TIME Food & Drink

We’d Travel Across the Universe for These Beatles Pancakes

Got to get these into our lives

Man, you could really have a Good Morning, Good Morning chowing down on these pancakes, which look exactly like the Beatles. The video above shows how pancake artist Nathan Shields managed to craft these very intricate flapjacks.

But Shields, who is also an illustrator, math teacher and father, doesn’t limit his edible art to musicians. On his Facebook page, he posts pictures of other creations, featuring everything from marine animals to Star Wars characters. Still, we’re pretty sure the Fab Four flapjacks are our favorite. Even the official Facebook page for the Beatles has shared the clip.

Alternate headlines for this post included:

Everyone Should Come Together to Admire These Beatles Pancakes

We’ve Got to Get These Beatles Pancakes Into Our Lives

Happiness Is a Warm Beatles Pancake

When I Find Myself in Times of Trouble, Beatles Pancakes Come to Me

The Long and Winding Road That Leads Me to Your Beatles Pancakes

Hey Jude Don’t Make It Bad, Take a Sad Pancake and Make It a Beatles Pancake

You Say You Want Some Beatles Pancakes, Well You Know We All Want to Change the World

You May Say I’m a Dreamer, But… Beatles Pancakes

 

TIME Food & Drink

Pepsi Pops Open a New Low-Calorie Soda

Pepsi Green
Courtesy of Pepsi

Meet Pepsi True

When PepsiCo and two other members of Big Soda—Coca-Cola and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group—announced a pact with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation to reduce the number of calories people consume in their beverages by 20% over the next decade, skepticism bubbled to the top. How could the companies lower calorie intake without reducing the serving size? And if they did that, wouldn’t sales fall and wouldn’t Wall Street skewer them?

But Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi has been on an innovation kick these past two years, and by the time the Clinton Global Initiative announced the calorie treaty, Pepsi already had an answer in place. It’s a product called Pepsi True, a cola unveiled Wednesday that’s sweetened with a combination of sugar and stevia, which is plant-based. Offsetting sugar with stevia reduces the sugar content by 30% and the calories delivered by 40%. Each 7.5 oz. can of Pepsi True will cost you 60 calories and be priced on par with plain old Pepsi. Initially, PepsiCo is going to market Pepsi True in a 24-pack of 7.5 oz cans via Amazon.com, beginning later this month.

The stevia-sugar combo is a sort of natural evolution for the company. Pepsi released a 100% stevia-based product called Pepsi Next in 2012 outside of the U.S. And although stevia is sweeter than sugar, it doesn’t necessarily deliver the same flavor profile. (Pepsi also sells a zero-calorie Pepsi Max. In combining stevia and sugar—not high-fructose corn syrup—Pepsi is trying to deliver the taste without the waist.

This latest cola twist may not be a huge risk for PepsiCo. Ironically enough, the company has been cutting back on the sugary carbonated beverages that nutritionist have been complaining about. Over the last decade or so the company acquired such non-fizzy drinks as Gatorade, Naked Juice, Sobe and Tropicana. Less than 25% of the company’s beverage sales in North America come from cola.

Still, Pepsi sells lots and lots of Pepsi, and the idea of losing more sales dollars is not a good idea for a company that has been under pressure from two distinct sets of critics. On Wall Street, investors such as Nelson Peltz have suggested to Nooyi that the company be broken in two: Frito-Lay, the snack food company and Pepsi, the beverage company. Instead, Nooyi kept Pepsi on an innovation diet that has worked. Pepsi now gets 20% of its revenue from its nutrition businesses, for instance, which helped the company beat its financial targets last year. Yet that, and Nooyi’s chairmanship of the Health Weight Commitment Foundation, an industry-related group that has removed 6.4 trillion calories from the marketplace compared with 2007, hasn’t placated her severest critics. Maybe they’ll find Pepsi True easier to swallow.

 

TIME Food & Drink

America’s Greatest Cookbook

A 10 year old compiled recipes from Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and 23 other governors

When most children hear “school project,” they think cardboard dioramas and baking soda volcanoes. But others? They aspire to greatness.

Such was the case with one Miss Lauren Wu, 10, of San Carlos, Calif., who asked every U.S. governor for his or her favorite recipe. Twenty-six said yes. (Twenty-seven if you count Hawaii, who came in past the deadline.) The below cookbook is the result.

“American Cooking” speaks to the nation’s deeply engrained culinary traditions—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley submitted a recipe for crab cakes; Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent two variations on Key Lime pie.

But it also reveals much about the personal and professional priorities of those governors who did not participate. If Chris Christie found time to send his blueberry French strata recipe on April 1, while he was deep in the muck dealing with Bridgegate scandal, what excuse do his non-participating peers have?

Miss Wu, however, is not one to hold a grudge. “The governors are all very busy,” she says, “and I don’t know, I’m sure they get a bunch of emails every day.”

She embarked on this project to learn more about cooking, and has already tried a number of the recipes at home. So far, her favorite has been Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s chocolate chip cookies. “We usually have chocolate chip cookies at our house,” she says, “but these were different—they were really fluffy and good.”

In the above video, she watched her friend and TIME staffer Joel Stein try his hand at Christie’s strata. As for O’Malley’s native dish, Wu says, “The crab cakes weren’t my favorite, because I’m not a huge fan of crab, but they were good still.” Plenty of experimentation remains ahead: “There are a lot of good options. Maybe I’m gonna try Maine’s blueberry pie, or maybe Florida’s Key Lime pie. I’m probably gonna try a pie of some sort.”

Wu intends to participate in the program that invited her to do this optional project again next year, when she will be in sixth grade. By then, there’s no doubt she’ll have the clout to get recipe submissions from the likes of Angela Merkel and Kim Jong-un.

American Cooking

 

TIME Business

The Soda Industry’s Promises Mean Nothing

Production Inside A Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. Plant
Empty Coca-Cola Classic cans move along a conveyor to be filled and sealed at a Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. production facility in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Bloomberg—Getty Images

Marion Nestle is professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University.

Agreeing to decrease soda consumption by 20 percent is easy to do when demand is already falling rapidly

The recent pledge by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group to reduce calories that Americans consumd from their products by 20 percent by 2025 elicited torrents of praise from the Global Clinton Initiative, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the national press.

The real news: soda companies are at last admitting their role in obesity.

Nevertheless, the announcement caused many of us in the public health advocacy community to roll our eyes. Once again, soda companies are making promises that are likely to be fulfilled anyway, whether the companies take any action or not.

Americans have gotten the word. Sodas in anything but small amounts are not good for health.

Although Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association have funded studies that invariably find sodas innocent of health effects, the vast preponderance of research sponsored by the government or foundations clearly demonstrates otherwise.

Think of sodas as candy in liquid form. They contain astonishing amounts of sugars. A 12-ounce soda contains 10 (!) teaspoons of sugar and provides about 150 calories.

It should surprise no one that adults and children who habitually consume sugary drinks are far more likely to take in fewer nutrients, to weigh more, and to exhibit metabolic abnormalities compared to those who abstain or drink only small amounts.

And, contrary to expectation, diet sodas don’t seem to help. A widely publicized recent study suggests that artificially sweetened drinks affect intestinal bacteria in ways, as yet undetermined, that lead to metabolic abnormalities–glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. This research is largely animal-based, preliminary, and requires confirmation. But one thing about diet drinks is clear: they do not do much good in preventing obesity.

People who drink diet sodas tend to be more obese than those who do not. The use of artificial sweeteners in the United States has gone up precisely in parallel with the rise in prevalence of obesity. Is this a cause or an effect? We don’t know yet.

While scientists are trying to sort all this out, large segments of the public have gotten the message: stay away from sodas of any kind.

Since the late 1990s, U.S. per capita consumption of soft drinks has dropped by about 20 percent. If current trends continue, the soda industry should have no trouble meeting its promise of another 20 percent reduction by 2025.

Americans want healthier drinks and are switching to bottled water, sports drinks, and vitamin-fortified drinks—although not nearly at replacement levels. The soda industry has to find ways to sell more products. It also has to find ways to head off regulation. Hence: the promises.

To deal with sales shortfalls, the leading soft-drink brands, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have expanded their marketing overseas. They have committed to invest billions to make and promote their products in Latin America as well as in the hugely populated countries of Asia and Africa where soda consumption is still very low.

From a public health standpoint, people everywhere would be healthier—perhaps a lot healthier—drinking less soda.

In California, the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley have placed soda tax initiatives on the November ballot. The American Beverage Association, the trade association for Coke, Pepsi, and the like, is funding anti-tax campaigns that involve not only television advertising and home mailings, but also creation of ostensibly grassroots (“astroturf”) community organizations, petition campaigns, and, when all else fails, lawsuits to make sure the initiative fails. These efforts are carbon copies of the tactics used to defeat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s portion size cap proposal.

If the soda industry really wants to help prevent obesity, it needs to change its current practices. It should stop fighting tax and size initiatives, stop opposing warning labels on sugary drinks, stop lobbying against restrictions on sodas in schools, stop using sports and music celebrities to sell products to children, stop targeting marketing to African-American and Hispanic young people, and stop funding research studies designed to give sodas a clean bill of health.

And it should stop complaining, as PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi did last week, that nobody is giving the industry credit for all the good it is doing.

If the government really were serious about obesity prevention, it could ban vending machines from schools, set limits on the size of soft drinks sold at school events, define the amount of sugars allowable in foods and beverages, and, most of all, stop soda marketing aimed at children of any age.

Because neither the soda industry nor the government is likely to do any of this, public health advocates still have plenty of work to do.

Marion Nestle is professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. She is currently working on a book titled Soda! From Food Advocacy to Public Health.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Food & Drink

7 Reasons Our Coffee Habit Is Costing More These Days

dollar sign made out of coffee beans
Andrew Unangst—Getty Images

In a relatively short period of time, the American coffee habit has gotten a lot more expensive.

Monday, September 29, is National Coffee Day, when restaurant and coffee chains around the country are giving out free (or extremely cheap) cups of Joe to the masses. The day is quite the exception, however, given how as a nation we are spending more and more on coffee.

Here are 7 reasons why:

We’re drinking coffee earlier in life. A study published this year by S&D Coffee & Tea shows that on average, younger millennials start drinking coffee at age 15, while older millennials picked up the habit at 17. Typical members of Gen X, meanwhile, started drinking coffee at 19.

More of us drink coffee regularly. U.S. coffee consumption rose 5% in 2013, according to a National Coffee Association survey, meaning that today 83% of the adult population drinks coffee; 75% have coffee at least once a week.

And we’re drinking higher-priced coffee at that. Data from 2014 shows that 34% of Americans drink gourmet coffee daily, an increase of 3% over last year. Young people in particular are willing to pay higher prices for coffee: In a new PayPal poll, 18% of people age 18 to 34 said they are willing to pay more than $3 per cup, compared with just 8% of those age 50 to 64.

We eat breakfast outside the home more often. Our fast-moving, on-the-go culture has been blamed as a reason for declining sales of cereal and milk, as more Americans are skipping the traditional breakfast at home and opting for foods that can be eaten on the run, like Pop Tarts and fast food via the drive-thru. In fact, breakfast has become enormously important to quick-serve restaurants because it’s the one mealtime experiencing strong growth lately. Coffee purchased at a restaurant or on the go at a convenience store or café is always more expensive than coffee brewed and drunk at home.

One word: Keurig. “In 2002, the average price of a coffee maker was about $35,” a recent post at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management blog stated. “By 2013, that number had risen to around $90.” Truth be told, it’s still easy to find a coffee maker for $35 or even less, it’s just that the type of machine—the traditional kind that brews ground coffee by the pot—is no longer typical. It’s been replaced by the pricier single-cup brewer that came into the mainstream over the last decade thanks to the Keurig company. For many consumers, the speed and convenience of such machines outweighs the premium one must pay beyond the plain old-fashioned coffee maker. Some 1.7 million single-cup Keurig brewers were sold in the second quarter of 2014, an increase of 200,000 over the same period a year before.

Plus, K-Cups themselves are pricier. It’s not just the single-cup machines that cost more—the cups themselves do too. The price per single-serve K-Cup pod varies widely depending on the style of roast, whether you’re buying a small pack or stocking up in bulk, and how strategically you shop for deals. But no matter how good you are at snagging deals, you’ll almost always pay more for coffee pods than you will for old-fashioned ground or whole bean coffee. One price-comparison study conducted a couple of years ago indicated that K-Cup coffee cost more than $50 per pound, roughly four times the cost of a bag of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts beans. What’s more, K-Cups are subject to a 9% across-the-board price hike in early November. (Side note: Mother Jones and others have pointed out that single-use K-Cups cost more and are worse for the environment than recyclable pod filters, though Keurig Green Mountain has plans to make all K-Cup pods fully recyclable by 2020.)

All coffee is simply getting more expensive. A long-lasting drought in Brazil (the world’s biggest producer of coffee beans) has pushed global coffee prices to near-record highs, and the market may be affected for years to come. Already this year, java junkies have faced price hikes from coffee brands such as Starbucks, Folgers, Maxwell House, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Interestingly, even as coffee has gotten more expensive and economic growth hasn’t exactly been sizzling in recent years, Starbucks sales have outpaced lower-priced competitors Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. What does that show us? For the most part, coffee lovers are passionate about their caffeinated beverages and aren’t going to trade down to what they view as an inferior cup of Joe, even if doing so would save a couple of bucks here and there.

TIME Food & Drink

Eating Scotland’s Favorite Fatty Snack Can Heighten Stroke Risk in Minutes, Study Finds

Food in Scotland
Food in Scotland. A deep fried Mars bar is prepared in a Glasgow chip shop ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Picture date: Monday April 7, 2014. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire URN:19505513 Danny Lawson—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

Eating a deep-fried Mars bars can rapidly slow down the flow of blood to the brain, a study found, making a stroke more likely — though researchers said impact was "modest"

Scotland’s deep-fried Mars bar is a fatty and unhealthy snack nonpareil, and we all knew that a few too many greasy chocolate wads would kill you someday.

But that day may actually be today, if you happened to be eating one right now. A new study suggests the 1200-calorie snack, made by battering and deep-frying a British chocolate bar akin to a Milky Way, could cause a stroke within minutes of eating one by slowing blood supply to the brain.

Men who already have narrow arteries are most in danger, the Daily Record reports. Glasgow University researchers fed the loaded chocolate bar to 24 volunteers, and registered that within just 90 minutes, blood flow to the brain was “modestly” reduced in men, raising their risk of stroke.

“Deep-fried Mars bar ingestion may acutely contribute to cerebral hypoperfusion in men,” the study concluded, noting that the same effects were not found among women.

It sounds bad but it’s not exactly an unredeemable, one-way ticket to stroke city. “We’ve shown that eating a sugar and fat-laden snack can actually affect blood flow to the brain within minutes,” said William Dunn, who performed scans on volunteers. “This reduction in the reactivity of blood vessels in the brain has previously been linked to an increased stroke risk – but the changes we observed were modest.”

The infamous Scottish snack was invented at the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, in 1992 and is especially popular among tourists.

 

TIME Food & Drink

Coke and Pepsi Pledge to Cut Calories

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple aim to lower calorie consumption by 20% over the next 10 years

The country’s three largest soda companies promised Tuesday to reduce the calories in sugary drinks by 20% over the next decade, an unprecedented effort by the beverage industry to fight obesity in the U.S.—and a tacit recognition of consumers’ increasing aversion for high-calorie soft drinks.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple will expand the presence of low- and zero-calorie drinks and sell drinks in smaller portions, as well as provide calorie counts and promote calorie awareness where their beverages are sold, the American Beverage Association said in a statement.

The commitment was announced at the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York.

“This is huge,” former President Bill Clinton told the New York Times. “I’ve heard it could mean a couple of pounds of weight lost each year in some cases.”

Consumers over the next 10 years will see the beverage giants’ new marketing strategy and product mix everywhere from company-owned vending machines and coolers in convenience stores, to fountain soda dispensers in fast-food restaurants and movie theaters, to grocery store sales and end-of-aisle promotions.

“This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America,” said Susan K. Neely, president of the American Beverage Association in a statement. “It takes our efforts to provide consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories to an ambitious new level.”

Read more from the American Beverage Association here.

TIME Food & Drink

The 8 Craziest Coffee Drinks You Can Buy Now

Coffee drink latte
Getty Images

The sweetest, booziest and weirdest ways to get your caffeine fix

Long gone are the days when grabbing some coffee involved, well, simply grabbing some coffee. Today’s java landscape is dotted with half-this and iced-that and frappés and mocha lattes (you gotta do pilates) — and it seems the assortment of caffeinated confections is only getting crazier.

Here, a look at some of the most decadent confections being sold today.

1. Guinness-flavored latte

Forget about the beloved pumpkin spice latte, because Starbucks is taking things to a whole new level with its Dark Barrel Latte, which mimics the taste of Guinness (without the alcohol.) The chain recently began testing this new beverage at select locations, so we’ll have to wait and see if it makes it to the official Starbucks menu.

Where to get it: Select Starbucks locations in Florida and Ohio (possibly nationwide in the future)

2. Elephant poop coffee

Yes, really. Deemed the world’s most expensive brew, Black Ivory Coffee is made from Arabica beans from Thailand that first pass through an elephant’s digestive system and are then harvested from the resulting dung. The process brings out the natural sugar in the bean while removing the bitterness, supposedly resulting in a uniquely delicious cup of joe.

Where to get it: Select five-star hotels across Asia, and just one U.S. location in Texas; Beans available online for $779 (with a grinder) or $664 (without a grinder)

3. Coffee in edible waffle cups

Everyone knows the best way to consume soup is in a bread bowl — because when you finish the soup, you get to eat its container! — and one California coffeehouse has applied this concept to its beverages. Customers can order their espressos and macchiatos in edible waffle cups tripled-dipped in chocolate, so when they’re finished with their caffeine boost, they can enjoy a sweet coffee-soaked snack. Perfection.

Where to get it: Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in Los Angeles

4. Affogato

Ice cream or gelato. Topped with a shot of hot espresso. That’s it. Simple, pure bliss.

Where to get it: Many Italian restaurants and cafes will make this drink for you, or you can make one at home

5. Koffie Van Brunt

This decadent, boozy concoction is served at Brooklyn’s Fort Defiance and contains aged rum, Cherry Heering, coffee, and cream. As TimeOut New York once noted, the “swirling layer of ivory white cream, burnished brown java and bright orange zest makes this drink as pretty to look at as it is tasty to sip.”

Where to get it: Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, NY, or make it at home with this recipe

6. The Vincent Vega

This confection — essentially a coffee-spiked Coca-Cola — is named after Jon Travolta’s character in Pulp Fiction, who memorably ordered a vanilla Coke with his steak. The drink, available at The Mission in San Francisco, includes Coca-Cola, a shot of espresso, vanilla syrup, served over ice.

Where to get it: Any of The Mission’s three locations in San Francisco

7. Coffee Beer Repeat

Can’t decide if you’re in the mood to take the edge off with a beer or add a little edge with coffee? At Houndstooth, a coffee shop in downtown Austin, you don’t have to make that difficult decision. You can simply order the Coffee Beer Repeat. It’s considered one drink, but really, it’s just two pints of beer and two shots of espresso all served separately. You can get them in whichever order you want and space them out as you choose.

Where to get it: Houndstooth in Austin, or you can make it pretty easily at home

8. Toasted Marshmallow Latte

Like a warm, toasty campfire in a cup, this concoction includes espresso, steamed milk and a roasted marshmallow on a stick. Yes, an ACTUAL ROASTED MARSHMALLOW. On a stick.

Where to get it: Big Shoulders Coffee in Chicago

TIME Food & Drink

Poultry Giant Ditches Antibiotics for Probiotics

Chicken houses could offer stability for Southside farmers
In this Aug. 21, 2014 photo Robert Mills holds a four-day old chicken in Pittsylvania County, Va. Stephanie Klein-Davis—AP

Your chicken will be antibiotic-free, but rich in bacteria — and that's a good thing, Perdue Farms says

To keep its chickens disease-free, Perdue Farms is giving the livestock fewer antibiotics — but more probiotics, NPR reports.

The poultry giant believes probiotics, or “good bacteria,” will fend off the harmful kind that might otherwise take up residence in its birds, according to NPR.

Poultry companies have long raised their chicken on antibiotics to increase weight and prevent infections — a practice that public-health officials say runs the risk of spurring the development of so-called “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics and harmful to humans.

In response to a recent Reuters investigation into the widespread use of so-called “farmacueticals” in six chicken plants, including Perdue, U.S. lawmakers are eyeing new legislation to compel companies to release more information about their use of antibiotics.

Heading off such legislation, Perdue said in a statement earlier this month that it would stop using antibiotics in 95% of its chickens — that is, just to treat ill livestock. Turning to probiotics is among the firm’s alternative strategies for keeping its chickens disease-free, NPR says.

[NPR]

TIME Food & Drink

Starbucks Is Testing a Drink That Tastes Like Guinness (Without the Alcohol)

Operations Inside A Starbucks Corp. Coffee Shop
Jason Alden—Bloomberg / Getty Images

It's called the Dark Barrel Latte and comes topped with whipped cream and dark caramel sauce

If you’re already panicking about what you’re going to drink once Starbucks stops selling its beloved seasonal pumpkin spice latte, don’t worry, because the chain is now testing out a brand new flavor. This one, though, is not meant to evoke the feelings of strolling through a pumpkin patch in a pair of Ugg boots on a crisp autumn Saturday. Not at all. This one is meant to taste like a nice dark Irish stout.

The new drink, called the Dark Barrel Latte, is being tested at select locations across Ohio and Florida, Grubstreet reports. It doesn’t contain any alcohol, but it supposedly contains the dark, toasty, malty flavors of Guinness. A BuzzFeed writer who got his hands on one in Columbus confirmed that it really does taste like stout. Several customers who’ve tweeted about the drink agree that it tastes like Guinness — but the jury’s still out on whether or not that’s actually a good thing.

When I asked a colleague who was born and raised in Dublin (Guinness’s birthplace) how he felt about all this, he responded first with this GIF. Then, as he mulled it over a bit more, he added, “Holy hell. Worst.” Then he posed a question: “American Guinness already doesn’t taste like Guinness. So what will this taste like?” Then he barfed all over me and my stupid American ignorance.

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