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Is it true that there's a relationship between the depth of a dimple in the bottom of a wine bottle, and the quality of the wine inside the bottle? Does a deeper dimple mean better wine? Australian wine expert Martin Field says that this is just a myth. But Itchy Squirrel (don't know his real name) decided to test the dimple-wine-quality theory for himself. Armed with a depth gauge he went to his local supermarket and recorded the price of a sample of wines as well as the depth of their dimples. He discovered that there was a rough correlation between dimple depth and price. Of course, his sample size isn't large enough to be definitive, but this is an experiment anyone can do on their own. I know that I'm now going to be keeping an eye out for dimple depth. I drink a lot of two-buck chuck, which is okay as an everyday table wine, but it has hardly any dimple at all. So it does fit the theory.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Mon Dec 13, 2004
Comments (20)
This story (author unknown) has been 'floating around' the internet for a few months. I found a discussion of it on alt.folklore.urban. There's an easier to read version of it here. It involves a fox terrier named Jasper who eats twelve uncooked yeast rolls that a woman leaves out to rise before baking. The yeast begins to rise in the dog's stomach, causing him to swell up like a balloon:
"He looked like a combination of the Pillsbury dough boy and the Michelin Tire man wrapped up in fur. He groaned when he walked. I swear even his cheeks were bloated."
The next day it's worse. The yeast has begun to ferment inside the dog's stomach, causing Jasper to become drunk: "the darn dog was as drunk as a sailor on his first leave. He was running into walls, falling flat on his butt and most of the time when he was walking his front half was going one direction and the other half was either dragging on the grass or headed 90 degrees in another direction."
Finally, it ends with fermented yeast burps, farts, and poops (that are rock-hard like 'Portland cement'). Now, this all sounds an awful lot like an urban legend, especially since it comes from an anonymous source. Would the yeast actually begin to rise and ferment in the dog's stomach, or would it be killed by stomach acid? I'm not sure. I'm guessing that given the quantity of yeast involved (twelve rolls), the yeast might actually cause the dog's stomach to swell quite a bit... so something like this could happen. Though whether it actually did happen is anyone's guess.
Categories: Animals, Food, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Sun Dec 05, 2004
Comments (13)
image Following the $28,000 sale of that Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it seems like it's been loony season on eBay (if it was ever NOT loony season on eBay, that is). Among the more memorable Grilled Cheese Mary Wannabes have been the Jesus Fish Stick, the NutriGrain cereal that looks like ET, and the piece of popcorn that looks like the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus. Buck Wolf, in his weekly column on ABC News, points out some miracle foods from years past that have beguiled the public, including the Tennessee Nun Bun (a cinnamon bun that looks like Mother Teresa), the Miracle Tortilla of New Mexico (a tortilla that looks like Jesus), and the Holy Eggplant of India (an eggplant that spells out 'Allah' in urdu script).
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 01, 2004
Comments (12)
image For the past week (ever since Nov. 14) Brian has been drinking nothing but Pepsi Holiday Spice. He will continue to drink nothing but Pepsi Holiday Spice until Christmas Day. It's his strange, self-appointed mission for himself, apparently inspired by the movie Supersize Me (as well as the fact that his friend bet him $1000 that he couldn't do it). On his blog he's recording the health effects of all this Pepsi Spice drinking. Now, I've never had the stuff myself (though I plan to get some), but I seriously doubt that any soft drink is so bad that it would cause all the health problems he's experienced in the nine days since he started the project. For instance, he's already gained twenty pounds. He's started sneezing. He's developed a strange cyst on his neck. And his urine has turned red. He's blaming all this on the Pepsi Spice. The red urine... maybe. But I don't understand how anyone could gain that much weight in nine days just from switching what they drink, unless they were consuming huge amounts of the new drink (which he doesn't claim to be doing). So I'm guessing that he's making up most of the stuff on his blog. Either that, or he's allergic to the drink (in which case his health problems should be worse than they are).
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 24, 2004
Comments (18)
image Just in time for Thanksgiving, I give you the Turkey Testicle Festival. Actually, it was held on October 9, so it's already over this year. But there's always next year to look forward to. I love the motto of the festival: Come and have a ball. Now I never knew that anyone ate turkey testicles, but I'm assuming this is real (that people really do eat them), since I know that sheep testicles are considered delicacies in various places. This festival should think about partnering up with that Cow Manure Tossing contest held in Oklahoma.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 23, 2004
Comments (21)
image The auction of a ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary has been pulled from eBay. The sandwich was put up for sale by Diana Duyser who claims that in the ten years since she made the sandwich and took one bite out of it (before noticing the face of the Virgin), it has miraculously never grown any mold. eBay pulled the auction because it claims that it doesn't allow joke listings (that's news to me). Looking at the sandwich, I can definitely see a face, but it doesn't look like the Virgin Mary. To me it looks more like a movie star from the 30s or 40s. Myrna Loy, perhaps. She should have said it was haunted. Would have been no problems then, because eBay definitely allows haunted stuff.
Update: Here's another virgin mary sandwich on eBay.
Update 2: And here's the original Virgin Mary Sandwich, back up for sale. Most of the bidding must still be a hoax, because who's really going to pay $69,000 for an old cheese sandwich?
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (33)
image Could the makers of Boo Bee Juice Drink really not realize the double meaning of the product's name? Or do they realize perfectly well and are going for the titillation/subliminal advertising thing? I'm sure even kids would pick up on what the name means, especially when they hear the adults giggling behind their backs. I suspect it all could be another Haribo-Fruit-Chews-type marketing ploy. (via Boing Boing)
Categories: Food, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 11, 2004
Comments (5)
Here's an interesting piece from a newspaper about the burgeoning market in Coca-Cola Fantasy items. One of the paper's readers wrote in to ask whether their Coca-Cola belt buckle designed by Tiffany Studios and showing a nude woman sitting on a crescent moon was of any value (unfortunately there's no picture of the item). The paper's reply: No, because the item is a fantasy fake:

[This] is what Coca-Cola collectors call a "fantasy," which is a piece that never existed as an old item, was not used in advertising by the Coca-Cola Co. (nor sanctioned by them), but is a modern creation meant to appeal to collectors or to mislead the unwary. There are literally tons and tons of these Coca-Cola "fantasy" items out there, lurking in flea markets and at garage sales. The variety seems to be endless, and belt buckles are one of the favorite items to be made as "fantasies," and many of them feature nude women, including one extremely tasteless and offensive example that has the representation of a nude nun of all things!

Nude Nun Coke memorabilia. I may be twisted, but for some reason that seems more interesting to me than the authentic Coke stuff.
Categories: Advertising, Food, History
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 08, 2004
Comments (31)
image A fire at the only factory that produces Branston Pickle reportedly sparked panic buying of the popular brown relish, spurred on by a comment from Premier Foods (its manufacturer) that within two weeks stock levels would run out. So sellers of Branston Pickle began asking as much as £16 or £25 for the stuff on eBay (a jar usually sells for less than £1). For Americans who don't know what this stuff is, it's kind of like a savory brown chutney, very popular in Britain, and often spread on ham and cheese sandwiches. It's good stuff. But now it seems that Branston Pickle isn't in imminent danger of disappearing from stores. Premier Foods will be able to maintain supplies of it. And this article in The Guardian implies that the Branston Pickle Panic never really materialized anyway. Buyers weren't flocking to the stores to snatch up the last remaining jars of the stuff. The Branston Pickle panic was mostly an invention of the media.
Categories: Food, Mass Delusion
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 08, 2004
Comments (3)
image Virgel Fisher owns a hand of corn. He inherited it from his grandfather. But this is the part of the story that I don't understand. He says that when his grandfather found the 'corn hand' two of its fingers were missing, "so his ancestor searched until he found them, using pins to reattach the dismembered digits". Does this mean that the fingers were an artificial add-on? Or had they simply broken off? Either way, Virgel could probably make a bundle if he sold his 'corn hand' on eBay, especially if he claimed that it was haunted. (via The Anomalist)
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 04, 2004
Comments (8)
Can Coca-Cola work as an insecticide? Indian farmers seem to think so. The Guardian reports that many of them have taken to spraying their cotton and chilli fields with the soft drink. The article quotes an agricultural analyst who suggests that this might actually work because the sugar in the drink would "attract red ants to feed on insect larvae". But a Coca-Cola spokesman dismisses the entire story as an urban legend: "We are aware of one isolated case where a farmer may have used a soft drink as part of his crop management routine. Soft drinks do not act in a similar way to pesticides when applied to the ground or crops. There is no scientific basis for this and the use of soft drinks for this purpose would be totally ineffective". I'm not enough of a plant expert to judge on whether Coke would work as an insecticide, though it does seem to me like the sugar could actually attract flies (but what do I know?). Plus, I'm not one to criticize the Indian farmers since I regularly throw banana peels around the flowers in my yard in the (perhaps illogical) belief that the peels will somehow keep aphids away.
Categories: Food, Science, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 03, 2004
Comments (13)
Is Walmart really soon going to be offering its own brand of cheap wine? It will if you believe this email that's been circulating around for over a year:

Some Walmart customers soon will be able to sample a new discount item: Walmart's own brand of wine. The world's largest retail chain is teaming up with E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto, California, to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2-5 range. While wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of Walmart brand wine into their shopping carts, there is a market for cheap wine, said Kathy Micken, professor of marketing at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. She said: "The right name is important."

So, here we go: The top 12 suggested names for Walmart Wine:

12. Chateau Traileur Parc
11. White Trashfindel
10. Big Red Gulp
9. Grape Expectations
8. Domaine Wal-Mart "Merde du Pays" [Kruse, Keith M] (Translated "Shit of the Land") 
7. NASCARbernet
6. Chef Boyardeaux
5. Peanut Noir
4. Chateau des Moines
3. I Can't Believe It's Not Vinegar!
2. World Championship Riesling

And the number 1 name for Wal-Mart Wine ..

1. Nasti Spumante

That's obviously a joke (though it is strange that Kathy Micken's name is mentioned specifically... I've emailed her to ask her if she knows anything about this). But here's another strange urban legend involving Walmart and alcohol. It's the Walmart beer and nappy legend, as told by Media Week (I don't think this one is true either):

WalMart did an analysis of customers’ buying habits and found a statistically-significant correlation between purchases of beer and purchases of nappies. It was decided that the reason for this was that fathers were stopping at Wal-Mart – on instruction from her-indoors – to buy nappies for their babies. Since they could no longer go down to the pub as often, beer was being bought as well. As a result of this finding, the supermarket chain supposedly rearranged the store to have the nappies next to the beer – resulting in increased sales of both.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 27, 2004
Comments (11)
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