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 this morning.
- Burger King will pay 50-year-old Curtis Brooner $9,026.16 after the chain reneged on their original offer to give him free food for life as an apology for when he was briefly stuck in the bathroom at a location last fall. The sum was calculated based on the assumption of one Whooper meal a week from now until he turns 72. Now that he's got the cash instead, Brooner could spend it anywhere he wants, but his lawyer told OregonLive, "(Brooner) still likes Burger King, he just doesn’t go to their bathroom anymore.”
- I have absolutely no idea why a man intentionally and on purpose released a big white rat inside a crowded New Jersey McDonald's, but the fact that it was videotaped by someone seemingly in cahoots with the rat-haver makes me know that I hate him.
- Heineken has long touted their generous corporate social responsibility, as evidenced by successfully operating subsidiaries in Africa, but the Guardian just published a longread, based on years of reporting, that details both how Heineken benefits from lack of governmental oversight on the continent, as well as decades of gross sexual harassment that made female employees "feel like prostitutes."
- The Washington Post examines how Joanna Gaines (of HGTV fame) produced the best-selling cookbook of 2018, and why the apparent juggernaut was under-covered by food media at large. In conclusion? The recipes are bad, but as one tester told the Post, “I think the Gaineses might be the Nickelback of the cookbook world...Diehard fans clamor for anything they touch, but critics/media discount them."
- More than 100 people in India died after consuming illegal homemade alcohol. The deaths sparked protests from people insisting that the government compensate the families of the deceased, and a crackdown on illegal booze that included thousands of arrests and the seizure of 80,000 liters of hooch.
Do these donut sticks from McDonald's look like dicks to you? Cosmo says yes (veiny penises, even!). I say, uhh that's just a tubular foodstuff? Still, right on time for Valentine's Day if that's the vibe you're after.
Research scientist Janelle Shane fed all the classic messages from candy hearts into a neural network algorithm that then mimicked the word patterns to, uh, varying degrees of success. I don't want to tell Necco how to do its job, but I bet a special horny expansion pack comprised of the phrases above would do gangbusters on the current market.
Build This BouquetYou can DIY a breadsticks bouquet this Valentine's Day by ordering a round of breadsticks to go from your local Olive Garden (which, please let me know what they say when you do that) and downloading one of six different Olive Garden-themed paper wrappers here. There's no better way to tell that special someone "Roses are red/ Violets are blue/ Here's a bouquet of breadsticks/ I made for you" this season.
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.