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Hit-Or-Miss

Mexican Coke Faces Extinction, May Drop Cane Sugar for Fructose

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Die-hard fans of Mexican Coca-Cola, let us ruin your day. On Thursday, Oct. 31, an ominous new soda sales tax hit Mexico. The new levy will impose an extra peso ($.08) per liter of every soft drink sale in the country. In turn, executives of Mexico’s soda industry warned that this may cause a shift from the drink’s beloved cane sugar to corn syrup.

According to Quartz, during an earnings call with analysts,  the head of Arca Continental SAB stated that the local Coca-Cola bottler may “move to more fructose,” as the ingredient is cheaper than cane sugar.

The National Soft Drink Producers Association, which includes Latin America’s top Coca-Cola bottlers (including Arca Continental SAB), predicted that the steep soda tax will result in the loss of 20,000 jobs and stocks have already fallen since the bill was proposed back in September.

The Bloomberg-inspired plan comes as an attempt to curb Mexico’s growing obesity epidemic, with over 70 percent of the country’s population now overweight. Beverage Digest estimates that Mexicans consume about 707 8-ounce servings of soda per year, with the US following close behind at 701 servings.

For those of you already lamenting the loss, Quartz points out that Mexicoke fans might already be guzzling down more high-fructose corn syrup than they think. In 2010, researchers from the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine tested the contents of Mexican Coca-Cola purchased in east LA. The verdict? While the Mexican Coke featured “sugar” under the ingredients, the laboratory results did not detect any sucrose. Instead, near equal amounts of glucose and fructose were found — indicators of high fructose corn syrup.

Well, shoot.

H/T Quartz

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Hit-Or-Miss

The Average American Eats 3.4 Pounds of Candy & More Inglorious Halloween Facts [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Tomorrow night, hoards of ravenous trick-or-treaters will descend upon neighborhoods across the nation. A terrifying amount of candy corn will be devoured, the streets will be covered in spilled rainbow Skittles, and a sugar high epidemic will take over the country. Oh, Halloween, how we’ve missed you so.

However, while the thought of gorging on mini Mars Bars sounds glorious (because it is), we rarely think about how it all tallies up at the end of the night. The infographic below breaks down America’s Halloween candy consumption to the nitty gritty — from filling us in on how much candy we eat individually (3.5 pounds) to how much candy we buy as a nation for this spooky holiday (600 million pounds, or 6 Titanic ships). The numbers are impressive, to say the least, and have only inspired us to outdo ourselves this year (see The Competitive Eater’s Guide to Maximizing Candy Consumption for tips).

We have a feeling our dentist is going to hate us on our next visit.

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halloween-facts

Categories
Adventures

Shake Shack Brings Shacktoberfest to London, Boozy Eats Ahead

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In an over-exhausted London market, where the city is literally teeming with new chains, there’s a lot of pressure for the food to be phenomenal or at least have some kitschy selling point to reel in curious eaters. Now, hoping to up the ante overseas, Shake Shack London debuted its first Shacktoberfest to celebrate the German holiday of beer and brats this past week.

The menu comprised of special edition biers, bratwursts and burgers including but not limited to, a flat-top griddled Emmanteler cheese bratwurst, crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots and ShackSauce. For the brats, there were four  to choose from: the Spicy Brat, Currywurst, Bavarian Brat and Cheese Brat. In case that wasn’t enough to induce a food coma, the famous Shake Shack crinkle-cut fries were on deck, in addition to the German-themed dessert menu of an Apfelstrudel Shake and a German Chocolate Pecan Concrete — chocolate frozen custard blended with coconut–pecan caramel and chocolate truffle cookie dough. Did I mention the Shacktoberfest Bier Stein, 20 oz. of ShackMeister Ale (which tasted more like lager, but that’s not overly important), and the mug is yours to keep? Clutch.

Take a closer look at the boozy offerings and meaty eats below.

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  Spicy Brat and Cheese Brat

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The griddled Emmentaler cheese-stuffed bratwurst was perfectly cooked,  with gross amounts of cheese melted into every bite. We did have one complaint: For a German sausage, it could have been heftier.

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Crinkle-Cut Cheese Fries

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An absolute winner. Who can resist the good old American gooey, fluorescent orange, American cheese generously melted over a heap of crispy, salty crinkle-cut fries?

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Shacktoberfest Bier Stein

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Of course, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without beer — the best deal on the Shacktoberfest menu by far. A 20 oz. beer mug is yours to keep for only £10. Filled to the brim with Shake Shack’s very own ShackMeister Ale, refills are available for £4.50. We apologize for the blurry picture, we were a few brews deep at this point.

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German Chocolate Pecan Concrete

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The chocolate custard is amazing in its own right, now overload it chock-a-bock with candy and you’ll be drowning in delicious. Oh, and blending the custard with chocolate hazelnut brownies from St. JOHN Bakery (which arguably makes the best doughnuts in London)? Genius.

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Apfelstrudel Shake

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This dessert is sinfully sweet, yet quite pleasant. Its smooth milkshake-like consistency blended well with a cast of cozy autumnal spices, making for a comforting and filling dessert.

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A prime example of the globalization of food — an American chain, in London, celebrating German heritage and culture. Whether simply a glorified fast food endeavor or an attempt at truly integrating American exports with another country’s celebrations (or both!), if it means more frozen custard for everybody, then hey, who can complain about that?

Shake Shack

24, Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden

London WC2E 8RD

020 3598 1360

Photography by Erica Schecter
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Video

1 Gallon of Milk = 1000 Gallons of Water + More Eye-Opening Facts on Food Waste

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Food consumption is constant. Unfortunately, so is food waste. We toss out valuable produce both consciously and unconsciously, whether it’s ordering a meal we can’t finish at a restaurant or discarding out week-old bananas. In the US, many of us have the mindset that food waste is, yes, “unfortuante,” but ultimately inevitable. However, few of us ever think of the money, time and environmental costs that goes behind our food.

If we did, we’d probably think twice before tossing out those leftovers.

Food Waste, A Story of Excess takes us through a quick, yet eye-opening journey through consumption and waste in the US. The video shines a light on the gravity of our everyday decisions. A few startling notes from the video:

  • Food waste costs the US $165 billion annually
  • It takes 1000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of milk
  • Half the food in the US is wasted between the farm and the fork

Watch the video below:

H/T Visual.ly

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Graham Elliot: The Life of a MasterChef judge [INTERVIEW]

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I was lucky enough to speak with MasterChef judge Graham Elliot recently about his love of food, growing up and what’s it like to be a judge and father. MasterChef is a FOX reality cooking competition where 24 home cooks from across the country compete with one another to win the title of MasterChef as well as a cash prize. The contestants are judged by Elliot himself, Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich.

What inspired you to get into food?

I used to sing and play guitar in a band. I was a dishwasher at the same time. I started working in a kitchen doing some prep work and stuff and seeing certain cookbooks inspired me and I realized that could be a creative outlet just like music was. I really loved it and enjoyed it and decided to drop out [of high school], get my GED, and go to cooking school for a year.

What’s the reason food is important to you?

There’s a million reasons why food’s important to me. The fact that I can find my voice by working with incredible ingredients. I use products that farmers put just as much love into growing and raising as I do cooking. I get to interact with the public, with guests at the restaurant, inspire younger cooks and try to teach them and lead them. There’s a million different ways and reasons why this is a chosen path.

Elliot’s father was in the Navy, so he moved around often when he was young. 

I’ve been to all 50 states and got to travel outside the U.S. as well

How has moving around so often growing up made you the person you are today?

By having to go to 15 schools, including three high schools, you’re forced to be outgoing and be able to disarm people,  speak right away and get along with everyone. You’re always reinventing yourself, you’re getting inspired by everything around you. Living in the Philippines and Hawaii and road trips throughout the U.S. and traveling Europe and everywhere else. You see culture, you see history, you see how different regions apply what’s around them to the food that they do and you take that into what you call your own cuisine.

How is working on television compared to working in your restaurants?

I think that it’s interesting how similar they are. Being a musician, painter, chef, you have some kind of vision or philosophy that you want to get across to people through your work. Entertaining and cooking with whimsy in a resteraunt, it’s awesome to speak to 50 to 100 guests a night and show them what you do in your restaurant and then to be able to do the same kind of thing for 5 million plus on television is equally awesome.

Have you changed as a judge from season 1 to where you are now? Are you any different or are you the same person?

I’m lucky enough to be able to be who I am. I think all three of us on the show have that where Gordon gets to be Gordon, Joe is Joe and I’m me. There’s no ‘you have to be really mean this time or you have to do this.’ I’m a very nice person to a fault. I love to try to teach, to get the reason behind something, and I think I’m a pretty funny person. I like to enjoy what I do and have a great time with everyone around me. That’s come through a lot this season.

Is there Anything big in store this season?

We have a couple different celebrities coming, as well as go out and cook in the woods. They have to make their own camp, start their own fires to cook and go forage for things. That’s when my favorites come out.

As a judge, is it tough for you to get to know a contestant and have to see them leave if they get eliminated?

It’s definitely hard. We form a relationship with all these people. You know the ins and outs and personalities and styles and you’ve seen them grow and get better and tougher. Then something they’re unfamiliar with they have to cook and they’re not able to pull it off as good as everybody else and they have to go home and that’s always sad.

Aside from the show and your restaurants, are you working on anything else?

I’m working on my own show right now that will be on SPIKE called Covert Kitchens. It’s based around the idea of ‘pop-up’ restaurants and giving somebody a one-time chance in a lifetime to take over. An auto repair shop, a bank, or whatever it is, turn it into their restaurant with limited budget, cook for 50 to 100 people that can influence the direction of their career based on whether or not they can pull it off.

What do you like to do on your free time to relax?

I play guitar, I got to shows. I have three boys. So I go to baseball games, play in the yard, go to the beach. Whatever you can think of, going to the beach, all those fun things. I am a family guy for sure.

Finally, Do you have any advice for all the Foodbeasts out there?

Find one fun dish that you really enjoy and find a way to absolutely perfect it. Then come up with a completely different twist or take on that. Then once you start getting comfortable with that, apply it to different things. That’s how you start getting a good feel for finding your own voice with food.

MasterChef airs Wednesdays on FOX. Next fall, they will also have a spinoff entitled Junior MasterChef for kids 8-13 who love to cook at home.