This Is Not Going to End Well for Europe: EU Regulator Denies McDonald’s Big Mac Claim

From Courthouse News:

(CN) — There’s only one Big Mac, right? Not so fast. In a supersized trademark controversy, a European regulator has ruled in favor of an Irish fast-food restaurant chain and stripped McDonald’s of its exclusive use of the name Big Mac in the European Union.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office, based in Spain, recently ruled in favor of a popular Irish burger chain called Supermac’s and said McDonald’s had failed to prove it can claim ownership of the Big Mac trademark.

McDonald’s on Thursday vowed to appeal and claims it still retains the trademark rights to Big Mac, the iconic stacked hamburger with its special sauce and storied history of Big Mac lovers, among them President Donald Trump, and John Travolta’s character in the film “Pulp Fiction.”

Supermac’s has challenged the American giant since 2014, claiming McDonald’s engaged in “trademark bullying” to stifle competition and stop it from expanding into Great Britain and across Europe. Supermac’s line of burgers and meals are similar to McDonald’s. On its menu is a Mighty Mac burger and it has plans for a SuperMac burger.

In its filings, McDonald’s claimed Supermac’s name was confusingly similar to Big Mac. McDonald’s Big Mac trademark covered not only burgers but also franchises.

The first Supermac’s restaurant opened on the main street of Ballinasloe in County Galway, Ireland, in 1978, and today there are more than 100 outlets across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pat McDonagh, the chain’s founder, says Supermac was his boyhood nickname when he played Gaelic football.

If you’re still hungry for more, click the link and dig in!

How long until the President nukes Ireland and Spain?

Open thread!



A Late Evening Snack: Flourless, Sugarless Chocolate Cake!

My mother found a recipe for a chocolate cake made without flour or sugar in some magazine and brought it to me and asked me to make it. This was for two reasons. The first is she wanted to try it. The second is that she knows that my system does not react well to flour, sugar, or other refined carbohydrates. So today I  took out the emergency tiara, the matching apron and oven mitts, and the wand and conducted an experiment with a little long distance collaboration with TaMara. Specifically, I don’t have a large food processor. I just don’t have use for one. And the recipe, as you’ll see below, calls for mixing everything together in a large food processor. After a couple of emails back and forth, I went with her recommendation to just use my stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

Before I provide the recipe, this one has some interesting items in it. Specifically avocados. The cake batter gets three and the frosting gets two of them. Instead of cake flour or all purpose flour, it gets almond flour. And instead of sugar, this cake gets honey as the sweetener. I also added a bit of vanilla to the frosting even though the recipe doesn’t call for it, as well as adding an additional 1/4 cup of honey to the frosting as I thought it needed a bit more sweetness.

The cake is very rich. And it’s chocolateness is very rich. The texture is amazing, it is silky smooth. The flavor is a very deep chocolate with just a hint of sweetness. If you’re a dark chocolate fan, especially the dark chocolate that isn’t very sweet, then this cake is for you.

Here’s the recipe:

Cake

3 avocados mashed (this is 1 and 1/4 cups)
4 eggs
1 cup honey
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup almond flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or standing mixer using the whisk attachment until smooth. Divide the batter into two 9 inch cooking spray coated cake pans for 20 to 25 minutes until done. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

2 fresh avocados mashed (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup honey (I used 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil (I used grapeseed oil as I don’t have any coconut oil)

Blend all ingredients in a standing mixer using the whisk attachment until smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes before spreading on cake. Makes 6-8 serving.

When I assembled the cake I used a good quality orange marmalade in between the layers and to crumb coat the top of the cake. The next time I make this I think I’m going to make an amaretto* flavored whipped cream for between the layers and to crumb coat the top. I’ll garnish a slice of the cake with that same whipped cream.

Here’s some pictures.

(Ready to be crumb coated and frosted)

 

(Crumb coated in orange marmalade and ready for frosting)

(Crumb coated in orange marmalade and ready for frosting)

(Frosted and ready to serve)

Bon apetit!

We are off the strainer and through the cutting board…

Open thread!

* You can use the liqueur of your choice: amaretto, Bailey’s, kahluah, whatever you prefer. Or you could just flavor the whipped cream with almond extract. Or orange extract. Or lemon extract. All of those would pair very well with this cake.








Sunday Morning Open Thread: Fruits of the Season

When I was growing up in NYC, the “Man o Manischewitz” jingle was so much a part of the holiday season that I never realized other people might not have the same memories. The Spousal Unit (raised in rural upper lower Michigan) just wandered in to ask why I was playing old radio ads. But he remembered his elderly *very* respectable Midwestern Ohio grandmother back in the same time period, after being ordered by her doctor to drink a glass of wine every evening for her heart, using Manischewitz for that purpose. So the advertising must’ve had some outside-the-Northeast impact.

In hindsight, I suspect Manischewitz might’ve been the secret ingredient in quite a few of the alcoholic-enough-to-make-the-kids-tipsy fruitcakes baked by the local Italian nonnas. (My Irish neighbors weren’t much for baking; we had Italian bakeries and Jewish delis to supply our culinary shortfalls, which given the state of Irish-American cooking in those days was probably for the best.)

Manischewitz wine has long enjoyed crossover appeal. Last year, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about its popularity in Asian-American communities and in the 1950s and 60s it was also a popular wine in the African-American community

He says when Jews first arrived to New York they needed wine for most religious ceremonies and holidays.

“The only grapes that were available was something called the Concord variety of grapes. They’re not sweet,” he says. “So in order to make them palatable, they would make this very sour grape into wine and then they would add sugar.”

It turns out, the very, very sweet wine is just the right flavor profile for Bethel’s go-to Christmas drink, sorrel. In Trinidad, she says, it’s not Christmas without the fragrant drink made from hibiscus blooms…

I’m sure some of you sophisticated readers will have OPINIONS about black cake:


 



Thursday Morning Open Thread: Tis the Season


 
In the spirit of letting y’all get your cranky on, a seasonal opinion: I actually like a good fruitcake, once a year. High-quality preserved fruits and nuts, in a rich batter, preferably non-alcoholic since the calories are quite enough of a dietary violation. Just because most of the products made or sold as fruitcakes aren’t any good, impugning the fruitcake has become a folk tradition — mostly, IMO, because it’s a once-a-year foodstuff released during the ‘Joyous Season’, when cooks are too busy to practice and eaters are looking for something they can jointly abuse without being called scrooges.

There’s any amount of truly lousy pizza produced every damned day of the year, but people don’t feel called to denounce the very concept of pizza because school cafeterias and Sbarros have an outsized market share. If you don’t like fruitcake, don’t eat fruitcake. More for those of us who do!








Floriduh Man! and Floriduh! Woman: Been a Busy Few Days in Pinellas County…

It’s been a while since we checked in with Floriduh! Man, or at least Floriduh! Man not trying to blow up a couple of dozen people, so let’s see what we’ve got cooking. Er, um…

Take it away Tampa Bay Times!

ST. PETERSBURG — It started with chicken wings, a beer and a burglar.

It went downhill from there.

A St. Petersburg police officer was investigating a Nov. 6 break-in at The Chattaway restaurant, reviewing surveillance video that shows the burglar devouring a plate of chicken wings and enjoying a beer inside the kitchen. But then the officer stumbled across another incident from the night before.

The video shows a man riding his bike up to the restaurant at 358 22nd Ave S, pedaling around the parking lot for 10 minutes, then slipping in through the back gate. After wandering around for a bit, he opens the door to a shed for storing odds and ends, and removes them one by one.

Then the man gains access to a restaurant bathroom. And exits without his clothes.

He proceeds to sit naked at one of the restaurant’s picnic tables and digs into a meal he brought with him — Maruchan Instant Lunch ramen. The video also shows him playing the bongos, also naked.

“He came in with pants on but he rode off on the bike without pants,” Chattaway server Chad Pearson said. “I’m not sure if he took his pants with him but we didn’t find them. We still don’t know where his pants are.”

He spray-painted a few chairs, the bongos and a pickle jar, but his handiwork was barely noticeable, manager Amanda Kitto said. Everything was put back so neatly, in fact, it was four hours before anyone noticed he had been there.

“We would not have known about the naked guy without the cop finding that video,” Kitto said.

Police identified the man, who is homeless, but did not release his name publicly. Kitto declined to give his name and said the restaurant will not press charges because he caused no harm.

“His goal was to not break in, his goal was to just hang out at The Chattaway.”

What about the first guy?

Police still are trying to catch him.

He enjoyed the plate of chicken wings and some beer, and stole an estimated $500 worth of stuff, including cash tips, a laptop, a tablet, and a grocery bag he filled with beer.

“He made himself at home,” Kitto said. “He spent over an hour just milling around going room to room and eating and drinking while he did it.”

The man also tried unsuccessfully to access the safe using his hands, a pot handle and tongs.

Kitto is confident that even though the two incidents happened back-to-back, they are not connected.

“I used to always joke and say that if you were going to break into The Chattaway to make sure to grab a beer. And it finally happened.”

I was hot, and I was hungry. Okay?

Also, given the Real Genius reference, this cannot be unseen!

Floriduh! Woman, however, also put in a strong showing.

Once again The Tampa Bay Times has got this story well in hand…

The lobster never saw it coming.

One second it was floating listlessly in a glass tank, vying against endless shrimp, the smell of Cheddar Bay Biscuits hanging hauntingly in the air. Then, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said, an apparently intoxicated St. Petersburg woman snatched the lobster from its crustaceous purgatory and ran.

The lobster was never seen again.

Kimberly Gabel was arrested Saturday on charges of disorderly intoxication and petit theft for causing a disturbance in the Red Lobster at 6151 34th St N . The restaurant had barely been open two hours.

It was just after 1:15 p.m., deputies said, when a manager at the restaurant asked Gabel to leave. The manager said she was disturbing customers and shouted obscenities as she made her way to the door. Before she could leave, though, the 42-year-old woman reached into the oft-familiar entryway lobster tank, grabbed a live lobster and bolted.

Deputies said they caught up with Gabel a “short distance later.” They said she smelled of alcohol and slurred her words as she continued cursing, telling deputies she didn’t know what she did with the lobster because she was “blacked out drunk” and that she “did not care because she did not do anything wrong.”

Deputies described Gabel as a homeless woman. According to Pinellas County Jail records, she has been arrested numerous times for charges ranging from public intoxication to multiple counts of burglary and theft. She is currently awaiting trial in Pinellas County Jail.

Stay hungry!

Open thread!



Donald Trump et al. Fatal Enablers.

To add to the story below of bombers for Trump, this news just broke (AP via TPM):

A white man with a history of violence and mental illness was recorded on surveillance video apparently trying to get inside a predominantly black church in Kentucky before he went to a grocery store and fatally shot two African-Americans, police said.

Gun folks and Republicans (a not entirely overlapping Venn diagram) will point to the mental illness part and say that guns and not-that-coded racism in our politics have nothing to do with this miserable story.

They’re wrong.

Guns work. They perform as intended. That means, just to state the obvious, guns make lethal intention easy — way too easy — to achieve. And mental illness, which, whatever this murderer’s history, may not obtain today, may create a situation in which the person thus affected needs to do something. But what that thing turns out to be is driven by context.

In America today that context is one of cheerleading for violence within an explicit framework of white nationalism, now trumpeted without even the veneer of code by Donald Trump himself:

 “Do you think it’s just a coincidence that bombs are sent to former President Barack Obama, to Hillary Clinton, to liberal philanthropist George Soros, to the New York office of CNN and to others during a week when Trump has been ratcheting up his race-based, fearmongering conspiracy theories and calling himself a ‘nationalist’? Trump feigns ignorance about the word, but he must know it rings like a dog whistle in the ears of every white supremacist and racist in the country, if not the world.”

This is what that dog whistle produced  in Kentucky.  Warning: stop here if the misery is too much for you today.

An arrest report says Bush walked into the Kroger, pulled a gun from his waist and shot a man in the back of the head, then kept shooting him multiple times “as he was down on the floor.” The report says Bush then reholstered his gun, walked outside and killed a woman in the parking lot. Each victim died of multiple gunshot wounds, Rogers said.

Just to be clear, in case anyone wondering if the choices of an African American church and then two black victims was somehow coincidence, this happened next:

Ed Harrell was quoted by the Courier Journal of Louisville as saying he was waiting on his wife in the parking lot when he heard gunshots and grabbed his revolver. As he crouched down, he said he saw the gunman walk “nonchalantly” by with a gun by his side. Harrell said he called out to ask what was going on, and the gunman replied: “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.”

I’d say that settles it:  a white guy decided that the time for race war has come and acted on that impulse.

His deeds are his own. The culture in which those actions were conceived and executed is that created by Donald Trump and his most fervent supporters — and enabled by the acquiescence of a GOP that will be shocked, shocked I tell you to learn that racist rhetoric evokes racist crime.

PS: As a lagniappe, let’s check in on the “good guy with a gun” follies:

A man carrying a concealed weapon who happened to be in the parking lot challenged Bush, and police say the suspect then “began firing wildly” at him, putting other shoppers in the parking lot in danger. Neither man was hurt in that confrontation, Rogers said.

Image: Giuseppi Arcimboldo, Fire1566.








What’s In Your Repertory? (Empty The Refrigerator Edition)

My spouse and I like to cook — a lot.  She’s a former pro, which helps, and I love food and find in cooking a kind of empty-mind release, so there are a lot of nights on which we make a pretty complicated meal.

And then there are the other evenings: we want good stuff, but it’s eight or so, and we don’t want eat at ten, or we’re just tired, or it’s too f**king hot, or we’ve been dealing with the sprout in ways that have consumed all our attention or whatever.

That was last night.  There wasn’t anything onerous, but me working on the book and she on a very tricky design, and the need to take a bike ride through the nicest late afternoon we’ve seen in a while, and this and that and then some more pushed us past the “let’s build a recipe” opportunity.

So we picked up a really pretty bone-in rib steak and set out to produce a meal that wouldn’t take that much longer to put together than the cooking time for the meat.

It turned out great — my other half roasted some late season corn on top of the stove, to be incorporated in a corn-and-peppers-and-onions relish; there was some farmer’s market broccoli rabe, quickly sauteed, and we got the steak right, done to a really nice medium rare, and given ten minutes to rest.

But my point in all this — and I do have one — is that the cherry on top, as it were, was a sauce for the steak that doesn’t come from any cookbook or online recipe. Instead, it just kind of emerged one evening as I was throwing some stuff together, and has gotten a little refined, and has now become a go-to.

It started from a simple garlic oil, the kind you put on pasta w. a bunch of cheese when you don’t want to cook at all.  Say, two or three cloves, depending on the monstrousness of your garlic bulb, finely chopped and dumped in a couple of teaspoons of hearty olive oil and some salt.  I use a tiny ceramic coated cast iron saucepan inherited from some long ago group apartment; anything small and heavy is great.

I put the pan over very low heat: the goal is to stew the garlic, not to fry it.  After a minute or two, I add some finely chopped shallot — about half a bulb, more or less the same volume as garlic, or at least not too much more than that.  Again, stew (or poach, if you prefer) over low heat until the shallots are nice and soft.  I often toss in some fresh thyme at this point.

Then I add two or three pappadew peppers — the pickled, kind of sweet red ones — again, finely chopped, and let them warm through.  Once the whole mix is up to temperature and nicely blending, I add between half and a full teaspoon each of whole grain mustard and prepared horseradish.  I taste, add a little maple syrup to give it that slightly sweet flavor I think goes great in a steak sauce, adjust again (had to add a little lemon last night, as I overdid it on the syrup pour), give it a stir, and call it done.

I have no idea where that came from; it may be just that I was looking at the inside of my fridge one evening and saw the necessary ingredients. But it’s dead simple and the bee’s knees — and it is a kind of all purpose thang too (it makes a great light pasta sauce on soba, for example).  Try it. To use the phrase every Hollywood mogul employs to say “f**k you”…

…trust me.

And with that, given it’s Sunday, and we may want to spend more than ninety seconds not utterly consumed by disasters, natural or political, how about a thread on cool stuff to eat you just made up.  And who cares if your delight might repulse the vast majority of humanity? If you invented it and like it, share it.

And, hell, this is an open thread, so anything else you’ve conjured out of the stray corners of your mind, (especially if its an invention in any domain of which you are ordinately proud).

Image: Adriaen van Utrecht, Banquet Still Life1644