The World’s Finest Scientific Minds

We are assaulted nowadays with dietary advice from the Government, the NHS, various medical ‘experts’, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

I well remember our family coffee being switched to caffeine free on medical advice, 10 years later a new study announced that caffeine free coffee was linked to an increased risk of some form of cancer, cue panic as we had by then been drinking it for near 10 years.

Alcohol was, we were told, the devils own brew, and we would be better off drinking battery acid than imbibing the demon drink. Cue a new study a few years down the line which had discovered that moderate drinking could in fact be more beneficial than total abstinence.

The latest advice which has been thrown into disarray, was the long held advice that dairy products and saturated fat were a near certain death sentence. Some study has just concluded that people cutting out saturated fats have instead been eating more carbohydrates and are consequently suffering from increased incidence of obesity, which they deem even more harmful than the saturated fat intake would have been.

No doubt in twenty years or so, a new scientific study will conclude that a full English breakfast, followed by a dinner of McDonald’s, and a good Chinese takeaway will be the finest diet the human body could find, and that anyone eating fruit and vegetables will have done untold damage to themselves.

The moral of the story, eat and drink whatever you like in moderation.

The Customer Is Always Right

We are currently up in Northumberland dispensing soup on behalf of Go Smarter, a government funded initiative  which encourages people to find sustainable ways to travel, that are greener, cheaper and healthier.

The first day on the job saw us braving high winds and even snow on various industrial estates around Cramlington.

The last time I personally was on one of our soup carts was down in one of the London boroughs for a local housing association. At the time we were dispensing various flavours of soup that had been specified by the client, anyway part way through the day an elderly Asian woman walked up, pointed to one of the soup warmers and asked for that soup, I told her she didn’t want that one, to which she replied, “You listen to me stupid boy, I tell you which soup I want, you don’t tell me, and I want that one!”

Working on the well known business dictum of the customer is always right, I obliged her with a big cup of soup. Perhaps 5 minutes later she came back with the soup 3 quarters gone and asked me what the bits in the bottom of the cup were, “Ham”, I replied sweetly. Her face flashed to an ashen colour, then went crimson and she started to scream at me for giving her soup with ham in it (I presume she was of the Islamic faith), after she had wore her voice out, I pointed out that I did try to tell her she didn’t want that particular flavour, but she had insisted!

Image of soup cart and Nissan electric car
The Go Smarter soup cart and electric car

Health & Hygiene

We have just had a re inspection from the local health department, the last one was in 2009, and we should have had another in 2011, but being classed as a low risk business, and the council being short on resources, they have only just managed to get around to us.

Glad to report that we have kept our prestigious 5 star rating, in fact the inspector remarked that the control system we had in place was superior to many hotels he had inspected.

I didn’t realise how the system they use worked, I thought 4 stars and above sounds quite good, but in reality if you only have 4 stars it means that you have a number of problems with your food hygiene systems, which doesn’t sound very reassuring, so really anything less than 5 is unacceptable.

National Popcorn Day

We’ve just taken a booking for some popcorn carts for a job this month, turns out its for national popcorn day! That’s a new one on us, though a quick look on tinternet shows its a pukka thing, the National Popcorn Board (American of course) has the following on its website;

National Popcorn Day is celebrated at the end of January, although its exact date is a matter of debate. Various sources report it as January 19; others claim it takes place on whatever day the Super Bowl falls on. The Popcorn Board is often asked about the origins of this day; unfortunately, we do not know how or when this celebration began. Some other individual or organization (with obvious good taste) began this tradition.

The connection to the Super Bowl seems natural enough. It’s a highly regarded annual sporting competition pitting the top two national football teams against each other. Millions of viewers from around the globe hunker down with bowls of their favorite snack—popcorn—in heated anticipation of who will win the battle.

If you know of the origins of National Popcorn Day, please email us at: edu@popcorn.org

Popcorn Day Activities

Thank you to Leslie F, a teacher from Concord, Illinois, who sent the following suggestions for Popcorn Day Activities:

  1. Stringing popcorn (these could be hung outside for birds to eat)
    Need: sewing needles, string, popcorn
  2. Guess the amount (fill container with kernels and have students guess)
    Need: popcorn kernels, container
  3. Popcorn air hockey—can you “volley” the kernel back and forth 20 times without letting it fall?
    Need: flat surface (table), straw (to blow), coffee stirrers (as paddles) or hands (as paddles)
  4. Popcorn relay race
    Need: popcorn, spoons
  5. Popcorn basketball: can you flick a piece of popcorn into the basket?
    Need: popcorn, baskets (i.e. muffin tins, small cups), backboards (wall, cardboard)
  6. Popcorn word search (puzzle maker)
    Popcorn, pop, kernel, explode, heat, moisture, grain, snack, crunchy, butter, oil, salt, fiber, bag, hull
  7. Write a popcorn Haiku (5, 7, 5 syllable pattern poem)
    Oil, kernels, heat, time
    Many loud explosions heard
    Pop, crunch, snack time. Yum!
  8. How many words can you make from this phrase?
    “Fresh hot popcorn”, “Popcorn tastes good”, “I like popcorn”, “Hot buttered popcorn”
  9. Popcorn coloring pages (download from www.popcorn.org)
  10. Read facts about popcorn at www.popcorn.org and write about the history of popcorn

Just goes to show if you look there is a day for just about everything.

Warning These Nuts Contain Nuts

Last winter we did a large number of jobs at a mobile telephone companies call centre’s. The last job before Christmas was supplying Hot Roast Chestnut carts. This particular company is always hot on safety documentation, so we always ensure its up to date, and plentiful.

On this particular occasions we had their H&S guy come back with a small problem, our chestnut carts were not displaying signs to warn that our nuts might have nuts in them, there is no might about it, I can guarantee that each one does contain a nut, otherwise we would be contravening the trade descriptions act by charging for chestnuts without nuts in them.

This didn’t cut the mustard with him, their policy was that the signage was required. So that’s what we supplied.

I was happy to see then that in the new food safety laws that came into force on 13 December, the rules regarding the labelling of items containing food that people are allergic to states that obvious food such as peanuts and milk don’t need labelling to say they co