by Steven Doyle
April Fools Day has a marvelous history in food. Think back to 1878 when the New York publication capitalized on Thomas Edison’s reputation by announcing that he invented a machine that could transform soil into cereal and turn water into wine. Newspapers around the world ran with the story making this a particularly genius stunt.
Over 100 years later Taco Bell announced it had purchased the Liberty Bell, and would actually be renaming the iconic American symbol as the Taco Liberty Bell. The fast food chain had to recount the story quickly as groups rallied in anger.
Not to be outdone, Whole Foods got in on the Fool’s joke by announcing a new product “organic air”, which came in original, sea breeze, mountain wine, and salt and vinegar. We still want to sample the organic salt and vinegar air. It sounds so British.
Other corporate jokes include Starbucks new sizes announced in 2010… the 128-ounce Plenta and the 2-ounce Micra. Sounds about right. In 2011 Chef José Andreé tweeted that his wife along with the wives of Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio, and Conan O’Brien were all signed up for a new reality show called Desperate Chefs’ Wives.
Burger King made headlines in 1998 when they announced in USA Today that they would start selling the “Left-Handed Whopper” with the same ingredients as a regular Whopper, but with everything turned 180 degrees so it would fit more comfortably in the left hand. Thousands of enthusiastic left handers showed up for lunch only to be disappointed by the prank.
Other stunts performed by restaurants include Panda Express who launched a line of meat milkshakes that contain some odd ingredient pairings. The first of these is a broccoli and beef shake and the second is orange and chicken. These have actually been taste tested on the public, and not prisoners.
We also love the company that was offering “eagle-caught salmon”.
Today Kellogg’s announced that it “lost Tony the Tiger to another cereal brand”. Clever, guys!
Enjoy a fun day, hopefully without to many mean pranks. It might be a good day to stay home and avoid the April’s Taco of the Month at Torchy’s that includes a series of combinations from their staple items on the menu – all freshly whipped and available in a compostable 18oz. cup. They invite you to enjoy all four flavors such as the Montezuma which is whole grain brown rice with avocado, mango, lime, and a hint of jalapeno. Add a shot of Diablo hot sauce for $.75.