Bacon, Brains, and Bill Cosby

Fascinating food reads from around the web


Welcome to Binge Reading, your weekly source for the most important food reading from around the web in one easily digestible column. For those normally too busy  for web browsing breaks but still curious of everything food, give these a read during your lunch break. Or don’t… at least not this week. Coming up: the very worst news, a few lessons, and proof that there ain’t no party like a Viking party.

We can all thank The Daily Meal for helping remind us of ridiculous first world problems while simultaneously giving us the worst news we’ve heard this week: there might be a global bacon shortage. And yeah, it’s related to global warming, the summer’s droughts, and all this wonky weather. If it doesn’t rain, we can’t feed our pigs. Well, this is really it. Who cares if the world ends in December now? No bacon, no point. Now there’s a philosophy by which to live out the end of days.

In today’s an-app-for-everything world, humans have become inept at completing even the most basic of tasks without the assistance of technology. Case and point, The Guardian’s online article teaching you how to eat a bowl of cereal. If you think this morning ritual is as simple as adding milk and using a spoon, you’ve been doing it wrong.

Also demonstrative of the falling intelligence of the human race: our inability to read food labels. The San Francisco Chronicle has kindly listed up the most common terms we read wrong, and that includes everything from “Made in…” to “Natural.”

The New York Times published the most depressing online quiz in the history of online quizzing. (And it used to be such a fun and frivolous history, too…) Just work your way through seven short, and mildly distressing, eating-related questions to find out if you are addicted to food. Unless you receive the strangely ambiguous result “Possible Addiction,” you’ll have a full proof New York certified diagnosis.

But, on the plus side, there may be hope for us gluttons yet! Scientific American recently reported the findings of a study from the University of Michigan that examined the region of the brain that responds when we’re eating something delicious. Unsurprisingly, over time our brains begin to react as if we’re receiving a drug, hence a real life addiction to food. Here’s to hoping this is a first step in identifying a realistic diet!

Madame Fromage, aka the only person in the world who can definitively claim the title of Cheese’s Biggest Fan, shared the transcendental tale of a man who has left the real world for the Land of Cheese. Here, the “real world” meaning a city and a regular job, and “the Land of Cheese” meaning rural Massachusetts with a career in cheese making. And if that isn’t a utopian existence, I don’t know what is. Living on a farm, milking cows, eating cheese—life would be so pure.

But even the cheese obsessed could probably resist “fly larvae cheese,” the most reasonable food ban ever instated in the United States. No matter your opinion on the soda ban, I think the outlawing of cheese fermented by maggots is a food platform we can all stand behind. Smithsonian Magazine wins my vote for most disgusting food news this week.

In slightly less disgusting, but equally disturbing food reading Salon has kindly reminded us all of that shady chef-“accidentally”-murders-then-boils-his-wife story from 2009. The initial three-year-old crime aside, reviewers of this chef’s place just can’t stop joking. Which really says more about us, and our society, as a whole, than the murderer chef—doesn’t it? One reviewer even quoted George Bernard Shaw—“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Really? Cause if there’s one thing this story is not, its poignant.

Bill Cosby was in Philadelphia with The Atlantic this week. And even more surprising than the fact that this guy is still around is the fact that he has so many food issues. Cosby does not promote the use of 5-Hour-Energy to combat the 2:30 p.m. daily schlump. Instead, he recommends we all pack chopped chicken and cooked vegetables in Ziploc bags to snack on during that awkward afternoon office period. Well Bill Cosby, that is both oddly specific and somewhat impractical but we’ll take it into consideration. And we certainly appreciate your effort to use star power for good and promote healthy social changes. We are all for that.

Turns out rich Westerners aren’t the only ones in the world who take their ships seriously enough to waste an entire bottle of champagne on them. Mental Floss explains the history of “christening” new ships like newborn babies—only instead of using holy water we’ve always used some form of booze. Well, the Vikings used human blood. Booze, blood, tomato, tomahto.

Mary Sydnor is a Philadelphia arts and culture writer and the Assistant Editor at Drexel University's Center for Cultural Outreach. Her work has been published in the Daily News and The Smart Set.

September 26, 2012
,7:16 pm


  1. Sandra Child says:

    This is great! Summaries of the most ridiculous food facts, and food events all in one place! I will return to Binge Reading! Super entertaining!

  2. Rachel says:

    haha! that last line was great

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