Stealing mushrooms, McDonald’s feeding Olympians, how to deal with wine snobs

Stealing mushrooms, McDonald’s feeding Olympians, how to deal with wine snobs

Stolen booty: fungus goes felonious (Photo by RawheaD Rex) 

• Ever since a worldwide shortage of mushrooms caused prices to soar in 2006, the forests of France have been plagued with gangs who are aggressively stealing vast amounts of fungus to sell on the black market. Not only are they damaging the environment by over-harvesting, but the lucrative crop is causing them to become violent (residents have reported hearing gunshots). Food burgling is big business in France: first oysters, now mushrooms, which can fetch nearly $50 a kilogram. [Maclean’s]

• When hosting a wine party, how does one go about dealing with the overly pretentious snob who harps endlessly about the nuances of the latest vintage? It couldn’t hurt to bust out one’s best French sommelier impression to break the tension—or so says the Star’s Gord Stimmell. It’s just one of many tips he offers on how to get out of awkward situations at wine parties, including how to deal with savages who put ice cubes in their wine (ignore them; but don’t invite them back). Oh, the woes of being refined. [Toronto Star]

• McDonald’s is creating three new outlets for the Olympics in Vancouver, two of which will provide free grub for competing athletes. Apparently Mickey D’s is not the bane of those seeking gold medals: in Beijing, the Jamaican men’s relay team ate lunch at the golden arches before running—and winning—their race. The third venue will cater to the media, who will, for better or for worse, have to shell out for Big Macs. [Vancouver Sun]

• An Ohio restaurant is offering a lifetime 25 per cent discount to anyone willing to be tattooed with an image of a grilled cheese sandwich. Melt Bar and Grilled, which specializes in variations of grilled cheese, has teamed up with a tattoo parlour to dish out the body art. They’ve already inked one person with an image of Popeye holding a grilled cheese sandwich instead of a can of spinach. The most expensive sandwich on the menu (the Lake Erie monster) costs $13, making us wonder how many $3.25 discounts it would take to make up for the tattoo. [Associated Press]

• Some historians contend that humble fish and chips may have helped Allied Forces win WWI by keeping the morale of British citizens high—and if that’s not a reason to celebrate the 15oth birthday of the dish, we don’t know what is. The BBC looks into the history and significance of fish and chips, which probably first appeared in tandem somewhere in 1860s England, though whether it was in the north or the south is a subject of debate. [BBC]