The Powerful Food Symbolism in Season 3 of ‘House of Cards’

Friday, in the middle of the night, hearts palpitated with excitement as Netflix posted the entire third season of its hit series House of CardsBased on the trilogy of novels and the BBC mini-series, this season marks a major departure from the US series’ source material, resulting in some haphazard character development for everyone on the show.

Despite the lackluster season, I couldn’t help but notice how much food was used both as a symbol and a weapon, attempting deeper complexities than the pig slaughter analogies of yore.

Sating (and Sedating) Doug


I don’t always have ex-prostitutes try to murder me, but when I do, nothing says “thank you for your service and keep your fucking mouth shut” like a stocked fridge (if that’s what you can call all this healthy food).

Like the flowers the Underwoods (Claire) left for Doug at the hospital, the gesture slowly withers away as he realizes he’s no longer in the inner circle. This seems like a great time to break sobriety, but why do it in a normal way?

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Though Doug fully breaks down into drunkenness as the season progresses, he starts courting alcohol again in an interesting way to ensure you’re partaking in exactly one shot of alcohol: a handy, dandy syringe (hooker resembling Rachel Posner not included).

Doug makes sure that the beginning of his descent comes at someone else’s physical hands while he still orchestrates the entire situation. Losing control of his mobility and livelihood makes surrendering control to his addiction that much harder. Opting for a phallic, menacing way to reintroduce this substance abuse asserts his virility while appeasing his desires.


Boozing Up the Secretary of State

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Nothing butters up a Cabinet member quite like some good Scotch.

Desperate to get in Cathy Durant’s good graces, Claire goes so far as to play the classiest game of beer pong ever to make her diplomatic partner more pliable.

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Cathy giggles her way through their girls’ night, while Claire’s “freed inhibitions” are more notably calculated. Ultimately, the suds go flat, policy agreements bubble over, and Claire’s left with a victory despite losing the game.

We don’t see much manipulation from Claire after this night as she gradually grows some semblance of a conscience.


Boiled Peanuts

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Let’s not pretend as though some of us didn’t hear “penis” not “peanuts” and had to rewind the episode a little.

While peanuts are generally indicative of good health and longevity, boiling peanuts results in their saltiest incarnation. Francis successfully tempts Supreme Court Justice Jacobs into trying one, but fails in getting him to leave the bench.

The peanuts are a benevolent symbol, like Francis’s concern for the Justice’s health, but Jacobs knows of the dangerous salt within them and Francis’s proposal.


Bloody Pomegranates

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Pomegranates are deeply rooted in the mythologies of numerous cultures for various reasons, but are universally used to represent blood, due to their multitudinous red seeds. This can either be attributed to life or death and was unsurprisingly exploited in a conversation about both between Jackie Sharp and her husband.

Jackie’s doubts about Francis make her political decisions murky, while her husband, a cardiologist, holds no qualms about the consequences of cutting into people, evidenced by his methodical slicing of a pomegranate. The scene and the characterization of the couple suggest that dying in politics is just as bad as physically dying, perhaps worse (a far-reaching tie-in with source material themes).


Eggs Cetera

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Of course, I didn’t forget about the goddamn eggs.

In the second episode, Claire’s trying to earn her way into the United Nations (UN) as the US Ambassador, while handling the most obvious symbols of womanhood and fertility the First Lady duty of picking the (painted hardwood) eggs for the White House Easter Egg Roll. She rejects the excessively “feminine” pink egg, but is equally drawn to and perplexed by the black egg, absentmindedly holding onto it on her way to make a concession statement to the press.

Knowing Claire, from her general frigidness to #abortiongate, any viewer could read how easily it strips the construct of femininity away from her. She ultimately gives the egg to Francis.

By the end of the episode, she demands her appointment to the UN, a request that makes her stomach turn. She proceeds to crack two eggs into a pan, frying up her womanhood and First Lady duties simultaneously.

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Claire’s desire to work as the US Ambassador is coded as “masculine” ambition, but she acquires the position through nepotism, which highlights her weakness as a candidate and woman. This frustration reaches a tipping point in the season finale, especially when she realizes Francis still has the black egg.

“Felt wrong to throw it out, for some reason.” – Francis Underwood

Francis’s possession of the black egg is representative of how he has held Claire’s biological and career goals captive by his own “masculine” ambition. Additionally, until Claire rediscovers the egg and her agency as a woman, Francis appears to have significant emotional depth. He exhibits remorse and other compassionate traits coded as “feminine” throughout the season.

Although this particular egg is durable, the notion of fragility in its organic counterpart is what humanizes the couple. Thus, by their final argument, gender washes away until they’re only locked in a battle for humanity.

For the first time in the show’s history, I’m not excited about next season, but I have never eaten so many eggs while writing before.

picthx Netflix


Ridiculous Peanut Portraits Look Just Like Jimi Hendrix, George Takei, Bryan Cranston and More


There’s a certain artsiness to the random peanut shells that get thrown around the floors of bars or places like Five Guys. An ordered chaos, if you will. A testament to the undying will of humanity.

Yeah, these amazing peanut portraits totally shit on that.


Midwestern artist Steve Casino — self-dubbed “Painter of Nuts” — says he first got into nut art when one day he noticed a peanut that kind of looked like him, so he drew his face on it with a pen. His next project was Joey Ramone, but this time, the nut got a full make-over: bendable pipe cleaner limbs, a wig, and full black “leather” jacket. Over time his portfolio grew. James Bond nuts, Wonder Woman nuts, Elton John nuts, Alfred Hitchcock nuts — all recreated in crazy stupid detail.


As for his method, Casino says he first decides which celebrity he wants to emulate then searches for the “right” nut to suit his needs. He then carefully removes the insides and carves and sands its front surface for painting, leaving the back untouched to highlight the contrast between the finished piece and the raw shell on the other side.


Folks, it really doesn’t get any more uselessly talented than this.

H/T The Awesomer


Hypoallergenic Peanuts Are The Future


As a kid no one I knew had a peanut allergy, now it’s one of the leading food allergies among adults and children. You would think it’d be easy to avoid eating anything with peanuts, aka peanut butter, straight up peanuts, etc., but those pesky little legumes can hide in a variety of foods without you even knowing they’re there. While some kids will outgrow their peanut allergies other more severe cases have to live their lives in fear of the killer peanut, but there’s hope.

A hypoallergenic peanut sounds ridiculous, but it would an incredible solution to this potentially deadly allergy. Dr. Jianmei Yu of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has developed a way to treat roasted peanuts with enzymes that already exist in food processing, thus no genetic modification. The result? A peanut with undetectable levels of allergen Ara h 1 and a 98 percent reduction in allergen Ara h 2.

More importantly, how do the peanuts taste? According to Dr. Yu they taste just like ordinary roasted peanuts and has high hopes that these treated peanuts can be used for flours and other food products allowing for safer consumption by people with allergies. Allergy-free peanut butter maybe?

Yu also hopes these innovative peanuts can be utilized by doctors for exposure therapy, which has been known to alter DNA in patients who become allergy-free from the therapy. Isn’t science awesome?


H/T First We Feast + PicThx Alex Cequera


If Beer and Peanuts Had a Baby…



14 Non-Huy Fong Sriracha Products You Need to Try Now


At Fancy Food Show and Expo West this year, Foodbeast discovered, to our surprise, that other Sriracha-based items existed in the world that wasn’t from the widely popular Huy Fong brand. Well, color us red. Between varying types of Sriracha sauces, condiments, snacks and even seasoning, it definitely looks like there could be some potential contenders for the Sriracha belt. While Huy Fong Sriracha is everywhere and goes great with everything, sometimes the idea of variety is nice to have.

For those of you Huy Fong lovers with a wandering eye, check our compilation of Sriracha products  you probably haven’t seen before.


Extra Hot Sriracha Mustard

Beaver Brand




Sriracha Chili Sauce





Sriracha Potato Chips

Kettle Brand




Sriracha Chili Sauce

Lee Kum Kee




Sriracha Mustard





Sriracha Chilli Sauce





Sriracha Mayo

Lee Kum Kee




Sriracha Popcorn

Popcorn Indiana




 Sriracha Chili Sauce

Sriracha Panich




Sriracha Coated Peanuts

Do Re Mi




Sriracha Seasoning

Dean Jacob’s




Sriracha Pepper Sauce

Most Wanted




Sriracha Coated Green Peas

Feng Shui





Sriracha Cha!

Texas Pete




Popcorn Butter-Washed Cocktails, Pizza-Puffed Pasta and More Arousing Snacks at PLAY

To be honest, I was a little skeptical when I heard that PLAY,  a bar and lounge, opened as an extension of the Museum of Sex. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it markets itself as a “transformative experience that arouses the senses.”  I envisioned dark corners and multicolored, er, paraphernalia.

Oh, how wrong I was, and how happy I was to be wrong.  The space is dark but inviting, leather couches and 70’s era chairs line the walls. This is a place to relax and let the music slide over you.  Jim Kearns, of Balthazar, Dumont, Pegu club and Death & Co., have created what can only be described as a mindf$%@ of flavors in various fancy glasses.


The Bearing Straight


Walking straight might be a bit difficult after this one.  Mezcal, nigori sake, kiuchi no shizuku (an oak-aged wine), ginger, yuzu, and a salted umeboshi plum is one of the strangest combinations you will find here.  It’s smoky and spicy, with a smoothness that lingers and, quite frankly, makes you want to make out with anyone in sight — it’s that good.  So, way to go on that one, PLAY.


The Rosebud


With gin, St. Germain, rose-infused vermouth, ginger, and lemon, this drink was subtle, the rose coming in through the nose at the end.


Drive-In Saturday


This conjures up the taste and experience of being at the movies. Popcorn butter-washed White Dog mixed with pharmacy cola and salt tastes like throwing back a handful of kernels and washing it down with a Coke.


A Clear Day In Normandy


This is the total opposite of the Drive-In, with a mix of apple eau de vie, grapefruit bitters, and Lairds applejack. It tastes like biting into a crisp, alcoholic apple and I wish this grew on trees.


70% Cacao


This one’s a doozy made with rum, bourbon, strawberry liqueur, crème de cacao, Campari, Tri-Star, and mole bitters for an intensely sweet, somewhat smoky and spicy drink.  At first it tasted a bit like Robitussin, but it quickly grew on me after sipping the others. This is definitely a second drink drink.


A bar wouldn’t be worth going to if there wasn’t any good food. Chef Ben Roche informed us that after debating on whether to make everything on the menu look like genitals or not, he decided to play with all the senses — mixing textures and tastes into delectable morsels.


Concentrated Popcorn


Popcorn coated with brown butter and cheddar cheese topped with a dash of hops powder is funky, salty, and highly addictive.


Szechuan Peanuts


These are my new favorite snack, covered in Szechuan pepper, chili, and served with cilantro and micro greens. Each bite is different, and by the end of the bowl (because you’ll end up eating the entire bowl) your tongue is numb.


Yuba Chips


These crisp chips are made from the skin that rises to the top of the pot when tofu is made.  They’re spicy and insanely crunchy — hands down the best chips you’ve ever had thanks to a sprinkling of nori and togarashi.


Pizza-Puffed Pasta


This, of all the bar snacks, is a killer, genius idea.  Overcooked pasta is fried so it puffs up crisp, then tossed in a spice mix that tastes like tomato, garlic, oregano, burnt crust, and mozzarella cheese. Perfection.


Beef Tongue


If you need more than bar snacks, get some tongue. Crisp chunks of beef tongue, tasting like the beefiest beef you ever had,  are plated with fried cauliflower, cauliflower puree, and chimichurri.


Rabbit Focaccia 


This focaccia was brought out last minute by Roche, who told us we couldn’t leave without trying it. Oh my God, was he right. The bread is studded with pieces of homemade comfit rabbit leg, topped with a white gazpacho made from almonds, and served with split grapes.  It’s unassuming, but it whacks you right over the head with fatty rabbit flavor, cut through by the richness of the almonds, which in turn is cut through by the grapes. It’s a perfect trio, and everything’s in-sync.

After ending on that phenomenal note, I’m definitely heading back soon to see what else PLAY has up its stocking.



1 East 27th Street

New York, NY 10016


Science Takes It Back, Says Bacon Will Help You Live Longer


Looks like those 3 extra pieces of bacon you had for breakfast this morning were actually saving your life. OK, that might be pushing it, but we’ve got good news for you pork lovers out there. Researchers at ETH Zurich just uncovered that foods packed with niacin – Vitamin B3 – are linked to a longer life. A team of researchers fed a selection of roundworms a good dose of niacin and the introduction of this new element increased their lifespan by one-tenth longer, in comparison to their Vitamin B3-deficient worm friends.

You can find niacin in paprika, sun-dried tomatoes, marmite (yech), peanuts but most importantly bacon. The study purports that niacin fools the body into thinking that it’s performing physical exercise, even if you might just be channel surfing on the couch. If you were thinking about scooping up that bacon-covered donut for dessert later today, you might as well, just consider that taking a tip in the fountain of youth.

Note, roundworms do not equal people. So, take this all with a grain of salt(ed bacon).

H/T GeekOSystem


Hungry? Grab a Snickers Popcorn Cupcake


As far as party tricks go, we all know there’s nothing more impressive than showing people the right way to eat a cupcake. But what if that cupcake is topped with popcorn? And covered with caramel, nougat, peanuts? And the entire thing has been drizzled and dunked in enough chocolate to make your wildest dreams come true? When you turn that Snickers-inspired chocolate fest into a cupcake sandwich (definition: here) and walk away with clean cheeks and a Cheshire grin, we’re pretty sure you’ve just leveled up to party king status.


Of course, first you have to make the cupcake. This thing is labeled as the ultimate party treat for “Snickers Superfans” and it’s pretty easy to see why. Just looking at it makes us want to attack the nearest vending machine with a fistful of quarters and the last shreds of our dignity, but no worries — if you can contain yourself long enough to pop into the store, a bag of the mini Snickers is all you need. Pop over to The Cupcake Bandits for the recipe and let your inner Snickers fan go crazy.

H/T Neatorama + PicThx The Cupcake Bandits