From chicken-nugget diets to an agoraphobic’s collection of over 4,500 restaurant menus, this has been yet another banner week for strange food news. For a full roundup, check out the James Weird awards, straight ahead.
• Which came first, the smell of freshly popped popcorn or the smell of a bearcat’s rear end? No one knows the exact chemistry behind it, but the scent secreted by binturong females in heat produces an odor that definitely resembles the concessions counter at a movie theater. [Wired]
• A 10-year-old boy in North Carolina nearly choked on a worm that was trapped inside a Capri Sun pouch. When he and his mother reached out to Kraft Foods (the parent company of Capri Sun), the company said in a statement that they believed the “worm” was actually mold, which often grows in the preservative-free juice when it is exposed to air through a hole or tear in the packaging. That Kraft didn’t seem fazed by the idea of mold in their beverages does not set the mind at ease. [HuffPo]
• If you publicly condemn the illegal activities of your local mafia, there’s a good chance they will put a severed pig’s head on your doorstep. A well-meaning Italian priest found this out the hard way. [Daily Mail UK]
• Sad and horrible: A woman died in a house fire that raged while her family, including her granddaughter, ate dinner downstairs. The family didn’t realize the second floor of the house was in flames until a neighbor knocked on their door. [NYDN]
• A high-school principal in Connecticut was put on leave after he witnessed students taking the “cinnamon challenge” — in which the participant tries to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon — and did nothing to stop it. When consulted for a local news story on the matter, the director of the Yale University Research Center admitted that the challenge could lead to respiratory distress. He also said, “What is the point of this? It’s just ridiculous.” Wait till he hears about the saltine challenge! [New Haven Register]