The Mystery of the Stinky Dairy Queen in Calgary Has Just Been Solved

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iStock

Walking into an ice cream parlor is supposed to be one of the most pleasant sensory experiences you can have, with the assortment of frozen treats giving off a very enticing aroma. This is particularly true of the Dairy Queen franchise, which offers signature items like Blizzards at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Unfortunately, one location in Calgary has been having trouble satisfying patrons who walk in expecting the scent of vanilla. This Dairy Queen has smelled like the explosive flatulence of someone who has just eaten rotten eggs. And someone finally found out why.

Sujad Bandali told CBC News that the mystery odor had been plaguing his location since it opened in January 2015. At first he was so concerned it might be something dangerous—like a gas leak—that he called utility workers and area firefighters to check for a burst utility supply pipe. He also had the building examined for carbon monoxide, which is normally odorless but may be accompanied by a foul smell as a result of incomplete combustion [PDF]. He made sure there wasn’t a sewage problem.

Nothing was found. His place just stunk.

Curiously, not everyone could detect it. Bandali said half his staff wasn’t bothered by it, while some customers exited as soon as they caught a whiff. Bandali posted a warning on his front door alerting people to the smell awaiting them upon entering. Predictably, this was bad for business.

A desperate Bandali offered a free Blizzard once a week for a year to anyone who could tell him where the smell was coming from, a move that was widely publicized. Help finally arrived Wednesday when the local gas company, ATCO, arrived for yet another inspection. (Presumably, they came at Bandali's request, not solely because of the Blizzard offer.) This time, a worker performed a “dead check,” turning off all the gas appliances in the building and then looking to see if the gas meter was still running. If it was, that would indicate a gas leak. It was running. A small leak was coming from the ceiling. With the repair made, the store finally smells of the welcoming aroma given off by their Peanut Buster Parfait inventory.

Bandali told CBC News that he was relieved that the source of the franchise’s fumes was finally located. This discovery, he said, proved that “I was not losing my mind.”

[h/t Munchies]

A Shrine to Brine: The Mysterious Case of Missouri's Highway Pickle Jar

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iStock.com/MorePixels

No one knows how it started. No one knows who was responsible. Some may even have dismissed it as an aberration, a glitch in the scenery that would soon be corrected. But eventually, drivers in and around Des Peres, Missouri who took a highway off-ramp connecting I-270 North to Manchester Road began to notice that a jar of pickles was sitting on a dividing barrier on the ramp. And it wasn’t going anywhere.

Since 2012, the pickle jar has confounded drivers and internet sleuths alike, according to Atlas Obscura. Some have speculated that someone was trying to send a secret message or share a private joke. Perhaps someone pulling off to the side due to car trouble felt the need to place the brine-filled jar on the concrete wall and then forgot about it. Maybe someone thought it would be a kind of three-dimensional graffiti, incongruous amid the bustling traffic. Maybe it’s an indictment of commerce.

Whatever the case, once the pickles appeared, advocates refused to let them go. Jars that end up toppled over or otherwise damaged are replaced. Sometimes they reappear in protective Tupperware or with a holiday-themed bow. Sightings are photographed for posterity and posted on a Facebook fan page devoted to the jar, which currently has over 4200 members and has morphed from a place to theorize about the mysterious jar's origins to a place where people swap pickle-related recipes and stories.

There are dry spells—no one has posted of a pickle sighting in several months—but followers remain optimistic the jar will continue to remain a presence in Des Peres even if the motivation for placing them near the roadway remains as murky as the briny juice inside.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Why the Filet-O-Fish Sandwich Has Been on the McDonald's Menu for Nearly 60 Years

McDonald's has introduced and quietly killed many dishes over the years (remember McDonald's pizza?), but there's a core group of items that have held their spot on the menu for decades. Listed alongside the Big Mac and McNuggets is the Filet-O-Fish—a McDonald's staple you may have forgotten about if you're not the type of person who orders seafood from fast food restaurants. But the classic sandwich, consisting of a fried fish filet, tartar sauce, and American cheese on a bun, didn't get on the menu by mistake—and thanks to its popularity around Lent, it's likely to stick around.

According to Taste of Home, the inception of the Filet-O-Fish can be traced back to a McDonald's franchise that opened near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959. Back then the restaurant offered beef burgers as its only main dish, and for most of the year, diners couldn't get enough of them. Things changed during Lent: Many Catholics abstain from eating meat and poultry on Fridays during the holy season as a form of fasting, and in the early 1960s, Cincinnati was more than 85 percent Catholic. Fridays are supposed to be one of the busiest days of the week for restaurants, but sales at the Ohio McDonald's took a nosedive every Friday leading up to Easter.

Franchise owner Lou Groen went to McDonald's founder Ray Kroc with the plan of adding a meat alternative to the menu to lure back Catholic customers. He proposed a fried halibut sandwich with tartar sauce (though meat is off-limits for Catholics on Fridays during Lent, seafood doesn't count as meat). Kroc didn't love the idea, citing his fears of stores smelling like fish, and suggested a "Hula Burger" made from a pineapple slice with cheese instead. To decide which item would earn a permanent place on the menu, they put the two sandwiches head to head at Groen's McDonald's one Friday during Lent.

The restaurant sold 350 Filet-O-Fish sandwiches that day—clearly beating the Hula Burger (though exactly how many pineapple burgers sold, Kroc wouldn't say). The basic recipe has received a few tweaks, switching from halibut to the cheaper cod and from cod to the more sustainable Alaskan pollock, but the Filet-O-Fish has remained part of the McDonald's lineup in some form ever since. Today 300 million of the sandwiches are sold annually, and about a quarter of those sales are made during Lent.

Other seafood products McDonald's has introduced haven't had the same staying power as the Filet-O-Fish. In 2013, the chain rolled out Fish McBites, a chickenless take on McNuggets, only to pull them from menus that same year.

[h/t Taste of Home]

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