Bloody or charred, that is the burning question.
Bloody or charred, that is the burning question. Pavlo_K/Getty

Americans Who go to Longhorn Steakhouse are Boring Eaters, Who Knew?

The statistic analyzers at FiveThirtyEight studied order data from Longhorn steakhouses across the nation recently, and determined that the overwhelming majority of diners order their steaks to medium doneness or worse. Rare and medium rare orders accounted for only 25 percent of overall orders, with the lion's share going to medium and medium well. On Twitter, FiveThirtyEight billed the doneness issue as "the question that has divided a nation." While it makes sense that steak doneness might divide down on political lines—hip liberal foodies go rare, conservative Middle American plumbers go well done—and Trump's preference for burnt meat has become emblematic of Republican crassness, I don't think the steak survey is exactly capturing the current political moment in beefy form.

For one, the survey data is from a massive casual dining chain, the patronage of which already says something about the political leanings of a person. The sample, naturally, will skew towards a less adventurous eater, as that's who such places are marketed to. For two, FiveThirtyEight's own previous attempt at this question, which involved direct consumer surveys (and was a not-so-thinly-veiled attempt to prove chief culture writer Walt Hickey's valid point that well-done steak eaters are squares), showed a much greater preference for medium rare.

Though the first survey's sample size was much smaller, I would argue it was much more reliable on a methodological level, and therefore more representative of actual American preferences. Which is a long-winded way of saying that, as someone who just polished off my weight in beautiful, bloody dry-aged beef at Bateau last night, I'm super happy to hear you're not all well-done-steak-eating Philistines.

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Continues to Disgust

Every Fourth of July, to really drive home the all-American penchant for excess, Nathan's Hot Dogs hosts the Tour de France of competitive eating: the famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. This contest is where dubious legends are made, and the already legendary glutton Joey Chestnut really carved his name in the history books this year. If you care to know how many hot dogs a single human can eat, well, the answer is currently 72.

Perhaps next year he'll coax his internal organs to move just a few inches further aside, and gift the world with a 73, but for now we'll have to settle for the totally reasonable, not-at-all-horrifying total of 72. So as not to erase the accomplishment (if you can call it that) of his female counterpart, I should also mention that Miki Sudo won the women's division with a total of 41. Which is, again, 40 more hot dogs than you should ever eat in a single sitting.

Uh, Yes, I Want a Champagne Float

I should probably hate everything about Lady Yum—they hail from the east side, their products are pretty much tailor made for Instagram, they're opening a store in South Lake Union, and said store sells nothing but expensive craft macarons and drinks—but I have to admit I'm kind of into it. Like, yes, it's bourgeois as all hell, but their dedication to only serving delicious French sugar sandwich cookies and nice booze is the kinda of Absolutely Fabulous, zero-fucks-given decision I can really get behind. The Denny Triangle store opened on the 5th, Eater reports, and happy hour will run from 4pm all the way to 10pm, featuring $4 house rose, discounted macarons, and, of course, champagne ice cream floats.

Ravenleaf Public House Launches a Truck

In a move that is not exactly unheard of but still a bit unconventional, the Ravenleaf Public House just launched a food truck.

They're certainly not the first brick and mortar restaurant to go mobile—see Molly Moon's, Renee Erickson's now-defunct Narwhal truck, etc.—but it is a reverse of the usual order of operations. Normally, the American Dream of food trucks is to do something more like what Skillet did. Which is to say, go from selling bacon-y shit out of a truck to owning a high concept wood-fired grill spot in the city's buzziest restaurant neighborhood. Anyway, the Ravenleaf Food Truck will offer up "Southwest, Carribean BBQ" at a smattering of local breweries, beer shops, and other truck-friendly venues.

Speaking of Molly Moon's

They've stopped sending me press releases, probably because I recently described them as being ultra-white, but they're still cool with Rosin at Seattle Met. She reports that they're running a Yayoi Kusama sundae to coincide with the artists super cool Infinity Mirrors show. If you're, say, getting super high and going to contemplate how existentially tiny and meaningless you are in a roomful of mirrors and lights, it sounds like a pretty decent precursor to that:

"The Yayoi Kusama sundae is comprised of Molly Moon’s vanilla bean ice cream, which is then topped with the requisite hot fudge, plus candied red adzuki beans—a nod, perhaps, to Kusama’s use of red polka dots and Japanese heritage—beet root whipped cream, black sesame seeds, and cherry."

Berkeley Study Finds That Olfactory Factors Make You Fat

In more fun food study news, a new one out of UC Berkeley has discovered a link between sense of smell and obesity in mice. The link, however, is not the obvious one you might be thinking.

Of course, the aroma of food is part of what makes it more appetizing, so you might think that having a well-developed sense of smell made certain mice eat more of it. Instead, they fed all the mice similar diets, and discovered that how well the mice could smell actually controlled how much weight they gained. From their press release:

"What’s weird, however, is that these slimmed-down but smell-deficient mice ate the same amount of fatty food as mice that retained their sense of smell and ballooned to twice their normal weight.

In addition, mice with a boosted sense of smell – super-smellers – got even fatter on a high-fat diet than did mice with normal smell.

The findings suggest that the odor of what we eat may play an important role in how the body deals with calories. If you can’t smell your food, you may burn it rather than store it."

I don't think this is actionable diet advice, and I don't think one would be able to hold their nose and lose weight even if it was, but it is a reminder that biology is fascinating and weird and awesome. And that the entire dieting industry has basically been selling you snake oil for centuries, because the biological mechanisms that control weight are still light years beyond our ken. Eat, drink, be merry, and tell Jenny Craig to go fuck herself!