In a time where our country is severely divided after this election, I think we all need to take time and focus on our real problems. More specifically, we need to agree on whether or not to abide by the 5 second rule. Take for example this scenario: you’re about to indulge on the last chicken wing, but tragedy strikes before you can eat it! The wing slips out of your hand and time seems to slow down as you watch what could’ve been fall to tile as you listen to the sound of food angels crying. I would bet that nearly everyone has been in a similar situation, but does anyone know whether or not to eat their floor food?
To understand the reign of the “5 second rule” we must understand the origin of the rule. Unfortunately, no one is really sure where or when it came about but it has been referenced throughout history! Genghis Khan is believed to preach that food is safe after being on the ground; he is recorded to have gone as far as to say “Even after 5 hours food is safe”! Whether or not he is the origin of the rule is uncertain, but the rule has been passed down for generations as a simple folklore. In summary, as long as people have dropped food on the floor people have justified its rescue if saved in under 5 seconds.
Previously, the rule has been questioned and has been the subject of countless scientific studies yielding various results. The most recent large scale test was performed by Rutgers University. The study ultimately found that the rule is bogus. The research team found that regardless of how fast you pick up any food on any surface it will have bacteria on it. However, it found that carpet slowed the bacteria transfer the most but did not prevent germ transfer. The study was published in September of this year (2016) and quickly went viral across social media.
While Rutgers debunked the myth, Aston University in England researched the limitations of it! Officially, when the study was published in 2014 it concluded that the 5 second rule is real. However, while it may conflict with other studies their arguments are compelling and what they found out about germ transfer is remarkable. The biggest discovery they made is that the transfer time depends on whether or not the food is “wet” or “dry”. For instance, if you drop a M&M and pick it up within 5 seconds, you are at the mercy of what dust is on the floor. On the other hand if you drop something with juices or “wet” like a piece of watermelon you are more likely to have contracted more germs and bacteria!
With so much information about the dangers of abusing the 5 second rule, why do we still shout it out before stuffing fumbled chips into our mouth? Well psychology studies have found that we entertain the act because while we know it’s wrong and unsanitary, the phrase gives social acceptance for doing the wrong thing thus attracting us to it. In fact, 87% of people asked have admitted to eating food off of the floor. Of that 87%, it was determined that the split was about 70%-30%, meaning that men are more likely to eat the floor food and admit it. The last statistic the psychology study found was that people are more likely to pick up and eat sweet foods like cookies as opposed to picking up a piece of broccoli which is more likely to be thrown away!
In conclusion, technically you shouldn’t eat food off of the floor, and it has the potential to get you very sick. However, if you drop a cookie on the ground and decide to eat it, don’t be ashamed just keep in mind that you are gambling with your immune system. Also remember that it’s not gambling if you win!
Author: Adam B. Platt
In today’s society people and families are moving non-stop. From sports, to school, and band practice, no one ever gets a chance to share a decent meal with each other. This was the case for too long until recently a trend caught fire and revolutionized the millennial family dinner. Pre-made meals are taking the nation by storm and saving dinnertime for the future!
This modern trend thrives on busy millennials with young families who don’t have time for cooking but are watching what they’re feeding themselves. Millennials are driving this trend into a huge racket, earning 26 billion last year and is threatening the security of the fast food market. In fact a study done by Acosta determined that at least 78% of independent millennials have purchased or subscribed to a pre-made meal service!
Currently this trend is still young and developing but its main appeal is its simplicity. To make a pre-made meal requires minimal skill and is a life saver for those who don’t have access to full kitchens. Also with the popularity of this trend and so many companies looking to “get rich quick” the price per meal is remarkably low and has subsequently made eating in cheaper than going out to eat (average pre-made meal costs are $6 a person). This is huge as more and more people today are looking anywhere they can to save money.
The trend itself has grown immensely in the past decade and has produced massive companies trying to capitalize on the current demand. Here are some of the companies who are standing out among the masses:
Blue Apron: Since 2012 Blue Apron has focused on providing cheap, fresh, and filling meals through an online subscription service. How the process works is you choose which meal plan you’d like, either the 2 person package or the family package. For example the 2 person plan will get you 3 meals a week for $60. Although this package will provide you anything you need Blue Apron also sells wine monthly as well as seasonal meats like butterball turkeys for November.
Dream Dinners: This service is a little different from Blue Apron in that this follows a store front model. How Dream Dinners work, is that you can pre-order meals online and then they prepare and freeze the meal for you. This is probably one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. Since its founding in 2002 it has grown nationwide with over 86 locations and counting!
Omaha Steaks: Omaha Steaks appeals to a different group of consumers. This brand started in 1917 and has evolved into an online subscription service connecting its customers with the finest steaks available. The company prides itself on its quality of meats and it’s generally more expensive than the other services mentioned. That being said, Omaha is successful for a reason and you truly get what you pay for!
Whether you are a young millennial struggling to get dinner made in time, or just looking for more variety in your diet this new trend is sure to lend you a hand. In reality, this multi-billion dollar industry has a real potential to change the average diet of Americans! Instead of raising another generation on McDonald’s and trans-fat why don’t we fill our future’s stomach with fresh greens and unique dishes? However you feel about cooking it is undeniable that this trend could be here to stay and might be worth trying some day!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Turkey Tacos: Personally I think that tacos are fairly straight forward and relatively simple to prepare so this could be a quick/last minute alternative to cooking a full blown turkey! With the endless combinations of flavor you can have with tacos, the potential for new flavors are endless!
1) Milky Madness: Have you ever wondered why the milk in cereal commercials looks so much more appealing than it does in your bowl? Well that’s because 10 times out of 10…IT ISN’T MILK. Some popular alternatives are yogurt, shampoo and (my personal favorite) glue! These tasty options offer a creamy milk look without getting the cereal soggy allowing more time to shoot photos with that “fresh pour” look.
2) Meat Mania: During photoshoots, to maintain a picturesque and fresh looking burger advertisers pull a few fast ones in preparing the food. First, they sear the burger with a blowtorch to get it the perfect color. Next they heat up a branding iron and burn grill marks on either side. Finally to finish off the patty they apply a coat of shoe polish to get it the perfect color for the camera. YUM!
3) Bonkers Burgers: Once the patty is finally ready to shoot they construct the rest of the burger with only the finest cheese and cardboard! Often, ingredients are very hard to manipulate so photographers take a short cut and construct a burger with toothpicks and cardboard ingredients to make it perfect for your viewing pleasure. Even going as far as gluing seeds on a bun!
4) Pancake Pandemonium: Personally, pancakes hold a special spot in my heart as they are the greatest breakfast food hands down. While they’re perfect in every other way, they aren’t exactly perfect to photograph. To combat this most professionals coat the cakes in a layer of fabric protector (to seal them) and instead of syrup, which is the most camera shy of all toppings they replace it with some fresh motor oil!
6) Grimy Grapes: If you’ve ever seen a grape advertisement and noticed how appealing that crisp matte color over them is, you are actually admiring the handy work of the assistant who coated the grapes with a perfect layer of spray-on deodorant.
10) Filler Foods: Every industry has a “fix-all” tool; maintenance workers have duct-tape, mechanics have WD-40 and painters have caulk. Well the end all tool for food photographers is…mashed potatoes! These cure-all spuds are used as an ice cream stunt double, they’re injected into meat to beef it up, and even baked into pies to keep it supported when sliced in commercials!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Editor: Carrie Hershey
Pizza, like many others today, have evolved into a fast food delicacy from small “Mom and Pop” shops. With so many options and varieties available what is America’s favorite chain? Well, the most recent 2016 study by Yelp has found that Domino’s is America’s go to! If you haven’t heard, the chain is a major innovator in fast food service. They started their chain 56 years ago and first shook the world with their now famous “30 minutes or less” pledge, meaning get your pizza in 30 minutes or it’s free! Recently they eliminated the need to even call for delivery pizza with their “Tweet to order” campaign. And now with the creation of drone delivery it’s no secret why they’ve kept themselves at the top of everyone’s list and are currently operating 12,000 locations worldwide!
Another feat pizza has done is that it has created a signature for cities and has created an entire tourist industry because of it. Chicago is a prime example of this; they have manifested their deep dish pizza craze and started putting together tours to help people experience the very best the city has to offer. While deep dish pizza is almost exclusive to Chicago, New York City has its own signature pizza: the world famous thin crust pizza. This pizza is exactly as it sounds, it focuses less on the crust and more on the quality of ingredients it serves! Baltimore also has a signature pie, and theirs comes from the way it’s made. Instead of brick oven cooking like most pizza places, Baltimore uses a coal fire to bake the pie to perfection!
With October coming to an end, you don’t have a lot of time left to participate and support our nations favorite food. With that, I suggest starting the diet tomorrow and treat you and your family to your favorite pizza. Whether it’s Dominos or it’s your local pizza shop around the corner sit down around the dinner table and relish in one of the greatest convenience foods available. I know I will!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Eventually Pretzels were brought across the Atlantic and into Pennsylvania by German immigrants around 1710. The tradition continued to grow in America as it was easy to make during tough winters. Due to their short shelf life pretzels couldn’t be sold very far from the bakery until 1861, when a young man named Julius Sturgis founded the first commercial bakery in Lititz PA. Sturgis managed to create the “hard pretzel” which lasted longer in an air tight container allowing them to be sold throughout the country and for the first time American pretzels were able to leave Pennsylvania and spread throughout the country. Sturgis isn’t the only hard pretzel maker from Pennsylvania; Snyder’s is a brand from Hanover, PA that perfected commercial pretzel production in 1924 and continue to produce through today!
From monks in 600 A.D. to the vendors in our states markets the pretzel has had a twisted history. So, in honor of national pretzel month the next time you see a stand, indulge yourself and partake in one of our states greatest culinary staple. Viva la Pretzelvania!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Editor: Becky Simmons
- It may prove beneficial to connect with public safety officials to become familiar with the safety protocol and to get involved with the plan. One potential avenue to take is to become a shelter for the community, making you a destination in storms
- One of the biggest things you can do to prepare for opening in these storms is to make sure you’re prepared! That means making sure your generator works, also being up to date on all of your maintenance from ovens to ice machines and refrigerators and know where you stand from an operating standpoint. If you are not, Clark’s has an unmatched planned maintenance program, and we would love to help you prepare! http://www.clarkservicegroup.com/planned-maintenance)
- Lastly, spread the word through your social media outlets to let everyone know that you are the place to be the hurricane party headquarters.
Ultimately, making this choice cannot be an easy one, but I definitely think there are some glaring positives to staying open during strong storms and could help your identity within the community! Stay safe!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Editor: Becky Simmons
Today, one might ask what keeps this tradition going if they aren’t centered around agriculture anymore. What keeps fairs going today is tradition; fairs have become more of a family event and that is what has been driving their popularity in recent years. Also in recent year many have found small niches to make themselves unique compared to others, like for example the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair. This fair has been operating every year for 36 years now! Others like the Turkey Hill Fall Fest, have evolved into huge festivals for everyone to enjoy!
Author: Adam B. Platt
Editor: Carrie Hershey
As a whole, restaurant week from a consumer’s point of view, is a great deal and a fun way to spice up the week day grind. That being said, the issue isn’t so cut and dry from the restaurateur’s side of the table. It can become quite the dilemma. Like anything, restaurant week has its pros and cons. Some pros are you gain is a huge amount of free advertising just for signing up, from both local news and online social media. You also receive an infusion of business for the 7-14 days the deal is offered. Seems great right? What could be so bad about it? The biggest drawback to restaurant weeks is the catch 22 restaurant owners find themselves in. Typically, because of the slashed and fixed prices, restaurants lose money when serving high quality food to people who are unlikely to return and pay the full price for the full dining experience. The alternative is to cut quality to save money and hopefully turn a profit; the problem with this being it could lead to poor reviews and might even offend and discourage regular customers from returning. While this is not always the case, it is for many high end restaurants trying to connect to the public.
If Harrisburg is just a little too far of a drive for dinner, you are in luck! Lancaster City is also embarking on their 4th restaurant week beginning on Monday September 19. The prices are similar to Harrisburg’s but they do include breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, Lancaster is boasting a lineup of 34 restaurants this year, almost double Harrisburg! So if you’re looking for plans next week look no further than Lancaster for dinner.
What are your thoughts on this summers end tradition? Do you relish in the environment of bustling streets mixed with a late summer breeze while strolling down on restaurant row? Or do you prefer experimenting with culinary trends on your own, taking in a full menu and a more authentic dining experience? I think at the very least it’s worth it to go out and experience one of these events as there is nothing else like it and it is fun way to celebrate what your city has to offer in the ways of culinary excellence. See you there!
Author: Adam Platt
Edited : Carrie Hershey
The new regulations with salaried employees pertain to whether or not they will get paid for over time. Effective December 1 of 2016 salaried employees earning under $47,476 ($913 weekly) according to the federal government are entitled to overtime pay similar to hourly paid employees. Also new regulations about incentives are now in place, now bonus incentives can account for up to 10% of the new standard salary level. Another key update to note is the rule automatically updates the standard salary level every three years starting January 2020.
An update coming in the new year are new refrigeration energy standards. This affects manufacturers, whom must start to change energy consumption reduction rates, which will be set by March 27, 2017 and must fully comply by January 2020. General reduction rates are currently available and could be costly for those who wait too long to comply. Currently there is a call for a 30%-50% reduction on refrigerators, a 5% reduction in energy consumption for ice makers, and a 20%-40% reduction for walk-in freezers/refrigerators. Another energy related trend to follow is the phasing out of CFC and HFC refrigerants by 2019. These chemicals are going to be replaced with the newly legalized chemicals isobutene, hydrocarbons propane, and a chemical called HCR 188c.
2017 will also bring in a new federal menu label. As I am sure many restaurant franchise owners are aware, any food business with more than 20 locations must have a menu with nutrition facts and must also have additional information of the product upon request. Restaurant owners have until May 5 2017 to comply. This federal mandate is a result of Obama's health care law signed back in 2010.
Another change we can all expect to see is the widespread transition to chip credit cards similar to the European method used in 80 other countries. While the chips initial entrance into the market has had mixed reviews the EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) does have its benefits. First switching from magnetic strip technology to the chip has incredible security benefits. What the chip does is it encrypts and makes every purchase new and unique; meaning stealing the purchase information for fraudulent purposes is useless because that information cannot be reused for other purchases. Also on the off chance that your card is stolen, all card fraud liability falls on the credit card company least compliant.
Starting January 1, 2017 Philadelphia will follow Berkeley, California’s example and become the second city to enact a soda tax. The tax will be added on top of a current 8% tax for the drink. The new tax will be added by the ounce, specifically 1.5 cents per ounce. This raises the price for a single can up by 18 cents, $1.08 increase for a 6 pack, and $1.02 for a 2 liter bottle. This new tax is expected to bring in an additional $91 million in revenue. The money will be used to fund pre-k schools, community schools, and reinvest money into parks and recreation programs.
Lastly, Governor Tom Wolf signed the biggest alcohol reform bill in 80 years. The new bill anticipates 150 million in tax revenue. The changes are all steps towards privatization of the alcohol industry. The new bill allows wine to be sold in grocery stores, as well as being legal to get wine mailed to you. Also, drink service at casinos is legal 24/7. Finally, state stores will be open longer into the evening and they will also be open on the Sundays.
So, the coming year we will be seeing a lot of new changes to the food industry; from how people pay, to the refrigerants used by restaurants. Some of the largest changes we will see will come from the alcohol industry. Many are considering these changes to be the beginning of the end for the state run industry and the long awaited private switch is quickly approaching.
Written by: Adam B. Platt
Editor: Carrie Hershey
Providing the food and beverage industry with installation, service, parts replacement and planned maintenance programs since 1971.