Pop Culture

Wi-Fi Kettles, Missing Grandmothers, and More (Unexpected) Places We Found Food This Week

October 14, 2016

As of late, I’ve become obsessive in my quest to “find the food angle” everywhere I look. The good news: I find a lot of food where I least expect it. Every Friday, I will present each week’s findings. Here are last week's.

WikiLeaks: Well, the 'MSM' won't tell you this, but here's Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta offering a rather controversial "riff" on risotto. His take on the creamy dish has inspired fierce tribalism, apparently, judging from all the people who took umbrage with his suggestions outlined in leaked missives. "The slower add process and stirring causes the rice to give up it's [sic] starch which gives the risotto it's [sic] creamy consistency," he writes, flouting basic rules that govern American grammar. "You won't get that if you dump all that liquid at once." Is he right? I just don't know; I've never made risotto.

A subway platform in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn: I once choked on a red Life Saver at the "green" age of five, only to be saved by my sister, which is why this heartwarming story of a “quick-thinking cop” who became a “lifesaver for a man choking on a Life Savers candy” earlier this week in Bedford-Stuyvesant really stuck with me. According to this report in The New York Post, Officer Soner Ozuk performed the Heimlich on a 49-year-old man who was in clear distress on a subway platform—all because he was choking on this circular candy! Amazing.

The exploding phones of Samsung: Exploding phones, exploding phones. Has your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploded yet? Earlier this week, a video filmed in a South Korean Burger King surfaced, showing a smoky little phone crackling into flames, alight on a table. A brave employee with svelte hands picks it up and de-escalates the situation with grace and ease, equipped with some chic yellow gloves.

Gwyneth Paltrow's splashy Harper's Bazaar cover story: Just weeks after she imagined a Hong Kong neighborhood that doesn’t seem to exist, Gwyneth Paltrow has been given a full-blown spread and longform story penned by none other than late night television show host Samantha Bee. There "Gwynny" is, windswept as she stands in front of grocery store aisles, heel backing into a box of Cocoa Puffs. Her cart is teeming with boxes of Lucky Charms and Fruit Loops. It's a lovely photo.

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A man's search for his missing grandmother: A Floridian grandma gone missing! Hurricane Matthew had left Eric Olsen, a Nebraska resident, unable to reach his 87-year-old grandma in the aftermath of a storm that had totaled phone lines in Florida. Olsen, the genius, was frustrated with the sluggishness of authorities and so resorted to ordering a pizza to his grandmother's house from Papa's Johns. They "delivered" on their promise when they showed up at his grandmother's door and found her safe. Nice.

America's short-lived love affair with Kenneth Bone, undecided voter: Wow. This is maybe the worst week in American history, wherein we saw undecided voter Ken Bone everywhere after he asked some question about energy during this past Sunday's debate—there he always was whenever I opened my eyes, his face gently mustachioed, his half-zipped sweater the color of Clifford. Over in Brooklyn, just steps from my apartment, a local "joint" called Vinnie’s Pizzeria ran a Ken Bone-dedicated menu, replete with a PENNEth Bone pizza, PROVObone, and ChicKEN BONE. Please kill me. I would eat none of this. Besides, I've recently learned he's a rather "unsavory" character. I’m moving back to Manhattan.

The Twin Peaks resurgence: Lindsey Bowden is a huge fan of Twin Peaks, and she has "cooked up" Damn Fine Cherry Pie, an unauthorized Twin Peaks-inspired cookbook that comes out next month. It's got eighty recipes, though the Netflix relaunch of the David Lynch show isn't due for another two years.

The alleged 'Internet of Things': Talk about a "food hack"—poor Mark Rittman, the data scientist reduced to waiting eleven whole hours to have his desired cup of tea boiled for him by a hi-tech, wi-fi kettle—the iKettle. Rittman took to Twitter to detail this sordid ordeal, backlogs and all as he tried to "crack the code." Eventually, he resorted to hacking his way to boiling water.

The oeuvre of Drake: Crazy—Canadian rapper Drake, “Champagne Papi” over here (yeah, I know my stuff), launched a liquor brand last month and his sales have gone “through the roof.” It topped records for single-day launches this past week, selling over 1,700 bottles in 220 stores across Canada on its first day.

This electoral map meme: Ugh. I have to go forever.

What'd I miss this week? Please, let me know in the comments!

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.