This is the web version of a list we publish twice-weekly in our newsletter. It comprises the most noteworthy food stories of the moment, selected by our editors. Get it first here.
Tall, grande, venti-ng. ‘Tis the season for complaining that Starbucks is too liberal. The baristas ignore cops, call them pigs, and one Starbucks manager fires employees who say “Merry Christmas.” That last one is fake, but the fact that Republican firebrand Steve King fell for it means the coffee chain’s politics, real or imagined, long ago seeped into the national consciousness. Why? The Daily Beast says it’s because Starbucks presents itself as a quasi-public civic space—which, in our fair democracy, is marked by conflict and angst. Plus, the founder tried, briefly, to topple Donald Trump’s presidency.
The golden age of TV. There may not be ads on Netflix, but the brands are still there. Mirriad, a digital ad company, talked to The New York Times about a fast-approaching future of bespoke product placement, based on customized tracking of user data. Apparently, it’s only a matter of time until whiskey drinkers could see, for instance, Makers Mark billboards in the background of their favorite cop dramas. But at least one adman wonders if “the juice is worth the squeeze.”
OK boomers. According to a new survey of around 1,300 people, it turns out millennials are both less likely to tip than boomers and Gen Xers, and more likely to worry about whether they’ve tipped properly. The ultimate in millennial entitlement—not having a lot of money, and being worried about it, too. Will millennials kill tipping? Maybe! And that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, some labor advocates tell The Washington Post.
Let it Brie. Packed with pull-apart plastic grapes, fabric brie, salami, crackers, and faux marble plateware is the Fisher-Price “Snack for Two” charcuterie playset—the perfect gift for the pinkies-up toddler in your life. While the toy set received a 4.5 star rating on Amazon, some folks on social media deemed the set to be “snooty” and described it as a gift for “the bougie kid in your life.” Even the product’s description jokes about the set, explaining it permits toddlers to “live their absolute best life” while preparing and serving “a delicious spread.” The Today Show has the story.
A case for hope. In the late 2000s, oyster growers in the Pacific Northwest saw millions of their hatchery larvae die from climate change and ocean acidification. However, due to some outsized efforts by scientists and growers in the past decade, the tides appear to be turning. Bitterroot magazine has a lengthy, well-reported feature on the numerous techniques that have been developed to mitigate ocean acidification and oyster loss.