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2016: Fully digesting the year in food


We had an “unpresidented” presidential election, major earthquakes of various degrees around the world, ice caps melting faster than ever, more school gardens growing throughout the United States, and more people cooking at home than in recent years.

Maybe they are throwing together delivered and pre-measured ingredients, but at least they are home and possibly conversing during meals in which they have had a hand or two.

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McDonald’s vowed to go with healthy ingredients in the next few years – and yet bad karma still followed the golden arches. One customer, James Curtis, has sued Mickey Dee’s and told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald that its “extra value meal” costs 41 cents more than the sum of its parts purchased separately, hoping his effort will become a class action lawsuit to get the chain to be more honest.

McDonald’s also lost the creator of the Big Mac (a favorite of Julia Child) and its “special sauce,” Michael James Delligatti, at age 98 in Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s Delligatti owned 12 McDonald’s franchises in the Pittsburgh area. Meanwhile, the company is trying out serving sit-down meals and wine service in a few locations.

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Nestlé says it has developed a more intensely sweet flavored sugar that requires use of less sugar. According to the company’s chief technology expert Stefan Catsicas, “It is sugar, but it is assembled differently so it can disassemble easily in your mouth with less going into your gastrointestinal tract.” Got it?

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Tyson Food CEO Donnie Smith is being paid $5,800 per hour on his post-employment consulting contract for three years. And he is only allowed to work 33 hours per month, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. You are paying him every time you buy Tyson’s turkey or chicken products.

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Apeel Sciences of Santa Barbara claims to have developed a coating for vegetables that is developed from discarded plant material to make them last a long time on the vine or on store shelves, citing extended shelf life of cassava in Africa as their proof of product.

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Anheuser-Busch InBev of Belgium sold its Pilsner Urquell group of beverage brands to Asahi of Japan for $7.8 billion to try to avoid monopoly accusations since it merged with SABMiller in September. It also sold its 59 percent interest in MillerCoors to Molson Coors Brewing for a cool $12 billion. Pop another can and feed their coffers.

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Chipotle, branded as a healthy takeout option, closed several “stores” due to food poisoning and is now trying to win back customers.

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According to Rotary International’s Rotarian magazine, Americans throw away 80 billion pounds of food every year, partially due to sell-by dates on containers, some of which are real warnings and others of which just make us throw away and buy more of the product.

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After the Kellogg Company withdrew its advertising from the conservative Breitbart website because it wasn’t “aligned with our values,” Breitbart called for a boycott of Kellogg’s cereals.

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Chinese food fans lost an innovator named Peng Chang-kuei, who created General Tso’s chicken, which was considered the most famous Hunanese dish in the world by some food scholars. General Tso’s chicken is lightly battered pieces of dark meat fried in chili-accented sweet-and-sour sauce. To many Americans who like Chinese food, it is better known as crispy chicken with red dots (chili flakes).

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Cuban fishers are using inflated condoms to keep their bait floating high in the water, according to the Associated Press.