People do strange things when it comes to food. We attempt to survive on a diet of holiday party food. We allow the concept of “farm-to-table” to be used in McDonald’s advertising. We eat raw cookie dough even though we know it’s bad for us. And we gleefully read weird stories about food even when we’re not eating it. Highlights from the week are collected in the James Weird Awards, straight ahead.
• Customs agents working the U.S.-Mexico border, suspicious of one driver’s carload of U.S.-bound groceries, discovered seven pounds ($140,000 worth) of methamphetamine tucked into cans of jalapeño peppers and nacho cheese sauce. [LA Now/LAT]
• The European Food Safety Authority has ruled that there is “insufficient” evidence of a link between dried plums and normal bowel function, and that producers of the fruit are no longer allowed to advertise their product as having a laxative effect. Of course, the EU recently ruled that there is no evidence to prove drinking water can prevent dehydration, so interpret the prune decision as you wish. [Telegraph UK]
• A man in Washington State was dubbed “the Fast-Food Bandit” after robbing 30 Tacoma-area restaurants in quick succession. The man used a toy gun to coerce employees at smaller fast-food joints like Subway and Little Caesars to fork over the contents of their registers — usually less than $100 — at a rate of about one restaurant every two days since October. His star burned fast and bright until he was caught by police during a stakeout. [Daily Weekly/Seattle Weekly]
• In a scene we imagine played like something out of a zombie movie, employees at a coffee shop in Pittsburgh fought back against a man who tried to climb in the drive-through window to rob the store. They attacked first with a barrage of towels, then with a glass coffee pot that one worker shattered over the man’s head. [HuffPo]
• Need a last-minute stocking stuffer? Look no further than Champagne-flavored lollipops flecked with real bits of 24-karat gold. A two-pack will cost you $12 and only a little bit of your dignity. [HuffPo]