Equipment corner correspondent Adam Ried gives a bit of positive encouragement as Christopher Kimball takes some candidates from a testing of inexpensive chef’s knives for a test drive as production continues on season 14 of America’s Test Kitchen. Stay tuned for our findings! See more behind-the-scenes photos at: http://bit.ly/o0qi36
Famous Characters’ Favorite Cocktails: Pop Chart Lab has designed an infographic cataloguing famous literary, film, and television characters’ favorite drinks. Can you name the favorite libation of Don Draper from Mad Men, The Dude from The Big Lebowski, and Jack Barnes from The Sun Also Rises? If you can’t think of the answers off the top of your head (for shame!) this print will help you out.
Space Chef Chris Hadfield Comes Back Down to Earth: We’ve written about the awesome space chef (well, astronaut, officially) Chris Hadfield here, here, and here in the past few months. His videos about space food are always informative and funny, but unfortunately it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer for more floating culinary adventures: The Canadian astronaut came back down to earth on Monday. Here’s hoping he flies high again soon.
The Terroir of Vermont Maple Syrup: If you think maple syrup just tastes like maple syrup, you’re letting down some folks in Vermont. The anthropologist Amy Trubek won a $45,000 grant from the U.S. Agriculture Department and convened a group of wine and cheese experts, a sensory scientist, maple producers, the state government’s Maple Specialist, and a Middlebury College chemist to pin down the flavors of maple syrup in terms of how they connect to the Vermont landscape. The group put together a guide that the state gives for free to sugar-makers, encouraging them to think about maple syrup more in terms of a fine wine than a pancake topper.
To Make a Reservation or Not to Make a Reservation? That is the Question: Reservations seem to be going the way of aspics: out of style. But is getting rid of them (reservations, not aspics) fair to patrons? Some restaurateurs argue that it creates more equality for diners, because “first come first serve” is as egalitarian as it gets. Those who would like to see reservations die out completely also contend that that no-shows are unfair to businesses. However, some believe that in order for establishments to truly service their customers as best they can, diners must be able to hold a table. What’s your take?
How to Avoid (or Start) Fights with Food Snobs: People who consider themselves foodies can be tricky to talk to about culinary topics. You never know when you might offend them by doing something wrong. Details.com editor James Oliver Cury kindly wrote a post for Eatocracyabout common topics that can really set off a gourmand so that you can avoid an altercation (or start one). For example: If you’re looking to avoid a stern telling off, don’t put ketchup on your steak.
Sticking to a Diet While Dining Out is Nearly Impossible, Study Shows: University of Toronto researchers have found that among 19 sit-down restaurant chains, the average meal contained 1,128 calories, which is 56% of the average daily 2,000-calories intake that the Food and Drug Administration recommends for a healthy adult (interestingly enough, the average fast food meal contains 881 calories). The high calorie counts weren’t just found in dinner portions, either: Lunches packed more than 1,000 calories on average, and breakfasts weighed in around 1,226. So if you’re trying to cut calories and still eat out, ask for a doggie bag.
Food Truck Weddings: How to Do It Right: Food trucks have become abundant in recent years, and not just in public spaces: POPSUGAR Food put together a slideshow of these movable kitchens at weddings. Trucks can add an element of casual fun to your fête, and can also cut back on catering costs (not to mention silverware rentals). You can even spruce up the traditional food truck experience by hiring servers to ferry food from truck to table, set up a buffet, or streamline the truck’s menu to keep things simpler (as tempting as it is to offer as many options as possible).
Breakfast: The Next Cash Cow for Fast Food Restaurants: Is all-day breakfast the next big money maker for fast food restaurants? Ad Age contends that it is, and statistics back up the claim. The morning meal already accounts for 25% of McDonald’s business, even before the chain has begun to offer it all day long, and breakfast been the only area of growth for the restaurant industry in the past decade. Chains like Denny’s and even the frozen yogurt shop Pinkberry are also hopping on the $50 billion restaurant-breakfast category. Those of you looking to ride on the “breakfast for dinner” train are in luck: It’s seems to be pulling into the station (or drive-thru, as it were).