Of Food Taxes, Mummified Fries and Fake Chocolate

May 6, 2022
Sometimes the news comes so thick and fast that all you can do is sit back and marvel. And make snarky comments, of course.

Sometimes the news comes so thick and fast that all you can do is sit back and marvel. And make snarky comments, of course.

Kansas Legislature Gradually Cuts Food Tax

Sales taxes on food are almost universally reviled. They’re regressive and a drag on a vital business sector. Politicians of all stripes rejoice in removing them.

Except, apparently, in Kansas, when the legislature is majority-Republican and the governor is a Democrat.

Gov. Laura Kelly campaigned on removing the sales tax on food. But the Republicans apparently aren’t going to let her have a W that easy. Instead of axing the whole thing, they insisted on drawing it out incrementally, so that the entire tax won’t go away until 2025 – “essentially sticking it to {Gov. Kelly],” in the words of the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Kelly signed the measure because it was the best she could get, while making it clear that she wanted the entire tax gone. I guess some politicians’ anti-tax fervor has its limits.

McDonald’s Fries Preserved for 60+ Years

A family rehabbing a house in Crystal Lake, Ill., a Chicago exurb, found something wrapped in a towel behind some drywall. They unwrapped it with some trepidation, but it revealed not a body part, as they feared, but some old hamburger wrappers and a mummified order of fries.

It had to be at least 60 years old, going by the images on the wrappers: Speedee, the original McDonald’s mascot and predecessor of Ronald. The fries looked desiccated but possibly edible – so much so that the lady of the house, keeping them as a souvenir, put them in a Tupperware container out of reach of her young children.

I suppose this raises questions about what kind of food can last that long. But my own question is: Who eats the hamburgers in a McDonald’s order but leaves the fries?

Danes Make Artificial, No-Cacao Chocolate

The chef at a leading restaurant in Copenhagen has developed a substitute for chocolate that the Wall Street Journal magazine swears is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. The chef’s product is made from spent barley used in brewing beer, as well as “sea buckthorn pressings.”

The restaurant uses it for cookies and other items, and is currently trying to partner with a manufacturer to bring it to retail. Other companies are also making artificial chocolate, from things like grape seeds and even plant cells. The Journal article suggests that chocolate is ripe for imitation because it derives its flavor more from the process than from the taste of the actual cacao seeds.

To which I say: Good. Maybe this will be the kick in the pants the chocolate industry needs to resolve its problem of cacao farmed with child slave labor. The major chocolate producers periodically pledge to reform their supply chains, but it never gets done, mostly because the first one to do it would go out of business due to the higher prices it would have to pay for cacao.

If we can’t have cacao without slave labor, maybe we should make our chocolate with something else.

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