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.
- Forthcoming smartphone emoji options highlight a focus on diversity, with the addition of mixed-race same-sex couples and depictions of various disabilities. But let's talk instead about all the new food icons everyone's going to hone in on and fight over. The grocery items set to show up on your phone in September or October are: onion, garlic, butter, waffle with butter, falafel, mate drink, and a juice box…with an emoji-style smiley face on it. Aside from the fact that the falafel look more like those "Irish potatoes" candy you might have made in elementary school around St. Patrick's Day, these are all pretty spot-on. Where's the fun in that?
- The UK's grocery chain Aldi is tapping into '80s rock nostalgia to move their latest line of limited-edition cheeses. In decreasing order of how successful I think the puns are, the collection includes: Total Eclipse of the Havarti, Girls Just Wanna Have Fontina, Wake Me Up Before You Goat Goat, Sweet Cheddar of Mine, and Pour Some Gouda on Me (sorry, Def Leppard).
- In 1946, George Orwell submitted an essay to the British Council entitled "British Cookery" in which he described the nation's cuisine as "a simple, rather heavy, perhaps slightly barbarous diet." Sample observations include: "The British are not great eaters of salads;" "Cheap restaurants in Britain are almost invariably bad, while in expensive restaurants the cookery is almost always French, or imitation French;" and "Coffee in Britain is almost always nasty." Included in the essay were Orwell's recipes for Welsh rarebit, Yorkshire pudding, treacle tart, and orange marmalade. The essay was rejected, with a note next to the marmalade recipe complaining that there was "too much sugar and water." Now, however, perhaps realizing the appeal of a previously-unseen work from one of the preeminent authors of the 20th century, the British Council has apologized and published the essay for all to read, recipes included.
- A new study published the American Psychological Association describes how people who pre-select a high-calorie dessert before their meal are more likely to choose a healthier main course than people who went with the fruit ahead of time. "We believe diners who chose the indulgent dessert first then picked healthier main and side dishes to make up for their high-calorie dessert," said one of the lead authors of the study. I understand that science works in incremental developments that often work to reinforce and standardize anecdotal evidence, but this feels especially obvious, and also oddly equating of calories with "health."
This doughnut looks like a real asshole.
The poll in a followup tweet shows that the vast majority of people think baguettes are ultimately inflexible with close to 70 percent of respondents choosing #3. This is viscerally sort of disappointing (end-over-end is an aesthetically grating mode of locomotion) but I applaud their commitment to not wrinkling the crust.
Buy This Bucket
For six grand you can buy 36,000 servings of food that's shelf-stable up to 25 years, and now I'm dying to read a profile of the two people who left reviews on this product at Costco.