TIME KFC

Check Out KFC’s Latest Menu Item: The ‘Chizza’

KFC To Stop Using Trans Fats
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Here’s how to improve the lowly pizza

How can the pizza be perfected? Ditch the dough crust and go with chicken instead.

At least that’s the plan that KFC is tinkering with in the Philippines, where the restaurant chain earlier this month has debuted a chicken dish that also serves as the base for a pizza of sorts.

What’s the business rationale for such dishes? Well, they often generate a ton of media buzz, as well as adulation and horror on social media among diners that can’t wait to try the new dish or those that are horrified by the concept.

KFC owner Yum Brands, which also owns the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains, has also established a reputation for delivering hybrid food offerings. Last month, for example, Pizza Hut debuted a pizza with a pigs-in-a-blanket crust. Taco Bell has experimented Doritos-flavored shells, though as Bloomberg as pointed out, the sales jolt from that innovation has since ebbed. That’s because many of these wacky food innovations only generate short-term buzz and are rarely long term, sustainable hits.

But whatever KFC is doing, it is working. During fiscal 2014, total system sales leapt 6% while operating profit was up 13%. Those figures outperformed Yum’s Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions.

Here’s the tweet announcing the menu item:

TIME food industry

Restaurants Get an Extra Year to Put Calories On Menus

Ann Hermes
Ann Hermes—AP

The new deadline is Dec. 1, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration has pushed back its deadline for restaurants to display calorie counts.

The Associated Press reported that the deadline has been pushed back from Dec. 1, 2015 to Dec. 1, 2016. Why? Because restaurants and retailers said they didn’t have enough time to comply with the rule.

Although restaurants have more time to comply with the rule, the agency said eating establishments are busy training workers and installing menus across the country. The rule dictates that places that prepare food with over 20 locations must “clearly and conspicuously” post the calories of their products.

In addition, the menus must say that calories are based on a 2000-calorie diet, while other nutritional information should be available to a customer on request.

The move comes amid a push in recent years by U.S. consumers for healthier food options. Fortune’s Beth Kowitt wrote about how big food companies are transitioning to offering less processed and more natural items to buyers.

TIME Food

These Vintage Ice Cream Photos Will Make Your Mouth Water

They all scream for ice cream

Brain freezes, sticky fingers and sugar rushes—oh, the sacrifices an ice cream addict makes for her dessert of choice. Though the treat has origins overseas, it is such a fixture of summertime in America that in 1984, President Ronald Reagan (also a connoisseur of jelly beans) declared July National Ice Cream Month. In his proclamation, Reagan called ice cream “a nutritious and wholesome food” and summoned Americans “to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

And so it was decreed: Eating ice cream—at least for one month out of 12—is not only an American pastime, but an American duty.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Bizarre

This Guy Just Made a Playable Vinyl Record Out of a Tortilla. And It Sounds Terrible

Don't throw away your iPod just yet

After a joke video of a tortilla spinning on a record player to the Jarabe Tapatio (aka The Mexican Hat Dance) went viral a few months ago, YouTube user Rapture Records decided he could do one better.

So he got himself an uncooked tortilla and a laser cutter and made a playable, albeit shaky, vinyl record.

“I was already familiar with laser cutting records at 78 rpm on acrylic for use in gramophones,” he wrote in a Reddit post. “I decided to see if I could make it work on an actual tortilla.”

Rapture Records says uncooked tortillas work the best, “since they are the flattest” and it takes about half an hour to make a 7” record that lasts around 30 seconds.

As well as the Jarabe Tapatio, he’s made tortilla records that play other tortilla-related songs, including the Macarena, Yakko’s World and Puttin’ on the Ritz by Taco.

And quite possible the best part about this project: “They are edible,” he says. “Just taste rather burnt.”

TIME Fast Food

We Tried Shake Shack’s New Chicken Sandwich

Shake Shack ChickenShack
Shake Shack Shake Shack ChickenShack

Here's what we thought of it

In a move sure to shake up the sandwich world, recently-public burger chain Shake Shack, owned by famed restauranteur Danny Meyer, announced Tuesday that its three Brooklyn locations would for a limited time offer the ChickenShack, a fried chicken sandwich clearly designed to take on the current kings of the cutlet, Chick-Fil-A.

I happen to live in Brooklyn, and the Flatbush Avenue Shake Shack — which went up recently, likely in a bid to get business from hungry basketball fans and concert-goers from the Barclays Center right across the street — is very near my apartment. So, I headed down, handed over my credit card and dug in.

The verdict? This thing is pretty good.

The chicken is juicy, with a crust the flakes off in crunchy, greasy pieces — just the way you want a good piece of fried chicken to do. The bun is the standard potato roll upon which the Shack’s famous burgers arrive — nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and provides a soft, cushy vessel for your piece of fried fowl.

The things I do for journalism…

A photo posted by Ben Geier (@ben_geier1) on

What really sets the ChickenShack apart, though, is the spread. The sandwich comes with an herbed mayo that provides just the right amount of “foodie” class to make you forget you’re eating at a fast food joint — something Meyer and company are clearly going for with their nearly $7 offering.

Some Twitter users gazing upon my photo of the ChickenShack were suspicious about the mayo levels here, and they weren’t entirely wrong. It was a pretty wet sandwich, with the spread sopping into the bun and resulting in some structural integrity issues. But the flavor kind of made up for that, and I didn’t care as much about the excess sauce as I would have it had been straight mayo.

Of course, the question is going to be whether or not this sandwich can hold a candle to Chick-Fil-A’s famous crispy chicken sandwich. First, a disclaimer: I haven’t eaten at Chick-fil-A in a few years. The CEO’s stance on marriage equality has largely kept me away, no matter how delicious the food is. Plus, there isn’t a full-service Chick-Fil-A in New York — at least not yet — so it wasn’t like I was tempted. From what I remember, though, Shake Shack’s attempt is at least on par with its rivals. The chicken at ShakeShack was a bit crispier, which is, to me, essential.

Chick-fil-A does have one thing on Shake Shack, though — its waffle fries, which are much better than the crinkle cuts Shake Shack offers (I’ve long thought that fries are ShakeShack’s Achilles Heel, but that’s another issue.)

So, here’s the TL;DR: If you live in or near Brooklyn, you should give this sandwich a shot. If you don’t, just hope it’ll arrive at a Shake Shack near you sometime soon.

TIME Fast Food

Shake Shack’s Chicken Sandwich Is Real and it Looks Spectacular

Shake Shack ChickenShack
Shake Shack Shake Shack ChickenShack

But you can only get it at these locations

Chik-Fil-A and KFC, hunker down. Shake Shack is releasing a limited run of chicken sandwiches in its three Brooklyn locations starting Tuesday.

The ChickenShack, which costs $6.29, includes crispy all-natural chicken, lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo. It’s the first chicken sandwich offered by the trendy burger chain–but probably not the last.

The experimental new offering could be an attempt by Shake Shack to spice up more than its menu. The company’s stock is down about 43% after popping more than 120% on its first day of trading on public markets in January. On a more local level, Shake Shack is also facing competition from Momofuku founder David Chang, who recently opened a fried chicken sandwich restaurant in New York City.

TIME Food

What Meat Eaters Get Wrong About Vegetarians

Getty Images

David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

We're not all self-righteous

I was 20 years old and working on a political campaign when I first visited a slaughterhouse. There I saw dead chickens swinging like pale acrobats on a conveyor belt suspended over a vat, and I met a man who called himself, with only a hint of irony, a “goop scooper.” I walked out with the vague idea that I might become a vegetarian one day.

Years later, I stopped eating meat and chicken. On rare occasions, I still have fish, but that grows increasingly less common as the years go by. I am not a vegetable evangelist; I happily coexist with carnivorous members of my family and have friends who worship at the shrine of cooked cow. But permit me to dispense with three myths about vegetarians on behalf of those who, like me, favor beans over beef.

1. Vegetarians are self-righteous. Friends, self-righteousness is a universal quality. Whatever habits people hold dear, they tend to discuss in moral terms. So yes, some vegetarians slide into self-righteousness, but have you ever heard hunters defend their hobby? Or meat eaters talk about the design of the human body, digestive system, and manifest evolutionary advantages? I have had people tell me they cannot be vegetarians because they are “foodies” with the same pride as if announcing they are relief workers in the Congo.

Self-righteousness is more a personality trait than an accompaniment of a political or social position. And sometimes the very accusation is a species of the same malady: “Oh, she is SO self-righteous; I can’t STAND people who are like that. It’s just wrong.” Well yes, it is.

2. Vegetarians are sickly. Yes, I have met sickly vegetarians. But you can be just as healthy on a vegetarian diet as on any other. Someone dear to me told me that when she became a vegetarian, her father, a doctor, said she would be dead in a year. Decades later, his prediction is looking increasingly dubious.

I won’t go on a rant about meat additives, pesticides, disputes about “organic,” and the endless rabbit hole of diet and nutrition advice. But please, let’s not assume that all vegetarians are sick any more than we should assume that all meat eaters are healthy. In a country where obesity is a major health threat, large, heaping plates of broccoli are not the principal culprit.

3. Vegetarian food is tasteless. OK, maybe you don’t like tofu (I do, and it can be prepared in almost endless ways). But good vegetarian or vegan cooking is wonderful, just like good cooking of all types. There are now excellent vegetarian restaurants all across the country where you can test the truth of that statement. And there are vegetarian options in most other restaurants, too. After all, penne arrabiata and bean tacos are vegetarian. Taste in food, as in anything else, adjusts over time, and we come to appreciate nuances in food just as we do in music.

This is not a summer manifesto for change. I do not expect that suddenly Homer Simpson will be tossing seitan steaks on his barbecue. But the cruelty with which most animals are bred, and the resources meat demands from the earth are genuine issues and shouldn’t be simply dismissed. At the very least, let’s concede that vegetarianism is a worthy and thoughtful option and raise a glass (wine = grapes = fruit, after all) to the majesty of plants. Or as a friend of mine puts it, here’s to feeding on things without faces.

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

America Is Going to Spend Big to Celebrate Independence

From $725 million in fireworks to $1 billion in beer, Americans will shell out a lot of money this Independence Day.

When it comes to Independence Day, Americans aren’t shy about spending money. We’ll spend $725 million on fireworks, up from $695 million last year, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. Forty-two million people will travel for the holiday, thanks to low gas prices, says AAA. We’ll spend $71.23 per person on cookouts, which is $6.6 billion total, for 700 million pounds of chicken, 190 million pounds of beef and 150 million hot dogs. And to top it off, we’ll spend $1 billion on beer.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

This Kind of Food Is Why America Is So Fat, Study Says

TIME.com stock photos Food Snacks Candy Chocolate
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

More calories in our food supply means more overeating

Worldwide, countries are dealing with a serious obesity problem. In the U.S. alone, more than two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Now a new study suggests it likely has a lot to do with the make up of our food.

The new study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, looked at both the obesity rates and the supply of energy-dense—meaning high-calorie—foods in 69 countries, and found that both body weight and calories had increased in 56 of those states since 1971.

The finding was especially notable in high-income countries. “This suggests that, in high-income countries, a growing and excessive food supply is contributing to higher energy intake, as well as to increasing food waste,” the authors write. In the U.S. alone, the food energy supply went up by 768 calories per person between 1971 and 2008.

A wide reduction in physical activity may also be a contributing factor, the authors note, however, the surplus of available calories is likely leading people to overeat which in turn is adding on pounds for a lot of people. Other factors like pollution and gut bacteria should also be further studied to understand how they may contribute to weight gain as well, the researchers argue.

To combat the problem, the researchers argue that comprehensive approaches will be necessary. For instance, nation-wide policies should restrict the marketing of unhealthy food to young people and more packaged foods should have front of box nutritional labeling.

As always, eating more fresh foods rather than processed and exercising are two healthy habits worth adopting.
TIME

How McDonald’s Is Classing Up Its Menu in New England

McDonald's Reports Poor Quarterly Earnings
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Signs are posted on the exterior of a McDonald's restaurant on April 22, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

McLobster, anyone?

McDonald’s in New England has adopted a touch of class.

Participating restaurants in New England have been selling a lobster roll as of June 27 made of 100 percent North Atlantic lobster and mayonnaise, layered with lettuce and stuffed into a home-style toasted role, reports Fox Connecticut.

The Lobster Roll is selling for $7.99 and has 290 calories, and is the first time in a decade New England-area McDonald’s restaurants have offered the seafood special.

“The return of the Lobster Roll is exciting because we have requests for it every summer. It’s a delicious sandwich and we are thrilled to offer this regional favorite at a great value,” says Nicole Garvey, a McDonald’s Boston region spokesperson.

[Fox]

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