achieve a steakhouse-like result with a puny home stove and oven. The secret, he maintains, is to sterilize the surface of a rib-eye roast with a blow torch, roast it for 24 hours at fifty degrees Celsius, cut of the outer crust, slice it into steaks, sear the steaks in a very hot pan, and brush them with butter that has been stored near blue cheese (to simulate the nutty taste of dry-aged beef). I haven't tried it yet, but I intend to.

I can attest that Blumenthal's homemade pizza tips work very well. He suggests preheating a cast iron skillet on the stove, inverting it, and slipping it under the broiler to use as a baking stone. The pizza cooks fast from both sides, like in a commercial wood-fired oven. (Smitten Kitchen discusses the broiler method and other helpful pizza tips here.)

Blumenthal's ultimate prescription for perfect pizza requires a charcoal barbecue and a fan. I haven't taken it that far out yet, but if patient friends invite me to a BBQ this summer, mmmboy.

My favorite episode is in season 2 where Heston recreates Peking Duck by inflating the duck with a gas station air hose, removing the now-loosened skin, and upholstering it to a cooking rack with kitchen twine before dousing it in oil to crisp. If I ever attempt this recipe, I will blog it.

The most bizarre recipe is the sequence in the German Chocolate Cake episode where Heston demonstrates how to make an aerated chocolate layer (a fancy Aero bar) using a space bag and a vacuum cleaner. Not my kink.

June 19, 2008

Networked percolators at risk of distributed denial of coffee attacks

The Jura Impressa F90 espresso machine can be hooked up to the Internet. The manufacturers say the web hookup can diagnose problems remotely and spare the customer a trip to the repair shop.

Security expert Craig Wright is warning the tech community that the Jura has unfixable security holes that imperil the security of their caffeine supply.

If the Jura is hooked up to the Web, truly evil hackers could water down your joe from a distance, cause coffee floods, or even break the machine.

No doubt the Jura Impressa F90 is part of a terrorist plot to cripple the the economy by bringing productivity to standstill.

May 23, 2008

Red Velvet Cakes

Red Velvet Cakes , originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in their favorite recipes for Red Velvet
Cake. I'm looking forward to trying them all.

For tonight's party, I went with this recipe recommended by voxy.

May 22, 2008

Cyanide ice cream?

This recipe for cherry pit ice cream sounds profoundly ill-advised. You're supposed to pulverize the pits with a hammer and steep the "noyau" in cream before freezing.

The recipe calls for 1.5 cups of smashed cherry pits heated in 4 cups of dairy and steeped for 1-2 hours. As you strain the steeped mixture, you press the cherry pits against the sieve to extract even more flavor from the kernels.

The fact that the end product is described as tasting like marzipan or bitter almonds is not confidence-inspiring.

Cherry pits contain cyanide.