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HOW did McDonald’s get such a shitty new mascot? (A ‘true enough’ story)
09:20 am



According to McDonald’s website...

McDonald’s USA is offering guests new reasons to feel good about the fun and the food at McDonald’s with the addition of a new yogurt side option for kids and a Happy Meal brand ambassador.

This terrifying new brand ambassador is called “Happy” (which, of course, is only coincidentally the same name as Pharrell’s ineluctable juggernaut). On the twitterverse people are already joking that “this is the meal that eats you!” and so on. It’s a pretty hilarious example of corporate self-hypnosis.

Perhaps you’re wondering: How on earth did they ever think that box with teeth would do anything but terrify children? Well, as a denizen of big corporate culture for a number of years now, I’ll bet I can take a pretty good guess at what happened:

1. Several years ago, an older, very high-level McDonald’s exec figured that the Ronald McDonald character was getting a little dated. A little long in the tooth. Even Ronald’s break-dancing and fist-bumping was getting old. So he called a meeting with a bunch of the young energetic MBA sub-execs and commanded them in no uncertain terms to come up with something “new” and “hip” because the public was no longer being charmed by the sight of a ginger clown selling them processed meat products.

2. Hoping the older exec would eventually forget, the MBAs commissioned a series of marketing studies that, a couple of years and a few millions of dollars later, culminated in some zany, purple, googly-eyed mascot that, while not exactly registering off-the-scales consumer-wise, was not hated or despised either.

3. The MBAs showed the senior exec images of their proposed mascot along with specially-selected customer testimonials, but the exec hated the proposed mascot and told them to come up with something completely different.

4. Of course, the MBAs were out of ideas and a veritable parade of potential new mascots all tested in the single-digits customer-approval-wise. As the weeks and months went by and the senior exec grew more irritable, the junior execs grew more and more desperate, while maneuvering into trying to lay blame on each other for the delay as well as the crappiness of the original purple googly-eyed mascot. After a night of serious drinking, however, they grabbed a guy from the graphics department to help them. After a while, one of them suggested that they simply stick arms and legs onto a happy meal and use the “golden arches” as eyebrows. An enormous gaping maw was probably considered a little too scary-looking so they gave it teeth. Since it was well past midnight the MBAs agreed to work together to sell the idea to the senior exec, even if none of them was honestly all that hot on it.

5. The next day, fighting reasonably bad hangovers, the MBAs worked hard to sell their idea, claiming that “Happy” (as the new mascot was to be called) was not terrifying at all, but had “tested strongly in the key demographics” (of course, “tested strongly” meant fear, confusion, or out-and-out hatred, but they didn’t tell the senior exec that). They argued that “Happy” would be the centerpiece of a “surround sound” strategy and that Pharrell himself was days away from selling them exclusive rights to his song.

6. Though somewhat dubious, the senior exec was reasonably placated and gave approval to “Happy” as the new mascot. None of the MBAs, of course, really like “Happy” all that much so they’ve kept his introduction pretty quiet and, after a few months, will even more quietly phase ol’ “Happy” out.

And there you have it: The birth of a shitty corporate trademark.

And in case you’re wondering: Yeah, corporate culture really works like that.

Below, the WSJ weighs in on the controversial new McDonald’s mascot…

Earthworm lemon tart and squirrel crostini: Gourmet dishes made from ‘invasive species’
07:28 am



Grey Squirrel: squirrel crostini, white mulberry, goat cheese, hazelnut & purslane
What constitutes luxury is most certainly subjective, but it’s usually connected to rarity or scarcity, or at least the perception thereof. For example, beautiful pearls can be created through farming technology, but people pay way more for natural, rather than cultured. Diamonds aren’t particularly rare either, but De Beers controls output, manufacturing scarcity to control prices. Sell the common as fancy is the real challenge, but photographer Christopher Testani, food stylist Michelle Gatton and art director Mason Adams believe it can be done.

Invasive Species is a photo series of just that—non-indigenous animals upsetting the balance of their new habitats—prepared and plated to gourmet presentation. Some of it doesn’t look half bad, but I’m a little skeptical of its wider appeal. Gatton hopes that we might “reclaim our role as predators and not consumers to restore balance in nature.” It’s a noble goal, Louisianans have been trying to make Nutria meat happen for years. It’s lean, delicious and comparable to rabbit, but the meat of a giant swamp rat is a hard sell for most folks. Maybe all they need is an artsier presentation?

Nutria: nutria sausage gumbo, tiger shrimp, bell pepper & black rice

Canadian Goose: goose leg confit, autumnberry sauce, sweet potato mash

Jellyfish: peanut butter jellyfish, wakame & salted cucumber salad

Wild Boar: wild boar ribs, celery root & watercress

Periwinkles: steamed periwinkles in calvados cream broth

Lionfish: lionfish ceviche, wild fennel & red onion

Earthworm: lemon curd tart in chocolate & earthworm crust, crispy earthworm topping
Via feature shoot

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Lemmy is God: Image of Motörhead leader’s face appears on pancake
08:00 am



Yesterday Motörhead tweeted an image of what appears to Lemmy on a pancake. There’s no backstory to where the Lemmy pancake came from. Perhaps a fan sent it to them?

All hail the Lemmy pancake!!!

Via Cherrybombed

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Andy Kaufman’s bizarre ‘My Dinner with Andre’ parody
05:12 am



In 1981, the Louis Malle-directed My Dinner with Andre was released to instant and lasting acclaim. The daring film had almost no conventional narrative, and revolved entirely around a lengthy and intense dinner conversation between old friends played by theater director Andre Gregory and the absolutely wonderful actor/playwright Wallace Shawn. (If for nothing else, you surely know him as “Vizzini” in The Princess Bride. If you haven’t read his work, maybe consider giving his Essays collection a whirl, for starters. He is quite brilliant.) Thanks to the charm of the two performers and the compelling content of the conversation, this risky and limited conceit worked.

Given its massive critical success and utterly distinctive character, the film has been parodied and used as a punchline countless times across all media. A favorite of mine was a throwaway sight gag in a 1993 Simpsons episode which showed the effete Martin Prince character playing a My Dinner with Andre arcade game.

But perhaps the very first parody/homage/whatever to emerge was the Andy Kaufman gem My Breakfast With Blassie. Where Andre featured a perceptive meaning-of-life debate between two patrician theater mavens in an elegant Manhattan restaurant, My Breakfast with Blassie presented two wrestlers—Kaufman, who was immersed in his bizarre late-career wrestling phase at the time (thus the neck brace), and actual legendary wrestling world figure “Classy” Freddie Blassie—spending an hourlong and oft-interrupted chat burnishing their own egos and griping about germs and the banality of small-talk over greasy food in a noisy, homely diner. You also get to see Blassie totally beat Dr. Atkins to the low-carb punch. The film was released direct to videocassette in late 1983, only months before Kaufman’s death from cancer. It’s been reissued on DVD twice, once in 2000, bundled with the I’m From Hollywood documentary about Kaufman’s wrestling exploits, and on its own in 2009. It turned up on YouTube last week, so you can see it right here if you like, but you might want to watch it soon, in case it gets yanked.

After the jump, Kaufman and Blassie talking about the project on Late Night with David Letterman...

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘It’s Pie Face!’: Hasbro’s sadomasochistic kids’ game, 1968
08:58 am



What’s more fun than humiliating yourself in front of friends and family with a self-inflicted pie in your face?

“Pie Face,” made by Hassenfeld Bros (now Hasbro) in 1968, was a cream pie game version of Russian roulette. placed a whipped cream “pie” on the launcher, then took turns spinning to find out how many times to crank the launcher’s handles. It was randomly set to let the pie fly into the player’s face, positioned within the target.

According to the box “Pie Face” is “The most fun-filled action GAME you’ve ever played!”

The “loser” of this variation on the Russian roulette theme is kind of the winner, though, ‘cause at least they get to eat some pie and not die.

The whole “goo in the face” aspect of the song lyrics in the “Pie Face” commercial jingle would probably have to be revisited if they ever revive this game… And what’s a “mystery handle” aside from a great name for a punk band?

Via Tracy’s Toys and h/t Richard Swanson

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Salvador Dali’s cookbook is every bit as insane as you would expect it to be
08:28 am



Dali's cookbook
Front view and back view
In 1973, French publisher Felicie put out a remarkable “cookbook” (quotation marks are important here) by the great Surrealist master Salvador Dalí. It delivers everything you would expect from such a volume: visual flair, a winking sense of humor, a disregard for accepted norms, and a heightened feeling for the absurd. The book was called Les Diners de Gala—I think the idea here is a conflation of a “gala dinner” and his wife, whose name, of course, was Gala.
Dali's cookbook
According to one source, only 400 copies of the cookbook were ever printed, although it’s difficult to say whether that was actually the case or not—a copy is always on eBay—it’s possible that Dalí was merely trying to foster an air of mysterious exclusivity. The hefty volume has become quite the collector’s item; prices on Amazon range from $300 to $490. Let’s take a look at the table of contents, which I’ll leave untranslated:

1. Les caprices pincés princiers (Exotic Dishes)
2. Les cannibalismes de l’automne (Eggs - Seafood)
3. Les suprêmes de malaises lilliputiens (Entrées)
4. Les entre-plats sodomisés (Meats)
5. Les spoutniks astiqués d’asticots statistiques (Snails - Frogs)
6. Les panaches panachés (Fish - Shellfish)
7. Les chairs monarchiques (Game - Poultry)
8. Les montres molles 1/2 sommeil (Pork)
9. L’atavisme désoxyribonucléique (Vegetables)
10. Les “je mange GALA” (Aphrodisiacs)
11. Les pios nonoches (Sweets - Desserts)
12. Les délices petits martyrs (Hors-d’oeuvres)

I don’t know what most of that means, but I do know that the title of chapter 10, dedicated to “Aphrodisiacs,” translates to “I eat GALA,” so right there in the table of contents you already have a bald reference to oral sex. Well done!
Dali's cookbook
In the book Dalí discusses his loathing for a certain leafy green vegetable: “I only like to eat what has a clear intelligible form. If I hate that detestable degrading vegetable called spinach, it is because it is shapeless, like Liberty.”

In 2011, two noted Minnesota dance troupes, Ballet of the Dolls and Zorongo Flamenco, put on a staged piece in Minneapolis called “Dali’s Cookbook: A Gastronomical Inquisition” that was inspired by the cookbook.
After the jump, a cocktail recipe and a bunch more pics from the book…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Chewy calamari turns out to be a condom
06:06 am



A diner at a restaurant in Anhui province, China, was halfway through her seafood platter when she discovered the squid was incredibly “rubbery.” Mai Liang was disgusted to discover that this chewy calamari was actually a contraceptive.

“It was disgusting. My first horrific thought was: Is it used?” explained Ms. Liang. “Imagine my horror when I turned it over with my fork and it turned out to be a contraceptive.”

If this isn’t enough to give you the dry heaves, events took an even more bizarre twist when restaurant manager Yi Ze Teng picked up the condom and swallowed the offending item whole to stop furthering the argument with her customers! Ms. Ze Teng believes they had deliberately placed the condom in the seafood dish in order to claim a free meal:

“They said if I ate the condom, they would leave the matter, so I swallowed it.”

Perhaps that should have settled the argument, but the diners have now hired a lawyer to sue for compensation.
Via Metro

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Japanese cafe seats solo diners with stuffed animals to ward off loneliness
07:08 am



Moomin Cafe
Oh, Japan. Will you never stop coming up with ingenious, adorable, and/or strange practices that confound Westerners? At the Moomin Café chain, which is dedicated to a series of popular picture books from Finland that are also very popular in Japan, it is apparently the policy to seat a large stuffed animal at the tables of unaccompanied guests.

The Moomin characters are cute and hippopotamus-like, and the cafe is decorated in the style of the book series. The characters are awfully damn cute, and have names like Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Sniff, Snufkin, and so on. It’s a little as if you cross-bred the Teletubbies and the characters from Babar the Elephant, but I confess I don’t know the series well. Here’s a delicious entrée with the rice shaped like a Moomin character.
Moomin rice
Twitter user Haruo99 recently visited the Tokyo Dome City LaQua branch, and as she awaited the arrival of her food order, a staff member materialized who informed her that someone would like to sit with her, if she didn’t object. It soon emerged that this was a reference to the Snork Maiden, girlfriend of Moomintroll. “The waitress had such a big smile on her face, I couldn’t say no,” Haru recalls. “But it was also so cute!”
Snork Maiden
The policy of providing solo patrons with mute, inanimate (albeit cute) partners is neither new nor exclusive to this branch; the policy has been in place since the café opened in 2003. “Guests to Moominhouse are welcomed by the Moomin family,” according to a spokesperson from the company’s PR department. As RocketNews24 reports, the service is “also available at the Moomin Cafes at Solamachi entertainment complex at the base of the Tokyo Skytree, and also the Canal City shopping center in Fukuoka. Stuffed versions of Moomintroll, Moominpappa, Moominmamma, and Snork Maiden are standing by at all three locations, and the roster grows to six at Tokyo Dome City where the oddly-named characters Sniff and Stinky are also available to share your table with.”

Only in Japan would they invent the practice of supplying you with a temporary friend named “Stinky” to make you less self-conscious!

Here’s the opening sequence from the Japanese animated TV series of Moomin, to give you an idea of what it’s like:

via RocketNews24 and First We Feast

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Naked Brunch:  The Recipe for William S. Burroughs Eggs
07:59 am



It would appear the Beat writer William S. Burroughs had a dish named after him by the same chef who is said to have created the crepe suzette, Henri Charpentier.

Charpentier was a very well-known and hugely successful chef who had made his name at the Savoy in London, before opening his own restaurant Original Henri Restaurant & Bar in New York around 1906. Customers at his swanky restaurant included film stars, politicians and heads of state. In 1938 he closed the restaurant and moved to Chicago where he opened the Café de Paris. Then in 1945, he moved again, this time to the west coast, where he set-up another exclusive restaurant in Redondo Beach.

According to writer and blogger, Matthew Rowley it’s more than probable that Burroughs ate at one of Charpentier’s restaurants, most likely in Chicago, where the chef named a dish after the writer.

For a few years, in the early 1940’s, Burroughs lived in Chicago while Charpentier ran Café de Paris in the city’s Park Dearborn Hotel. He had a few jobs in Chicago, including a stint as an exterminator, a role that would resonate through his writing for decades. Exterminators don’t make bank, but with an allowance from his well-to-do family, Burroughs probably could afford to eat well. And he was definitely a character: he’d sawn off one of his own fingers in an effort to impress a man with whom he was infatuated. I’m guessing that even in 1943, William S. Burroughs made an impression.

I’m also supposing it was during this time, while Burroughs and Charpentier where both in Chicago, that the French chef caught a wild hare and decided to name a dish after an eccentric customer. Of course, this wouldn’t have been a unique honor. I don’t think ol’ Henri buttered toast without naming it after some American celebrity, friend, hero, or other person he’d want to compliment.

Charpentier published his recipe for “Eggs, William S. Burroughs” in his cookbook Food and Finesse: The Bride’s Bible that was privately published and limited to only 1,000 copies for customers and friends. Amongst the recipes contained inside are “Pheasant, Samuel Morse”; “Lamb, Grover Cleveland”; “Cauliflower, Eli Whitney”; “Guinea Hen, Ulysses S. Grant”; “Brandy Apples, Amelia Earhart”; and on page 426, is the recipe for “Eggs, William S. Burroughs.”

Eggs William S. Burroughs

By Henri Charpentier, 1945

Chop one onion and place it into a pan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Brown it.

Take the green part of 1 chicory salad (keep the white part for a salad). Chop it fine and add it to the onion. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1 clove of garlic that has been crushed into a little chopped parsley, 2 chopped peeled tomatoes, 1 more tablespoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of meat stock, 1 pinch of pepper, one pinch of salt, and one sherry-glassful of claret. Cook for 5 minutes.

Boil 2 handfuls of noodles for 15 minutes. Strain. Be sure they are free of all water. Place them on the bottom of a baking dish. Cover with the chicory, etc., and bake in a preheated moderate oven of 350°F for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

This certainly adds some new texture to Burroughs’ time in Chicago and brings a slightly different meaning to You Got Any Eggs For Fats?
Via Rowley’s Whiskey Forge

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
These images of meat stuffed into plastic bottles are kinda gross
11:21 am



This isn’t going to be one of those preachy posts where I tell you meat is gross and this is why you should become vegetarian—I do a enjoy a nicely grilled steak from time to time m’self—but you have to admit that these images by photographer Per Johansen are more than a tad unsettling.

Johansen’s new series titled Mæt (Danish for “full”) is a take on human consumption, gluttony and ethics in the meat industry. The plastic recycled bottles represent the human stomach gorging itself with raw, bloody meat.

Are you full yet?



More meat-stuffed bottles after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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