Food & Drink

RSS feed for this section

Poet James McIntyre: The Chaucer of Cheese

Raise your hand if you like cheese! Wow…if we are counting correctly, that’s millions and millions of people. Poet James McIntyre loved cheese. Here is his story, as published in Uncle John’s Funniest Ever Bathroom Reader.

The Chaucer of Cheese

Have you heard of one James McIntyre?
His unusual verses set the world afire.
Think of this while eating your Cheerios:
In the 1800s, he was the bard of southwestern Ontario. His work is published this day still,
If you read his poems, they’ll make you ill.

The Chaucer of Cheese: Poet James McIntyreABARD IS BORN

James McIntyre (1827–1906), known to his admirers as the “Chaucer of Cheese,” was born in the Scottish village of Forres. He moved to Canada when he was 14 and lived most of his life in Ingersoll, a small town in Ontario, where he worked as a furniture and coffin maker. But what earned him his reputation was his hobby—writing poetry. McIntyre wrote poems on a variety of topics: He described Ontario towns, saluted his favorite authors, and sang the praises of farming and country life. He even composed tributes to his furniture.

Themed Restaurants

Dining out can get kind of boring. After all, how many times can you have the same old burger at the same old coffee shop? Fortunately, in the last 20 years, themed restaurants have emerged, offering diners not just a meal…but an experience. Although, not all of them succeed, they all make a great story.

Themed Restaurants Moden ToiletThe Modern Toilet
Location:
Taipei, Taiwan
Details:
Yes, it’s a toilet-themed restaurant. Diners sit on toilets and eat out of toilet-shaped bowls and plates. The interior of the restaurant is laid out with brightly colored bathroom tile, and the lights are shaped like urinals. The favorite menu item, says owner Eric Wang, is chocolate ice cream—probably because “it looks like the real thing.”

Fruit Brute and Other Forgotten Cereals

Wheaties and Rice Krispies have taken up permanent residency in America’s breakfast bowls—these forgotten cereals, not so much.

Fruite Brute and Other Forgotten CerealsFruit Brute: General Mills debuted a line of five monster cereals in the 1970s: Franken Berry, Yummy Mummy, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Fruit Brute. The biggest flop of the bunch: Fruit Brute. But it has a cool factor—filmmaker Quentin Tarantino collects old cereals, and his personal box of Fruit Brute has appeared in his movies Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. BREAKING NEWS: This Fall we will see the return of Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy for Halloween. This may be the best Halloween EVER!

Graham Crackos: Kellogg’s released this graham-cracker-flavored cereal in the late-1970s, a few years before the crack-cocaine epidemic that hit American cities. In light of this, old commercials for Crackos become unsettling. In one, a character named George arrives at a suburban house to deliver a box of Crackos to a new family. In the background, a cheery balladeer sings, “Something new is comin’ to town, George the Milkman is bringin’ it ’round.” After the mother takes a bite, she asks George if the cereal will help slow her kids down. “Long enough for them to eat,” he replies.

Food Facts: A Non-Vanilla Source of Vanilla

In the very near future, we might get vanilla from a source that sounds pretty gross, but is also incredibly environmentally friendly.

Do you love the way old books smell—musty and slightly smoky, but just a little bit spicy and sweet? (It’s what the BRI Headquarters smells like…really!) There’s actually a technical explanation for old book smell. It’s comes from a chemical called lignin, which is found in wood pulp. Wood pulp is used to make paper, and in that process, lignin gets exposed to air, or oxidizes. The oxygen in the air starts a chemical reaction in the lignin, and creates another chemical, called vanillin, which is one of the main compounds in vanilla. Old books smell slightly like vanilla, which scientists say is one of the most pleasing scents to the human nose.

There are only a few ways to get vanilla. The first and most obvious source is the vanilla bean or pod. But they’re relatively rare (growing mostly only on the island of Madagascar) and, of course, expensive—vanilla beans cost about a dollar each in stores. Another way is to synthesize it in an industrial laboratory. Vanilla flavor can be obtained from a chemical combination of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphide, or by processing a petroleum-based chemical called guaiacol.

Fast Food Flops

Spinoffs are common in entertainment: Puss in Boots was a spinoff of a character from the Shrek movies, and All in the Family spun off a number of other hit TV sitcoms, including Maude and Good Times. Spinoffs are a lot less common in the fast food restaurant business. But in the late 1960s, two successful fast food chains tried to expand with new restaurants serving completely different food. The result: fast food flops.

Flop #1. After founder Harlan Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken and allowed it to be aggressively franchised in the early 1960s, the chain’s popularity grew just as fast. By 1968 it was the sixth-largest restaurant chain in America and worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Rather than saturate the market with even more KFC locations, the company opted to start a second restaurant chain: Kentucky Roast Beef & Ham. The new chain sold all the standard KFC side dishes. But instead of chicken, they served roast beef and ham. Launched in 1968, all the roast beef and ham restaurants were converted into chicken joints by 1973.