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A little Monday press release fun

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You know when you want to back up that urban legend with something official like a press release? Well, after spending all weekend listening to Outkast covers, I remembered how Polaroid issued a press release admonishing all those who were suddenly quick to shake their Polaroid pictures, as "Hey Ya!" urges. Well I couldn't find that press release, but that doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist (I'd just have to leave my Philip Marlowe hat on a little longer); however, I did cruise through the Polaroid press releases vault, and I found a few that were especially, er, startling/awkward/priceless, including "Polaroid Hosts World's Largest Birthday Party for One-Year-Olds":

Polaroid today will celebrate the launch of the new Polaroid One instant camera by hosting the world's largest birthday party for more than 100 one-year-olds at the Children's Museum of Manhattan in New York City. The event, which marks one of the most significant product launches in the company's history, will feature a giant 21-foot-long x 8-foot-tall birthday cake made of more than 1,500 cupcakes and will celebrate the milestone moment of children face planting into their first piece of birthday cake "“ a spontaneous moment symbiotic with instant photography.

1500 cupcakes? That seems a rather hefty per person if you're only expecting ("more than") 100 one-year-olds. But still way cute. The one that seemed more forthrightly suspect was "Nationwide Survey Finds 80 Percent of Teenage Girls Attend All-Female Get Togethers and Slumber Parties." Goodness knows that generating publicity is a racket, but at least some people seem like they're having fun with their jobs. Cheers to keeping it interesting, Polaroid. Anyone have a funny press release story, or just get something good in the fax/Inbox?

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Food
The Surprising Reason Why Wendy's Serves Fast Food's Only Baked Potato
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iStock

For an industry that prides itself on convenience and indulgence, a fiber-rich pseudo-vegetable that’s hard to eat on the go and isn’t deep-fried seems like a curious addition to a fast food menu. Yet Wendy’s has been selling baked potatoes for nearly three decades—11-and-a-half ounces of pure, unpeeled spud, drowned in your choice of toppings.

According to Thrillist writer Wil Fulton, who spoke with Wendy’s vice president of culinary innovation Lori Estrada, the chain first got turned on to the foil-wrapped food in the 1980s, when nutrition experts were (erroneously) touting low-fat diets for weight loss. Eager to embrace the trend, Wendy's viewed a plain potato as a popular alternative to sliced, oil-slicked fries.

The hysteria over fat may have disappeared, but the collective consumer appetite for the potato did not. Estrada says she believes many of them consider the 270-to-480 calorie (depending on toppings) carb dump a meal unto itself, and that some enjoy piling on cheese, bacon, and other burger trimmings for a tasty and inexpensive dinner.

So why don’t you see baked potatoes at other franchises? Estrada speculates that the logistical issues are a turnoff. The potatoes are cooked from a raw state in convection ovens, which could necessitate new equipment and ample prep time. With fries still the king of sides, franchisees may not think it’s worth the hassle.

Wendy’s is undoubtedly happy to have the market to themselves: The chain sells 1 million tubers a week.

[h/t Thrillist]

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LaCroix
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The Secret Ingredient That Makes LaCroix Water So Irresistible
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LaCroix

The distinctive Technicolor cans of LaCroix sparkling water are an increasingly popular sight in stores and on kitchen tables around the country. (If you're old enough to remember the Snapple phenomenon of the 1990s, this is like that—just bubbly.) But as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, few of the beverage's loyal fans have any idea what it is they're drinking.

LaCroix comes in a variety of flavors, from tangerine to coconut. The can label, however, is cryptic, listing "natural flavors" as part of the ingredients. Their website discloses only that "natural essence oils" are involved, which sounds like LaCroix should be applied to your hair and then rinsed off.

A look at the nutritional information for LaCroix water
LaCroix

As it turns out, that's not too far off. According to The Wall Street Journal, these "essences" are naturally produced chemicals that are manufactured by heating up fruit or vegetable remnants until they make a vapor, then condensing them into a clear concentrate. They're used in a variety of consumer products, from shampoos to ice pops.

LaCroix was unwilling to confirm the Journal's claim, protecting their manufacturing process in a manner similar to Coca-Cola's famously secretive treatment of their recipe. They do state that no sugars are added, but that may not be enough to protect your teeth: Carbonated water and citric acids can combine to create a lower pH, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Like most everything that tastes good, these flavored waters are best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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