Hoax Museum Blog: Food

The Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise Panic of 1969

Were teenagers in the 1960s injecting themselves with peanut butter and mayonnaise as a way to get high?

Posted: Sun Nov 10, 2019.   Comments (1)

Artificially Dirty Eggs

In 1973, the Dutch egg industry noted a drop in sales. After studying the situation, its analysts decided that the problem was that grocery-store shoppers were put off by the antiseptic appearance of the factory-cleaned eggs on the shelves. To consumers, the sparkling clean eggs seemed to represent the "plastic and concrete style of modern living." To remedy this, the Dutch Egg Board decided to stick mud, manure, and bits of feather onto the eggs (after they had been cleaned) in order to artificially give them that "straight from the farmyard look." J.T. Mellema, head of the Egg Board, noted that a bit of carefully placed dirt would make the eggs "look real and give back that old farmhouse touch."

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2016.   Comments (4)

The Case of the Umbrella-Handle Parmesan Cheese

Is it true that in 1969 an Italian man was charged with selling fake Parmesan cheese made out of grated umbrella handles? more…

Posted: Thu May 26, 2016.   Comments (1)

Do a quarter million Swiss secretly eat cats?

The short answer is, almost definitely no, they don't.

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Toilet-Paper Eating Mom

Does she really crave eating toilet paper, or is she full of it? more…

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014.   Comments (5)

Is it organic, or is it McDonalds? —

Two guys (Sacha and Cedrique) from a Dutch show called LifeHunters visited a food convention in Houten where they offered the "food experts" in attendance samples of what they said was a "new organic alternative to fast food." In reality, they served bite-sized pieces of McDonalds food.

The result: the attendees were not only impressed by what they tasted, but also a number of them said that it tasted much better than McDonalds fast food. One commented that, "you can just tell this is a lot more pure."

Sacha and Cedrique concluded that, "if you tell people that something is organic, they'll automatically believe it's organic!"

It's not surprising that people reacted positively to the samples. After all, researchers who study the psychology of eating have long known that how we perceive food to taste is closely linked with how we expect it to taste, based on visual and contextual cues.

For instance, in a famous study conducted in 1998, Frederic Brochet asked wine experts to sample and review a selection of red wines. But Brochet actually gave them white wine colored red, and not a single one of the experts realized this. They were expecting to taste red wine, so that's what they tasted.

Likewise, the attendees at the Houten food convention expected to taste an "organic alternative to fast food," so that's what they tasted.

Of course, the LifeHunters segment hardly ranks as a scientific study. It's more of a prank, really. For a start, we have to assume that LifeHunters didn't edit out all the negative reactions from their video. Also, a lot of the "food experts" in the video looked a lot like regular people.
Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2014.   Comments (0)

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Miracle Machine wine maker — Several weeks ago, some wine-industry veterans (Kevin Boyer and Philip James) announced the invention of a gadget that would allow people to make wine at home in only 3 days. They called it the "miracle machine."

The gadget seemed somewhat plausible, given the existence of home-brewing kits for beer. Plus it was promoted by a slick video and accompanying website. So over 600 media outlets took the bait and reported it as news.

But yesterday, the "inventors" issued a press release revealing that the 'miracle machine' was just a hoax. But it was a hoax for a good cause. The idea was to promote a non-profit organization called "Wine to Water," which is trying to provide global access to clean water.
Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014.   Comments (0)

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2014.   Comments (13)

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2014.   Comments (0)

Celebrity Salami —

A new website has many people slightly puzzled. It claims to be producing artisanal salamis made from lab-grown meat from celebrity tissue samples. So it's kind of like a celebrity version of Manbeef.com (from way back in 2001) — except that it's celebrity beef and the human meat is grown using in-vitro meat production.

Salon.com got a response from "Kevin" on the BiteLabs team who explains that "the site is partly a commentary on food culture, the ethics of meat, and 'the way celebrity culture is consumed.'"

So yes, it's a parody site. However, Kevin also insists that they do actually plan to make salami from celebrity meat.

I'm not sure about the current state-of-the-art of in-vitro meat technology. But I'm doubtful that the technology is good enough to make salami that tastes appetizing. Even if it is meat from Jennifer Lawrence of James Franco.

The idea of celebrity salami recalls an idea PETA proposed a few years back of making George Clooney-flavored tofu.
Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014.   Comments (1)

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014.   Comments (0)

Cardiff Giant Wine —

Sort This Out Cellars has announced the imminent return of its Cardiff Giant Wine, which it describes as "one of our most popular wines ever."

I've come across quite a few hoax-themed beers (Bigfoot Ale, Nessie's Monster Mash, Jackalope Ale, etc.), but not many hoax-themed wines. I always assumed that wine marketers thought that hoaxes were too low-brow to appeal to the sophisticated tastes of wine drinkers.

The illustration of the Cardiff Giant on the wine label comes from a poster created by the sideshow banner artist Fred G. Johnson in the 1930s or 40s. But I'm not sure Sort This Out Cellars realizes this, because the blurb on the back of the label (from the 2005 bottling) describes it as an "1869 carnival poster," which it isn't. It's pretty obvious the artwork couldn't be from 1869 because the "Average Man" in the picture isn't wearing nineteenth-century style clothing.

For the true Cardiff Giant enthusiasts out there, Sort This Out Cellars is also selling Cardiff Giant coasters. [Correction: it was selling them. They're now out of stock.]

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2014.   Comments (1)

Christmas Tinner Update — Thanks to "anonymous" who posted a comment to my recent post about "Christmas Tinner" (the entire Christmas day meal in a tin), alerting me to this video in which "steviejacko" has a can of the stuff, opens it up, and eats it.

This suggests that, at the very least, someone created a prototype of this product.

In the youtube comments, steviejacko says: "The one shop where it is available in basingstoke is sold out, it was done as a trial to see how much interest there was, it wont be available now for 2 weeks and even then it will be pretty scarce."

Posted: Mon Dec 16, 2013.   Comments (2)

Squirrel Meat For Sale — These North Omaha homeowners keep signs outside their home advertising fresh meat (squirrel, raccoon, fish, etc.). But no one seems to have ever bought the meat. So are they really selling it? Or are the signs just there to give their home a little curb appeal?

Health Officials Worry Rabbit And Squirrel Meat Are Being Sold Illegally

Fish, raccoon, and squirrel are now on the menu, but who's buying it? "It hasn't come from a USDA approved plant to where it's been processed properly, stamped and inspected," Gaube said.
Neighbors said the homeowners have lived there for years and the signs have been there just as long. "They're really good people and nice and all that," neighbor James Jones said.
But no one has seen anyone buy the meat. "Have you ever bought the meat or has your grandmother ever bought the meat? No ma'am, not that I know of. No? Do you know of anybody in the neighborhood that's maybe bought from them? Um...not that I know of."

Posted: Thu Dec 12, 2013.   Comments (0)

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