In re: Would you like to Hugo size that?

On your next trip to McDonalds you may (apparently only in some markets) see a new size of soda, the Hugo, a 42 oz soda that would contain just over 400 calories.  You may remember that McDonalds got rid of its famous lineup of supersize products in the wake of the Morgan Spurlock movie that showed the potential harms of the chain’s large portions and nutritional lackluster.  On one hand getting rid of the large sizes was a good thing, as people (I posited at the time would be less likely to order 2 sodas, or 2 fries, then to get one supersize.) But then again, McDonald’s also needs to make money, and if thats what people want, who should stop them?  The portions of fast food are pretty astronomical when you compare the original 7 oz soda McDonald’s started with (larger then the kids size today) as well as the other products.  Recently some cities (New York of course most notably) have discussed or passed laws requiring nutritional content be placed on menus.

Restaurants of course oppose this, as instead of ordering a Hugo size, you could ask for a nutritionally void bathtub sized cup with 400 calories to go.   Similarly, see who wants to order the Bloomin’ Onion at the Outback Steakhouse when they see that it has over 2000 calories (thats right, amazing huh).  Even some salads at chain restaurants clock in the realm of what you thought could only include deep fried twinkies.  So I say more info, put it on the menus, its not that tough to do and people will probably make some smarter choices.

“People, I believe, tend to drink more during the summer,” said Danya Proud, a McDonald’s spokeswoman. “People are out and about.”

She said the Hugo was being offered because of customer demand, and so far, it has sold quite well.” NY Times

See The Consumerist: ‘410 Calories Without Taking A Bite ‘
and NY Times  ‘Did McDonald’s Give In to Temptation

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In re: Ohio Bar Exam Begins… Tomorrow

Tomorrow the Ohio bar exam starts at 9am and for those of us studying its almost a sigh of relief to finally get to the bar (that doesn’t mean we feel prepared).  Today I tried to study, but it is really hard to try and do anything meaningful last minute for an exam that is so broad in scope and that you’ve been studying for so long for.  So after struggling to focus in the library today (went out of habit, seems like most others have given up on the library by now as its getting more and more empty) I went home and opened up the windows, put on some nice music and tried to relax, read a few old Ohio essay questions but mainly indulged my dog Charlie’s attempts to play.  Hopefully a low key evening will lead to a good night of sleep and no problems waking up (got multiple alarms going just in case) as I have never taken a test with so much riding on it (kinda scary really).  Here’s to not freaking out and getting through the 2 and 1/2 days of test taking that lay ahead of us.  See you on the flip side.

In re: Beer pouring robot

File under necessities.  Yes the Japanese clearly do get everything cool first.  Latest case and example: The Asahi Beerbot, which will open and pour a can of your favorite beer all while talking about something in Japanese.  You can get your own (slightly used) for $800 bucks here (also check out the Youtube video of the bot)asahi-beerbot.jpg

In re: Bar review browsings

Just a few misc topics to distract you with (I should be studying and I will get back to the books ASAP – the bar is tuesday can’t wait!)

Saw this on Slash Food, normally we think of the Japanese as healthy eaters (although I’ve mentioned  before how that’s changing as they have shortened lunches and added lots of fast food to it) but Pizza Hut in Japan has created the ultimate Japanese pizza – check it out, its pretty amazing.

 Walkability – haven’t had the site Walk Score work for me, but basically sounds like a cool Google Maps mash-up that scores how walkable your house is, seems like a good tool for folks who are planning a move or want to assess if they really should be driving all they are.

Stuffing your bookshelves – you may remember a recent post where I talked about bookshelves?  Well one reader of Apartment Therapy, a blog on design among other things, asked the readers how they should go about filling the bookshelves for a client who didn’t want to pick out his own books for a new apartment.  The backlash was immense, but there were a few good counter arguments to those who demonized anyone who wouldn’t fill their books with their personal, slowly acquired collection that reflects who they are (defining us, or are we defining the shelf?)

“I don’t trust people who don’t own books. Unless there is a good reason, like their old place just burned down or something.” Comment on Apartment Therapy (I think I kinda agree, it would be kinda weird to have no books at all)

In re: Bar exam nears

From the dearth of posts recently you may have gathered that the bar is getting closer and closer.  Studying for the bar is extremely annoying because most of the stuff your cramming into your head will be long gone come August  (after hopefully vomiting the information you stuffed in your head in a nicely ordered sequence that pleases the bar readers just enough to pass you) and mostly useless in the grand scheme of things, but then there is also the joy in having a general knowledge of all subjects of law (well those tested).  Well back to the books, enjoy your weekends, the weather is real nice inside the law library of ohio state.

In re: Plastic Bags

  • By cutting 100 million plastic bags a year San Francisco will save 1.5 million litres of oil, and eliminate 4.2 million kilograms of carbon dioxide….
  • 180 million: Roughly the number of plastic shopping bags distributed in San Francisco each year.
  • 2 to 3 cents: Amount each bag costs markets, compared with anywhere from 5 to 10 cents for a biodegradable bag.
  • 4 trillion to 5 trillion: Number of non degradable plastic bags used worldwide annually.
  • 430,000 gallons: Amount of oil needed to produce 100 million non degradable plastic bags.

(See SF First to Ban Plastic Shopping Bags)

You may have seen some of Live Earth today, or at least heard about it, pushed by Al Gore and his celebrity friends. The concert event that is going on on each continent trying to raise awareness about global warming. Now you may have your own opinion of these kind of events, for one I tend to be a bit cynical as you may know and the whole routine of shouting to the crowd “you are part of history” is always a strange thing, at least I think, this constant touting of where an event that is ongoing will be in viewed in history. Now once again, I am all for having events to raise awareness of the environment, but I question where this event today will be the thing that starts more large scale change.

Anyway, back to what I was starting with plastic bags, (the whole Live Earth is about small things) and plastic bags may seem small, but as you can imagine they take a huge toll on resources. The other day in Costco’s newsletter (page 16-17) I saw a poll on whether we should ban plastic bags for the whole country, which San Francisco has done and now Oakland as well. Now, for one you may know that Costco for one doesn’t use plastic bags (to save them money) and probably because those 8 gallon jugs of mayo wouldn’t fit in a bag anyway. Well it reminded me that for a while I have been meaning to buy reusable grocery bags and also I glanced at the story on SF which wasn’t able to put a deposit on bags or a tax due to a federal law, so they banned them. I say good idea, when I lived in Switzerland you either got free really small thin bags (think produce bags) or you could buy for pretty reasonably a pretty durable paper bag that was reusable, every now and again I’d forget to bring bags and buy some more reusable and the system worked really well (you also bag your own groceries which really sped things up as they have a second bay for the next person to start getting checked out while your bagging).

So why ban them? (The bags have already been outlawed in South Africa, Taiwan and Bangladesh. Ireland imposes a plastic-bag tax.) Couldn’t we come up with a market system to get rid of the, or to reflect the impact they have on the waste stream, the environment, our reliance on foreign oil to produce them? We could go that route, but while some of you federalists may not want the gov’t telling you what kind of bag to use, or not use, it seems to me a simple fix one way or the other we should do something about it (although I need to get out and practice what I am saying).

In re: General Tso’s Salad?

A search of the internet for “General Tso’s Salad”, “General Tso Salad”, and “General Tsos Salad” turned up nothing and I didn’t feel like wading thought the 8 billion results if i took the quote marks out.  So anyway, I can’t be sure, but it seems like this isn’t something people are doing.  Why not?

I’ll begin with the fact I love General Tso’s chicken (see Wikipedia entry for the unknown origins, the various names and links to articles on the subject), the quasi-Chinese dish that is probably one of the more unhealthy things you can think of (lots of fried chicken pieces).  Most restaurants also do you the favor of giving you an obscene amount of chicken and two or three pieces of broccoli to make yourself feel better about yourself and the fact you ate a well rounded meal of protein (fried), starch (plain white rice) and vegetable (1 floret of broccoli).   Needless to say I try and avoid General Tso’s like the plague, but every now and then I succumb to its siren like calling.

Attempting to satisfy my love for the dish I have tried making homemade versions that skip the deep frying, up the veggie and swap in brown rice.  The results can actually be quite good, but no one would ever confused the grilled General Tso’s with the fried version.

Fast forward even further, to yesterday when dinner time approached and I was reheating the leftover Pho from lunch from Lac Viet Market in the North Market, which has to be one of the best deals for food in Columbus, where for $5 you get some pretty good Pho that is easily two meals and comes with all the garnishes (bean sprouts, basil, lime, hot sauce, cilantro) to make it a truly great meal.  (I also love there Banh mi ga (sometimes known as a Vietnamese sandwich which consists of french bread sub with shredded barbecue chicken, mayonnaise, cucumber, carrots, radish and that maggi sauce).  Well back to the dinner time, I was making a salad to go with my soup and it had dawned on me, not for the first time, to make a General Tso’s salad dressing, using the Trader Joe’s General Tso sauce as a base I added rice wine vinegar to thin it out and some olive oil and a bit of lime juice, but really as you can tell, I didn’t do much, put it on some lettuce and was amazed, it was pretty good, well I thought it was more then pretty good, but I am not sure if that is just because I love that General so much.  It got me thinking why if we turn every other dish into a salad (often a tasty and unhealthy one – think taco salad w/ sour cream, cheese etc.) why hasn’t there been a salad with General Tso’s chicken?  You could toss some of the crunchy fried wantons (we are trying to stay healthy right?) some green onions, tomatoes, etc and I for one would be all over it.  I will investigate the subject further and let you know how it goes, maybe it was just what I was in the mood for last night, or maybe the Generals secret sauce belongs on lettuce as well as fried chicken.