The Reason So Many Pizza Chains Sell Chicken Wings

iStock/rudisill
iStock/rudisill

It’s become exceedingly rare to find a pizzeria that doesn’t offer its customers a side order of sauce-slathered buffalo chicken wings. Most of the major national chains—Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s among them—traffic in poultry. So how did the pairing come about?

According to a recent Thrillist history by Kat Thompson, the marriage of pizza and wings can be traced to La Nova Pizza, a pizza parlor in Buffalo, New York. Fittingly, La Nova was located in the home city of the buffalo chicken wing, where the Anchor Bar and Restaurant first served the wings—formerly regarded as undesirable scraps—in the 1960s. La Nova began adding wings to its menu in the 1970s and then offered them as a side dish to delivery orders in the 1990s.

The bigger chains took notice of its success: Both Pizza Hut and Domino’s introduced wings nationally in early 1995. Their support created such demand for the product that the price of wholesale wings went from 47 cents a pound to 82 cents a pound. Pizza Hut was selling 2 million wings a day.

For operators, the addition made a lot of logistical sense. Wings could be baked in ovens that the shops already had; dipping sauces complemented pizza crusts nicely. Pizza is largely a carbohydrate and wings are a protein. It seemed to resonate with the palates of consumers. To open a new pizzeria usually required no special equipment besides a freezer and some deep fryers. Most importantly, they were a messy finger food, and pizza fans were already comfortable with hand-based eating.

But wings won't work on every menu. In 2013, McDonald’s tried offering chicken wings, which it dubbed Mighty Wings, for a limited time, but the idea fizzled. People didn’t care for a hamburger and wing combo. Of the 50 million pounds of wings McDonald’s hoped to sell, 10 million were left uneaten. It might have gone better with a McPizza.

[h/t Thrillist]

UK Burger King Restaurants Will Stop Giving Plastic Toys With Kids' Meals

Leon Neal/Getty Images
Leon Neal/Getty Images

Fast food companies don't have a reputation for being eco-friendly, but through small changes made in recent years, some of the biggest names in the industry are working to reduce their environmental impact. Just a few weeks after introducing the meat-free Impossible Whopper, Burger King announced a new policy for its United Kingdom locations. As CNN reports, UK restaurants will no long include plastic toys with kids' meals.

The change comes after two sisters from the UK started a petition on Change.org calling on McDonald's and Burger King to stop distributing plastic toys with kids' meals. Ella and and Caitlin McEwan, who were 9 and 7 respectively when the petition launched this summer, wrote, “children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea." They went on to say: "It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys—big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all." Their online petition has received more than 530,000 signatures.

By cutting plastic from kids' meals, Burger King estimates it will avoid wasting 350 tons of single-use plastic a year. The chain has also installed containers in its UK stores for collecting old plastic toys from customers, so the material can be recycled to make playgrounds. The UK represents just a fraction of Burger King's market, but according to the company, non-biodegradable plastic toys will be phased out of all locations by 2025.

McDonald's has had a different response to the McEwan sister's petition. Instead of doing away with plastic toys completely, UK restaurants will give customers the option to swap toys for fruit with their Happy Meals later this year, and then allow them to opt for books instead for a period in early 2020. Meanwhile, in Canada and Germany, some McDonald's restaurants are experimenting with going totally plastic-free. The more sustainable restaurants feature paper straws, waffle cone condiment cups, and burger wrappers made from grass.

[h/t CNN]

How to Make 3 Delicious Fall Cocktails

Mental Floss Video
Mental Floss Video

As the leaves start to change color, it’s time to put away the White Claw and the rosé …OK, sure, you can drink whatever you like whenever you like. But if you live in a temperate climate, part of the fun of changing seasons is falling in love with new beverages and meals that complement the weather. That’s why we asked Eamon Rockey, the Director of Beverage Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, to craft three cocktails that are perfect for fall. 

Pumpkin Spice Flip Recipe

Ingredients:

Blended Scotch
Maple Syrup
Pumpkin Puree
One Whole Egg
Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Add 2 ounces of blended scotch to a cocktail shaker
  2. Add 3/4 of an ounce of good maple syrup
  3. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin puree
  4. Crack 1 egg and add to mixture
  5. Add one piece of ice and shake vigorously, to emulsify the ingredients
  6. Add ice to the top of your shaker and shake again, to chill and dilute the drink
  7. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. You want all of the volume and richness of the egg, without any solid matter or shards of ice. 
  8. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and serve

Four Apples a Day Recipe

Ingredients:

Calvados
Rockey’s Milk Punch
Hard Apple Cider
One Granny Smith Apple

Instructions:

  1. Add 1.5 ounces of calvados to a mixing glass
  2. Add 2 ounces of Rockey’s Milk Punch
  3. Stir with ice to chill
  4. Strain into a wine glass
  5. Top with 3 ounces of hard apple cider
  6. Garnish with fresh apple in any style you like

Old Fashioned Recipe

Ingredients:

Bourbon
Angostura Bitters
Simple Syrup

Instructions:

  1. Add 2.5 ounces of bourbon to a mixing glass
  2. Add 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  3. Add 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup (50% sugar, 50% water)
  4. Add ice and stir, to chill and dilute the drink
  5. Strain into a rocks glass containing a large cube of ice
  6. Finish with a freshly cut twist of orange peel

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