Thinly sliced: D.C. city council members attempt to repeal Initiative 77, exploring plastic straw alternatives, and more
Flickr / Kent Wang
Flickr / Kent Wang
This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
Sip to my Lou. The golden age of thoughtless drinking through straws is over. As soon as 2020, there will be enough newly-enacted bans on plastic straws that we could be choosing between stainless steel, paper, compostable, or reusable plastic. Vice’s Munchies is here to demonstrate the pros and cons of these inelastic or nearly dissolvable understudies for America’s favorite one-and-done beverage accessory. The writer suggests that fully abstaining from our most popular and problematic drinking utensil may not be easy, so do your research now. But until that fateful day, sip, sip away.
The people united can always be defeated. Last month, Washington, D.C. voted to phase out the city’s tipped minimum wage for restaurant workers, and eventually put servers, bussers, and bartenders on the same $15 minimum wage that all other workers will qualify for. We reported that D.C.’s city council was unlikely to actually implement the restaurant wage hike, and now comes news to confirm it. Seven council members are backing legislation to repeal the ballot initiative, DCist reports.
Papa-gate. John Schnatter, founder and chairman of Papa John’s Pizza, resigned from his role on Wednesday evening, according to The New York Times. The move came after Forbes reported he had used the n-word on a conference call that was intended as a role-playing exercise to avoid exactly the kind of public relations crisis he wound up triggering. Schnatter had already resigned from the company’s CEO position just seven months ago after blaming low earnings on NFL leadership for allowing players to kneel in protest during the national anthem. Shares of the company’s stock fell 5 percent after the Forbes story published on Wednesday but gained more than 10 percent following news of Schnatter’s resignation. Better ingredients, better pizza.
Silk purse, sow’s ear. A lot has happened since a jury handed a silk purse to the neighbors of a North Carolina hog farm in April. Their trial was the first of 26 nuisance suits brought by fed-up residents against the state’s hog farming industry. Afflicted neighbors scored another big win at the end of June when a jury ruled in their favor again. The trial for the third lawsuit started this week. The matching verdicts indicate the remaining suits have a good chance of going the way of the neighbors, but it’s a long way to hog heaven: Since the trials began, the state legislature has overridden the governor’s veto on a new law that makes it even harder to sue factory farms. And on Tuesday, a rally in support of industrial hog farms drew several elected officials, The News and Observer reports.
Ladies AND Gentlemen. Grocery stores are beginning to notice that men who purchase groceries for their households are a largely untapped demographic for promotional language and in-store deals, reports The Wall Street Journal. Much of the merchandising in grocery stores is developed to pander to female shoppers and their statistically-proven, health-conscious tendencies to shop more thriftily than their male counterparts. Not only is the female-forward branding outdated amid evolving ideas about gender roles, it also excludes millennials (male and female both) who, having grown up without home economics, are apparently as clueless about cooking as the average dad. So what, you ask, would a grocery store not leaning on the maternal homemaker trope look like? For starters, more meat and beer discount pairings. That sounds like an upgrade to all shopping experiences.
Veggie tales. Ever sworn off eating animals or animal byproducts for the sake of your health? A new Psychology Today story wants you to know that bounties of colorful, fresh produce may signify vitality and health—but a solely plant-based diet can result in quite a few different micronutrient deficiencies. In short: Iron, vitamin B12, zinc… the list goes on. The article doesn’t suggest that you must eat meat—which, as we’ve learned this month, is one of the most ethically, economically, and environmentally contentious foods. But it does suggest that you take supplements. Noted.
Animal wrongs. Sometimes PETA, the world’s biggest animal rights organization, can behave in confusing ways. Yesterday—on 7-Eleven’s annual “free slurpee” day—the group encouraged its Twitter followers to go out and enjoy the “vegan refreshment.” But can something be vegan if it’s just water-based? If that’s not enough of a stretch, PETA also just released a new pro-soy marketing campaign that likens eating tofu to a “civic duty.” The logic: Tariffs on exports to China are going to leave farmers with a lot of surplus soy. Generating domestic demand would effectively help maintain farmers’ revenue. According to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa Soy Association disputes PETA’s characterization of events and called its campaign “misleading.” Soy it ain’t so.