Category Archives: Culinary

First Restaurants Raise Wages

Then what?

Americans spend a phenomenal amount of money consuming food outside their homes, and a major reason is that with restaurant labor so cheap, the convenience and price are attractive to people who don’t feel like cooking. If the wages go up, that calculus shifts. And unfortunately those “rich bosses” can’t just take it out of their profits, because margins in the industry are under 5 percent, and the difference between making that profit and closing up shop can be surprisingly thin. Empty seats don’t just cost you rent; they make it hard to get good servers, because empty seats mean lost tip income. You can end up in a vicious spiral where your service gets worse, so your restaurant loses more customers, so the service gets even worse . . . and it’s time to call the bank and tell them you won’t be paying off that loan.

The economic ignorami don’t seem to understand that restaurants have competition in addition to other restaurants — cooking your own meals at home. In fact, the high cost of dining out is one of the reasons (though not the only one, also I can feed myself more healthily, and I really don’t enjoy sitting around being served by people) that I rarely eat out unless I’m traveling. With 25% unemployment of black youth, raising the minimum wage (or in fact having one at all) is a moral atrocity.

The Science Of Skipping Breakfast

As with most of these studies, it’s junk science:

At 8:30 in the morning for four weeks, one group of subjects got oatmeal, another got frosted corn flakes and a third got nothing. And the only group to lose weight was … the group that skipped breakfast. Other trials, too, have similarly contradicted the federal advice, showing that skipping breakfast led to lower weight or no change at all.

Emphasis mine. I guess it didn’t occur to them to have a group that got a healthy breakfast, like bacon and eggs.

But at least they do admit that observational studies are worse than worthless.


Finally. The feds are on the verge of withdrawing decades of unscientific warnings about eating it. But they’ve still got it wrong:

The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.

The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.

There is zero scientific evidence that eating saturated fat is a problem. Zero. And yet they persist.

Still On The Road

We started heading back from Denver yesterday. Spent the night in Durango (where we had what seems to be a new Colorado cuisine — Nepalese), and heading down through Monument Valley this morning, with plans to end up for the night at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Not sure what connectivity will be like there.

[Sunday-morning update]

I had connectivity in the park via my phone, but decided to just relax. If you have only been to the south rim, I highly recommend the north. It’s more spectacular, in my opinion, and much less crowded, due to the fact that it’s much more remote, and can’t just be driven through. In Phoenix this morning, and headed back to LA a little later. Back to business as usual then, except I’ll be headed up to the New Space conference on Wednesday.

Federal Dietary Guidelines

…are based on “pseudoscience.”

I think that’s being kind. They’re based on junk science. And they’re deadly:

The confluence of self-interest, institutional inertia, and scientific incompetence has led us to where we are today. The federal government has massively increased spending on nutrition and obesity research over the past few decades, and now spends over $2 billion of taxpayer’s money per year. Unfortunately, the people that control that funding are the same researchers that use these anecdotal methods, train the next generation of researchers, and control the publication of scientific papers. As such, new methods and innovative research is stifled. The same researchers are getting funded to do the same research year after year after year. This inertia and self-interest are exacerbated by the exorbitant amount of grant funding established researchers receive. As with many things in life, follow the money.

Say, isn’t there another field of science with profound public-policy implications that operates under the same incentives and pressures?