1. The world’s largest land animals are not dainty eaters. An adult male elephant can easily eat a few hundred pounds of vegetation in a day, and damage much more than that in the process. As they forage, elephants uproot bushes, strip trees of their bark, and push them over to reach the highest branches. The path of destruction they leave behind them can cause irreversible damage to large swaths of flora.

    But the mess isn’t necessarily a bad thing — Elephants are really messy eaters — and that’s great for other animals

     


  2. Sweet potato, radicchio, + tomato hash with harissa hollandaise

    Farro with roasted sweet potato, kale and pomegranate seeds

    Sweet potato parsnip latkes with feta and leeks

    From 13 seasonal sweet potato recipes to eat all day long

     

  3. Taste the sensation; or, you know, download it.

    Behold: The electric lollipop that can simulate any taste

     

  4. Your bathroom scale isn’t lying: You really are gaining winter weight. Consider it an unmistakable reminder that long before we were regularly bombarded by ads featuring the immaculate abs of celebrities and multi-day cleanses that taste like grass clippings, our ancestors needed those extra couple of pounds to protect them against the season’s inclement weather. From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s why that extra helping of pasta, that greasy slice of pizza, or even that stale, sprinkled donut all appear extra tempting when the temperature drops a few degrees. 

    Explained: Why we get so fat during the winter

     

  5. A new study of fossil evidence from Central Africa suggests that our early ancestors had a taste for grass 3.5 million years ago, and were equipped to consume it. Though they walked upright, these early hominins — Australopithecus bahrelghazali — were hairier and smaller than modern humans, looked more like apes, and possessed “big, impressive teeth” that could endure a diet that included grass. In the new study, published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified grass’ molecular signature in the teeth of three specimens.

    Researchers say that this evolutionary move from fruits and leaves to tropical grasses represents a “major shift” in early human eating-habits. “No African great apes, including chimpanzees, eat this type of food despite the fact it grows in abundance in tropical and subtropical regions,” co-author Julia Lee-Thorp said in a press release. Grazing on grass (and the roots and bulbs at the base of plants) allowed early humans to emerge from our ancestral forests, colonize new terrain including treeless grasslands, and, in theory, adopt a broader diet — including, eventually, protein-rich animal meat.

    More…

     

  6. Pizza Hut Malaysia is offering a “squirting crust" pizza that oozes a “burst of garlic Napoli sauce and cheese” after every bite. Even more bizarre than the messy pie is the ad promoting it, which chronicles every girl’s dream: Getting engaged at the local Pizza Hut after biting into a gushing piece of experimental pizza.

    Don’t worry, there’s more where that came from. 6 strange Pizza Hut ads from around the world

     

  7. About 78 percent of U.S. corn and 11 percent of soybean crops are being affected by the nation’s largest drought since 1956. The price of corn has risen 38 percent since June 1, while beans have risen 24 percent.

    As a result dairy, grain, produce, and meat prices are all about to go way up, affecting the price of everything from chicken to ice cream to pizza. The ramifications will likely be felt globally as well. “The dramatic rise in grain prices in the past few weeks is shaping up to be a serious financial blow for wheat-importing countries,” a German trader tells the AFP.

    Has drought put the U.S. food supply at risk? 

     

  8. If you loathe choosing between a pepperoni pizza and a foot-long hot dog, Pizza Hut UK has your number. One-upping America’s cheese-stuffed crust, the British chain is cramming a juicy hot dog into the edges of a pie. The only thing more disgusting, says Mat Honan at Gizmodo, is that we Americans didn’t invent this monstrosity first. Fear not.

    Here are 8 other fast-food combos that may put us back on the fat map.

     

  9. Every American trashes about 400 pounds of food a year — equal to the weight of a gorilla. With global food prices spiking around the world and malnourishment rampant, it’s astounding to consider how much food people throw away every day.

    After paper products, food is the second biggest source of waste in the U.S, accounting for 33 million tons of trash in 2010, says Sarah Nassauer at The Wall Street Journal. Globally, an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of all food gets thrown away, say Lisa Baertlein and Ernest Scheyder at Reuters.

    Why are we throwing away so much food, and what can be done?

     

  10. Book of The Week — The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields, and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan

    It tells of Walmart employees who spend hours peeling off layers of moldy lettuce before restocking it on the shelves, illegal immigrants with no hope of workers’ compensation and Applebee’s chefs who don’t actually cook anything, since most food is pre-made and then shipped to the restaurant. McMillan can tell these stories because show knows them first-hand — she immersed herself as a migrant worker, Walmart employee and Applebee’s staffer to see for herself how America eats.”

    Tell us what you’re reading this week for a chance to win a free copy of McMillan’s book. Tweet your #FridayReads to @TheWeek!

     

  11. As the New England Patriots and New York Giants square off this Sunday for Super Bowl XLVI, America’s estimated 113 million viewers will have something besides football and commercials on their minds: Food.

    • 2
      Ranking of Super Bowl Sunday among America’s top eating days, after Thanksgiving
    • 1.25 billion
      Chicken wings Super Bowl watchers will polish off Sunday
    • 100 million
      Pounds of meat in those chicken wings
    • 5
      Percent of the year’s 25 billion wings that will be consumed on Sunday
    • 2
      Times those Super Bowl Sunday chicken wings could circle the Earth if they were linked up in a chain

    More ridiculous numbers here

     

  12. Does fast food cause brain damage? Recent studies suggest unhealthy foods can actually scar your brain

     

  13. What’s in the McRib, anyway?

    At face value, the sandwich contains just pork, onions, and pickle slices slathered in barbecue sauce and laid out on a bun. But the truth is, there are roughly 70 ingredients. The bun alone contains 34. In addition to chemicals like ammonium sulfate and polysorbate 80, the most egregious may be azodicarbonamide — “a flour-bleaching agent most commonly used in the manufactur[ing] of foamed plastics like gym mats the and soles of shoes.” According to McDonald’s own ingredient list, the bun also includes calcium sulfate and ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, among other chemicals.

    So, what’s the meat made of…?