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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Inside The Race To Become The Chipotle Of Pizza, by Venessa Wong, BuzzFeed

Pizza, like other fast food, proliferated in the US because it was cheap and convenient. Above all else, most Americans expect pizza to cost very little, which can be a recipe for all sorts of culinary shenanigans. While it was beloved for decades — even in the highly industrialized form most of us know today — the big chains lost their way somewhere down the line, in pursuit, perhaps, of efficiency and profit. But what other choice did a pizza enthusiast have?

At some point, enough people decided they were no longer content to just passively gorge on whatever pizza they were offered. In 2009, responding to persistent customer complaints like “Domino’s pizza crust to me is like cardboard” and “the sauce tastes like ketchup,” Domino’s launched a new pizza recipe. In 2014, Pizza Hut revamped its menu to focus on bold flavors like honey Sriracha crusts and balsamic drizzles, after two years of declining sales. This year, Papa John’s ditched artificial flavors and colors and launched an exhaustive list of other banned ingredients: no partially hydrogenated oils, no MSG, no fillers in meat toppings, no BHA, no BHT, no cellulose, and no antibiotics in its chicken toppings and poppers.

Must Science Be Testable?, by Massimo Pigliucci, Aeon

Physicists agree that this means that either theory, or both, are therefore wrong or incomplete. String theory is one attempt at reconciling the two by subsuming both into a broader theoretical framework. There is only one problem: while some in the fundamental physics community confidently argue that string theory is not only a very promising scientific theory, but pretty much ‘the only game in town,’ others scornfully respond that it isn’t even science, since it doesn’t make contact with the empirical evidence: vibrating superstrings, multiple, folded, dimensions of space-time and other features of the theory are impossible to test experimentally, and they are the mathematical equivalent of metaphysical speculation. And metaphysics isn’t a complimentary word in the lingo of scientists. Surprisingly, the ongoing, increasingly public and acerbic diatribe often centres on the ideas of one Karl Popper. What, exactly, is going on?

The Tyranny Of Other People’s Vacation Photos, by Henry Alford, New York Times

Chief among my favorite Facebook memories is the time that a high-powered journalist of my acquaintance breezily informed us all that he was at the Grill Room of the Four Seasons with Ted Danson, tucking into some sea urchin. To which one friend responded, “That’s funny, because I’m at the Midtown tunnel with Rhea Perlman, eating shawarma.”

While some frequent users of social media are merely fabulous, others savvily buff their fabulousness to a dazzling gleam, becoming fahvolous. At no point in the year is this more evident than in August and early September, when Facebook and Instagram swell with the plump, juicy, sun-ripened harvest of summer: vacation photos.

The Depressing Food Of The Depression, In ‘A Square Meal’, by Steven Kurutz, New York Times

It was Americans who had sent food to starving Europeans during World War I. “A Square Meal” chronicles the ways the nation coped with suddenly not being the land of plenty.

“This was a time when food became a central, fraught subject for the American people,” Mr. Coe said, explaining why he and his wife wanted to write about it.