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image German artist Karl-Friedrich Lentze has applied for a patent on his new invention: a banana-straightening device (thanks to Hairy Houdini for posting this in the hoax forum). Obviously this is just what the world needs. Basically Lentze's idea is to chop off the bent bits and then seal the banana back up with a "biologically safe plaster." Here are some of Lentze's other projects:

Categories: Death, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 21, 2004
Comments (3)
According to the Independent, researchers have proven that the difference between Coke and Pepsi really is all in your head. Apparently the popularity of Coke's brand image causes people to think Coca-Cola itself tastes better, even though it really doesn't taste very different from Pepsi. As the article says: "When asked to taste blind, they showed no preference. However, when the participants were shown company logos before they drank, the Coke label, the more famous of the two, had a dramatic impact: three-quarters of the tasters declared they preferred Coke." I've long suspected this. Personally I can't taste any difference between Coke and Pepsi, but I have a friend who swears passionately that there's a huge difference. Now I can show him this research to prove that he's simply been brainwashed by advertising. Oh, and the Pepsi Taste Test also turns out to be nothing but hot air: "The findings suggest there is no scientific basis for claims made during the Pepsi ad campaign in which testers purportedly chose Pepsi over Coke when they were not told what they were drinking."
Categories: Advertising, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 19, 2004
Comments (301)
A restaurant in Ohio raised some eyebrows when it began taking out full-page ads in local newspapers advertising the newest items on its menu: 'the pounder' horse steak burger, topped with four slices of cheese. At the bargain price of just $1.49. Wow. Turns out the ads were a hoax, engineered by an animal rescue group called Second Chance Horse Rescue, and designed by Barefoot Advertising. But although a horse meat restaurant would definitely clash with American tastes, it wouldn't be illegal... at least in Ohio. In Germany such a restaurant probably wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at all, since they eat horse meat all the time. And I have to admit, I once ate a horse meat bratwurst while I was in Germany. I can't remember it tasting any different from a pork bratwurst.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (13)
True or False: there's a restaurant in Zurich where most of the waiters are blind and all the meals are served in total darkness? It's very strange, but true. The restaurant is called Blindekuh (translated: Blind Cow). Here's its website (translated via Google into English). You choose your meal first, and then you're led into the dining area, which is kept absolutely pitch black. No lights at all are allowed. Not even cellphones or watches. Reportedly (and not surprisingly) it totally changes the dining experience. My wife read about this in Gourmet magazine. I would definitely try it out if there was a restaurant like that in San Diego.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 30, 2004
Comments (5)
image The opening statement says it all: "I swear by God, I will have this lovely rabbit for New Year's Eve Dinner if my account doesn't show a balance of at least 1'000'000 € by latest 31st Dec 2004!" Wow. It's cute rabbit blackmail. How low can you stoop? One million Euros is a lot. I'm not quite sure of the current exchange rate, but I think that's about a million dollars. But if somehow the world does band together and raise the ransom, then Bernd will be given to a bunny breeding farm "where he can spend the rest of his life as playboy in a way that we would all be jealous of." Will Bernd really be eaten if the money isn't raised? I'm doubtful (which is why I'm putting the site up here), though I should note that Europeans eat rabbit quite often... so maybe Bernd should be searching for ways to escape. The Free Bernd group (in German) is circulating a petition to demand Bernd's release. And Rabbit Company appears to be some kind of German militant group threatening to rescue Bernd by force. The plight of Bernd reminds me of all the fuss about Grendel a year ago. I've actually eaten rabbit once before in my life when I was in France years ago visiting my Aunt. It tasted okay, but I don't think it's something I'd do again. For some reason it's just really hard to stomach eating cute, fluffy animals.
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 07, 2004
Comments (35)
image Do the new graphics on boxes of Haribo's Maoam fruit chews show scenes of explicit sex? The members of St. Blasien Jesuit College think they do, and have publicly complained about them. The boxes depict various fruits frolicking with a blobby lime-colored creature. Are the scenes as bad as the college says? Well, you've got to admit that the College has a point. After all, what is that lemon doing with the lime-blob? Even Haribo admits that the packaging is "very racy." So my guess is that the sexual overtones are deliberate. But on the other hand, we are just talking about fruits and a lime blob. So maybe all of us who think the lemon and lime-blob are getting it on, just have dirty minds. The controversy reminds me of that rogue tin of Huntley & Palmers biscuits, but on a much larger scale.
Update: The story gets even better. Turns out that the faculty of the Jesuit College never complained about the racy candy packaging. The letter of complaint actually was "a hoax perpetrated by pupils at the school who admitted writing it and posting it on the Internet 'as a joke'." The German tabloid press found the letter, thought it was real, and reported it as news. You gotta love the tabloids. Of course, this still doesn't answer the question of just what is that lemon doing with the lime-blob?
Categories: Food, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 31, 2004
Comments (27)
image I belong to the wine club of a local Southern California vineyard, but although they've sent me some nice merlots, chardonnays, etc., they have yet to send me any snake wine. Although I just found out about this stuff myself, evidently it's quite real, and fairly well known... at least in south-east Asia, where it's predominantly found. Snake wine consists of rice wine mixed with (you guessed it!) snake. You buy it in bottles with the snake coiled up inside (here's a picture). Very pleasant. Reportedly, the more venomous the snake, the better the wine. For a more in-depth account of snake wine, check out this article by Jerry Hopkins where he describes visiting the Snake King & Completely Restaurant in Guangzhou and sampling not only snake wine but also Five Testes & Penises Wine. (via Mostly Harmless)
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 31, 2004
Comments (40)
An email has been going around about the danger of freezing plastic bottles of water. It goes something like this:

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in their newsletters...worth noting...
Dioxin Carcinogens cause cancer. Especially breast cancer. Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with water as this also releases dioxin in the plastic. Dr. Edward Fujimoto from Castle hospital was on a TV program explaining this health hazard. He is the manager of the Wellness Program at the hospital.

But Johns Hopkins never sent out a newsletter suggesting any such thing. And Dr. Rolf Halden, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has now gone on record to debunk this hoax, noting that if freezing the plastic bottle were to do anything, it would probably make the water inside safer to drink because "freezing actually works against the release of chemicals."

But heating plastic water bottles is another matter. "Halden does warn that another group of chemicals that are used to make plastic less brittle can be released if you place them in hot water or heat them in the microwave." But considering all the junk that we Americans willingly shove into our mouths, the "miniscule amounts of chemical contaminants present in your water supply" probably shouldn't be high on anyone's list of worries.
Categories: Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 31, 2004
Comments (1)
Here's something I'd really like to try, but sadly it doesn't seem to be available anywhere except a few bars in the New York region. It's Crop Circle Beer, dreamed up by Dudley Cates, Jr. who, according to this Newsday article, has always had a passion for crop circles and beer, and finally found a way to join the two interests. The beer is brewed with barley collected from fields in which crop circles have appeared. Hmmm. This is an idea I wish that I had thought of first. It would sure beat selling Loch Ness Water (though that gives me an idea... what about a taste contest pitting Crop Circle Beer head-to-head with Nessie's Monster Mash Beer? and just for fun you might want to enter Olde Frothingslosh Pale Stale Ale into the contest as well).

One poster on who's actually had a chance to taste Crop Circle Beer reports that "This is quite a sweet amber ale, but balanced just enough to keep it from being too much so - slick mouthfeel with lots of caramel malt, nut and chocolate flavors - this is pretty damn good for a gimmick beer." The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. also has an audio interview on their site with the farmer who grows the crop circle barley (the interview is 4 years old... Dudley has been trying to sell this stuff for a long time). What I found interesting was how concerned the farmer seemed about the authenticity of his crop circles. He was quite worried about the possibility of the circles not appearing in future years because that would obviously bring a quick end to the business model of Crop Circle Beer. (Thanks, Goo)
Categories: Crop Circles, Food
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 30, 2004
Comments (6)
image If you were to stumble randomly upon the Mineralarians website, you might actually think that this extreme diet cult was real. As the site explains: "The Mineralarians are an international association of people, diverse in other respects, who share the common determination to subsist on foods of mineral origin, thereby sparing our fellow beings the victimization that has been their lot, at our hands for the last million years, and before that at the claws and jaws of previously dominant species." I like the understated comment that you arrive at further down the page: "While there is no doubt of the wholesomeness of a mineralarian diet, the same cannot be said for its taste and texture." Of course, because you're EATING ROCKS!

The site is a hoax website created by Charles Bennett. Here are two of his other creations:

(via BoingBoing)
Categories: Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 25, 2004
Comments (12)
A week or so ago reports that trace amounts of Prozac had been found in the UK's drinking water got a lot of coverage in the blogosphere. No wonder. The idea that Prozac poppers were excreting the drug into the sewers and thereby contributing to the mass medication of the entire population was creepy, to say the least. But it turns out the reports aren't quite true. It's more a case of something that theoretically could happen, rather than something that actually is happening. In a follow-up report the Guardian notes that the Environment Agency, to which the prozac-in-the-water report was originally attributed, now says that it never studied the issue, and the Drinking Water Inspectorate insists that "There is no research that shows Prozac is in water. There's no analytical data at all." (via Apothecary's Drawer)
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 17, 2004
Comments (6)
image It's common knowledge that Rutabaga Studies is one of the most exciting fields of inquiry in the world today, and at the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute they're on the cutting edge of it. For instance, you can peek in on their live Rutacam and witness a thrilling Rutabaga experiment in action. Also, keep up with recent developments in Rutabaga Studies, such as the anticipated launching of a giant rutabaga into geostationary orbit. And did you know that September is National Rutabaga Month? All this fascinating information about rutabagas, and I honestly don't think I've ever eaten one in my life.
Categories: Food, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 06, 2004
Comments (8)
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