TIME Food

Man Can’t Sue Applebee’s for Burns He Got While Praying Over Fajitas

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2014/10/25: Applebee's restaurant exterior logo. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
John Greim—Getty Images

According to a new court ruling

A New Jersey man who was burned by a plate of hot fajitas while dining at Applebee’s can’t sue the restaurant over his injuries, according to an appellate court.

Hiram Jimenez took the chain restaurant to court because he said his waitress failed to alert him that his meal was hot. After being served, the court ruling says he bowed his head to pray over the crackling plate, and some oil popped and burned his face. Jimenez says he then panicked and knocked the plate in his lap, causing more burns, none of which resulted in scars, according to court records.

He filed suit seeking damages on the grounds that he suffered “serious and permanent” injuries “solely as a result of (Applebee’s) negligence when he came in contact with a dangerous and hazardous condition, specifically, ‘a plate of hot food’.”

A trial judge dismissed the suit, finding Applebee’s had no duty to warn Jimenez “against a danger that is open and obvious” like a sizzling hot plate of fajitas. Jimenez appealed, but an appellate panel confirmed the lower court ruling, saying Applebee’s can’t be held responsible because the hot food posed an a risk that should be “self-evident” and thus “approached with due care.”

[H/T USA Today]

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Honors Instant-Noodle Inventor Momofuku Ando

Google

Peel off lid. Pour boiling water. Steep for three minutes. Stir well and serve.

Thursday marks the 105th birthday of Taiwanese-Japanese inventor Momofuku Ando, whose instant noodles revolutionized the food world, and Google is honoring this king of quick cuisine with a new Google Doodle.

As TIME wrote back in 2006, “In 1958, Momofuku Ando, an unassuming entrepreneur living in Osaka, created the instant noodle — and a continent has been feasting on his invention ever since.”

However, the road was not easy for the founder of Nissin Food Products. Ando struggled to find the right balance and create noodles that were tasty but did not become mush when boiled. The secret, learned from his wife, was to spray the noodles with chicken soup and then fry them in tempura oil.

The instant noodle, a dietary staple for every college student from Asia to America, had come to fruition.

Ando was born during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan in 1910, moved to Japan at the age of 23 became a Japanese citizen following World War II. He died in Osaka on Jan. 5, 2007, at the age of 96.

Read next: New Google Doodle Honors Inventor of Flat Map Gerardus Mercator

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MONEY Fast Food

McDonald’s Wants to Replace the Drive-Thru with Drones

150304_EM_SXSW_1
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

That's the kind of revolutionary idea McDonald's wants to hear about at SXSW, the hipster festival where the fast food chain will be a big presence in the hopes of winning over millennials.

How’s this for an odd, arguably desperate pairing? McDonald’s, which just celebrated its 60th anniversary, and which has struggled mightily to gain favor with trendy millennial consumers, is serving as a “Super Sponsor” at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, movies, and ideas festival in Austin that’s a magnet for everything young, hip, and forward-thinking.

Not only will the McDonald’s logo be splashed throughout Austin during the mid-March festival, the fast food giant will be handing out food free of charge to attendees and will welcome startups to pitch ideas that could change how the company does business. “We want to be in the flow of ideas, offering our scale to interesting partners, with the intent to make the lives of millions of people who use McDonald’s a bit simpler and even more enjoyable,” McDonald’s explains of its decision to be a part of SXSW.

There will be three separate days for pitch sessions, each focused on a different topic, such as “Reinventing the Restaurant Experience” and “Mobilizing the Transportation and Delivery Revolution.” For the latter, startups are supposed to take the fact that “our existing idea of door-to-door delivery and drive-thru will soon be obsolete” into consideration when pitching innovations. Those with the best pitches could get a chance to win a trip to McDonald’s Illinois headquarters to explain their concepts to company leaders, and potentially become partners.

Apparently, McDonald’s really wants to hear about so-called “moon shots,” i.e. big ideas that stretch the imagination and may at first seem impossible, but which could prove ground-breaking and transformative if they ultimately come to fruition. Like so:

Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you’re driving down the highway. Seems crazy now, but technology is increasingly revolutionizing our everyday lives.

This kind of thinking is quite a step up for a company whose most recent “Big Idea” was bringing back Chicken Selects to the menu.

Gathering solid business ideas is probably not the primary reason McDonald’s is invading SXSW, however. More likely, the company is hoping to make inroads with influential hipsters and millennials, the generation that shows far greater preference for Starbucks and fast casual restaurants like Panera and Chipotle than it does for McDonald’s and other fast food players.

Yet millennials are famously difficult to win over with advertising, and the McDonald’s brand is often polarizing, attracting haters and critics no matter what move it makes. So the company’s supersized presence at the youth-dominated festival seems puzzling to some.

“The usual SXSW crowd is not the [McDonald’s] crowd. [Attendees are] usually edgier, healthier, more techy, definitely more millennial,” Wendy Liebmann, CEO of the WSL Strategic Retail consultant firm, told MarketWatch. “McDonald’s may see this as an opportunity to show it’s become hipper, trendier and [be] using SXSW as a platform to be seen differently.”

In which case, look out Burning Man festival goers. McDonald’s may be coming after you next.

TIME Food & Drink

Ben & Jerry’s Founders Think Pot Ice Cream ‘Makes Sense’

Just think of the pun possibilities

Ice cream icons Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (a.k.a. the dairy deities behind Ben & Jerry’s) are in favor of a new flavor idea.

In a recent interview with Huffington Post Live, Cohen and Greenfield were asked about the possibility of making a pot-infused ice cream. “Makes sense to me,” Cohen said. “Combine your pleasures.”

“Ben and I have had previous experiences with substances,” added Greenfield, whose namesake company makes flavors like Satisfy My Bowl and Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Encore Edition. “I think legalizing marijuana is a wonderful thing, rather than putting people in jail for not hurting anyone.”

Does that mean cannabis-flavored edible marijuana ice cream will be on the shelf next to Half-Baked and Cherry Garcia in Washington, Alaska and Colorado, where weed is now legal? Potentially, but it’s not up to Cohen and Greenfield, who sold the company to Unilever in 2001. As Greenfield describes, “It’s not my decision. If it were my decision, I’d be doing it, but fortunately we have wiser heads at the company that figure those things out.”

Colorado sold nearly five million edibles last year.

Read next: Jimmy Fallon Just Got a New Ben & Jerry’s Flavor

TIME food industry

McDonald’s Is Making a Huge Change to Its Chicken

McDonald's golden arches signs
Kristoffer Tripplaar—Alamy

The fast food giant is changing its sourcing policies

McDonald’s new CEO, Steve Easterbrook, has pledged to reform the world’s largest restaurant chain into a “modern, progressive burger company.” He has taken a major step in that direction with today’s announcement that McDonald’s will stop selling chicken treated with antibiotics that are also used in drugs prescribed to humans. The overuse of those antibiotics is likely a major cause of the rise of “super bugs” that increasingly resist such drugs. Public-health advocates are hailing McDonald’s announcement as a major victory.

The phase-out will occur over the next two years, as McDonald’s works with its suppliers, which include the meatpacking giant Tyson Foods. Chickens used by McDonald’s will still be treated with antibiotics that aren’t used in medicine for humans.

Easterbrook started his new job just three days ago. This move is clearly intended to set the tone for his tenure as he takes on the massive challenges McDonald’s is facing.

A big part of that challenge is to revamp the company’s image. Mainly thanks to its size, McDonald’s is often made the whipping-boy for the ills of corporate America, and particularly the food industry. In any discussion of our unhealthy diets or our growing wealth disparities, it’s a safe bet that McDonald’s will come up, often along with Wal-Mart.

The decision on antibiotics, though, shows that McDonald’s still enjoys formidable industrial power. Few institutions can dictate terms to the powerful meatpacking industry, but that’s essentially what McDonald’s is doing here. And it means that other meat buyers will likely follow suit.

When it comes to chicken in particular, Chik-fil-A, as the country’s largest buyer of chicken, has even more clout. It announced a year ago that over the following five years, it would stop buying chicken raised with antibiotics of any kind.

The number of bacterial infections that resist antibiotics has leaped in recent years, with more than 2 million reported each year. About 23,000 people die from the infections. Public-health experts have long warned that the use of antibiotics in livestock is the main culprit.

Read next: 5 Reasons Why McDonald’s Will Win in 2015

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TIME Food & Drink

This Is Why Indian Food Is So Delicious

Holger Leue—Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images Thali dinner at Amrit Rao Peshwa Palace

It's the lack of overlapping flavors, scientists say

Indian food is lauded for its curries, mouth-burning spices and complex flavor pairings. With its use of cardamom, cayenne, tamarind and other pungent ingredients, the resulting taste combinations are unlike anything found elsewhere around the world. But scientists in India have now discovered exactly why Indian food is so good — it’s the fewer number of overlapping flavors in ingredients.

Researchers at the Indian Institute for Technology examined how frequently overlapping flavor compounds factored into a dish’s ingredients. They reviewed thousands of recipes on TarlaDalal.com, scrutinizing the subtle molecular-level differences that distinguish the cuisine, reports the Washington Post.

“We found that average flavor sharing in Indian cuisine was significantly lesser than expected,” researchers wrote.

In Western cuisines, ingredients are usually paired together for their similar flavors. However, an average Indian dish includes at least seven ingredients, most of which do not contain overlapping flavors. Cayenne, green bell pepper, coriander and garam masala are usually paired with ingredients that have no chemical overlap, but each ingredient brings a unique component when incorporated into the final meal. This creates knockout dishes for a cuisine that uses approximately 200 of the estimated 381 ingredients known in the world.

Read more at the Washington Post

TIME viral

This Brave Soul Strapped Mentos to His Body and Jumped in a Bathtub Filled With Coke

It's kind of like a DIY jacuzzi.

Type Diet Coke and Mentos into YouTube’s search engine and you’ll be rewarded with more than 150,000 videos of people recording themselves getting into a sticky situation with this amateur science experiment.

The most recent variation on the theme involves a teenager spending his free time filling his bathtub with Coke Zero, taping Mentos all over his body and then jumping into the tub. He recorded the event and it’s a fascinating study in science, DIY Jacuzzi tub making and the extremes to which some people will go to amuse themselves.

Don’t try this at home, kids, because the one thing this video doesn’t show is the young man trying to clean up the bathroom after this experiment.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The Best and Worst Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

sick-woman-sofa
Getty Images

A symptom-by-symptom guide to the eats that will soothe (or strengthen) your symptoms

When you’re under the weather, the last thing you want is to eat something that makes you feel worse. But what if the last thing you want is chicken soup or crackers, and you’re craving ice cream or a glass of wine? It depends on what’s wrong with you, experts say. Here are common symptoms and expert suggestions on foods that help—and hinder—relief.

You’ve got the runs

For diarrhea caused by a stomach virus or a meal that didn’t agree with you, try the BRAT diet, says James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. “Many different things can cause diarrhea, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis,” he says, so see your doctor if symptoms continue for longer than two weeks or sooner if signs of dehydration appear, or if diarrhea is accompanied by fever, blood, severe pain, or severe nausea and vomiting.

Best foods: The BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Oatmeal, boiled potatoes, saltine crackers, and baked chicken or turkey without skin are also safe bets.

Worst foods: Sugarless candy and gum containing sorbitol or other artificial sweeteners, which aren’t digestible and can trigger diarrhea. Other foods that can cause gas and bloating include onions, apples, broccoli, cabbages, and beans. Dairy may also aggravate diarrhea, as well as alcohol and caffeine.

You’re constipated

Constipation can occur when not eating enough fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and veggies, which stimulate digestion. “Adults need between 25 and 30 grams of fiber a day,” says Dr. Lee.

Best foods: High-fiber whole grain breads, nuts, beans, prunes, oatmeal, flaxseed, broccoli, pears, and apples. (Here are the 20 best foods for fiber.) Drinking six to eight glasses of water per day also helps get things moving, says Dr. Lee.

Worst foods: Chocolate, dairy products, iron supplements, narcotics (pain medications) and some blood and anti-depression medications may worsen constipation.

Read more: 10 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

You’re feeling nauseous

Feeling queasy makes all foods sound unappealing, but the right ones can ease symptoms by calming stomach acids, says Dr. Lee. “In general, keep food portions small and odors to a minimum.”

Best foods: Saltine crackers or pretzels can help, says Dr. Lee, as does small quantities of dry toast or cereal. Ginger or lemon tea, fresh or frozen lemon slices, and peppermint also work.

Worst foods: Greasy, spicy, or oily foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks can make nausea worse.

It hurts to swallow

When you have a sore throat, several foods can coat your throat and soothe the pain, says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers.com and author of The Little Book of Thin (Perigee 2014).

Best foods: Combine peppermint tea (lukewarm, not hot)—which has analgesic and anesthetic effects—and Manuka honey, which is known for its wound-healing properties. Soft, creamy foods such as cream soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, and custards are also soothing.

Worst foods: Avoid hot liquids and hard, scratchy foods such as potato chips, nuts, and granola. The acidic juices from raw fruits and vegetables, as well as orange juice, grape juice, and lemonade can also irritate a sore throat.

Read more: 12 Strange-But-True Health Tricks

Your entire body aches

Foods that ease muscle aches depend on the specific reason for the body aches, says Kristine Arthur, MD, internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. “For general muscle aches, food containing magnesium or calcium may help ease soreness,” she says.

Best foods: Magnesium-containing foods include nuts, bananas, beans, leafy greens, and avocados. Foods high in calcium such as canned salmon, yogurt, dark-green leafy greens, and orange juice fortified with calcium also lessen muscle cramping and pain.

Worst foods: Anything that dehydrates you can worsen muscle aches, says Dr. Arthur, particularly alcohol and caffeine.

Your head hurts

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of headaches, says Dr. Arthur, so it’s best to treat that cause first and see if it relieves your pain.

Best foods: Water and other fluids are your best bet. “Drink a bottle of water and wait 20 minutes to see if you feel better,” says Dr. Arthur. Caffeine is known for drying you out, but ironically, it can help in small doses. “But for each cup of tea or coffee, drink an equal amount of water to avoid dehydration,” Dr. Arthur says.

Worst foods: Headache-triggering foods include artificial sweeteners, MSG (found in sauces and soy sauce), aged cheeses (blue, stilton) that contain tyramine, plus chocolate, red wine, hot dogs, deli meats, and dried fruit. MSG is metabolized to glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, says Dr. Arthur. Tyramine links to increased blood pressure, which can trigger headaches.

Read more: 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health

You have an earache

Earaches typically accompany other symptoms, says Dr. Arthur, “so they’re not correlated with any food in general.” Since they occur most often with upper respiratory infections, however, foods that clear up congestion can help earaches as well.

Best foods: Clear fluids and chicken soup ease congestion by loosening up mucous in nasal passages. Omega-3s found in salmon and nuts decrease inflammation, and vitamin C found in dark leafy greens, berries, and citrus boost the immune system, says Dr. Arthur.

Worst foods: Dairy can thicken phlegm and worsen congestion, with the exception of yogurt, which contains probiotics, says Dr. Arthur. “Stay away from processed and packaged foods, too, which increase inflammation and lengthen the recovery process.”

You’re red and itchy

A rash could be a symptom of an allergy, says Dr. Arthur. “Keep a detailed food journal to look for links to foods that seem to trigger a rash.”

Best foods: Omega-3 containing foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines) and walnut and flax seed oils, as well as foods high in protein are all important for skin health, says Dr. Arthur. “Skin is made up of proteins, so a diet adequate in protein is necessary for skin protein synthesis.”

Worst foods: The most common foods that cause itching are nuts, chocolate, fish, tomatoes, eggs, berries, soy, wheat, and milk, says Debra Jaliman, MD, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist ($9, amazon.com).

Read more: 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health

You have a runny nose

When you have a cold, the worst symptom might be a nose that just won’t stop running. Aside from taking a steamy shower, Slayton suggests drinking warm tea—it may not slow down the drip, but a soothing tea will make you feel better.

Best foods: Try Wakaya ginger tea, suggests Slayton. Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help clear up a cold faster than just waiting it out. “Apple cider and lemon in water works well, too,” she says.

Worst foods: Spicy foods can cause an immediate runny nose (which then turns into congestion), as may alcohol.

You’re stuffed up

A cold, flu or sinus infection can irritate and inflame blood vessels in your nose, making it hard to breathe. Aside from inhaling steam from a hot shower or using a humidifier, if you’re stopped up due to mucous, some foods can help.

Best foods: Slayton recommends “golden milk,” which includes turmeric, a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Place 2 cups of coconut or almond milk in a saucepan with 1 tsp dried turmeric, 1 tsp dried ginger, a dash of black pepper and honey to taste. Bring to a simmer, allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.

Worst foods: Skip dairy, spicy foods, and sugar, all of which can aggravate symptoms, says Slayton.

Read more: 13 Ways Inflammation Messes With Your Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

How the Nation’s Nutrition Panel Thinks You Should Be Eating

Ease up on sugar and saturated fats — but don't worry so much about cholesterol

New recommendations for U.S. dietary guidelines released on Thursday included the surprise suggestion that cholesterol should not be a nutrient of special concern—but added that sugar and saturated fat are still worth worrying about.

In a move that happens only every five years, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, an independent group of 14 experts advising Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), released a proposed update for what Americans should be eating. The proposal is over 500 pages long, but summed up the guidelines as follows:

“The U.S. population should be encouraged and guided to consume dietary patterns that are rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual’s biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.”

One nutrient was obviously missing: cholesterol. The committee confirmed that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern, which is great news for egg lovers. As TIME reported last week, evidence shows the amount of cholesterol coming from food isn’t really that worrisome.

MORE Ending the War on Fat

The recommendations do come down pretty hard on saturated fat—recommending less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat per day—but they don’t recommend against cutting down on total fat as they have in the past. Guidelines launched in 1980 helped boost the low-fat craze of the 2000s.

“To decrease saturated fat, one needs to reduce the intake of foods high in saturated fat,” says vice chair of the committee Alice Lichtenstein of Tufts University in an email to TIME. “Hence, the recommendation is to primarily choose low and non-fat dairy products and lean meat. Otherwise, there is no recommendation to reduce total fat intake or use fat free foods.”

That didn’t sit well with some, since some research suggests saturated fat doesn’t deserve our level of fixation. “They don’t move at all on the issue of what kinds of fats to eat. They continue to recommend limiting saturated fat and supporting polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats,” Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, said. “I would have liked the guidelines to be a little more neutral on saturated fat.” The form of fats that remain a source of concern are trans fats. (Nissen was also not on the committee).

MORE Know Right Now: Why Low-Fat Diets Might Not Solve Your Health Problems

But overall, nutrition experts were satisfied with the guidelines. “Wow. I love it. Really I am impressed,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “The emphasis seems to be ‘here is what your diet should look like overall and if it looks like this, you can’t go very wrong.’ The question is how we rally around it and how effectively it survives the political process.” (Katz was not on the advisory committee).

The new guidelines touch on sustainability, and the fact that the average American diet has a high environmental impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and land, energy and water use. They note that a diet that’s better for the environment is high in plant-based foods and lower in calories and animal-based foods. Some examples of these diets are the Mediterranean diet, a healthy vegetarian diet and a healthy U.S.-style diet.

The committee also reviewed highly caffeinated beverages like energy drinks and concluded that there is still not enough evidence on their safety, but that limited data suggest health problems like caffeine toxicity and cardiovascular events are possible. The committee says they should not be consumed by kids. The group also reviewed the sugar supplement aspartame, and said that while it appears safe, there may be some risks that deserve further research.

The new recommendations, which were decided on by an independent group of 14 experts, still have to undergo a review before getting the green light from Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The public is also urged to provide comments at http://www.DietaryGuidelines.gov.

Read next: 6 Facts About Saturated Fat That Will Astound You

TIME Food & Drink

This Caviar May Be the Most Expensive Food in the World

At $114,000 a kilo, this dish is not for everyone

A fish farmer in Austria is offering a caviar dish that he says is worth $114,000 per kilo.

The white caviar “Strottarga Bianco” concoction includes rare albino sturgeon dried roe sprinkled with gold leaf, according to the website for Walter Gruell’s fish farm. The dish is only available on customer order.

“It is certainly not a product for everyone, but there is definitely a market for extremely exclusive products especially when they are something new,” said Gruell’s son Patrick, who helped develop the caviar, according to Yahoo News.

According to the Guinness World Records, the most expensive food on record is also a caviar: Almas, from the Iranian Beluga fish, sells for roughly $35,000 per kilogram.

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