What’s the Difference Between Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.?

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s signs and menus look exactly alike—down to that cheery little star—but are they the same restaurant owned by someone who couldn’t decide on a name, or is the discrepancy the result of a turf war (à la the borders dividing Hellmann’s/Best Foods mayonnaise territory)?

The two burger chains started out as totally separate entities, one in the West and one in the East. Carl’s Jr. is the elder statesman of the two, founded as a Los Angeles hot dog stand in 1941 by Carl Karcher. Business thrived, and five years later there were five full-sized Carl’s Drive-In Barbecue restaurants, which by then had begun serving hamburgers. Before long, burgers were the chain’s bestselling menu item, so Karcher decided to open a separate group of small, quick-service burger joints (similar to today’s McDonald’s Express), dubbing them Carl’s Jr. 

In the ‘90s, Karcher’s partnership, CKE Restaurants, set its sights on another hamburger chain. Wilbur Hardee had opened his first restaurant in North Carolina in 1961; soon Hardee’s became a familiar fast food sight in the Midwest and South. Hardee’s corporate strategy was to open restaurants in smaller towns that were not served by McDonald’s or Burger King, and by all accounts, it paid off: by the early '90s, there were over 2,500 Hardee's locations, making it the country's fourth-largest fast food chain. 

Acquiring Hardee’s (for $327 million!) in 1997 was an opportunity for Carl’s Jr. to quietly expand into the East without agitating Hardee’s existing customers. They kept the name and, at first, the menu that folks were familiar with (it wasn't until the early aughts that they started to introduce Carl’s menu items to Hardee’s locations), and refurbished the existing buildings and signage. 

See Also: Hamburger Chain Locations Across the U.S.

The map above was designed by Chloe Effron and is based on this map by Gage Skidmore. Update (2016): Hardee's now has stores in New Jersey and New York.

How Microwaving Food Affects Its Nutritional Value

iStock/grzymkiewicz
iStock/grzymkiewicz

There’s probably no household appliance that sees more use than a microwave. For people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare dinners from scratch or heat meals in a conventional oven, zapping food has become the ultimate method of time management in the kitchen.

Some people harbor the belief that a price has to be paid for that convenience—specifically, that food loses nutritional value by being subjected to a quick nuking.

The truth? Microwaving doesn’t harm a food’s nutrients. In fact, it may preserve them more than some slow-cook methods do.

The reason is found in how microwaves work. The appliances heat food by blasting it with waves of energy not unlike radio waves. These waves target water and other molecules in the food. Thermal energy quickly builds up, and dishes come out heated in a relatively short period of time. This process avoids two of the factors that can lead to nutrient loss: cooking duration and high temperatures. Typically, the longer and hotter food is cooked, the more its nutritional value dissipates.

The other advantage is that microwaves don’t require water for heating. If you boil broccoli, for example, the hot water allows nutrients to leach out of the vegetable. (While that makes for a good stock, your broccoli may be robbed of some of its healthy benefits.) A quick steam in the microwave leaves broccoli relatively intact.

That’s not to say that microwave cooking is superior to a stovetop. Cooking foods at reasonable temperatures and durations shouldn’t result in significant nutrient loss, though some is inevitable for any manner of cooking. But microwaving isn’t going to erase nutrients via some mysterious microwave alchemy, either.

[h/t CNN]

Golden Girls Cereal Has Arrived

NBC
NBC

Fans of The Golden Girls can now spend their mornings with Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose. The ladies of the beloved sitcom now have their own cereal—and it's only available for a limited time, Today reports.

Funko—the toy company known for its vinyl Pop! dolls depicting nearly every character in pop culture (including, of course, The Golden Girls)—rolled out the special-edition cereal in Target stores on September 30. The box is decorated with Funko-fied versions of the four leading ladies, and the multi-grain loops themselves are a shade of deep blue that would look great on one of Rose's dresses.

At $8 a box, the product is more expensive than your average breakfast cereal, but that price includes a little something extra. Each box of Golden Girls cereal comes with its own version of a prize inside: a Funko Pop! figurine of one of the four women.

The cereal won't remain on shelves forever, so collect all the dolls while you still can.

[h/t Today]

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