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Steel Your Stomachs: Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass Is Back

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Call their salad overdressed and their pasta bland all you want. If there’s one thing Olive Garden could never be accused of, it’s being stingy with their food. From salad to soda, with breadsticks in between, the pseudo-Italian restaurant chain loves nothing more than to modify a menu item with the word “unlimited.” And for $100, Eater reports that 22,000 lucky carb-lovers can spend eight weeks stuffing their faces with as much pasta as their stomachs can handle. That’s right, people: the Never Ending Pasta Pass is back!

On Thursday, September 14, at 2 p.m. ET precisely, the chain will offer 22,000 of its luckiest customers the opportunity to spend the bulk of the fall season gorging themselves on chicken alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, and whatever other al dente dishes strike their fancy. (You pick the pasta, sauce, and toppings.)

As far as the rules go, there aren’t many: passholders can use their golden ticket to dine in gratis between September 25 and November 19, though only one pass can be used per transaction (it will be inscribed with the passholder's name); diners and their guests will get the requisite unlimited soda and other bottomless promises; and you might want to wear your stretchiest pants. Passes will go on sale at PastaPass.com for one hour only (or until they're all gobbled up).

Before you dismiss it as a quick publicity gimmick, consider this: for the past two years, the passes have sold out in one second—yes, one second. The good news this year is that they’ve upped the ante from 21,000 passes to 22,000. They've also added a second option for OG lovers who are willing to shell out twice as much: for $200, 50 people can purchase a Pasta Passport, which will get them all of the aforementioned goodies—plus an eight-day/seven-night trip to Italy for two, with airfare, transportation, hotel, meals, and a lineup of daily activities included. Again, there are only 50 of these available, so you'd better start exercising your fingers and carbo-loading now.

[h/t: Eater]

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Job Alert: The UK Needs a Chicken Nugget Taste-Tester

Do you like highly-processed chicken molded into mushy, breaded bites? Are you willing to relocate to England? Can your palate distinguish a savory nugget from a mediocre one? Your dream job awaits, AJC.com reports.

British retail chain B&M recently posted a job listing calling for a "chicken nugget connoisseur" to help the company get feedback on their new line of frozen food products. The chosen applicant—or applicants—will get a monthly voucher worth £25 ($34) to spend on frozen goods. Job duties consist of eating nuggets and other items and then providing B&M feedback.

The post describes the position as "temporary," so it's unlikely there's opportunity for advancement. If you care to apply, B&M will accept a paragraph describing yourself and why you’d be good for the job—though if you actually have a CV full of previous nugget-related positions, we're confident they'd love to see it.

[h/t AJC.com]

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Animals
Switzerland Just Made It Illegal to Boil Live Lobsters
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No, lobsters don’t scream when you toss them into a pot of boiling water, but as far as the Swiss government is concerned, they can still feel pain. The path most lobsters take to the dinner plate is supposedly so inhumane that Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters alive unless they are stunned first, The Guardian reports.

The new law is based on assertions from animal rights advocates and some scientists that crustaceans like lobsters have complex nervous systems, making death by boiling incredibly painful. If chefs want to include lobster on their menus, they’re now required to knock them out before preparing them. Acceptable stunning methods under Swiss law include electric shock and the “mechanical destruction” of the lobster’s brain (i.e. stabbing it in the head).

The government has also outlawed the transportation of live lobsters on ice or in icy water. The animals should instead be kept in containers that are as close to their natural environment as possible until they’re ready for the pot.

Proponents of animal rights are happy with the decision, but others, including some scientists, are skeptical. The data still isn’t clear as to whether or not lobsters feel pain, at least in the way people think of it. Bob Bayer, head of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, told Mental Floss in 2014 that lobsters “sense their environment, but don’t have the intellectual hardware to process pain.”

If you live in a place where boiling lobsters is legal, but still have ethical concerns over eating them, try tossing your lobster in the freezer before giving it a hot water bath. Chilling it puts it to sleep and is less messy than butchering it while it’s still alive.

[h/t The Guardian]

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