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.
- Efren Mencia-Ramirez had a lot of questions to answer on Sunday morning, mostly “Why did you have Axe Body Spray in your vehicle?” and “Who told you that it could help you beat a Breathalyzer test?” According to The State, a Spartanburg County (SC) Sheriff’s deputy pulled Mencia-Ramirez over on Saturday night on suspicion of drunk driving. When the officer looked into Mencia-Ramirez’s car window, he allegedly saw a 12-pack of beer on the floorboard—counting the 11 open beers—and an open bottle of beer between his legs. But the officer also said that he witnessed Mencia-Ramirez “spraying Axe body spray in his mouth when [the deputy] approached to cover the smell of alcohol on his breath.” Although his mouth quickly smelled like the kind of 19-year-old who comments on a lot of steroid-related subreddits, the Axe Body Spray didn’t make him less drunk: He had a .15 blood alcohol level and was charged with DUI, an open container, no proof of insurance and driving without a license.
- In January, 25 cooler-sized robots were deployed at George Mason University to deliver food from any of the the on-campus restaurants to students’ dorms or to a number of assorted other buildings where students spend their time between classes. The robots, which were all designed and provided by Starship Technologies, represent the first time a fully automated delivery system has been part of a college’s meal plan (although Northern Arizona University is about to get its own set of six-wheeled bots). According to the Washington Post, Starship and George Mason administrators have started to study the data from the robots’ first two months on campus, and they’ve learned that 1) students are using them and 2) those same students are probably hungover as shit right now. The robots delivered 1,500 breakfast orders—which is more than any other meal. “The question is why,” the Post asks itself. “Combine college students’ love of food delivery with chaotic morning routines, and perhaps you have a perfect recipe for robots.” Yeah. Chaotic routines. That’s totally it—and not because these little beauties will bring you a greasy breakfast sandwich and a black coffee on the kind of morning when you’re not sure if you’ll ever lift your pounding head off the carpet.
- Anytime you see the words “man fined” and “seagull” in an English tabloid headline, the opening paragraph is either going to be something terrible (we see you, Gull Kicker and Gull Murderer) or something ridiculous. Ian Chapman is in the latter category, after being fined £50 ($65) for throwing “two tiny bits” of his McDonald’s egg and cheese breakfast sandwich to a group of about 20 seagulls. A very busy police officer saw Chapman throw the bread and, two days later, he received a notice that he was being fined by the Nottingham City Council for littering. (Apparently, no one from the Nottingham City Council has ever seen what happens when you throw bread toward a bird’s mouth.) “I can’t understand. They’re criminalising hard-working people, for what reason I don’t know,” Chapman told the Metro. “It just seems like extortion to some degree. It’s absolute pettiness and that’s how they create an income.”
WEIRD FLEX BUT OK
- Last weekend, a group of chanting, sign-carrying vegans participated in VegFest in Brighton, England, and their sidewalk activism was briefly interrupted by a man who started eating a raw pig’s head in front of them. According to The Sun, he was definitely a counter-protester, but no one seems to know whether he was part of an anti-vegan organization or if he was just trying to be as gross as possible. If that’s the case, then well-done, lad! “What was interesting was that we had meat eating members of the public saying that this revolting spectacle had encouraged them to give up eating meat—so it seems the anti-vegan protest actually encouraged people to go vegan,” Tim Barford, the manager of VegFest, said. Whatever his motivation was, hopefully he’s gotten it out of his system.
MOOD: SYMPATHETIC VOMITING
- When I was in elementary school, every time a kid threw up in class, an unlucky custodian had to walk into the classroom, sprinkle the barf puddle with something that looked like a sawdust-and-pencil-shavings combo, then possibly reconsider every bad decision he or she had ever made while waiting for it to congeal enough to clean up. I have no idea whether Vomit Dust is still a thing, but the janitorial staff at Petree Elementary in Winston-Salem, North Carolina had its hands full last Wednesday. Twenty-four students and one teacher all suddenly felt nauseous or started vomiting, or both, and because of the sudden onset of the illness, the county health department, a HAZMAT team, and emergency medical crews were all called to the school. But a state-run lab has since determined that the students weren’t sick because of an illness or a biohazard: It was because kids are kind of dumb. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, the cause was likely a combination of “ingesting a concentrated fruit-flavored liquid” that is meant to be diluted in water, eating “large amounts” of spicy chips, and “sympathetic vomiting.” This is both an argument for and against staying in school.