CK Links--Friday July 31, 2015

Links from around the internet!

Don't forget! The easiest way to support Casual Kitchen is to buy your items at Amazon using the various links here. Just click over to Amazon, and EVERY purchase you make during that visit pays a modest affiliate commission to support my work here. Best of all, this comes at zero extra cost to you.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

PS: Follow me on Twitter!

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Forget the Dunkin' Donuts "Fruit Smoothies." You're better off with a donut. (Fooducate)

"The deeper you dig, the more fraud you find in the case against GMOs." (Slate)

A food blogger compares the cost of Blue Apron's recipe delivery service with cooking at home. Readers, a critical thinking alert: can you see some the obvious problems with her pricing comparison? (100 Days of Real Food)

Bonus: Energy bars and snack bars are healthy, right? Not so fast.

Ten simple grilling hacks to up your grilling game. (Grillocracy, via Dad Cooks Dinner)

Hunters and environmentalists: you're on the same team. (Tovar Cerulli)

Intriguing video series from Audible where narrators talk about the best book they ever narrated. (Youtube)

Surprising benefits of exercising on an empty stomach. (My Fitness Pal)

But we also have to understand that we’re being manipulated into fear. [Adult language] (terribleminds)

Intriguing post. The myth of the ethical shopper. (HuffPo, via 50 by 25)

"I don't know why Dr. Brown took my license away," the 92-year old man said. He was visibly shaking with anger. (A Country Doctor Writes)



Got an interesting article or recipe to share? Want some extra traffic at your blog? Send me an email!


How can I support Casual Kitchen?
Easy. Do all your shopping at Amazon.com via the links on this site! You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.

That Man Moved the Sanka!

In Robert Cialdini's exceptionally useful book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, there's a striking anecdote on a topic regularly seen here at Casual Kitchen: advertising and consumer empowerment. Read on:

"Advertisers have frequently harnessed the respect accorded to doctors in our culture by hiring actors to play the roles of doctors speaking on behalf of the product. My favorite example is a TV commercial featuring actor Robert Young counseling people against the dangers of caffeine and recommending caffeine-free Sanka Brand coffee. The commercial was highly successful, selling so much coffee that it was played for years in several versions. But why should this commercial prove so effective? Why on earth would we take Robert Young's word for the health consequences of decaffeinated coffee? Because—as the advertising agency that hired him knew perfectly well—he is associated in the minds of the American public with Marcus Welby, M.D., the role he played in an earlier long-running television series. Objectively it doesn't make sense to be swayed by the comments of a man we know to be just an actor who used to play a doctor. But, as a practical matter, that man moved the Sanka."

If you're even only vaguely interested your own consumer empowerment, Cialdini's book is a must-read. And while many readers today may not recognize the name "Marcus Welby," there are plenty of examples across today's advertising firmament that copy the Marcus Welby model. We all know the common advertising template of using a celebrity character from television or the movies to peddle product. It's just that today, in our post-media era, it's done in a more sophisticated or ironic way. But the effect is the same: it gets us to buy.

The real irony here, of course, was that Sanka tasted awful. It was a truly terrible product. Nowadays, thanks to far better decaffeination techniques, decaf coffee actually tastes like coffee. (You kids these days have no idea how lucky you are!)

But the funny thing about these types of celebrity endorsements is this: Yes, sure, they work--but once you think about why they work... well, all of a sudden they stop working so well.

Cialdini explains:

"From the first time I saw it, the most intriguing feature for me in the Robert Young Sanka commercial was its ability to use the influence of the authority principle without ever providing a real authority. The appearance of authority was enough. This tells us something important about unthinking reactions to authority figures... we are often as vulnerable to the symbols of authority as to the substance."

It wasn't just that this guy wasn't a doctor. He was an actor who played a doctor, who was using his "doctor-ness" to promote a product. On some level it's hilarious to think that this could work at all to sell product. And yet it did. Sanka sales--remember, sales of a product that didn't even taste any good--exploded upwards thanks to these ads.

Sanka print ad, circa 1979

"Okay, okay," you're thinking, “but that was the seventies. People were gullible dumb-asses back then. Today when we hear 'I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV' we laugh. We instantly hear satire. We're way too sophisticated to fall for this silly and transparent marketing trick."

Except we still do fall for it. It happens when Wilford Brimley, spokesman for the diabeetus, uses his trustworthy, old-country persona to promote Liberty Medical. Uh, and Quaker Oats. It happens when TD Ameritrade uses actor Sam Waterston (or more accurately, Waterston's earnest persona as Assistent DA Jack McCoy from Law and Order) to sell discount brokerage services. And yes, it even happens when two generations of Spocks ironically sell us Audis.

It's the same trick. They're still using it on us. And it still works.

Repeat after me: in the food industry and in the consumer products industry, advertising and marketing expenses are the single greatest source of costs, and they are always imputed in the final price of the products you buy. All branding and advertising costs are always passed through to the consumer.

If you buy any heavily-advertised product or service, recognize the role you are playing in the advertising-consumption cycle. You pay for those ads. Including the ones using phony symbols of authority to trick you into buying.

See advertising for what it really is: a destroyer of consumer value. Don't buy.

Read Next: Consumers: Pay For Your Own Brainwashing! (Or Don't)





How can I support Casual Kitchen?
Easy. Do all your shopping at Amazon.com via the links on this site! You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.

CK Links--Friday July 24, 2015

Links!

And don't forget: The easiest way to support Casual Kitchen is to buy your items at Amazon using the various links here. Just click over to Amazon, and EVERY purchase you make during that visit pays a modest affiliate commission to support my work here. Best of all, this comes at zero extra cost to you.
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31 Days of Grilling Recipes! ($5 Dinners)

Why we're so scared of GMOs. (Washington Post)

John Oliver can't believe how much food we waste. (Mother Jones)

Related, recently at CK: The Tradeoff of "Sell By" Dates, Food Waste, and Food Safety

Have you noticed? Sommeliers are everywhere. (Steve Heimoff)

New York City is about to adopt a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. Here's a good summary of the details. (Eater)

A moment of science: Jayson Lusk finds a problem--omitted variable bias--in the book The Big Fat Surprise. (Jayson Lusk)

Interesting post, by a nerd of course, who's not happy with the current direction of nerd culture. (Noahpinion)

You are free whether you like it or not. (Raptitude)

"If you want to be successful and live a long, stimulating life, keep yourself at risk intellectually all the time." (Wall Street Week)





Got an interesting article or recipe to share? Want some extra traffic at your blog? Send me an email!


How can I support Casual Kitchen?
Easy. Do all your shopping at Amazon.com via the links on this site! You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.

Ten Healthy Recipes for Under $1 a Serving

Rising food costs getting you down? Are you looking for ways to save money on food?

Casual Kitchen is here to help. Today I bring you a small collection of ten of the least expensive recipes in CK's entire history. Enjoy these delicious, cheap and healthy meals!

And while you're at it, enjoy two of Casual Kitchen's other collections of laughably easy and laughably cheap recipes! You can find the links at the bottom of this post.

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1) Hilariously Easy Slow Cooker Bean Stew

The easiest recipe in this entire blog. Serves 4-5 generously at a cost of just 50-60c per serving.

2) Roasted Garden Barley

At a gloriously low cost of just 40c a serving, this humble recipe serves 5-6 as a main course, and as many as eight for a side dish.

3) Shaksouka

For a total cost less than three bucks, this easy and intriguingly spiced recipe generously feeds three.

4) Easy Tomato Curry

Healthy, easy, delicious... and just 95c a serving. One of our favorite recipes from last month's Recipe-A-Day trial.

5) Fresh Garden Pasta with Chickpeas and Garlic Oil

It might not be the easiest recipe on this list, but at 70c a serving, this interesting pasta dish will be worth your while.

6) Black Bean and Giant White Corn Posole

Barely 85c per serving for a strikingly different take on black beans. Takes only about 35 minutes to make too.

7) Savory Baked Chickpeas and Garlic

Weighing in at a laughably cheap 91c per serving, this recipe takes just a few minutes of prep work to make.

8) Spicy Mote and Chicken Stew

Yet another top favorite from our recent Recipe-A-Day trial, this healthy (and delicious!) recipe costs less than 60c a serving.

9) Coconut Curry with Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas

Packed with protein and a wide range of nutrients at just 97c a serving.

10) Garden Gumbo

This hearty recipe comes from way back in CK's archives and it costs about 80c per serving. From Jay Solomon's amazing book Vegetarian Soup Cuisine: 125 Soups and Stews from Around the World, one of our foundational cookbooks.

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Finally, here are two more great sources of cheap, easy and healthy recipes:

The Top 25 Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen
MORE! Top 25 Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen



How can I support Casual Kitchen?
Easy. Do all your shopping at Amazon.com via the links on this site! You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.

CK Links--Friday July 17, 2015

Links from around the internet!

Don't forget! The easiest way to support Casual Kitchen is to buy your items at Amazon using the various links here. Just click over to Amazon, and EVERY purchase you make during that visit pays a modest affiliate commission to support my work here. Best of all, this comes at zero extra cost to you.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

PS: Follow me on Twitter!

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Take advantage of strawberry season with this striking post of 39 strawberry recipes! (Closet Cooking)

Our fixation on fat for many years resulted in marked increases in our intake of refined grains and added sugars. These are both major liabilities of the modern diet. (David Katz)

Bonus: Ending the big fat debate.

"I believe that vegetables taste delicious when prepared properly and 'sneaking' them into things sends the wrong message." (Stonesoup)

How it feels to be halfway through a "Dry July" experiment. (What I Weigh Today)

You never know with this post might come in handy: The healthiest food orders at nearly every major fast food chain. (Thrillist, via 50 by 25)

Fair trade is actually unfair to low-wage workers. (Cafe Hayek)

Related here at CK: Who gains from "Fair Trade" products? and Help the world by NOT going local.

Striking article on how global poverty rates have plummeted. (Business Insider)

The fact that so many people feel that a buy and hold investment strategy is impossible to pull off is the exact reason that it works over time. (A Wealth of Common Sense)

Interesting short discussion of the growth and success of Bitcoin after its recent bubble and collapse. (Coinbase Blog)

Excellent and thorough post on how to conquer--well, at least, how to manage--your fears. (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)


Got an interesting article or recipe to share? Want some extra traffic at your blog? Send me an email!


How can I support Casual Kitchen?
Easy. Do all your shopping at Amazon.com via the links on this site! You can also link to me or subscribe to my RSS feed. Finally, consider sharing this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to Facebook, Twitter (follow me @danielckoontz!) or to bookmarking sites like reddit, digg or stumbleupon. I'm deeply grateful to my readers for their ongoing support.