BACK TO Home Page 50 CONVERSATION TOPICS Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Food, Restaurants, Cooking and Dining

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Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Food, Eating and Restaurants, Fat People, Diets and Dieting


In 1870, German chemist Erich von Wolf analyzed the iron content of green vegetables and accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook. As a result, spinach was reported to contain a tremendous amount of iron - 35 milligrams per serving, not 3.5 milligrams (the true measured value). While the error was eventually corrected in 1937, the legend of spinach's nutritional power had already taken hold, one reason that studio executives chose it as the source of Popeye's vaunted strength.

Gourmet Dining

Diamond Jim Brady reckoned to be greatest salesman 19th Century - he was of the "if you've got it, flaunt it" school - loved wearing ostentatious jewelry and liked his girlfriends encrusted too - most famous for his gluttony - owner of his favourite NY rest described him as his "best 25 customers" - always finished a meal with 2lb box chocolates - once visited the factory which couldn't fill an order he wanted so wrote $150,000 advance payment for construction of a bigger factory

Willy Wonka

The 1971 film "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" was funded by Quaker Oats to coincide with the launch of their new line of Wonka candy. It wasn't until years later that they sold the candy line to Nestle and the movie rights to Warner Bros.

Adding salt on pineapples makes it sweeter. The salt reacts with the acids of the fruit, thus converting into a neutral compound and losing the sour taste. Because of this, the pineapple then becomes sweeter.


Guy fed bees on cannabis flowers - combine health benefits of honey and weed. Doesn't affect bees bc different system.

When bees feed on the pollen of rhododendron flowers, the resulting honey can pack a hallucinogenic punch. It’s called mad honey, and it’s touted as relieving hypertension, providing a burst of energy, and being a sweet substitute for Viagra. As a result, it sells for $60 to $80 dollars a pound on the black markets of some Asian countries.

Perhaps the best unit of measurement ever is the Banana Equivalent Dose, a measure of radioactivity which equates to 10^−7 sievert. "Although the amount in a single banana is small in environmental and medical terms, the radioactivity from a truckload of bananas is capable of causing a false alarm when passed through a Radiation Portal Monitor used to detect possible smuggling of nuclear material at U.S. ports." Bananas' radioactivity comes from potassium-40, which the human body maintains in equilibrium - meaning that you can eat all of the bananas you'd like without increasing the amount of radioactive potassium.

At The Restaurant

What is the optimal strategy for ordering when dining in a group? Order first, apparently. After the first person orders everyone else tries to choose something different, allowing themselves to be pushed off what they really want.

"The corn-fed, dry-aged Nebraskan rib-eye, with a carbon footprint big enough to make a climate-change denier horny, is bloody marvellous: rich, deep, earthy, with that dense tang that comes with proper hanging. And at £100 a kilo it bloody well should be. At that price they should lead the damn animal into the restaurant and install it under the table so it can pleasure me while I eat."

A restaurant named “The Heart Attack Grill” is hospital themed with scantily clad nurse waitresses serving the “Quadruple Bypass Burger” loaded with 9,982 calories. A customer died of a heart attack while eating there, resulting in customers taking photos of him assuming it was a stunt.

Extreme burgers aren't even worth considering unless they hit 1500 calories - invariably large amounts bacon and cheese, but also melted peanut butter and fried eggs.

Restaurants in Tokyo continue their vigilance for unique, attention-demanding animal themes to attract diners. Eateries showcasing tableside cats, rabbits, owls, hawks, and even snakes have tried their hand, with the latest being "Harry," with food and drink--and 20 to 30 teacup-size hedgehogs for diners to fondle while awaiting meal service. The equivalent of $9 brings an hour of cuddling rights.

When you get down to basics, nice meals are just well cooked nmeat with a terrific sauce.

In Cambodia, cooking with a "lucky iron fish" (a small iron cooking tool that infuses meals with iron) has helped villagers prevent anemia.

Popup restaurant just selling potato chip sandwiches.

Cheaper groceries, meal kit services, Uber eats ghost kitchens, better quality takeaways - all hammering restaurants.

Jellybeans repackaged inn premium containers.

Spcialised sous vide machine with individual pots. Buy packed part-cooked food which reheat. Each pack has a microchip which tells machine what temp to cook at and for how long.

Every city has its own fast food urban legend. All of Toronto still mourns the now-closed Parkdale McDonald's, a location so famously weird that the guy who brought in a full desktop computer to watch porn was actually considered one of the better customers. In Long Beach, they swear by Sweet Dixie Kitchen, which was notoriously exposed for buying Popeye's fried chicken, smuggling it in the back door, and reselling it at a slightly higher price. And nobody in Chamblee, Georgia can order Domino's without remembering the time a deranged gunman named Kenneth Noid took two employees hostage, believing that the chain's nationwide "Avoid the Noid" advertising campaign was aimed at him specifically.

Ghost Kitchens

Purely for food delivery, not part of any restaurant. Set up multiple 'brands', each with individ menu, so customers think they are choosing from separate restaurants. No chefs - takes a week to train totally inexperienced unskilled 19 yo to handle dozen different menus. People watch cooking shows not to learn to cook but to choose new meals to order in.

Hotel room cooking - make scarmbled eggs in supermarket plastic bag draped over a boiling kettle. Turn iron up to max and toast bread by pressing down on towel or Gideons Bible (also bacon)

Grief Eating

The Germans have an excellent word for stuffing your face when you feel unhappy - Kummerspeck, literally 'grief-bacon'.

Political Cakes

In 2014, after North Korea banned Choco pies, South Korea airlifted 10,000 of them across the DMZ with balloons.

Vegetable Shapes

A farmer in China has successfully grown pears in the shape of Buddha, and they are in high demand by customers. Xianzhang Hao from China’s Hebei province grew 10,000 of these “Buddha pears” in his backyard, and now he is selling them for $8 each. "These pears are really popular because they represent good luck,” Hao told Sina China. Hao said he got the idea from an old Chinese myth about a magic fruit in the shape of Buddha. Whoever ate that rare fruit would gain immortality. He first started putting pears in the molds when they were still little. As soon as the pears fill up the molds, he would take the molds off and let the pears grow without any constraint. The pears would eventually look like Buddha by the time they ripen.

Buddha is not the only shape of mold that is popular among farmers. A company in China specializes in making plastic fruit molds of all shapes, including square molds for watermelons, star-shaped molds for cucumbers, and heart-shaped molds for tomatoes.

There is a fruit called "Miracle Berry" that, when eaten, causes your taste buds to not detect sour flavor for about half an hour, causing sour foods to taste sweet.

The difference between herbs and spices: herbs come from the leaf of a plant, while spices come from other parts such as roots, bark, and seeds. So cilantro is an herb (coriander leaf) while coriander is a spice (coriander seed).

Annabel Langbein simplifying recipes. Pavlova is basically 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white + an acidic stabilizer (such as creme of tartar or vinegar) to stop pav weeping. Biscuits are just 1 part sugar 2 parts fat 3 parts flour + flavoring.

Nathan Myhrvold new Modernist Bread - kneading totally optional - changes texture slightly and that's about all. And best way to make crusty bread is to make it in a cast iron pot.

Big Eaters

Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of both Charles Darwin and Francis Dalton, was a physician who stressed the power of mind over illness and liberally administered opium to make his patients feel better. He also enjoyed eating, and grew so fat that he had a semicircle cut from his dining table so that he could remain within arms-reach of his food.

Extreme Food

(At the Texas State Fair) People were queuing for an unusual delicacy: balls of butter, dipped in dough and cooked in a vat of boiling oil. Fried butter, in other words. The balls were dusted with a thin coat of powdered sugar. And if that's not enough, you can have it with cherry jam as well ...

Unclear on the Concept: Overlooked by the roundup of "state fair" foods listed in News of the Weird two weeks ago was the debut in June, at California's San Diego County Fair, of the deep-fried Slim-Fast bar. A 200-calorie "diet bar" is breaded in pancake batter, fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with chocolate.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

According to a new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller, Italy produces 300,000 tonnes of olive oil a year. The country's domestic demand is 600,000 tonnes and it exports another 400,000 tonnes, leaving 700,000 tonnes of 'Italian' oil that does not come from Italy.

Get Your Child To Eat

Diane Levy writing in her book They Look So Lovely, described how she had tried to get an unwilling eater to follow theory that if kid didn't eat you kept serving it up until she did, so kept putting out plate of orange segments, toast cubes and cheese cubes. But because she couldn't bear to make her eat dry toast and cheese, whenever she was asleep or not looking, she'd replace then with fresh ones (Kid lasted 36 hrs on water only, then ate - a hollow victory because she, the mother, learnt never to have a food battle again.

Play With Your Food

the antics of medieval French chefs, something he had recently read in an old, old book. He mentioned a dish where a goose that had been plucked alive gets lulled to sleep in the kitchen and made over to look roasted, only to come back to life during the banquet and hop off the table to freak out and amuse the royalty.

Chefs and Restaurants

Gordon Ramsay became notorious with first kitchen doco Boiling Point, in which he managed to use the word 'fuck' as a noun, verb and adjective, and occasionally, as an expletive

Chefs and Restaurants

(Wolfgang Puck) "The Fat Duck was a great surprise. It's not where I would take my kids or go every week, but once in a while, it's a place to totally immerse yourself in the food. Chef Heston Blumenthal presents each meal in a special way: for one course, he gave us a little iPod to listen to the sound of the sea while we ate sashimi. It was served on a beautiful glass plate, and below it was a little sandbox. It's a really different experience."

Private Dining

(Andy Warhol) Progress is very important and exciting in everything but food. I want to start a chain of restaurants for other people like me called ANDY-MATS "The Restaurant for the Lonely Person." You get your food and then you take your tray into a booth and watch television.

Pretend You Cooked

Delivering gourmet meals to customers' doors is a fast-growing business model, but so far, only London's brand-new [as of 2012] Housebites goes the extra step. According to its press release, cited by Huffington Post, Housebites not only home-delivers "restaurant quality" cuisine (at the equivalent of about $20 per entree) but offers an optional dirty-pans service (about $8 extra), lending out the containers in which the food was prepared--thus allowing clients to trick their dinner guests into believing the client actually prepared the meal.

Monty Python

Palin can often feel like a puckish schoolboy — in a restaurant, for instance, when John Cleese, sitting at another table, sends over a half-drunk bottle of mineral water “with the compliments of table 1”, and Palin responds with a half-empty salt dish.

Monty Python

I was hoping it would reveal a large consignment from my favourite Israeli fromagerie: Cheeses of Nazareth

Junk Food

Junk food shrinking Americans - 200 years ago 2" taller than Europeans; now 3" shorter

America's "big 4" rival pizza chains like Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesar's all buy their cheese from the same man: James Leprino. He sells 1 billion pounds of cheese each year.

Because of a surplus of whole milk and milk fat, the USDA has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products, including paying for a $12 million marketing campaign for Domino's to develop a new line of pizzas with 40% more cheese.

More than 30% of the calories and 60% of the fat in the BK Original Chicken Sandwich come from the Mayo alone.

The recipe for Tootsie Rolls calls for the previous day's batch to be mixed in with the new batch each day. Theoretically, this means there's a bit of the very first Tootsie Rolls in every new roll made today. They were created in 1907.

Tofu won't soak up flavours of a cold marinade, but put it in a frypan and the heat acts like a sponge.

Uber Eats delivers to hospitals (and in US, to schools)

A McDonald's Caesar Salad has more calories, fat, and salt than a Double Big Mac burger

Chinese Menus

Collections of comically poor translations are legion, but the Beijing Municipal government, in sympathy with English-speaking restaurant-goers, published a helpful guidebook recently of what the restaurateurs were trying, though inartfully, to say. In an April interview with the authors, NBC News learned the contents of "Hand Shredded A$$ Meat" [sic] (merely donkey meat) and other baffling English descriptions (all taken from actual menus), such as "Cowboy Leg," "Red-Burned Lion Head," "Blow-up Flatfish with No Result," and the very unhelpful "Tofu Made By Woman With Freckles" and "Strange Flavor Noodles."


Parmesan cheese, canned soup, and Doritios have higher concentrations of MSG than Chinese food. Yet (some) people will complain they can't eat Chinese food because of MSG allergies while eating pizza, soups, and Doritios.

Chocolate and Indulgence Food

Babies born to mothers who ate chocolate every day during pregnancy tended to laugh and smile more

Cakes and Indulgence Food

Even if your appetite shrinks at paying $3 or more for one cupcake (I could make a dozen for that), they're still a pretty cheap luxury. Can't afford my mortgage, maybe, but a cupcake? That I can swing. Cupcakes, are "the lipstick of the food world -- a little pick-me-up that people still can afford." At Nelson's shop in Beverly Hills, where about 1,000 cupcakes a day are sold -- not to mention those who-needs-cake "frosting shots" in little paper cups ....

Cakes as 'Art'?

A shop in London's St. Bart's Pathology Museum ran a special sale of cupcakes as part of a sexually transmitted disease awareness campaign. Each cake's icing was crafted to resemble the lesions, boils, and warts of gonorrhea and other maladies.

Indulgence Foods

Sugars and fats in food make people feel better - and reverse: people put on cholesterol lowering drugs/diets cut heart disease deaths but increase the mortality rate from suicides accidents and fights.

Left-handed sugar exists. It is an artificial, mirrored variant of regular glucose which tastes exactly the same but can't be metabolized as normal. As a result, it contains very few calories, can be eaten by diabetics and doesn't promote tooth decay.


What is the most indulgent breakfast in the world? A stack of American pancakes with bacon and syrup is a contender. Or "hagelslag" - the Dutch insanity of serving multicoloured cake sprinkles on toast - which quite blew my kids' minds. But in Sicily I believe I found the world champion: granita con brioche. Ice cream that you spoon on to a sweet bun. For breakfast. How can this even be legal.

Waste Not, Want Not

Because We Can, That's Why: Two one-time roommates at the University of Michigan announced in August that they have developed a smartphone app to accommodate the questionable number of people who seek an easy way to share leftover food on restaurant plates (to save it from wasteful discarding). Using smartphones' location service, one diner could offer to clean another's plate or have a stranger rush to his own table for scraps. "We're not gonna make millions," one of the developers told NPR in July

Prize Vegetables

"Green-fingered residents" can show off their hard work each year at the Quedgeley Show in Gloucestershire, England, entering arrangements of colorful, plump garden-grown vegetables. However, attendance has been off in recent years, reported the Western Daily Press, leaving the show's future in doubt--until organizers announced that this year, to increase the number of entries, supermarket-bought vegetables could be submitted.


Nigella Lawson, British TV cook, reckoned her favourite dessert was deep fried bounty bars

Foot long choc eclairs

Thai Rolled Ice Cream - creme anglais poured onto a chilled sheet, mixed with toppings, then scraped off in a roll.

Dipping dots - ice cream flash frozen with liquid nitrogen at -300°

Nigella 2

She was interviewed on spoof tv program - "You might think I'm deliberately trying to make food sensual, but it's all in your mind - I'm just a cook (licks spoon sensuously), using modern appliances (stirs mix with a vibrator), with a well-stocked pantry (opens cupboard to reveal male studs in g strings..)

Nigella 3

I don't do sauce, says Nigella. Posing for a photographer with a salty caramel sauce dripping down her face, Nigella Lawson has denied that her work is erotic. What's more, she says she has never used a double entendre in her life. Of course you haven't, Nigella dear.

Next week: our favourite television cook gets out her baps and gives tips on how to get a good stuffing this Christmas.

Nigella 4

After Nigella's cooking show became a hit in US, Martha Stewart, perhaps worried at the competition, referred to her as "whats-her-name who's married to the Saatchi". Nigella replied " I'm sorry that even though she's so great and successful she has to disparage someone els. It's not necessary, but everyone has insecurities. You should try to keep them to yourself and behave in a confident way."

Everyone shd learn to cook. So many people are basically living off field rations, bc that's what can be preserved cheaply. Continually see obese people who are malnourished.

Scientific Cooking

Some of the physics is quite basic: it had never occurred to me that the reason many foods go from uncooked to burned at such speed is that light-colored foods reflect heat better than dark: "As browning reactions begin, the darkening surface rapidly soaks up more and more of the heat rays. The increase in temperature accelerates dramatically." The science is obvious, once it's pointed out.

Sous vide

Frozen food may soon be on par with anything you can get at a three-star restaurant. Sous vide - a process in which food is heated over a very long period in a low-temperature water bath - has been used in high-end restaurants for more than a decade. (Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud were early proponents.) But the once-rarefied technique is becoming mass market. Cuisine Solutions, the company that pioneered sous vide (Keller hired it to train his chefs), now supplies food to grocery stores and the U.S. military. Your local Costco or Wegmans may sell perfectly cooked sous vide lamb shanks, osso buco or turkey roulade. Unlike most meals in the freezer aisle, sous vide food can be reheated in a pot of boiling water and still taste as if it were just prepared. And because sous vide makes it almost impossible to overcook food, it's perfect for the home cook. Fortunately, sous vide machines are becoming more affordable. 'It's like the microwave was 30 years ago,' Keller says.

In Middle Ages they had perpetual stews. Just simmering all time each day veges and protein added. Examples known that had been going for 60 years.

Competitive Eating Contests and Gluttony

American Glutton Bowl - International Fed of Competitive Eating - national tour circuit like tennis or golf - who can eat most in least time - 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes - initial TV audience of 7m viewers

A skinny person can actually eat more food than an obese person. While it runs counter to logic, obese people have more fat in their midsection and around their organs. A skinny person lacks this which allows their stomachs to expand further. This is why many competitive eaters are so skinny.

Chocolate and Dieting

Chocolate truffles pave the road to diet hell, says a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Miami University psychologists caution that eating one small posh choccy can trash your dietary resolve by inducing strong cravings for more sugary and fatty foods, such as pizza and ice-cream. The researchers studied volunteers who were either encouraged to eat the truffles or were asked to resist them. They found that eating truffles unconsciously activated a goal of indulgence in people, making them crave more stodge. People who were asked to resist the treat went on to act far more health-consciously. You may want to resist small acts of indulgence, knowing that they can lead to larger ones, the report's authors recommend.


Spaghetti Boll tastes a lot better with grated chocolate than grated cheese

Hot Chilli Food We Eat Now

TASTELESS, colourless, odourless and painful, pure capsaicin is a curious substance. It does no lasting damage, but the body's natural response to even a modest dose (such as that found in a chili pepper) is self-defence: sweat pours, the pulse quickens, the tongue flinches, tears may roll. But then something else kicks in: pain relief. The bloodstream floods with endorphins - the closest thing to morphine that the body produces. The result is a high. And the more capsaicin you ingest, the bigger and better it gets. Which is why the diet in the rich world is heating up. Hot chilies, once the preserve of aficionados with exotic tastes for cuisine from places such as India, Thailand or Mexico, are now a staple ingredient in everything from ready meals to cocktails.

One reason is that globalisation has raised the rich world's tolerance to capsaicin. What may seem unbearably hot to those reared on the bland diets of Europe or the Anglosphere half a century ago is just a pleasantly spicy dish to their children and grandchildren, whose student years were spent scoffing cheap curries or nacho chips with salsa.

Uber Eats: one guy tried107 restaurants last year. Another used UE 438 times in a year. New Scientist artice suggested meal delivery services reduce amount food waste bc exact protions, and bc fully uses herbs and other ingredients that rarely get fully used in individ kitchens.

NY everyone lives on takeouts. Kids order breakfast and lunch delivered to their schools. The truly brazen order takeouts to another restaurant if they don't like what their friends are ordering. Absolute prize went to the guy who ordered pizzas to a Shakespeare in the Park production abt women starving in a concentration camp.

Guy got in an argument with manager of Pizza Hut and he refused to serve them. So he pulls out his phone .... 20 minutes later a Dominos pizza arrives.

In NY bagels technically have no calories bc they're usually eaten running for the train.

Wait Staff

JUST the thing for those who want a salad without the dressing: London restaurant Bunyadi is hiring “experienced, passionate and hard working” staff who will need to be confident, as “not only will the food be pure, clean and naked, the customers and you will also be naked”.

Weapons for the 21st Century:

Thousands of farmers in the northeastern India state of Assam are growing the world's hottest chili peppers and selling them to the army to make weapons, reported London's The Guardian in a July dispatch. One expert said a "few drops" of "bhut jolokia" "could make you senseless." Blasting a container of it into a terrorist hideout, he said, would "make them all drop their guns" after "just one breath." (Bhut jolokia has also been used traditionally to repel elephant attacks.)

GM Food

"I find it surprising that groups that are very supportive of science when it comes to global climate change, or even, for the most part, in the appreciation of the value of vaccination in preventing human disease, yet can be so dismissive of the general views of scientists when it comes to something as important as the world's agricultural future." From WaPo: 107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs.


You could do worse than adopt Warren Buffett's strategy on losing weight: When his children were young, he'd write them cheques for $10,000, payable on a certain date if he weighed more than an agreed amount. They never got to cash those cheques. He preferred to lose weight rather than money.


There's one reason humans can gain weight with just an extra half-muffin a day: we almost instantly store most of the calories we don't need in our regular ("white") fat cells. All this helps explain why our herculean exercise over the past 30 years - all the personal trainers, StairMasters and VersaClimbers; all the Pilates classes and yoga retreats and fat camps - hasn't made us thinner. After we exercise, we often crave sugary calories like those in muffins or in "sports" drinks like Gatorade. A standard 20-oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 130 calories. If you're hot and thirsty after a 20-minute run in summer heat, it's easy to guzzle that bottle in 20 seconds, in which case the caloric expenditure and the caloric intake are probably a wash. From a weight-loss perspective, you would have been better off sitting on the sofa knitting.

Scales that tweet your weight


what a remarkable human achievement it is to have nearly seven billion people on the planet and more of them overweight than malnourished.

In due course, the obesity problem will be solved, I suspect. The ultra-rich have already solved it. Most of them are very thin these days, quite unlike in ancient times. That's because they can afford the solutions that work for them, from low-carb diets to personal trainers.

Fat People

There is a group of guys that date fat girls - psychological explanation that they pick women who are never going to chase another man - 2 sub-groups: 'enablers' and 'feeders' - the former do nothing to stop their women overeating; the latter get in with a shovel!

Thin People

News updates from Kim Jong-un's North Korea: In March, a South Korean ecology organization reported that the traditional winter migration of vultures from China was, unusually, skipping over North Korea, headed directly for the South--apparently because of the paucity of animal corpses (according to reports, a major food source for millions of North Koreans). And in June, the Global Nutrition Report (which criticized the U.S. and 13 other countries for alarming obesity rates) praised North Korea for its "progress" in having fewer adults with "body mass index" over 30)

Fat People

Dionne Washington, a model from Texas, says she earns more than $90,000 a year by showing off what she claims is the world's largest backside. It's 5ft 3in wide, weighs 22 stone and takes 9,000 calories a day to keep in shape. "I am literally sitting on a fortune," said Washington, who is only 5ft 4in tall. "The more I eat, the bigger this beauty gets." Washington now runs a website with more than 15,000 fans, but her bottom is not always such a big asset. "I hate shopping in supermarket aisles that have displays sticking out, as I end up knocking them over," she admitted. And flying can be a problem: "One time I got stuck in the toilet and the air hostess had to pull me out."

Healthy Food and Advertising

In the kitchens we're shown how the testers were offered chicken and mushroom burgers, identical except that one was labelled healthy, another new and the third made with the welfare of the chickens in mind. The men chose new, the women welfare. Another set of testers were asked which burger had more taste: the welfare burger won. With these sort of details a manufacturer can smell money.

Special Chinese Restaurants

Though several restaurants in Asia had reportedly been offering delicacies made from various animals' genitals (touted for alleged virility-enhancement), the first restaurant exclusively serving such dishes, the Guolizhuang, in Beijing, opened in September 2006. The staff's nutritionist told BBC News that sheep, horse, ox, and seal penises are good for "circulation" and that donkey penis improves the skin. Tiger, she cautioned, even though premium-priced, has no special nutritional value, but snakes (which have "two penises each," she said) are great for sexual potency

In Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood in September, the stylish Eat restaurant began reserving certain nights' meals to be experienced in total silence. On opening night, a Wall Street Journal reporter noted one throat-clearing and a muffled sneeze but barely any other human sound. Some diners were won over; another said it felt like "being 50 and married."

Extreme Food

Grand Scale Turducken: During Elizabeth I's reign, swan was a popular feast dish, especially when stuffed with the carcasses of 9 other birds.

Horrible Food

Among the foods "you wouldn't even eat if trapped on a desert island": canned cheeseburger (Germany), canned whole chicken (Sweet Sue brand of USA), canned peanut butter and jelly sandwich (Mark One Foods of USA), canned bacon (Hungary), Squeeze Bacon (in a plastic jar like ketchup, from Vilhelm Lilleflask of Sweden), whole, peeled lamb tongues (New Zealand), and Elephant Dung Beer (from excreted coffee beans by Japan's Sankt Gallen). Also mentioned: Casu Marzu (cheese containing live maggots that the food's few fans swear makes its taste irresistible.

Convenience Food In A Can

A Swiss company has created this easy eating solution. It's an all-beef patty, lettuce, tomato and cheese on a sesame seed bun - sold in a can that retails for about 5 bucks and can stay fresh for up to a year! (And it looks as bad as you might think)

Food Allergies and Intolerances

Though allergies or intolerances (and recognition of them) do appear to be on the rise, there are far more people who erroneously think they have problems with specific foods. "Every study has shown that the perception of having a food allergy is more often wrong than right," says Robert Wood, a pediatric allergist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Only about 25% of people who think they have a food allergy will actually have one."

Surrender Food

Boris Yeltsin, former Russian premier. His wife said she was going to take him home and make him fish dumplings. One commentator interpreted that as the ultimate surrender


The latest in eyewear by YSL? Not quite. But if you're a cook, these onion goggles might be even better. Not to be found at Bergdorf, I came across these $19.95 beauties in the King Arthur Flour catalog. According to Harold McGee in "On Food and Cooking", one trick to reducing tears is to chill onions in ice water for 30 minutes. A sharp knife also helps. (The cleaner the cut, the less it bruises the onion and releases chemicals that end up in your eyes and nose.) Throw on these goggles and you could be on a beach in Mexico, the slopes of Colorado or in chopping heaven. Placing a clothespin on your nose or donning swim goggles might also do the job. A snorkeling mask that shields both your nose and eyes would probably work the best. Comfortable? I think not. Chic? No way. Not like these neon green onion shades.

Organic Food

"In my experience the [comments of the] organic food, antivaccine and homeopathy movements are unusually hateful and generally revolve around bizarre allegations that you covertly represent some financial or corporate interest. I do not; but I do think it reveals something about their own motives that they can only conceive of a person holding a position as a result of financial self-interest."

Organic Food

His linking of the organic movement with homeopathy is telling. They are cults masquerading as science, rather like the creationists of America's Bible Belt - but at least the latter have the self-awareness to acknowledge their opinions are based on faith. The organic movement, philosophically, is based on an inchoate faith in nature, seeing any human interference with nature as in some way bad and destructive of the 'roots' of creation

Manufactured Food

Manhattan's New York Sushi Ko is only the most recent sophisticated restaurant to feature creative dishes made with Hormel Spam, and gourmets and hipsters in fashionable neighborhoods have flocked to the foods. Spam is a well-known delicacy in Hawaii, and the New York facilities offer the island's musubi (fried Spam, rice, seaweed) and other Spam fried rice bowls with seared ahi and flourishes of fresh pineapple, according to an April report on Sushi Ko's chef playfully acknowledges that his contents are fresh--"fresh from the can" and sourced locally - "from the nearest bodega."


Perth waitress fired - diner complained that not enough meat on a dish - she brought it back with dead mouse on it


A BIZARRE hospital-themed restaurant in Latvia is serving food resembling body parts with surgical utensils. Decked out in a sterile, modern medical environment and boasting scantily clad nurses, the Hospitalis in Riga serves hearty Latvian dishes and a macabre cake topped with realistic-looking body parts such as fingers, noses and tongues. Served on gurneys and operating tables, the restaurant provides diners with cutlery such as syringes, tweezers and scalpels to devour their meals. Owned by a group of local doctors, Hospitalis also has a trendy cocktail bar where bartenders in white lab coats mix drinks into beakers and test tubes. Guests are treated to disturbing dinner entertainment including morbid tunes on violins, while deranged patients are escorted through the restaurant in straightjackets and wheelchair

Cooks and Barbeques

75 year old in Gangzhou upset neighbors by cooking topless on her balcony - even though neighbors complained she refused to stop

Food To Go

Dashboard dining as the modern society demands - workers commuting, soccer mums delivering - a new market for meals convenient to eat in the car - so, yogurt in squeeze tubes, mini biscuits in cans to fit in the drinks holder - cars with 16 drink holders, including square ones for tetra packs

Raw Food

It's not known for sure yet whether Nestle Toll House cookies are to blame for an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened at least 66 people in 28 states, but it seems likely. "Many" of the afflicted people had eaten raw Toll House cookie dough. Nestle has recalled the refrigerated product and warned people against eating it raw, as incredibly delicious as it might be. Raw cookie dough is, to many of us, tastier than the cookies themselves, but Nestle advises on its packages that people shouldn't eat it raw.

Food Trends - What We Eat Now

Until 1960's Australians cooked "meat and 3 veg" just like British forebears - now the most common meal is spaghetti bolognaise - and in Britain the most common meal is a curry (and the Europeans complain about the "cultural imperialism" of McDonalds and KFC!

(On Facebook, KFC! just follows the 5 spice girls and 6 random guys named Herb

Chicago has a Global McDonalds, featuring menu items from McD all over world. For $35 you can order one of everything - HK spicy chicken sandwich, Australian cheese fries, Canadian Angus burger, Brazil McFlurry (vanilla soft serve with strawberry sauce and choc cocnut bits).

Growing Food

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) asked visitors to Chelsea Flower Show to donate clean unwanted bras, boxer shorts and jockey pants for its summer Grow Your Own campaign."Due to their conical shape, bras are ideal containers for turning into hanging baskets, and if you sew two together, you have what is best described as a 'hanging bra-sket'. Once filled with compost you can grow salad leaves, herbs, alpine strawberries and even tumbling cherry tomatoes in them; the bigger the bra the more you can grow. But the serious message behind the 'bra-skets' is that you do not need a lot of space or even a lot of money to start growing your own food - just a bit of imagination."

Fried Foods

Sometimes dismissed as an urban legend, an earlier survey of 627 fish-and-chip shops in Scotland, published in The Lancet, showed that 22 per cent sold deep-fried Mars bars, with average weekly sales of 23 bars per shop.

"The deep fryer's here. I got it used from the Navy. You could flash fry a buffalo in forty seconds." Moe
"Forty seconds? But I want it now!" Homer Simpson

Diets and Fat People

During 1990's only group people anywhere in world apart from famine victims who are known to have got thinner were rich Brazilian women - not so odd that these ladies managed to curb appetites, but that no other group succumbed to combination of government advice and media pressure to get thin

Diets and Fat People

One in eight obese patients who have gastric bypass surgery to stop overeating are developing new compulsive behaviours instead. A study of the first 100 patients in Loughlinstown hospital who underwent the procedure - which closes off a portion of the stomach and bypasses part of the intestine - discovered that 13 of them swapped compulsive eating for other addictions, including alcoholism, heavy smoking, shoplifting and even compulsive oil painting

Diets and Fat People

The texture of food you eat matters almost as much as the number of calories. Study in Japan fed rats calorie-identical food pellets, but one group got hard ones and other got softer ones which were much easier to chew and digest. After 22 weeks the rats on the soft food diet were obese with signif more abdominal fat than control group.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Information Science and Technology have developed goggles that can enlarge the image of a bite of food so that the eater might fool himself into thinking he has consumed more than he has (and thus, that his hunger might dissipate sooner). The software is so sophisticated, they said, that the food carrier (a fork, or the eater's hand) is not transformed and appears at normal size. In basic tests, according to a June Agence France-Presse report, a 50 percent increase in imagined cookie size reduced actual consumption by 9 percent.

Just The Facts

"None of the research is definitive. To really know ... would take the kinds of studies we can't actually run in real life. But you can't have no advice, so this is the best advice from the data that is available and may not be very useful." In other words, the federal government is out with its latest set of dietary guidelines. Bottom line. If you like eggs, eat them nonstop until the next time the dietary guidelines are released.


People buying huge numbers of cookbooks - possibly because people buy books about hobbies, and that's what cooking is - no longer a chore


A group of recently published cookbooks touting imaginative dishes served by world-renowned chefs includes Ferran Adria's volume on just his everyday fare at the world's top-rated elBulli in Spain. Probably too complex for home cooking are the parmesan ice cream sandwiches, quail eggs with crispy caramel coating, calamari tube ravioli with coconut gel, and especially the preserved tuna-oil air (to create foam). However, for about $250, wannabes can purchase Adria's "Sferificacion MiniKit" with utensils and guidance on more manageable possibilities, such as watermelon soup with tomato spheres.

Bad Cookbook

Australian cookbook Pasta Bible, with 200 recipes all including "freshly ground black pepper", had to be recalled and pulped bc one of the recipes had "freshly ground black people".

Farming Food

In one of the chapters of the book, (Economic Gangsters, Economic Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations) the authors show how witch killings are related to crop failure. These killings don't happen at random. Witch murders are overwhelmingly concentrated in years when bad weather and crop failure cause farm incomes to plummet. The result is that older women are accused of being witches and murdered so that the others have a greater chance of surviving.


Kitchen facilities increasingly for display - kitchen as theatre - Viking stoves now de rigeur, with twice heat of other stoves - but 75% never used

Diets and Dieting

Web site which tells you how much exercise you'll have to do to 'pay' for various indulgences

Americans eating dessert for breakfast.

Diets and Dieting

Exercise as much as you can to keep healthy, but if you want to lose weight look at what you eat instead.The case that diet is more influential than exercise in weight loss has been demonstrated by Loyola University researchers, who compared African-American women in Chicago to women in Nigeria. The Nigerian women were significantly lighter but an analysis found that physical activity in both groups was almost exactly the same. What differed was their diets - 40 per cent fat in Chicago, but mainly roughage and carbs in Nigeria. Decreased physical activity may not be the primary driver of the obesity epidemic, the study says.

Watching a horror movie may burn nearly 200 calories in 90 minutes


The average cook has 1000 recipes on file but ever only cooks about 35 of them

School Food

School aide in Pennsylvania was suspended for giving children dog treats and telling them they were cookies. But on the plus side, the children have much shinier coats.

Pies and Tarts

Thank you for all your observations on pies and tarts, or for the ones on pies, at least. Christina Thomson Jones says: "I come from Ripon, North Yorkshire, and agree with you entirely that tarts have bottoms and pies have tops." That was reassuring, but Guy Rusling wasn't sure about my optional bottom theory. "The first law in the 'pie/not a pie book of laws' is that a pie, sweet or savoury, must have both a top and a bottom."

Julian Tubbs had a further refinement. "I think you missed one point about pies made with pastry, which is that the top should be cooked on top of the contents, not apart. Other pies, such as cottage and shepherd's, manage without pastry, so probably the only real requirement is that they are made in a pie dish, whatever one of those is."

Some Lighter Conversation Starters about Food

Dinner parties, like life, should be about cherishing the people you care about (Ruth Pretty)
The best host always the most gracious and generous (Somerset Maugham)
Should eat wisely but not too well; should talk well, but not too wisely
It's better to light one candle than to have to clean a whole room
If we are what we eat, I'm easy fast and cheap
Could never understand what he saw in her till saw her eating corn on the cob
He had flabby thighs but fortunately his pot belly covers them

For Christmas it's most authentic if you shoot your own turkeys Blam! Blam! And it's great! everyone in supermarket just stares at you!
If we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made of meat?
Kitchen closed due to illness - I'm sick of cooking
I've prepped the turkey - plucked it and stuffed it - all you have to do is kill it and cook it
I always take her to the best restaurants - someday I may take her inside
Picked up book called Great Chefs of Ireland turned out to be 1 page pamphlet - it said "Try another country!"
Suggestion that the English invented travel to get away from their cooking

Some Lighter Conversation Starters about Food and Dieting

Her idea of a balanced diet was a cup-cake in each hand
Seize the moment - think of all those women on the Titanic who waved away the dessert trolley
Inside every fat woman is a thin woman trying to get out - but she can usually be sedated with chocolate
Now that food has replaced sex in my life can't even get into my own pants
Went to this conference for food abusers. It was a nightmare. The bullemics ate the anorexics. But it was OK, they were back 10 minutes later

"Vegetarian" is from an old Indian word meaning "doesn't hunt well"

Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet
She was on seafood diet - see food and she'd eat it
I'm on 30 day diet so far I've lost 15 days
Eat as much as you like - just don't swallow it
Most dangerous food of all is wedding cake

Second day of diet usually better than first because by 2nd day you've given up
Billy Connolly reckoned only thing you needed to know about formal dinner parties was that the cutlery worked the same as foreplay; you start on the outside and work your way in
No such thing as a free lunch; there are, however, better places to eat
The trouble with eating Italian food is that 4 or 5 days later, you're hungry again
A fruit is a vegetable with looks. Plus, if you let it rot, it turns into wine, something brussel sprouts will never do
Dinner had 2 dramatic features - wine was a farce and food was a tragedy

Refuse service to drunks, why not the obese? "Another dessert? I don't think so porky"
Had one of those fridges that go "oink oink" every time opened door? Made me want pork chops
" ... and 50lbs of fat apron..."
Cold leftovers from last week's turd buffet
Dali Lama quote "Why do the rich need so much? We each have only one stomach. Well, not you" he says, looking at my belly "You appear to have two."

More Serious Conversation Topics About Food

Changing attitude to fat people now others are realizing that we are subsidizing their medical costs - belief that fatness is under individual control or is it mostly genetic?

Dinner on Death Row. What would you have for your last meal? (Someone produced photographic essay of what real convicts ordered - mostly prosaic: dozen hot dogs and can coke; 2 packets Kellogg's frosted flakes)

Interesting take on Super Size Me reviewer saw it as snobbery - real target the people who eat at McDonalds - the fat stupid unthinking classes showing their (lack of) moral character "in the faux class war between the anti-McDonalds campaigners and the McMasses, I'm on the side of the Happy Eaters every time

There was a young fellow named Fred
Adept at getting girls into bed
But by and large
He much preferred Marge
Because Marge was so easy to spread


Book Extracts on Food

William Flew Client 1 William Flew Client 2 William Flew Client 3 William Flew Client 4 William Flew Client 5