Friday, July 21, 2006

Pop-quiz time

This might seem like just another Friday to you. But any Catholic-school survivor from around here knows July 21 was the day Sister Doberman Intolerata logged her 13,412th career knuckle whack--fittingly, during summer school. It’s a record that will last long after humans are running three-minute miles and Joe DiMaggio is remembered more for marrying Marilyn Monroe than for hitting in 56 consecutive games.

It’s only fitting the day be commemorated in a fashion that would have pleased the lion-scaring sister, or at least put some extra zip in her ruler technique. What better way than with a pop quiz, guaranteed to catch you off-guard?

So grab a No. 2 pencil and choose the answer that best defines these recent additions to the foodservice vocabulary:

Food desert:
a) A common misspelling of an after-dinner treat.
b) What France would become after a really bad drought.
c) Social pundits’ new buzz-phrase for how fast food is supposedly undercutting the health of the disadvantaged. Gaining use in Chicago to denote poor inner-city areas where quick-service restaurants abound but grocery stores are rarer than J.Crew outlets. Typically not used in a favorable sense, as in “Our neighborhood is a food desert where children are getting fat because all they can eat is junk!”

a) A new rap artist affiliated with Buckethead, the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist who wears an actual KFC bucket over his head to maintain anonymity. .
b) The new PC term for “fried,” as in “Bonzo Burger’s new Crispy Chicken Sandwich.”
c) The cereal mascot originally matched with Snap and Crackle until Pop aced the audition.

a) A shortened version of the rite for male Jewish infants.
b) A low-cost knock-off of the Jet Ski.
c) The chain Menu Item of the Moment, added this summer to the bills of fare for T.G.I. Friday’s, Quiznos and others. Indeed, barbecue of all types is being avidly adopted this season, greasing the way for it to join Cajun and Buffalo as a home-grown staple flavor for chains. New converts may be able to pick up excess inventory at a discount from Darden’s Smokey Bones chain, which is running counter-trend with a push to downplay its barbecue DNA.

a) A term invented by a brilliant foodservice blogger to designate the decidedly Berkeley-like tendencies of Chicago in recent weeks. The California city may still be a haven of activism, prone to using legislation to right social wrongs seldom addressed outside of a commune. But it’s been laissez-faire in comparison with the recent hyperactivity of the Midwestern metropolis. The City of Big Shoulders could be renamed Burg of the Heavy Handed, outlawing the sale of foie gras, eying restrictions on trans-fats, and looking at the canine rights of restaurant patrons, vis-à-vis a movement to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.
b) Starbucks’ new offering, a particularly zany chai blend.
c) Bucket Head’s porn name.

Okay, pencils down! Please grade yourself on the honor system. And don’t worry. For those who failed, KFC buckets will be provided.

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