Well, I’ve decided that, for this fortnight’s Weird News article, since I’ve got a lot of food-related articles in my queue, I’ll do some articles on strange food-related news items I’ve found. And, since Jonathan would prefer to not have to deal with a huge article about food, I’ve decided to split it up. Part 1 will deal more or less solely with junk food, because we all know Brits like to gorge themselves as much as Yanks do.
Suffolk girl lives completely on junk food… and still weighs only 138 lb!
A few years ago, I found out about a teenaged girl who has lived only on Chicken McNuggets since she was two and had her first heart attack when she was seventeen. More recently, I found out about a woman from Suffolk who’s been on a somewhat similar diet, and it seems to have worked remarkably well for her.
21-year-old Faye Campbell of Stowmarket, Suffolk, has a physical aversion to eating fresh fruit and vegetables. She says “The thought of eating vegetables or any sort of fruit just makes me feel physically sick. Even putting them near my mouth terrifies me.” She can only stand potatoes if they’re in chip form, or fruit if it’s in soda form.Otherwise, well, I’ll just let her say it: “If mum is cooking a roast dinner with vegetables I have go in to a different room because I can’t stand the smell. Sometimes I have to open all the windows to get rid of it. It’s got to the point where I’d be happy to sit in the lounge with a pizza, while they sit in the kitchen with their roast-it has become a normal routine for us now. My family wish I could sit with them and have a meal together, but I just can’t.’
So, as a result, she has lived on a diet of junk food and junk food alone for 16 years. Her diet consists of toast for breakfast, a Domino’s pizza for lunch, and cheeseburgers for dinner. She says of her attempts to diversify her diet: “My parents would put something in front of me and the plate would go half way across the room. That would be how bad it was. They’d try and try and try, but it just wouldn’t take it. It was really frustrating for them not knowing what was wrong with me but I couldn’t help it – the very thought of biting a piece of fruit or vegetable made me feel ill. If anyone put them near me I would just run away.”
The truly bizarre thing about this is that, despite her diet, the 5’8″ Faye Campbell weighs only 138 lb., with a BMI of 21.0 (always keeping in mind that the BMI is a flawed metric), and is able to maintain a size-10 dress. She has no health problems as a result, and even has somehow managed to keep her figure without much exercise. I can only assume that there are tons of people who would kill to have a metabolism like that.
However, the Campbells know what’s caused her diet problems: as a kid, she was diagnosed with a disorder called gastroesophageal reflux, which left her in agony after eating, leading, in turn to a food phobia. In fact, until she was 15, and after a child psychologist, she only ate chips. She added: “I still can’t bring myself to eat a roast dinner or a homemade lasagne. It took me a good couple of years to get used to the other foods and I’m still fussy with that. There’s just something in my brain that says ‘ugh’ whenever I’m faced with new food and I go in to panic mode. As soon as the phobia kicks in I just can’t bring myself to eat – I can’t even think about taking a bite.”
Indeed, the food problems have led to problems in her love life, as dates always end up in fast food chains. She said: “Once a guy booked a lovely Italian place but we ended up in McDonalds because I couldn’t face eating anything on the menu. I would love to go into a restaurant and eat normally, but in my mind I have this phobia and I have to really get myself together first to be able to do that.”
And that sounds like a good segue for my next story…
Couple kicked out of McDonald’s over Candlelight dinner, Rashomon-style.
Cameron Ford and Adam Welland decided to “bring romance to the next level” with a fancy candlelight dinner. They dressed up in shirts and black ties, with a bunch of small candles and a centrepiece. Unfortunately, the restaurant asked them to leave; it turns out candlelight dinners aren’t that good in the McDonald’s. While some staff members were amused, one took exception and asked the two to leave. Fortunately, the other employees overruled them, and they were allowed to complete the dinner.
A remarkable number of explanations have been offered as to what happened. Cameron Ford tweeted a photo of the dinner, saying “Cheers to my beautiful boyfriend on our special night. Love you Adam,” but Welland said they weren’t actually in a relationship, and it was just a joke. A friend posted another photo and claimed they were being banned from the Kingston (and given that there are no less than 18 Kingstons in the UK, I have no idea which one this is) restaurant, but Welland insisted that “We weren’t kicked out in the end, one staff member asked us to stop but he was outruled (sic) by others and customers. I’d say more ‘asked to leave’ than ‘kicked out’. Either way, they didn’t appreciate it some of the staff found it funny, but others clearly did not.” Also, the candles were fake.
And why were they asked to leave? Cameron Ford claimed that “It was the cutlery, they didn’t like us using our own. Forking idiots.” A McDonald’s spokesman added: “We are aware of the two customers who dined at our Kingston restaurant on Saturday night and are pleased that we were able to offer them an affordable treat. We are happy to provide plastic cutlery to those customers who request it. We ask that any items brought in by customers, such as cups or plates, are used responsibly and taken away with them after use.” Quite frankly, all I can say is there is no reason an account of a simple Candlelight dinner at McDonald’s needs to resemble Rashomon this much.
Burger-flavored ice cream?
At the UK’s National Burger Day in Dalston Yard, London, Suzanna Austin of ice cream maker Sorbitum debuted something no sane person would have ever expected: BBQ Burger-flavoured ice cream. It came with toppings of candied bacon, dill gherkin ripple, and tomato ketchup for anyone who asked.
Event organiser Jonathan Pile said: ‘In naming August 27 as National Burger Day and kicking off with this legendary burger ice cream, we are celebrating the ingenuity and versatility of the British burger and giving Britons a chance to lay claim to the burger as a British staple.’
Simply put, I love burgers and I love Ice cream, but there’s no way in Hell this sounds good.
Liverpool girl dislocates her jaw while eating a burger.
I love to eat burgers, but I prefer to not eat any burger whose patty weighs more than about half a pound. That’s filling enough, and anything larger may be damaging for your health, and I don’t just mean It’ll raise your cholesterol.
You see, Nicola Peate went to Liverpool’s “Almost Famous” burger joint, and ordered a giant triple-decker burger, and while she was eating it, she felt an excruciating pain that became unbearable the next day. It turned out the burger dislocated her jaw. It’s back in place, but she has to cut up her food smaller, stifle her yawns, and avoid opening her jaw too far. She told the Liverpool Echo, “I tried to eat it with a knife and fork and couldn’t. I couldn’t open my mouth fully. It felt like I had cramp in my tongue, then I started to get an ear ache and a headache. The next morning I woke up and felt really, really ill. The whole side of my head was hurting. Then it started to feel like it was in my jaw and I knew I’d dislocated it.” Nicola has Elhers-Danos syndrome, and, while her joints are more flexible, they’re also very prone to dislocation. The hospital has said that, if food is too large, like, say, a triple-decker burger, you should cut it into more manageable chunks, especially if you have Elhers-Danos syndrome.
The Apocalypse Burger: Britain’s largest burger… flom Prymouth?
J.D.’s Grill in Plymouth decided to celebrate their restaurant’s one-year anniversary, so they decided to create the biggest burger in Britain. The burger is 25 lb (11 kg), contains 25,000 calories, takes three chefs six hours to prepare and cook, and contains £150 worth of ingredients.
Fortunately, when the time came to serve it, they served it to about 14 or 15 people. The burger was loved.
Quoth mastermind Justin Meaney: “The burger was originally created to celebrate our anniversary but we are looking at how we could put it on the menu. We would have to find a way to bring the price down a little and make it easier to build and cook in the kitchen without compromising on the quality of the ingredients… It was one massive burger, and a real sight to behold – but an hour later every last bite had gone.’
And, finally, one story tonight not related to burgers. This time, it’s Donuts.
The Donut: a British Invention.
If you’ve seen the 2003 German movie Goodbye Lenin, you may remember a scene where our heroes, in an attempt to hide the reunification from their terminally ill and devoted communist mother, claim that Coca-Cola turned out to be an East German invention all along. Now, it looks like something similar is happening with Donuts. Traditionally assumed to have been invented by Dutch immigrants to America in the 19th Century, it looks like the Brits may have beat them to it.
Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale was the wife of Hertfordshire doctor smallpox pioneer Thomas Dinsdale. Around 1800, she compiled a cookbook and someone known only as “Mrs. Fordham” gave her a recipe for something called a “Dow Nut,” that contained sugar, eggs, nutmeg, butter, and yeast. 213 years later, historian Heather Falvey discovered the recipe. It contained 700 other recipes and 80-plus household tips.
The existence of the 213-year-old recipe book was discovered by local historian Dr Heather Falvey of the Hertfordshire Historical Society. She found out about this from an American food historian who claimed they were invented in 1810. Quoth Falvey: “The American food historian had come to the conclusion that doughnuts originated in Hertfordshire. The first record he found was in 1810. He wondered if anyone in the association knew about it. That struck a bell with me as I remembered doughnuts from the book. It’s not clear who the recipe is from, which is frustrating, but she started writing it just after 1800 and the last entry was in 1808.”
However, if you’re looking for that recipe for the first donuts, you may be disappointed. The recipe is not readily available on the internet, and, even if it was, it’s pretty vague. Quoth Heather Favey: “She doesn’t give a lot of instructions on how to do it. It’s more what to use.” Regardless, she says her attempts have turned out okay. The recipes, such as they are, can be found in “The Receipt Book of Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale c1800”, recently republished by the Hertfordshire Historical Society.