The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Chuck and Josh read tons of articles. Here are the best of the bunch. Enjoy them with our compliments.

The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Each week, Chuck and Josh read tons of articles. Here are the best of the bunch. Enjoy them with our compliments.

Why it Says "Pareve" on Your Food Label, Explained

We are getting to the bottom of the mysterious word Pareve on the labels of your food in an effort to make you a more worldly type. No need to thank us.

Does the five-second rule work?

You know when you drop a piece of food and if you pick it up within five seconds it's still good to eat? Researchers have studied whether that's true or not and in doing so have inadvertently shone a light on how utterly covered our world is with bacteria and germs. Prepare to shudder in this episode of Stuff You Should Know.

Food Trucks begat Diners; or, What's old is new again

Sometimes things come so clearly full circle that it's elegant. An excellent case in point and the only one I can think of right now is the current trend toward buying one's gourmet hotdogs and tacos from food trucks. It's worth pointing out that it's a trend in outlying cities like Atlanta, St. Louis. and San Francisco, though it's has been pretty much permanent and largely taken for granted that at any given moment on certain streets in New York, there will be a line of trucks capable of preparing and serving hot food like gyros and sausages in exchange for cash only.

How SPAM Works

SPAM is a canned meat product made from pork shoulder and ham. First introduced in 1937, this iconic food has spread to stores across the world. But what exactly is it, how did it get here -- and why is its shelf life "indefinite?" Tune in to find out.

There's a very important part of good science, that correlation does not prove causation. To give a crude example, if I'm eating an ice cream cone and a chimp passing by on his way back to the circus goes out of his way to cross the street just to punch me in the stomach, while the same chimp just minds his own business and keeps walking if I'm standing in the same spot but without an ice cream cone, then one can say that ice cream and abdominal pain is correlated. But then one is missing the point.

The Grocery Store No Longer a Sanctuary but a Place of Harsh Betrayal

Anyone who's opened a bag of delicious Goldfish™-brand cracker lately knows the sting of undiluted disappointment. Something is rotten in Denmark as far as retail food goes. Little by little the contents within are shrinking, while the bag -- and the price -- stays the same. The upshot is that we are getting far less food for what we pay for compared to even just a few years ago. In some cases, like that of Goldfish™-brand crackers or a bag of chips, most of the contents is mere air, which, everybody knows doesn't cost the manufacturer one red cent.

Japan Pays Homage to America's Cities, Guts with Line of Burgers

It seems like all of the best food is found abroad. It is true, we have fried pickles, Fool's Gold sandwiches, Buffalo wings, 1/2-lb. Cheesy Potato Burritos, corned beef hash, doughnuts. So, well, we do have pretty good food here in the States, I guess. But I've found that overseas, they often take our good ideas and make them into something like holy food. In Switzerland, for instance, they make this dish called metzger rosti, which consists of a fried egg atop a slab of fried Spam, over bed of fried hash browns and covered with an amazing onion sauce. Good God, I want some right now. Despite their fair-to-say obsession with maintaining a healthy weight, I've found the Japanese are among the best at besting nations of origin with their own food.

Factory Farmin': Wakey, Wakey, Eggs N Bakey (Are Suffering)

I fear we are becoming jaded. Animal rights groups have virtually given up pressing a vegetarian lifestyle onto meat eaters and instead these days pick the decidedly more narrow battle of convincing us to eat meat that's raised responsibly, since those of us who aren't vegetarian have convinced them we're going to eat meat no matter what they say. Moreover, as in the past activists are using the tactic of going undercover to infiltrate major food producers, but the damning evidence they procure just isn't so shocking any longer. It's horrific, sure, but you kind of have to make yourself think about it, imagine it more clearly than we had to a decade or two ago. Like I said, jaded.