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Would You Pay $400 to Party at Olive Garden on New Year’s Eve?

On any given night, you could waltz into Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant with $20 in your pocket and leave an hour later with a belly full of pasta and a pocketful of leftover dollars. But December 31st is not just any night, not even for the country’s “largest chain of Italian-themed restaurants.” Because it boasts an enviable (for New Year’s Eve) 2 Times Square address, Olive Garden is putting a premium on its eggplant parm for the evening, charging revelers $400 apiece to ring in the new year. And tickets are reportedly going fast!

The five-hour Garden party, which kicks off at 8 p.m., includes everything one needs to say goodbye to 2015 in style: platefuls of food (chicken con broccoli, shrimp primavera, chicken marsala, eggplant parm, and mashed potatoes are among the delicacies promised as part of the full buffet), several open bars, a live DJ, plenty of dancing, a champagne toast at midnight, and several hundred strangers with whom to share the evening are all included in the hefty pricetag.

While it was originally reported that the restaurant’s beloved breadsticks would not be making an appearance (cue the Twitter outrage), a company spokesperson assured DNAinfo (and deep-pocketed carb-lovers everywhere) that that was simply not true.

Though the breadstick crisis has been averted, there is a rub: Olive Garden’s view of the actual ball drop is limited, so partygoers intent on seeing all 2688 of the ball’s Waterford Crystal triangles in the background of their selfies might be out of luck. “With the cooperation of the NYPD and security, we are hoping to get to see the ball drop from just outside our front doors,” said a spokesperson for the restaurant. “But due to security issues we can't sell the tickets on the premise that outside view of the ball drop is guaranteed.”

Ball drop or breadsticks? You decide.

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Food
You’ve Been Eating Corn on the Cob All Wrong
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Corn on the cob is a staple at most American backyard barbecues. But the way we consume it leaves much room for improvement, according to a recent viral Tweet. As Buzzfeed reports, a Twitter user from Japan has revealed an alternative way to eat corn that leaves less of it on the cob and in your teeth.

He claims to have discovered the hack after moving to Hokkaido. There, corn lovers apparently remove each kernel from the cob by hand. To follow their example, you start by cooking an ear of corn and digging out the kernels from one row with your fingers. After the messy part is over, you have room to break off entire lines of corn at once by laying your thumb on a row and bending it towards the empty space.

This method requires a bit more effort than simply eating corn off the cob with your teeth, but if you want to make the most of your meal it’s well worth it. Here’s what a cob looks like when all the corn has been picked off the Hokkaido way.

Looking for more life-changing food hacks? Here are more foods you may be eating wrong and the right ways to tackle them.

[h/t Buzzfeed]

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

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