Tag Archives: food

This Tax Is Full of Schnitzel

Over at the AmSpec blog, I describe a kerfuffle in Germany over schnitzel taxes:

Gerhard Kaltscheuer owns a restaurant in a working-class neighborhood in Hammerbruecke, Germany. His schnitzels are especially popular — except with German tax authorities.

It goes downhill from there.


Regulation of the Day 137: Brownie Recipes

The Pentagon’s official brownie recipe is 26 pages long. If you don’t care to read document MIL-C-44072C in its entirety, here are some highlights:

-The water used in this recipe must adhere to EPA drinking water regulations.

-The eggs must comply with USDA “Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59).”

-The brownies must also comply with rules and standards from HHS, The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), and the National Academy of Sciences’ Food Chemicals Codex.

-The coating must be exactly right:

3.3.5 Brownie coating. The brownies shall be completely enrobed with a continuous uniform chocolate coating (see 3.2.14) in an amount which shall be not less than 29 percent by weight of the finished product.

-Like pecans on your brownies? Nuts, pecans, shelled. Shelled pecan pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. Grade No. 1 Pieces of the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch diameter round hole screen and not more than 2 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen. The shelled pecans shall be coated with an approved food grade antioxidant and shall be of the latest season’s crop.

And so on.

By contrast, delicious recipes from allrecipes.com and cooking.com are less than a page each.

UPDATE: Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward has more; her post was picked up by Fark, too. The comment thread is pretty entertaining.

Regulation of the Day 114: Unlicensed Fruit Candy

The Chicago Tribune has a jaw-dropping story of regulators gone wild:

Department of Health inspectors seized, slashed open and poured bleach over thousands of dollars of local peaches, pears, raspberry and plum purees owned by pastry chef Flora Lazar… Inspectors cited no health problems with any of the food.

And that’s just the beginning. Read the whole thing. This is a scandal. Ms. Lazar is out of business for six months and has lost about $6,000. There is no evidence of harm. This is no way to treat a small business. Especially during a recession.

(Hat tip: the ever-resourceful Brian McGraw)

Regulation of the Day 104: Haggis

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. It has also been banned in the United States since 1989. Some of its ingredients are illegal for humans to consume in the U.S.

I won’t list what those ingredients are; they’re a bit hard to stomach (that would also be one of the ingredients). But having tried a small amount of haggis while in Scotland, I can testify that it doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds.

Fortunately, the haggis ban may soon be reversed. There has been no evidence of harm from eating offal ingredients. People have been eating haggis for centuries and been just fine. American shores may soon be teeming with the latest Scottish culinary innovations, including haggis nachos and haggis pizza.

Regulation of the Day 47: Irish Potatoes

Until last Friday, it was illegal for certain producers to sell or import U.S. No. 1 grade “Creamer size” (long and skinny) Irish potatoes. Creamer size potatoes are identical in taste, texture, and weight to their stouter, rounder counterparts.

In the Idaho-Eastern Oregon growing region, this led to over $7 million worth of potatoes to go unsold. That’s a lot of uneaten meals. Hopefully the USDA will repeal similar aesthetic restrictions on other types of food. It is bad policy to keep perfectly good food off the market, especially during times of recession and high food prices.