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.
- I’m admittedly shook from the news that Aunt Becky and my second-favorite Desperate Housewife have both been charged in a bizarre college admissions scam, so I might as well fray my last remaining nerve endings. Today is Mitt Romney’s birthday, and his staff rewarded him for going another 365 days without dying by giving him a cake made entirely out of vertically stacked Twinkies. “Look at that! Holy cow! That’s fantastic! Wow!,” he said, before PLUCKING EACH INDIVIDUAL CANDLE OUT OF THE CAKE AND BLOWING THEM OUT ONE BY ONE.
“Mitt Romney has been alive for 72 years and apparently has never seen a normal person blow out birthday candles,” one man tweeted. I’ve spent at least five minutes watching this clip and wondering if there’s a more absurd way to blow out a set of birthday candles, and I can’t think of one that doesn’t involve eating them, wick-end first.
- On March 2, a tractor-trailer carrying 20,000 bottles of ranch dressing crashed into a creek in Clear Spring, Maryland, and it took a crew more than a week to clean up the estimated 8,000 bottles that splattered everywhere. “We came out and we were like ‘oh my gracious. It’s so much,’” a nearby farm owner told Herald-Mail Media. “So we’ve been out here like day and night trying to get all this ranch and wrappers and all kinds of stuff out of the creek.” Apparently the cleanup wasn’t as simple as just dragging Buffalo wings across the water’s surface: the workers also had to fill four trucks with bottles that they’d fished out of the creek. “It’s been a nightmare,” one worker said. No, a nightmare would’ve been if this ranch had spilled onto a slice of pizza.
- Anytime I want to cry softly at my desk, I either think about the time I accidentally dropped an entire pizza into a storm drain, or about that Sad Pawpaw who made a bunch of burgers for his grandkids, but only one of them showed up for dinner. Billy’s Donuts could’ve been the new glazed-and-sprinkled Sad Pawpaw, but when Billy By tweeted about his dad’s empty donut shop, the internet came through in the best possible way.
“My dad is sad ‘cause no one is coming to his new doughnut shop,” By wrote—but a couple of days later, the lines stretched out the door, the Texas shop sold out of doughnuts and kolaches, and Twitter took a break from not banning Nazis to buy everyone’s doughnuts on Monday. “This means so much to my family,” By wrote yesterday afternoon, punctuating the sentence with a heart emoji.
- If you want your cappuccino to be served with a side of objectification, then it looks like you’d better buy a Nespresso machine and take your own top off. Last week, the city council in American Canyon, California revoked the business license for a local franchise of Bottoms Up Espresso, the chain that requires its female baristas to follow a dress-code that includes “School Girl Day” and “Lingerie Day,” and prohibits them from wearing “loose-fitting clothing” or even a T-shirt. The city’s attorney said that, due to the wardrobe requirements, the shop should more accurately be described as an adult entertainment business—a classification that the would-be franchisee disputes. “If they did it according to the law, you’d have to get rid of all the swimming pools,” Inderjit Sangha told the Los Angeles Times. My drive-in swimming pool-and-coffee shop combination seems doomed from the start.
- My folks live in a tiny town (population: 457) in the American south, a place where the closest McDonald’s and the closest supermarket—an actual supermarket, not just a better-than-average Exxon station—are both a 15-minute drive away. It’s the kind of place where you’re so far out, even pizza delivery drivers ask you to meet them halfway. It’s also the kind of place that DoorDash and other restaurant delivery services believe could be the future of their business model. According to the Wall Street Journal, residents in cities with fewer than 200,000 people are half as likely to use a delivery service, and only 7 percent of those who live in suburban or rural areas buy their groceries online. “Smaller markets are where the growth will come from in coming years,” DoorDash COO Christopher Payne said. He also said that, by the end of this year, 90 percent of the U.S. population should be able to get delivery through the app, compared to 80 percent right now. Instacart also expects to increase its grocery delivery offerings to 80 percent of the population this year. Get ready, Mom and Dad: The pizza might make it all the way to your house this year!
(NOT PARTICULARLY) HEALTHY DEBATE
If you’d like to start an argument with your loved ones today, you could talk politics, ask for their opinions about Green Book, or tell them that they have to rank Nacho Cheese Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos, Regular and BBQ Lays Potato Chips, Cheetos, and Fritos in order from best to worst.
(And if they put Fritos anywhere but dead last, it’s OK to cut them out of your life. You don’t need that kind of negativity).