Oh, Yeah … Well, Fugu!

Image from Flickr Creative Commons by spaztacular

This will be short and sweet. Here we have an example of just how dumb people can be.

In the realm of the “Do Not Eat This” universe this is what you might call beyond the pale. Fugu is a fish, the intestines, ovaries and liver of which contain a poison called tetrodotoxin. This particular poison is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide.

Chefs undergo two to three years of training in an effort not to kill their customers. Are you getting our drift here?

Simply put, do not order fugu to impress a date. Do not order fugu to win a bet. Do not ever, under any circumstance, order fugu.

Well, maybe in a Columbo-style criminal plot to remove a business rival or cover up your embezzling ways … no, forget we said that … don’t ever order fugu.

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Classic Culinary Blunders: Cooking With 7-Up

Picture from Flickr Creative Commons by Daquella manera

We suppose you really can’t blame a company for trying to expand its market. Resist their efforts, sure, but don’t be too hard on them.

They have a tough road to hoe, though. The “Ham Basted With 7-Up” recipe begins with the words “Gash fat …” Mmmmm. Nothing like lemon-lime flavored ham fat.

The “7-Up Salad” combines these seemingly mutually exclusive foodstuffs – gelatin, hot apple sauce and, of course, their refreshing drink.

And for dessert, the “7-Up Cake and Icing” substitutes the fizzy drink for milk and … well, you can see the rest for yourself.

One last point … although we have not researched this completely, we feel confident that all of the above points apply to cooking with Sprite as well.

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Classic Culinary Blunders: Hamburgers-on-a-Stick

From Flickr Creative Commons by VirtualErn

People who like hamburgers, which we unscientifically estimate at approximately 87 percent of the world, like them just the way they are.

Messing with near-perfection is a precarious undertaking. Michael Jordan was not content to be the world’s greatest basketball player. He decided to quit that sport to take on baseball.

Epic fail.

Similarly, attempting to improve, or somehow make the hamburger a “classier” dish is at best an exercise in futility and at worst an abomination of the very fiber of humanity.

Here we see the traditional bun replaced by a skewer. So the tomatoes and onions and peppers we love so much need to be impaled along with the burger, itself, which is now not so much burger as meatball.

And when you’re done? It’s not just curl up your napkin and dispose of responsibly – no, now there are sharp, lethal weapons on the table. Inevitably, stabbings will ensue.

We don’t think it’s overstating the point to point out that people will die as the result of hamburger-on-a-stick. And isn’t that really just the opposite of what we want from our food?


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5-Hour Energy Drink: Because Cocaine Is Illegal

From Flickr Creative Commons by wstryder

The 5-Hour Energy Drink burst upon us in TV commercials like this week’s hot singer on American Idol. Suddenly there it was – the perfect, legal halfway point between coffee and cocaine.

You can stay awake and alert for hours (like coffee and crack), suddenly feel smarter than you are (like coke), with no Charles Bukowski-like crash (and there’s the major improvement over the white powder).

But is all that true? It acts a lot like the illegal stuff.

They say their competition is coffee, but … sniff, sniff … we know what time it is.

You know how pharmaceutical products have to list the possible side effects in their commercials, right? And you have probably thought, “Gee, those side effects sound worse than the ailment.” Well, here are a few of the complaints 5-Hour Energy Drink users have experienced, not for an ailment, but for a malady called “I’m a little sleepy”: 

Niacin flush (a burning sensation on face and legs, and redness of skin), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, insomnia (complain about sleepiness, will you?), chest pain, and numbness in the arms and legs.

5-Hour Energy Drink is not recommended for children under the age of 12, pregnant women, and people who have high blood pressure. We would extend that non-recommendation to every living person.

So here’s an idea … how about getting enough sleep at night?

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Potato Chips Make You Gain Weight … Duh!

Image from Flickr Creative Commons by TheDeliciousLife

But only when eaten in bulk … double duh!

The famous Lays challenge, “I’ll bet you can’t eat just one” should have been fair warning. Potato chips must be eaten in bulk to attain the desired effect. That effect being a certain salt and spud satisfaction level approached only by that other tasty tater treat, the French fry.

But who would have guessed this …

According to MedPage Today, roughly half of the average 3.35 pounds a healthy, non-obese American gains over four years could be chalked up to eating more potato chips.

Think about that.

Our first thought is that it’s astonishing that one food could be responsible for that kind of weight gain. Our second thought is: What must the actual obese Americans be eating? Potato chip lasagna? Potato chip brownies?

Of course the medical community, apparently having no idea that snack foods are meant to be fun, recommend we munch on yogurt, nuts, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.

Right. Thanks, medical community. Once again you’ve been a lot of help.

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Worst Snack in the Supermarket?

The winner: Hostess Chocolate Pudding Pie.

Our choice for the worst snack hinges on the true meaning of the word “snack.” Dictionary.com defines it as “a small portion of food or drink.” (Frankly, we would dispute the small drink as constituting a snack, but that is a point for another day.)

And yes, the portion is small, but …

It has 520 calories … it has 24 g fat (14 g saturated, 1.5 g trans) … it has 45 g sugars!

A snack? That’s about the same amount of calories as a Big Mac (which is intended to be a meal, we believe).

Once you get past the enriched flour and water on the ingredient list, here’s the scoop: animal shortening, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, butter, chocolate liqueur, and so on.

This is actually a very formidable All-Star team of bad ingredients.

Men’s Health magazine recommends that you substitute the 100 calorie Chocolatey Drizzle Rice Krispies Treat for your snack. We do not endorse the term “Chocolatey,” but otherwise this seems like a pretty good idea.

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Fake Meat, Real Problems

Flickr photo by arvindgrover

Even though meat substitutes, like veggie burgers and hot dogs, are heavily processed and thus leave a rather large carbon footprint – they seem to get a pass because, well, because they’re not that evil red meat, we suppose.

Vegans have all the cards when it comes to treating animals with respect. Meat-eaters must rely on either biblical references to being master of the animals, or Darwinian theories regarding survival of the fittest.

The problem lies in the fact that non-meat really can’t taste like meat without a lot of processing. How many of us have tried our best to pretend that a veggie burger was just as good as a monster hamburger fresh off the grill (usually to impress a hot vegan we’d like to see more of)?

It’s a losing game.

Blogger Becky Striepe mentions a burger recipe that is not trying to taste like a beef burger. Instead, it’s a patty that accentuates the delicious flavors of healthy rice, lentils, and veggies.

We imagine that could work. If the cook is really, really hot.

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