Colbert on Bartering Chickens for Health Care

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The restaurant industry is rife with fully employed chefs and waiters, busboys and dishwashers lacking health insurance; now suddenly food professionals may have an edge. Sue Lowden, a Republican challenging Harry Reid for his Nevada Senate seat, recently suggested bartering for health care saying "in the old days [patients] would bring a chicken to the doctor." And she's not the only one - Tennessee state representative Mike Bell suggested bartering with vegetables.

If this is what Republicans are promising should they prove victorious in November's mid-term elections, Dan Barber and Alice Waters may be all but guaranteed the best health coverage in America. Even Stephen Colbert's on board, on last night's Colbert Report the host suggested "just go for where they sell live chickens, they go for about $8... and when a doctor wants to charge $40,000 to put a stent in your heart, offer him the chicken." Video below.

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Hypnotic World Pizza Championship Dough Throwing [videos]

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A week ago, the annual World Pizza Championships (website is only kind of in English) were held in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy. Along with taste tests, speed trials and an event called "The Longest Dough Stretch," there are freestyle pizza throwing competitions. Below, we've collected a handful of videos from this year's competition, in which pizza is thrown between legs, behind backs, juggled and spun in time to music. Italy's Lanza Luca took top honors, a repeat win from last year. Careful, stare at these too long and you'll start to get veeerrrry sleeeeeeeepy...

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Adventures in Foreign McDonald's: Swiss Weeks Burgers

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Still from commercial via McDonald's

Why can't McDonald's in America be as awesome as it is overseas? From teaming up with the Italian government to use local products for its McItaly burger, to a complete ban of beef and pork products from its menu in India, McDonald's is surprisingly sensitive when it comes to infiltrating and usurping the culinary identities of myriad cultures of the world. Plus some of the stuff they come up with in the process sounds like I want it in my mouth.

So it's no surprise to hear that McDonald's has created the "Swiss Weeks" campaign in Switzerland, a country that incorporates three different cultures — Italian, French and German. Not only is McDonald's creating a different burger for each of the three different cultural regions — the McBärn, McRomandie and McTicino — but it's also producing commercials for each burger in the language of its region (all three commercials can be seen here). Each burger utilizes local brands and ingredients exclusive to the region, such as Emmi Kaltbach-brand Emmentaler cheese and a hashbrown patty for its German-inflected McBärn burger, pictured above.

Rachael Oehring

Natural History of the Kitchen: Popcorn

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Photograph: superiphi

Welcome to Natural History of the Kitchen, by EMD's Stephanie Butler. Each week, Stephanie explores the background of an appliance, gadget or product that helped to make cooking what it is today. This week: Popcorn.

Since last week we took a look at microwaves, it seems right that this week the spotlight shines on a product that folks know mainly in microwaved form: popcorn. It's been much more than a movie treat for thousands of years, used as currency, for soup and beer, packing materials, and jewelry. Whether you take yours with extra salt, light on the butter, or au naturel, there are popcorn facts for all tastes in this week's Natural History of the Kitchen.

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Jan Švankmajer's Stop-Motion Short Film Food [videos]

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Still from Lunch.

Ready to watch something pretty weird? Famous for his stop-motion animation, Czech director Jan Švankmajer's 1992 short film Food depicts three restaurant meals and the diners who eat them. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner feature people dying and coming back to life, eating non-food items like utensils and tablecloths, and practicing cannibalism and self-mutilation. Švankmajer originally conceived the project in the 1970s but feared the tempestuous political climate of the time. Prepare yourself for some heady, Eastern Bloc weltschmerz below. (warning: Lunch is slightly NSFW, Dinner is definitely NSFW.)

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The EMD Guide to Food from the 1950s: Food Styling and Cookbook Art

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Ham from The Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, 1950. Scan: Eat Me Daily

The 1950s were a crossover period for cookbooks, when graphics were about half hand-drawn illustrations and half super-saturated photographs, such as the one above. If the aesthetic appears rather commercial to you, that's no mistake: many of the cookbooks from this era were produced by companies to promote their products, most famous of which is the Betty Crocker series for General Mills. Below, we explore the colorful world of 1950s food imagery. (Warning: image heavy post.)

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Anissa Helou Roasts a Camel Hump

camel-hump-7-copyFile under recipes we never thought we'd see: chef Anissa Helou samples camel hump while in the United Arab Emirates. The fatty cut of meat is rubbed with spices and roasted over charcoal with cuts of lamb. Something of a delicacy, camel hump is usually reserved for the guest of honor. Fun fact about eating camel humps: you need to buy an entire camel in order to acquire one, which in Halou's case meant purchasing a baby camel. The final verdict? "It was good but I cannot honestly say that I will be obsessing about it any longer." [via Neatorama. Photograph: Anissa Helou]

—Paula Forbes

Weekend Update on Girl Scout Cookies [videos]

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During Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, writer John Mulaney made the case for Girl Scout Cookies being sold year-round. "It would be like if they only sold Coca Cola in July and you could only buy it from the Knights of Columbus... You are much more than a once a year type of thing. You are not candy canes and you are most certainly not the McRib." But while truer words have never been spoken, you can't always trust the fake news. In Seth Meyers introduction he announced the Girl Scouts are in the middle of their annual cookie drive, yet as a quick check of the Girl Scout cookie site proves, you're as likely now to find a box of Thin Mints as you are a Shamrock Shake. Video below.

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