The Big Hurt: The week in food

By DAVID THORPE  |  January 11, 2013


Losing weight is one of the most common new year's resolutions. Prepare for another year of failure, corpulent reader: time for an extra-greasy food news roundup!

We start in high-tech donut affairs: Krispy Kreme has issued a press release commemorating the first anniversary of its Hot Light smartphone app, which sends out alerts whenever fresh donuts are being baked nearby. "No longer do our fans have to be driving by a shop to see if there are hot Original Glazed® doughnuts coming down the line," enthused a Krispy Kreme spokesman. "Every day, thousands of Krispy Kreme fans throughout the country are getting alerts sent directly to their smartphones when the Hot Light is on at their preferred Krispy Kreme location."

We truly live in an age of technological marvels: instead of circling the block all night, sweating and gnashing, waiting for the magical red light to come on at our local Krispy Kreme, we can get the latest donut updates without even laboriously rolling off our bare, yellowing mattresses! In just one year, the Hot Light app has been downloaded nearly a quarter of a million times, and donut-obsessed technogluttons have made over 42 million searches for hot, glistening rings of congealed grease.

Troubled restaurant company Buffets, Inc. — operators of HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, and several others — have appointed a new chief executive and a couple of new board members in an attempt to turn around their ailing brand. I'm shocked that they could be in any financial trouble — selling Americans unlimited quantities of horrible, disgusting food seems like a foolproof proposition — but they've recently emerged from their second bankruptcy filing in just three years. I'm confident they can get things back on track, because chain buffets are the festering trough of America's heartland, central to our cherished national sense of body shame and culinary self-loathing.

Here's a money-saving idea: with food prices rising, HomeTown Buffet could cut down on customer portions by hiring "coolers," like William H. Macy in that gambling movie. They'd hang around the buffet line looking fat and horrible, groaning and swaying and mumbling intestinal laments. One look at these sorry characters would make buffetgoers queasily reconsider that third portion of Buffalo Chicken Poppers. I submit myself as the perfect candidate for this position (salary is negotiable, but must include unlimited trips to the soft-serve bar).

May I interest you in some hip rebranding? Cause Quaker Oats is about to make your breakfast EPIC!

The Quaker Oats Company, a division of PepsiCo, announced today the debut of "Quaker Up," an integrated marketing campaign that showcases how Quaker provides the nourishment to fuel the epic adventures of everyday family life. It aims to contemporize the iconic and trusted brand by creating a more relevant connection to today's mom and acknowledging and sharing her point-of-view that everyday family life can be "epic."

Yes: the most common and mundane experiences of day-to-day life, through the magic of oat-mush branding, have now been made equal to the grand heroism of the world's great epics. This feat is accomplished with TV commercials, "a Facebook app that will allow consumers to share their family's everyday epic adventures," a dash of "Hispanic-themed creative," and, most compellingly, a linguistic innovation: "This campaign shifts the word Quaker from a noun to a verb, sparking action and bringing to life how Quaker can help provide healthy fuel like oatmeal for families' daily adventures." Quaker the fuck up, Suburban Odysseus, and sail your minivan to Ithaca!

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  Topics: Big Hurt , pop culture, The Big Hurt
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