The Case Against Tipping in America

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When a night at a restaurant or bar finally comes to a close, most Americans engage in an instinctive ritual. They dig into their wallets, fiddle with their smartphone calculators, and then decide how much money to give their server or bartender for a job well done.

Tipping, while practiced around the world, assumes a unique role in America, one to which most diners are obliged, because the United States is one of the only countries that allows businesses to offload the burden of paying workers a fair wage to their customers. And though construed as a fair way to encourage hospitality and reward good service, tipping’s roots are in racialized exploitation, while recent data shows that it continues to be, at its core, racist, sexist, and degrading.

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Coffee Beans Are Good for Birds, Fancy Brew or Not

 

17TB-COFFEE6-superJumbo.jpgBirds are not as picky about their coffee as people are.

Although coffee snobs prefer arabica beans to robusta, a new study in India found that growing coffee does not interfere with biodiversity — no matter which bean the farmer chooses.

In the Western Ghats region of India, a mountainous area parallel to the subcontinent’s western coast, both arabica and robusta beans are grown as bushes under larger trees — unlike in South America, where the coffee plants themselves grow as large as trees, said Krithi Karanth, who helped lead the study, published Friday in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Finding a Lost Strain of Rice, and Clues to Slave Cooking

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Among the biologists, geneticists and historians who use food as a lens to study the African diaspora, rice is a particularly deep rabbit hole. So much remains unknown about how millions of enslaved Africans used it in their kitchens and how it got to those kitchens to begin with.

That’s what made the hill rice in Trinidad such a find.

The fat, nutty grain, with its West African lineage and tender red hull, was a favored staple for Southern home cooks during much of the 19th century. Unlike Carolina Gold, the versatile rice that until the Civil War was America’s primary rice crop, the hill rice hadn’t made Lowcountry plantation owners rich off the backs of slaves.

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Dinner for One: How Restaurants Welcome Solo Diners

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Most restaurants set tables for groups. Certain reservation booking systems only offer seating for parties of two. But, despite the fact that restaurants are designed as social spaces, complete with menus of “share plates,” some restaurants are embracing the presence of the solo diner. “I think it’s a real compliment,” New York City restaurateur Will Guidara says of solo guests. “It’s saying ‘I’m here at the restaurant. It’s my number one priority.’”

Because of that enthusiasm, “it is kind of a rule [at his NYC restaurant Eleven Madison Park] to go above and beyond to make those experiences special” for those dining alone, Guidara says. And other chefs and restaurant owners are taking steps to ensure those eating alone feel like they’re more than lost potential for a bigger bill.

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This Drake-Inspired Pie Is Perfect for Singles on Valentine’s Day

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For folks who plan to spend February 14 cuddled up on the couch alone with a bottle of wine, Kessler Pie Company has introduced the perfect pairing: a savory pie emblazoned with Drake lyrics.

The new pies at the Oak Cliff shop are just the latest creative Kessler Pie Company creation, topped with a lattice crust and then garnished with “I only luv my bed and my mamma,” which of course comes from rapper Aubrey “Drake” Graham’s latest hit “God’s Plan.” It’s one of many “text on pies” that the shop will make for its customers, like last year’s “Whoa” pie inspired by Drake’s “Child’s Play.”

“We wanted to do a more modern twist on Valentine’s desserts with lyrics, and it just kind of blew up,” Miriam Ortega, who’s in charge of the text pies. “We’ve sold out probably three times already. We can’t keep them on the shelf, or even online.” According to Ortega, the most popular flavor is the shop’s savory chicken pot pie, but the lyrics can also be added to apple, apple-cranberry, banana cream, chocolate, and coconut cream pies. “People want the text to pop more,” Ortega says. “So they typically choose the pies that have a full crust on top.”

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How Protein Conquered America

 

MM_header_FINAL.0.jpgWe all need more protein, even if few of us know why. Protein has emerged as an undisputed Good Choice over the past 50 years of warring scientific studies slagging fat and carbs, endless opportunistic fad diets, and skyrocketing obesity in America. Just as one might look at all the world’s religions and decide that, while none is correct, there must be “something out there,” one might look at all the world’s weight-loss diets and note that, while they contradict each other in many ways, they all seem to preach protein, so protein must be good.

Protein has emerged as an undisputed Good Choice over the past 50 years of warring scientific studies and endless opportunistic fad diets
I’ve been lifting weights in pursuit of stronger muscles for a few years now, and one of the first things I learned was that strength can’t be built if it’s not supported by copious amounts of protein every single day (about one gram per pound of bodyweight is the bro’s rule of thumb). As a crazy and unique human, I love eating, but I also spend a fair amount of my time trying to round out my protein count. Oddly, an increasing number of convenience foods have become attuned to my extremely specific nutritional needs. Most people who visit my bodega are not preparing to load a barbell with 220 pounds and squat it, which makes the rise in striving for more and more protein remarkable.

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Taïm expands with help from Chipotle vets

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In 2005 when Einat Admony opened Taïm, a falafel and fast-casual spot was a hardly a popular choice for a fine-dining chef. A lot has changed since then.

Although the growth of Taïm has been slow — Admony didn’t open the second location until 2012 — she hopes to capitalize on the Mediterranean food moment the industry is having. With the backing and guidance from a group of investors and advisers, many of whom have spent time at Chipotle, Admony plans to open three new outposts this year with larger ambitions in the works.

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