Posts filed under ‘Food’

CDC calls America “obesogenic”

Health WrapAnd here’s some evidence. Happy Friday!

CDC’s definition of Obesogenic: “Characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, nonhealthful foods, and physical inactivity.”



August 7, 2009 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

Milk and Honey’s Invisible Visibility

Picture 1 copyI recently got the chance to peek at the Milk and Honey Service Manual, authored by patron-saint-of-cocktails Sasha Petraske and his staff. A pioneer in the fancy cocktail scene, M&H is especially known for 1. Quality: Extreme attention to detail in every aspect of drink making, especially in regards to ingredients (Bartender Magazine ranks it the #2 bar in the world, below its London location) and 2. Mystery: Hidden behind a door on an otherwise unremarkable stretch of Eldridge St; strict call in advance reservations only policy; and an (until recently) unpublished phone number.

To my surprise and delight, in spite of their venerated position, M&H’s manual describes a Remains of the Day-level dedication to pursuing virtue through humility and service. (more…)

May 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm Leave a comment

Have You Had Your “McGangBang” Today?


It’s a simple recipe for a thoroughly unwholesome meal: one McChicken sandwich placed between a Double Cheeseburger’s two patties, both ordered off McDonald’s popular Dollar Menu for a grand total of $2.16. Crudely christened the “McGangBang” by Daytona Beach customers in 2006, the sandwich has steadily earned a voracious following. Today, McDonald’s diners consume the McGangBang both online and off, ordering the absurd sandwich from befuddled employees, while documenting their experiences via Flickr, YouTube and, dare I say, even Twitter. And yet, the way McDonald’s opts to address this public relations pickle will prove to be even more interesting than how their customers are customizing the dollar sandwiches.

To date, the company has issued a single statement on the McGangBang, using a typical smile, deflect and evade approach:

“McDonald’s loves to hear from our valued guests, especially when they customize and create meal combinations to fit their personal taste preferences – no matter how unique! Whether it’s requesting an Egg McMuffin without cheese or a Big Mac with extra secret sauce, McDonald’s is proud to satisfy our customers’ requests and provide them with a variety of great-tasting meals every time they visit our restaurants.”

Is it just me or is ordering a sandwich named after a group sex act slightly different than asking for “an Egg McMuffin without cheese?” (Unless I’m unaware of some naughty new move!)


March 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm 2 comments

The Amazing Year That Was

Obama crowd

2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.

But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.

Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.

Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

— Johnny

January 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Craig Bamsey On The Crisis Food Economy


Here at P.A.A., we like overturning rocks and digging in the dirt. But let’s face it, sometimes we need an extra hand getting to the bottom of things. Starting this week, we will be welcoming guest bloggers, who we hope will expose us and our readers to some fresh new ideas. Our inaugural guest blogger is especially near and dear to us. As CEO of Infinia Foresight, and overall awesome boss, Craig shares our child-like curiosity for combing culture. So without further adieu, here are Craig’s thoughts on food and finance… –Johnny

At a birthday gathering for my son’s classmate in the New York ‘burbs this weekend, I struck up a conversation with a dad who runs a party and catering service. Naturally, given the headlines, the conversation turned to the economy, to the banking and credit crisis, and how all of it was effecting his very economy- (and finance industry)-dependent small business.

It turns out that he’s doing fairly well. His business held “flat” vs. last year in September, which he counted as a major success, and he remains optimistic. His hope seemed to spring from three key tenets:

  1. People always need to eat, for richer or poorer
  2. People take comfort in food and having a good time–particularly when times are bad
  3. In order to get all the massive financial restructuring, mergers and deals done that this crisis has precipitated, there have been veritable armies of investment bankers and lawyers sequestered in small rooms for days at a time throughout the city. They take no breaks. They don’t go out. All of their sustenance is catered in. For days on end.

Voila: The Crisis Food Micro-Economy.


October 7, 2008 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Food Villain?

In the past few years, High Fructose Corn Syrup has hogged the spotlight as an insidious force in the food world. Natural foodies have embraced this latest bogeyman, blaming it for allergies, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It has become shorthand for over-processing, consumer exploitation, contentious farm subsidies and questionable parenting. The tides have turned so much against HFCS that the Corn Refiners Association has launched a campaign to point out that while is it fast becoming a “food villain,” few people actually know why they have come to see it as a negative ingredient in food:

There are some interesting parallels with organic food, which has simultaneously become positively coded in society. Different people value organics for different reasons: safety, taste, naturalness, humaneness… the list goes on, but regardless of specifics, the result is that many people just think it’s “better.” HFCS is organics’ evil twin. People have come to eye HFCS with suspicion for a multitude of reasons, believing that it is unhealthy, unnatural, everywhere, tastes inferior and the root of the obesity problem. It’s a food villain.

There is a reason for the raging debate. I looked for a simple answer, but there isn’t one. People are very opinionated, arguments from both sides are at times more emotional than logical, there is an abundance of fuzzy facts and inconclusive science, and there’s little distinction between cause and correlation. I thought that it would be helpful to share some of the information and questions I had, so that people who haven’t made up their minds can base their own opinions on fact rather than hype. (more…)

September 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm 2 comments

It’s All Greek (Mastiha) To Me


Last year, a glowing little store called the mastihashop opened on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Mastiha is the hand-harvested resin from the trunk of mastic trees grown on Chios, Greece. It has been used for therapeutic purposes since Hippocrates’ time, and was studied by the University of Nottingham as a treatment for peptic ulcers.

The store is a veritable festival of Mastiha: flavored candies and sweet treats, spice shakers for cooking, teas, homeopathic powder for digestive problems, gum, and skincare products (developed in conjunction with the slick Greek beautycare brand Korres). Here are some of the forms you can taste at the store:

The mastihashop is run by sisters Kalliopi and Artemis Kohas. Kalliopi recently took some time to chat with me about introducing the magical sap to the US. –Kat

How did you get into the mastiha business?

My sister and I have been surrounded by mastiha our whole lives and when the “mastihashops” were created in Greece we knew that we wanted to participate in mastiha’s renaissance and be the ones to bring it to the US. We approached the company and to our good fortune they chose to work with us.

What have you learned in the past year since launching mastihashop?

I have learned that no matter how excellent your product is, without the proper exposure and channels of distribution your product won’t get the attention and sales it deserves. The biggest challenge is being proactive and creative everyday in order to educate the public to a product that they have never even heard of. (more…)

August 4, 2008 at 9:34 am 2 comments

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