Today's Special: Plot to Smuggle Tortoises by Disguising Them as Pastries Fails Spectacularly

Plus, there's a hot new kink out there: the boots that workers wear in poultry processing plants.
turtle pastries
Photo: Hauptzollamt Potsdam

Welcome to Off-Menu , where we'll be rounding up all the food news and food-adjacent internet ephemera that delighted, fascinated, or infuriated us today.


  • The DeMet’s Candy Company owns the trademark for Turtles, those chocolate, caramel, and pecan candies that no one under 75 has ever eaten on purpose. In the FAQ section on its website, DeMet’s describes Turtles as “chocolate confections that are shaped like a turtle.” Know what else is turtle shaped? Actual turtles (or terrapins of any kind). According to The Local, a 69-year-old German man apparently thought that airport customs officials would believe that his tortoises were Turtles, so he put them inside a pastry box and tried to take them through the “Nothing To Declare” line in Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport. When he was questioned about what he was carrying, he shrugged and said, “chocolates.” But because those officials had working eyeballs, they opened the box and discovered three Moroccan tortoises, which they immediately confiscated. The man could now face a fine of up to €50,000 ($56,640) or up to five years in prison. He should probably have to eat a box of those other Turtles too.
  • In 1983, Cadbury’s hid 12 scrolls all over the British Isles, and told eager treasure hunters that whoever found one could trade it for one of 12 engraved 22-carat golden eggs. At the time, the eggs were worth an estimated £10,000 each, so people went bonkers in their attempt to find the scrolls, and started digging the shit out of… everything. After there were complaints that egg-crazy amateur archaeologists were trashing private property, the company had to call off the contest before the final six scrolls were found. It seems like the company might’ve learned its lesson about encouraging people to get their shovels out, but… nah. The BBC reports that Cadbury has just pulled another “Cadbury Treasures” campaign, after launching a website that told kids to “grab their metal detectors” and look for forgotten Viking silver, overlooked Roman riches, or buried gold ingots.


The problem is that you, uh, can’t really do that. Not only are some of the “treasure” sites protected heritage sites, but England, Scotland, and Ireland all have their own legal requirements for looking for archaeological objects, reporting those finds, and getting permission from the owner of the land. (As the British Archaeology News Resource pointed out, the laws are different in each country—but Cadbury didn’t mention any of them.) After criticism from government ministers, real archaeologists, and the Advertising Standards Authority, Cadbury removed its “Treasures” website. “Cadbury Freddo Treasures aims to inspire families to go on everyday adventures together,” the company said in a statement. “It was not our intention to encourage anyone to break existing regulations regarding the discovery of new archaeological artefacts and we are grateful this matter has been brought to our attention.” Now I’m looking forward to Cadbury’s upcoming “Chocolate Home Invasion” campaign.

  • According to the experts, some of the hottest trends of the summer are supposed to be bold colors and bright patterns inspired by 1990s nostalgia; fringed and crocheted neo-Boho styles; and eating shrimp heads. Nation’s Restaurant News says that shipments of headed, tail-off shrimp grew 119 percent last year, and it could be because Americans are finally becoming more curious about non-Americans (!!!). “Americans are seeking out better and better ingredients and are interested in where their ingredients are coming from,” said Tasuku Murakami, executive chef of New York City restaurant The Lobster Club, told the News. “Diners are also learning more about the way other cultures eat and the ingredients they use, so using the whole animal has become important to chefs and diners alike.”



  • In the summer of 2007, I selected the wrong training plan and limped across the finish line of my first-ever marathon, completely sure that I’d just spent several years’ worth of mental and physical energy. That same summer, I ate an entire Pizza Hut P’zone, downing one pound of pepperoni, cheese, and dough in one sitting, completely sure that I’d just spent several years’ worth of mental and physical energy.

On Monday, Pizza Hut announced that the P’Zone is back, in three classic varieties, Meaty, Pepperoni, and Supremo. Thnks fr th Mmrs, Pizza Hut!


  • A Japanese man has been arrested for breaking into a poultry processing plant and stealing two pairs of men’s boots from a building where the workers stored their shoes at the end of their shifts. A police officer was waiting for him, because he’d already helped himself to a dozen other pairs of used chicken-covered work boots; he was stopped as he cycled away from the plant. When asked for his motivation, 53-year-old Hiroyuki Kamio just said “I like working men’s boots.” Look, you like what you like, but surely it would be easier to like the kind of working men’s boots that are stolen from a chocolate factory?