Ode to Alabama Barbecue, $1,000 Ranch Dressing and Here's to the Cookie Lady

Ranch Dressing

Sweet Home Alabama: Archibald's, a family-owned barbecue joint in Northport, Ala., near Tuscaloosa, has famously served up pit-smoked ribs and sliced pork butt since 1962. While slow-cooking and hickory smoke from the carefully tended fire give the meat its sweet flavor and plain white bread adds to the down-home style, the true secret ingredient in this barbecue is love. In a new short documentary film, Archibald's, part of Southern Foodways' Southern BBQ Trail series, director Wes Wages pays tribute to the modest Alabama food landmark. Watch it here. [ Southern Foodways Alliance]

$1,000 for Ranch Dressing? When a Redditor using the handle Brostach posted a picture taken at Dallas pizzeria Cane Rosso, which showed a bottle of ranch salad dressing behind glass and a framed sign reading "Side of Delicious Ranch Dressing $1,000," some commenters accused the VPN-certified eatery of elitism and arrogance; others rose to its defense. Proprietor Jay Jerrier wants both sides to know he was just kidding. "Dude, it's a joke. Relax," he recently told Eater, adding that he doesn't get many requests for ranch dressing on pizza, a combo he says "seems weird" to him, but he deals kindly with those who ask. "It was pretty funny how people did take it really seriously and were super offended," Jay added. "I guess it's the Midwest. They love them some ranch." [ Eater]

Cronut®, Schmonut: Before Cronuts ® and milk-and-cookie shots, before their creator, Dominique Ansel, was born, a woman named Ruth Wakefield created the perfect hybrid food: the chocolate chip cookie. Despite reports, her cookie/candy mash-up, then named after her Massachusetts restaurant, Toll House, was produced not by accident, but very deliberately, in 1938. Ruth said in a 1974 interview that she'd wanted to give customers an alternative to a popular butterscotch nut cookie the restaurant had served with ice cream. Carolyn Wyman, writing on Slate, suggests Ruth hasn't been given her due as "a gifted cook and a shrewd entrepreneur" and urges those who enjoy chocolate chip cookies to "raise your glass of milk to the strong, smart woman who invented them." [ Slate]

You Say Potato; I Say Pot-ah-to: The people behind UCLA's Science and Food blog say we should all know a little more about the potatoes we eat. For instance, did you know that the molecules that give yellow, red and purple potatoes their distinctive colors are from "two large classes of chemical pigments known as carotenoids and anthocyanins" and that the anthocyanins that make some varieties of potato purple and others red is determined by variations in the potatoes' DNA? Well, now you do. [ Science & Food]

In Other Food News: Meat prices are on the rise, rising faster than nearly every other food group, thanks to drought, high feed prices and disease affecting pigs. [ Bloomberg] Chefs and bartenders in California are up in arms over new legislation prohibiting them from touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. [ AP News] And middle school student Katie Francis, of Oklahoma City, has just set a new Girl Scout cookie sales record, selling 18,010 boxes with a week left of sales yet to go. [ ABC News]

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