Tag Archives: twitter

Eating Disorders: Not Just a White Girl’s Problem

Gwyneth image via SFGate

No matter what I do, I will never be as strong or thin as Gwyneth. (#whitegirlproblems)

If you thought eating disorders were only for white girls, think again.
New studies of disordered eating among racial and ethnic minorities are challenging the widespread perception that these afflictions are the sole domain of privileged, white teenagers.

For years, girls of color were thought to be immune. The cultural standards of beauty in Black and Latina communities had always valued size and curves, and put less emphasis on thinness. But new generations of minority girls are striving to conform to the standards of the prevailing culture, and its reinforced by the increasing diversity of fashion and advertising, with images of thin, beautiful Hispanic- and African-American women joining those of whites.

I need to lose about 6,000 pounds. (#whitegirlproblems)

The classic study of body image presents girls with a set of female silhouette images and instructs them to select their current and ideal from the choices. Body dissatisfaction is then calculated by ascertaining the absolute differences between participants’ current and ideal silhouettes. Historically, the white girls in these studies chose smaller ideal silhouettes and demonstrated vastly higher rates of dissatisfaction with their current shape; recent results show non-whites choosing larger sizes for their current representations, but virtually no difference in the choice of ideal form.

This toothpaste tastes fattening. (#whitegirlproblems)

Now that they have the same anxiety and shame about their bodies, girls of color are succumbing to the same eating disorders as the white girls. Occurrences are at a rate of about 1.5% for all population groups. White and Latina girls are more inclined to be anorexic, while Black and Native American girls have higher rates of bulimia. Only Asian-American girls, with their naturally smaller body types, are less prone to engage in disordered eating.

I was gonna work out but I’m hungry so…..oh well. I’m just gonna embrace my body and be a size 6. *sigh* (#whitegirlproblems)

Looks like it’s time for an overhaul over at White Girl Problems. *
Or at least a new name.

*In case you missed it:
WGP
is the twitter feed/internet meme/pop culture sensation/now a book that spoofs the obnoxious, condescending, and frivolous whinings of the privileged and self-absorbed. It’s a world that is profoundly inconvenienced by shopping, yoga, boyfriends, roommates, and especially the pursuit of a decent low-fat frozen yogurt.

 

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The Yin and the Yang of Twitter Hashtags

cursing twitter via ClaudiaChez

Fast food restaurants are working the Twitter hashtags.
For the non-twitterers out there, hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash (#) symbol. They’re used to organize tweets into a topic or dialogue, and make them searchable. The hottest hashtags appear as trending topics on the right side of Twitter’s homepage, the most coveted spot in the twitterverse, seen by millions of users. This happens organically when a newsworthy event dominates the conversation, like #JapanEarthquake or #JustinBieberHaircut, but last year Twitter started selling spots on the list. About $120,000 buys a promoted trend, and everyone from Al Jazeera (#ArabSpring) to Starbucks (#Starbucks) has sponsored a hashtag and promoted it as a trending topic.

Fast food restaurants are drawn to Twitter.
It’s an inexpensive and immediate way to create a buzz and promote a menu special. It builds customer engagement and loyalty. At its best Twitter creates powerful word-of-mouth messaging; at its worst, well, it also creates powerful word-of-mouth messaging.

Twitter campaigns gone wild.
McDonald’s began promoting the sponsored hashtag #McDStories last week with the idea of getting people talking about their experiences with the fast food giant. The company started the conversation with a few innocuous tweets:  Meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day and When u make something w/pride, people can taste it. As hoped, people shared their #McDStories by the thousands. There were stories about diabetes and diarrhea, a video posted of a mouse working its way through a bag of hamburger buns, and a heated back-and-forth with PETA over the inhumane use of mechanically-separated chickens. Apparently some McDStories are better left untold.

Wendy’s had a similar experience with a Twitter campaign built around its 25-year old TV commercial with the little old lady crying out “Where’s the Beef?  When the chain promoted its hashtag #HerestheBeef, plenty of users responded with their pornographic versions of Here it is! and another segment responded with less bawdy but equally graphic imagery of cruelly penned, industrially-raised livestock. Come on Wendy’s, #HeresTheBeef, on a Meatless Monday, no less? Some might say you got what was coming to you.

Hardly isolated incidents, we’ve seen plenty of fast food twittering gone awry. There have been some obvious missteps: Subway, not exactly known for its down-home cookin’ was derided for its hashtag #SUBWAYAllStarBBQ; and Taco Bell was justifiably slammed for its utterly offensive tweet on Martin Luther King Day asking Have you ever dreamed of eating @Taco Bell and then woke up and made that dream come true?

It’s an axiom of marketing that customers share bad experiences far more often than they praise the good ones- consumer research has shown that bad:good ratio to be 5 to 1. When a customer shares online, you can multiply those numbers by their Twitter followers, and the followers’ followers, and the followers’ followers’ followers….
Between their own tweeted gaffes and hashtags that are hijacked by disgruntled customers, companies are powerless to control their promotional narratives.
Maybe fast food restaurants should just lay off the Twitter hashtags.

 

 

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You’re So Wrong! Food Myths and Misconceptions

Adding salt won’t make the water boil any faster, you can take mayonnaise on a picnic, and go ahead and swallow that gum—it doesn’t take any longer to digest than anything else you might eat.

Let’s face it, sometimes common wisdom isn’t all that wise.
Then there are those infernal enemies of truth—of course I’m speaking of tweets, like buttons, and repostings. They carry the misinformation to the masses, and the next thing you know you’ve got yourself a new food mythology.

Let’s separate the facts from the fiction, the science from the silliness.
We’re going to look at those myths and misconceptions, and settle this once and for all.

myth: Add salt to water to make it boil faster.
reality: Salt actually raises the boiling point, so salted water takes longer to boil. It’s moot anyway since it takes way more salt than what gets added to a pasta pot to have that effect. Just add salt because it will make the pasta taste better.

myth: Sushi means raw fish.
reality: Sushi refers to the vinegared rice. Sashimi comes closer in meaning, since the ingredients are always raw, but it’s still not accurate.

 

myth: A craving is your body telling you it needs something.
reality: Our bodies can tell us physically when we lack a certain nutrient, but specific food cravings are strictly emotional.

 

myth: Alcohol burns off in cooking.
reality: Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it evaporates more quickly in cooking. But even after an hour of simmering, 25% of the alcohol remains, and 10% after two hours.

 

myth: There are negative-calorie foods that use more energy to eat than what’s contained in the food itself.
reality: The mere act of existence burns about 62 calories an hour, so in that sense, you can eat very low-cal foods and come out ahead. But chewing and digesting even a tough food like celery won’t bump up the hourly calorie burn enough to compensate for the added calories.

myth: You can’t bring sandwiches containing mayonnaise on a picnic.
reality: Commercial mayo has a high acid level and actually acts as a preservative for other ingredients. The turkey on a sandwich or the tuna in the tuna salad are more likely culprits when it comes to food-borne illnesses.

myth: Slice into rare beef and you get bloody juices.
reality: Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter. Even when it’s served ‘bloody rare,’ you’re only seeing water and beef  proteins.

 

myth: The avocado pit in a bowl of guacamole will keep it from turning brown.
reality: There is no special magic to the pit. The browning is just natural oxidation from exposure to air, and the pit is big enough to block some air from reaching the dip. Try saran wrap and you’ll cover more area.

Myths, legends, misconceptions, polite fictions, old wives’ tales….
They’re the lessons o f old-school chefs, the ‘wisdom’ passed from mothers to daughter; whatever you want to call them, there are plenty more out there, and now they’ve gone viral.

 

 

 

Posted in cyberculture, food knowledge | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Tweet and Eat: Dinner in 140 Characters

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Recipe tweets, or twecipes, are incredible feats of verbal compression.

To make the 140 character cut, the recipe has to be reduced to its essence, trimmed and edited, and then trimmed again. Every keystroke has to pull its weight; each word should vibrate with economy.

The best twecipes are models of clarity and usefulness. […]

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Tipping Karma: Your Tipping Habits Made Public

 

Do you tip a straight 15%? Do you bump it up to 20% or more for really good service? Not to worry; you should be in the clear.

Bad tippers take note. They’re naming names.

If you are rude, if you are demanding, if you totally stiff your server, you just might find your name making the rounds in cyberspace on a list of bad tippers. Waiters, bartenders, even pizza delivery guys all have their go-to websites for rants and revenge, pulling transaction details from credit card receipts and posting them anonymously. The tweets could be flying before you get your car back from the valet parker (and yes, they have their own site).

Find out what your servers really think of you.

Waiter Rant has made an industry of tipping tales with a popular blog and a best-selling book, Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip – Confessions of a Cynical Waiter. Here you’ll learn how the car you drive tells the world what kind of tipper you are, and why the check for your table of 6 included a gratuity charge.

Bitter Waitress pulls no punches with posts like Man and Fat Wife’s Anniversary, and Stop Coddling the Whiny, Bitchy People.

Is your name among the thousands of entries in the Lousy Tippers Database? With the ominous subtitle ‘There is a Consequence,’ let’s hope not.

Another place that servers go to share is the Facebook page Bad Tippers Suck! where they like to remind you that there is no such things as over-tipping.

Celebrity Tipping: the stuff of legend.

All eyes are on them as they stride in with entourage and attitude. They are fully aware of the scrutiny, the flash of cell phone cameras, the gossip that moves at the speed of light. But still, they engage in heinous acts of tip stiffing. Such hubris! Of course their servers are only too happy to share sordid tales of rude behavior and lousy tips.

Sullen, petulant Russell Crowe appears on the list of the 10 best celebrity tippers while perpetually cheery Rachael Ray is one of the 10 worst. Go figure.

Stained Apron identifies celebrities as ‘Saints’ and ‘Scum,’ claiming that tipping habits are the true test of inner peace and civility. We could have guessed about Uma Thurman, but it’s nice to know that the former members of the Village People wear the halo. It seems that most members of Congress are going to hell, but we already knew that.

Here’s a tip: don’t wait until you see your name on a bad tippers’ database to give a jolt to your conscience. From sommeliers to tattoo artists, find out the appropriate gratuity for all the service workers in your life with these tipping guidelines.

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Posted in cyberculture, restaurants | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

The F Word: Do you cringe when you hear it?

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When the word first appeared, who would have thought it would be used as a slur? Foodie has a pleasingly egalitarian ring to it with none of the haughtiness of gourmet or the implied gluttony of gourmand. It’s not effete like epicure, and doesn’t suggest the scholarliness of a gastronome.

The first Foodies were rebels. They broke with the old-guard, with its formality and its singular attachment to French cuisine. Appreciation of food and wine was taken out of its context of formality. A Chinatown noodle joint could achieve the same stature as haute cuisine on the Upper East Side. A single peach could be as sublimely pleasurable as a Grand Marnier soufflé. The true foodie could properly enjoy both.

Where did we lose our way? […]

Posted in cyberculture, food trends | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Street Food Minus the Street

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Food trucks were the darlings of the food world in 2009.

Take the recessionary economy. Add in the food savvy to swap withered hot dogs for trendy dishes like red velvet cupcakes or the Asian-fusion of Korean tacos. Give it a boost of tech savvy with Twittered locations and daily specials. And that’s how street food grew into a full-fledged culinary phenomenon.

Street food has the intrinsic charm of a communal, democratic experience. It’s cheap and casual with no dress code or reservations required. It is also hurried and messy. Instead of a maitre d’ to seat you, you have to cop a squat on a bench or curb. There are squirt bottle condiments, flimsy plastic cutlery, and the ambiance of the streets, with its attendant bus fumes, car alarms, and weather.

Ultimately, street food proved to be a little too street for many of us.

That’s why this year’s trend is the gentrification of street food. […]

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U.S. Government Gets 2 Million Fortune Cookies

 

No, it wasn’t one hell of a takeout order.

The cookies are part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s effort to reach various ethnic populations. The Bureau ordered two million custom cookies from a fortune cookie factory in Seattle’s Chinatown. Crack one open and the fortune reads Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010, or one of the other four messages exhorting us to fill out and return our census forms. The cookies will be available this spring in Chinese restaurants throughout the Northwest. […]

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Spending a Bundle? See how you stack up.

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Are you a dine-now-pay-later Life-a-holic? A first-on-the-scene Thrill Jockey angling for the hottest table in town? Or more of a Proud Provider, cooking dinners at home so you can feather the nest?

Bundle is a new social-media website for personal money management that puts you in touch with your inner spender. It’s a joint venture of Microsoft MSN, Citigroup, and the investment research folks at Morningstar that in their minds offers information and tools to help people spend more wisely, but to the rest of us it’s a chance to see how the other half really lives. And eats. […]

Posted in phone applications, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Eat Like an Astronaut: on board the International Space Station

The kitchen is small and cramped. Food prices are high. There are tons of ethnic dining options. The International Space Station sounds a lot like a New York City apartment.

It costs $40,000 a day to feed an astronaut.

It’s all about the delivery costs: more than $10,000 to blast a pound of food into outer space, with each astronaut allotted 3.8 pounds of food a day. And while it’s come a long way from the days of freeze-dried ice cream and squeeze tubes of baby food-like purees, there are some serious limitations to cooking in space. The refrigerator is tiny, food packets are heated in suitcase-like food warmers, and meals have to be velcroed onto trays so they won’t float away. […]

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Are You a Food Geek?

image courtesy of Consumer Eroski

In the world of geeky niches, Food Geeks are a little more socially-acceptable than Gamers and Gadget Nerds but not as cool as Music or Movie Geeks. At least according to Gizmodo’s Socially-Acceptable Geek Subgenre Scale Gallery. Food Geeks have a middling rank between top-of-the-heap Finance Geeks (Math Nerds turned cool… who’s getting a wedgie after calculus class now,  jocks?) and the bottom-dwelling human/animal fantasy-hybridists known as Furries.

Food Geeks should not be confused with Foodies

Foodies talk about past and future meals while eating the current one. They know the pedigree of the eggs they eat and […]

Posted in cooking, recipes | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Candy We Love to Hate



      image courtesy of Pammy Shep

In a candy land of sugary, fruity, creamy, chocolatey, there’s black licorice: herbal, salty, medicinal, and barely sweetened.

Defiantly unapologetic, licorice has become a confectionary whipping boy. […]

Posted in candy | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

I’ll Get the Next Round: BuyaBeerCompany.com

beerfund

Pabst Blue Ribbon is:

a) a blue-collar favorite decades past its heyday; or

b) the hippest, hottest beer around.

If you were born much before 1980 you probably missed this one.                             […]

Posted in food business, social media | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Tweet ‘n Eat

image courtesy of City Food Magazine

image courtesy of City Food Magazine

Are you a Twitter skeptic?

Have you been slow to warm to the charms of microblogging?
We all know the pitfalls: the time-sucking potential; the relentless stream of random messages; the trivial, navel-gazing quality of too many tweets.

It’s time to stop blaming the messenger! […]

Posted in gadgets, phone applications, social media | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Trend Watching 2010

image via Free Republic

image via Free Republic

It’s that time of year.

We look back at this past year and ahead to the next.
The media are full of lists enumerating the best and worst of 2009 and prophesizng the trends for 2010.
A good best of/worst of list is one we agree with. A good trend report is tougher to spot. […]

Posted in food policy, food trends | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Message in a bottle (140 characters or less)

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Twitter is launching a wine label.
The micro-blogging social media site is venturing into wine making as a side project and charitable endeavor. Twitter has partnered with Crushpad, a DIY winery and Bay Area neighbor to produce a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay. Bottled under the label Fledgling Wine, $5 from each $20 bottle sold will benefit Room to Read, a non-profit organization that extends literacy and educational opportunities to children in the world’s poorest regions. […]

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FOOD2: Not your mother’s Food Network

key_art_food2

For the generation that is more Epicurious than Joy of Cooking, the Food Network has launched an online alternative to the traditional cooking channel. Targeting the young and tech-savvy, Food2 blends traditional editorial formats, such as how-to video, with user-generated content. […]

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Will Tweet for Food

twitter

4869_TasteCasting-Logo-v4

Marketers have long understood the value of tastemakers- individuals with large social and professional spheres who possess great peer influence. The marketing concept is to provide new and innovative products and services to these key individuals in the hope that they will endorse and promote them within their spheres. […]

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