Chew on These 5 Facts About Rocky Mountain Oysters

Matt Johnson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Matt Johnson, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

October 5 (today!) is Rocky Mountain Oyster Day, both a celebration of the unique delicacy (we’ll get to that in a moment) and a wry commentary on the proliferation of national food recognition days: The Denver Post reporter Allyson Reedy essentially made the idea up earlier this year and had a food calendar guru acknowledge it as a regional holiday in Colorado. Since we can’t let this occasion pass without comment, take a look at some quick facts about this acquired taste.

1. IT’S REALLY BULL TESTICLES DAY.

“Rocky Mountain Oyster” is a bit of misdirection, as the delicacy is actually not an oyster at all, but testicles from sheep, bulls, or pigs that can be prepared in a variety of ways. (Breaded and fried might be the most popular.) Why the oysters label? Because testicles are rather slimy when raw. And probably don't sound as tempting when written on a menu.

2. AT LEAST ONE COLORADO RESTAURANT IS DEVOTED TO THEM.

Eating “tendergroin” is less taboo in the west, where a variety of “nut festivals” have sprung up. For year-round enjoyment, Bruce’s Bar in Severance, Colorado has carved out a niche as the premier place to try a plate. Cartoon bulls dot the exterior, some of which are crossing their legs in mock distress. Their slogan? “Come to Bruce’s and have a ball.”

3. THEY TASTE LIKE CHICKEN.

Local public radio affiliate KUNC dispatched reporter Luke Runyon to try the oysters for the first time in 2016. He went to Bruce’s and tried a sampler of bison, lamb, and beef. Declaring them “surprisingly juicy,” he thought the bison tasted liked chicken but that the beef was “full of a unique flavor.”

4. YOU CAN GET THEM AT MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAMES.

Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, in Denver, Colorado.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

In Colorado, at least. Among the concessions at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, are Rocky Mountain oysters. The balls have been declared the “Dodger Dog” of Colorado.

5. THERE’S AN EATING CONTEST FOR THEM.

Since 1982, Clinton, Montana has been home to the Testy Fest, a ribald party featuring wet clothes contests (for both men and women) and, more notably, a testicle eating contest. The defending champion is Matt Powers, the festival’s founder, who is said to have lost only a handful of times in over a decade of competition. In 2015, Vice reported he polished off over two pounds of testes in under four minutes.

George Mason University Becomes First College to Include Food Delivery Robots in Its Meal Plan

Starship Technologies, Sodexo
Starship Technologies, Sodexo

Students at George Mason University will now be able to buy fuel for their study sessions without trekking to the dining hall. As of Tuesday, January 22, the college is offering a robot food delivery service on its Fairfax, Virginia campus.

The new system, a collaboration between Sodexo and Starship Technologies, is the first of its kind to be integrated into a college meal plan. To use it, students must first download the Starship Deliveries app for Android or iOS, and from there they will be able to order food and drinks from a handful of locations, including Blaze Pizza, Starbucks, Dunkin', and the on-campus grocery store. Deliveries cost $1.99 per trip, and usually take about 15 minutes to complete.

The service is made possible by the school's fleet of more than 25 delivery robots. Reaching about knee-height, the boxy vehicles can hold 20 pounds each, or roughly three shopping bags of food. They navigate the campus autonomously, updating users on the journey in real-time via an interactive map in the Starship app, and when they arrive, users can unlock the hatch from their phones.

Food delivery robot outdoors.
Starship Technologies, Sodexo

"With the hectic schedules students lead, there is a convenience for students to have their food, groceries, and packages delivered," Ryan Tuohy, SVP of business development at Starship Technologies, said in statement. "Our goal is to make life a little bit easier for students, whether that means skipping the line, eating lunch on the lawn rather than in the cafe, or finding the time to eat better when studying for exams."

George Mason University is the latest place to experiment with delivering food via robot. Domino's rolled out similar autonomous vehicles in New Zealand in 2016, and 2017, the robotics company ZMP and the food delivery service Ride On Express debuted sushi delivery robots in Japan.

The $13,000 Epiphany That Made Orville Redenbacher a National Popcorn King

iStock.com/NoDerog
iStock.com/NoDerog

Happy National Popcorn Day! While you’re no doubt celebrating with a bowl of freshly popped, liberally buttered popcorn, here’s something else to digest: Orville Redenbacher originally called his product Red-Bow.

In 1951, Redenbacher and his partner, a fellow Purdue grad named Charlie Bowman, purchased the George F. Chester and Son seed corn plant in Boone Township, Indiana. Though Redenbacher’s background was in agronomy and plant genetics, he had dabbled in popcorn, and was friendly with the Chester family.

Eventually, Carl Hartman was brought in to experiment. In 1969, when the trio had developed a seed they felt really confident in, they went to market. They dubbed the product “Red-Bow,” a nod to “Redenbacher” and “Bowman.”

The product was a hit regionally, but by 1970, Bowman and Redenbacher were ready for a national audience and hired a Chicago advertising agency to advise them on branding strategy. At their first meeting, Redenbacher talked about popcorn for three hours. “Come back next week and we’ll have something for you,” he was told afterward.

The following week, he turned to the agency and was told that “Orville Redenbacher’s” was the perfect name for the fledgling popcorn brand. “Golly, no,” he said. “Redenbacher is such a ... funny name.” That was the point, they told him, and they must have made a convincing case for it, because Orville Redenbacher is the brand we know today—and the man himself is still a well-known spokesman more than 20 years after his death.

Still, Redenbacher wasn’t sure that the $13,000 fee the agency had charged was money well spent. “I drove back to Indiana wryly thinking we had paid $13,000 for someone to come up with the same name my mother had come up with when I was born,” Redenbacher later wrote.

Hungry for more Redenbacher? Take a look at the inventor at work in the vintage commercial below.

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