Category Archives for Mushrooms

My Love-Hate Relationship With Turkey

Although food is an essential part of so many vacations, it seems that merely Thanksgiving is celebrated almost solely at the table. Each year that brings forth online and in print, myriad suggestions and recipes for alternatives to the time-tested standards, for reasons that allude me. I have always wondered why, if a holiday occurs only once a year, do we need assortment on the menu? The same old classics served in the same old way become icons, bringing reassurance and warm intimacy to diners, most especially children.

For many years my late spouse, Richard Falcone, and I dedicated a huge open-house party for about 75 people on New Year’s Day. I always prepared a very authentic Scandinavian buffet, which featured the same foods year after year. I even presented it the same route each time. As one regular guest observed” One thing I can count on per year is that the gravlox will be on the round scalloped crystal platter, front and centre with the mustard-dill sauce to the right, all on the table that is covered in the red damask cloth .”

One reasons for seeking a change, of course, could be a disfavour of a specific dish , no matter how iconic, and for me that means, of all things, the turkey. I regard it as a big, unwieldy, clumsy, and uninteresting bird not worth the trouble, even if heritage, wild, organic, Tom, or otherwise pedigreed. No matter how carefully prepared and wrestled with, it holds no candle to capon, guinea hen, duck or, best of all, squab.

With that in mind, one year I decided to serve individual squabs to guests. It turned out to be far more expensive. In addition to the price of squab vs. turkey, the butcher charged$ 2 per bird for deboning the breast to make way for a stuffing of Italian sausage, pistachios, and porcini mushrooms. The extra run of stuffing and trussing each bird was offset for me by not having to go through the mess of engraving. To serve, I only plopped one bird on each plate and I could join the party.

But I was not “re ready for” the reaction of my guests. Trouble set in immediately when a savvy gourmet remarked,” ah, pigeon .” Many Americans who happily eat squab, blanch when they are reminded that it is pigeon by another name and so it was with several at my table. It went over even worse with the three children at the table who began to cry, probably since they are imagined that I had gone out into Washington Square Park and caught the main course with a giant butterfly net.

As a result of that failed experiment, I dismiss suggestions for replace Thanksgiving main courses, including author Calvin Trillin’s inspired thought that spaghetti carbonara should replace the big bird. Now when I host Thanksgiving dinner, I serve up all cliches, save merely marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes in favor of those that are simply candied with honey. And even though I prepare my own cranberry sauce with orange rind, almonds, and Grand Marnier, I display the shimmering, garnet contents of canned Ocean Spray cranberry jelly, arranged on a dish so that the ridged can marks are clearly in view. That dish is one of my favorite memories of childhood Thanksgivings.

My reward in suffering through a turkey is never far off for what I wait and watch for is the carcass. To me that is more of a gem than the meat itself as simmered slowly with carrots, onions, and celery it becomes the basis of a huge amount of savory stock that I freeze in 4 to 6 portion quantities. Later I turn each batch into a soup: mushroom-and-barley, split-pea, lentil, cabbage, gumbo, each nurturing in the winter months ahead. To be sure that stock is adaptable to many seasonings, I merely sprinkle the inside of the bird with salt and pepper stuff the cavity with sprigs of thyme, cleaves of garlic, and chunks of onion. I scratch good old aromatic Bell’s Seasoning liberally all over outside skin, but do not want any lodged within the bones to confound other flavorings for the soups I make. Skin, by the way, does not go into that stock because after being roasted, it tends to add an overcooked, dark greasiness. As for meat left on the carcass, I remove as much as possible so it can be added to the finished stock without becoming mushily overcooked.

Oddly, though the majority of members of my Thanksgivings have been celebrated at home, the two most memorable were spent abroad. For one I was in Turkey, part of a four-month research trip around the world and I scheduled that stop because I thought it mildly amusing to be “in” Turkey on Thanksgiving rather than have turkey in me. To be sure, I expended half a day in an Istanbul hamam ( Turkish bath ), being steamed virtually into stock myself.

The other was in a beautiful home outside of Milano where I was guest of honor at a dinner party. Knowing it was the American Thanksgiving, the hostess prepared very small turkeys, perhaps 8 pounds each, cut up and simmered like coq au vin but here with dried porcini and dark red nebbiolo wine. It was served forth on cushions of soft, sunny polenta and was perhaps, the only turkey for which I ever devoted thanks.

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China’s Spicy Hotpot Billionaire Is Ready to Take on the World

Zhang Yong, the co-founder and chairman of Haidilao, one of China’s most successful hotpot chains, recollects his first time feeing out. As a 19 -year-old welder in Jianyang, Sichuan, it was exhilarating to escape the proletarian company cafeteria and dine in an actual eatery, a rare experience for him at the time.

But the staff was rude and the hotpot didn’t inspire. Then came a twist of fate that would change China’s culinary history: Zhang bolted from his undertaking at a state-owned tractor mill in a dispute over a company apartment for him and his fiancee. In 1994, he opened his first restaurant with merely four tables.

Customers eat at a Haidilao Hotpot restaurant in Shanghai.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

Today, Zhang runs the nation’s most popular chain of eateries that serves up boiling soup broth with meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles. Haidilao has 196 outlets in 60 Chinese cities as well as more in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, and Seoul.

He’s also one of China’s newest billionaires, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, thanks to his 68 percent stake in closely held Sichuan Haidilao Catering and 63 percentage stake in Hai Di Lao Holdings along with a 36 percent stake in publicly traded Yihai International, a food distribution and seasoning producer for Haidilao, whose products are also sold in China by Wal-Mart, Carrefour and other retailers. Yang Yingying, a spokeswoman for Haidilao, told Zhang declined to comment on the net worth in an email.

Zhang has no regrets.” That mill never made a profit ,” says Zhang garmented casually in an open shirt during an interview in Zhengzhou, Henan, where he was attending a seminar for Chinese entrepreneurs.” If I had not started Haidilao, I would have had to find something else, because you have to support yourself, you have to eat .”

Zhang Yong

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

Sichuan Spice

Zhang said he plans to keep expanding and aims for as many as 80 more stores this year, with maybe ten of them overseas .” Revenue of Haidilao will likely grow by more than 30 percent to 10 billion yuan ($ 1.5 billion) this year, he told, and there are no plans to publicly list the company on domestic or overseas stock exchanges.

Zhang divides his time between China and Singapore, where his wife and son live. He’s done well for a guy who started out earning simply 93 yuan ($ 14) a month in his first factory chore. Last year, he bought a high-end property in Singapore for S $27 million ($ 20 million ), according to the Business Times, a fiscal daily.

Hotpot restaurants have surged in popularity as young Chinese entered the middle class and began feeing out together. Haidilao specializes in spicy Sichuan hotpot dishes featuring a spicy broth and options of meat, seafood, mushrooms, tofu and assorted vegetables.

Sichuan hotpot dishes featuring a spicy broth and options of meat, seafood, tofu and assorted vegetables.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

At Haidilao, stoves are built into each table to keep your broth boiling. It’s possible to order a hotpot with two compartments set apart by a metal divider designed to match the curvy yin yang symbol. That way one side can be mushroom or chicken-based broth for more delicate palates, while the other is seasoned with whole peppercorns for diners looking for some spice. Hotpots with no divider and all spice are also available.

What really defines Haidilao apart is its customer service. Clients waiting for a table can get their nails done or obtain a shoulder massage at no charge. After being seated, every diner is given a moist warm towel and apron to protect their clothes.

Individual plastic baggies are provided for mobile phones and those dining solo are sometimes offered a teddy bear to accompany them.” It was the key that got his first tiny eatery running. The service was right there from the beginning ,” says F. Warren McFarlan, prof emeritus at Harvard Business School, who co-authored a 2011 case study on Haidilao.

Customers have their fingernails done while waiting for a table.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

Zhang, like his waiters from a humble background in the hinterlands, knows current challenges migrants face in the big city. Haidilao provides apartments, often with air conditioning and wifi, for its staff. Zhang also provides a monthly subsidy for the parents of senior staff and administrators. There’s a disaster fund for when employees’ families face adversities from natural disasters.” It’s not easy being a rural migrant in China ,” tells Zhang.

Deep Bench

Haidilao tends to promote from within, placing waiters and cleansers on management promotion tracks. The person who runs its U.S. business started as a eatery doorman. Chief executive officer Yang Xiaoli worked her style up from her first role as a waitress.

Servers carry food through the kitchen.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

Managers are evaluated by levels of customer satisfaction and staff morale, rather than mainly on restaurant revenue.” We rarely hire from outside. Just because you have a degree from Harvard or from Peking University, we won’t give you any special favor ,” tells Zhang, who never finished high school.” When I watch the waiters, ” he said, “I know they’re thinking about how they want to replace me ,” he said with a smile.

At Haidilao, wages start low, but rise rapidly for top musicians. That and generous perks maintain turnover lower, an anomaly in China’s high churn service industry, points out Harvard’s McFarlan. By treating employees well, Zhang” inspires a real level of loyalty ,” he says.

Successful administrators are eligible to open franchises. Wang Bin, a 32 -year-old migrant from Shaanxi province who started out cleaning lavatories at Haidilao, operates a 24 -hour restaurant in Sanlitun, Beijing’s nightlife district, and recently opened his first franchise shop in the coastal town of Weihai, Shandong.

With the customary 2.8 to 5 percent of revenues from the Shandong shop that goes to all franchisees, Wang now earns about 50,000 yuan ($ 7,281) a month, some five times the average wage of a Beijing restaurant manager, he told.” Haidilao cares about fairness and devoting everyone a platform to develop oneself ,” told Wang.” I have no plans to ever change companies.”

While the charismatic Zhang has enabled us to overseen the expansion of Haidilao across the country, it is unclear whether his business model will translate overseas.” He’s taking a model working in one context with whole lot of history and social values and trying to transplant it ,” tells McFarlan.

A baby crib is provided for customers with a small child.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/ Bloomberg

Zhang, however, “ve decided to” take the Haidilao brand global. At his sole U.S. outlet in Los Angeles, Zhang said he’s unhappy that its business relies heavily on ethnic Chinese clients. To try to attract a most varied mob he tells future eateries in the U.S. will adopt a more night-club-like ambiance, with pop music and set menus for diners and perhaps even individual hotpots for each diner at the table.

” McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are all a reflection of American culture ,” said Zhang.” As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to set more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese eateries .”

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People Who Have Taken Psychedelics Are More Likely To Be Environmentally Friendly

One of the more common anecdotes from taking psychedelic drugs, whether LSD, mescaline, or magic mushroom, is gaining a new appreciation of the natural environment. But is there any real truth to the claim that falling psychedelics can change your views on the environment, even after the high has run?

In a recent examine, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, people with experience of taking psychedelic drugs reported more pro-environmental behaviors, such as recycling and maintaining an eye on their carbon footprint. Many also reported a deeper sense of being close to nature.

“The more people had experience with classic psychedelics, the more they enjoyed spending time in nature, and the more they construed their self as being a part of nature, ” the study authors wrote.

Psychologists from Yale University and the University of Innsbruck in Austria asked 1,487 people about their experience with psychedelics and other hallucinogens. They investigated these people’s experiences with both non-psychedelic and psychedelic drugs, taking into consideration any self-reported environmentalist behaviors or affiliations for all things “green”. As a control, they also looked at some common personality traits often associated with drug intake or relating to nature, including openness to experience, conscientiousness, and conservatism.

Interestingly, the researchers detected a link between the number of experiences people had with psychedelics and their likelihood of invited to participate in activities like recycling, trying to cut down their carbon footprints, and supporting local eco-friendly shopping. People who had taken psychedelics were also more likely to support pro-environment statements and disagree with phrases like “Humans have the right to use national resources any route we want.”

However, the relationship between taking psychedelics and being green is merely a correlation and the eco-friendly behaviors in such studies were all self-reported. This begs the question: Are people who have environmental concerns simply more likely to be open to trying narcotics?

The researchers say this isn’t the lawsuit because people who are into environmental issues are not more likely to indulge in other medications, whether it’s tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, or recreational illegal substances. There was also no clue that certain personality types are drawn towards both psychedelics and nature.

The study did not look for a causation, yet it hinted “there is strong reason to believe that psychedelic substances increase nature relatedness as a function of their ego-dissolving effects.”

The researchers suggest that future analyzes are needed to confirm whether taking psychedelics can immediately affect nature relatedness and pro-environmental behavior. They argue that this particular field could be used to heighten mental well-being and perhaps even save the planet.

“Identifying factors that contribute to this process is hence an important scientific endeavor- for individual wellbeing as well as for our planet’s future, ” the study concluded.

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Does it matter how you set jam on a scone?

Image copyright National Trust Image caption Putting cream on a scone first is considered sacrilege in Cornwall

For most people cream tea is a pleasant, indulgent affair to be savoured. But in Cornwall civil unrest was narrowly averted after a National Trust property stimulated the mistake of advertising scones with cream – rather than jam – dolloped on first.

The incident reignited a bitter rivalry between Devon and Cornwall, and opened up the age-old debate of how cream scones should be prepared.

But it’s not just scones that cause arguing – across the UK different places have their own particular take on British dishes.

The pasty

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A Devon pasty, left, is crimped on the top and can include carrots

Cornwall is immensely proud of the Cornish pasty. The meat and veg dish encased in pastry has been given protected status by the EU Commission ..

As a outcome, locals are very protective of their regional dish. Under EU law a Cornish pasty can only be described as such if it is constructed in a D shape and is crimped on the side.

By contrast, Devon pasties are crimped on top and include carrots, which would be a punishable offence in the eyes of their near-neighbours.

A cup of tea

Image copyright Getty Images

Do “youre using” a tea pot? Should you use loose leaves or a tea purse? And most contentious of all, should you pour the milk first before brewing the tea?

These questions have been pondered for generations. The issue was so contentious that author George Orwell wrote an 11 -point guide on how to construct the perfect cup of tea.

Although predilections for a cuppa differ, scientists at University College London say that if you are making a brew in a mug ,~ ATAGEND you should add milk second. The reason? Black tea necessitates boiling temperatures to infuse the water.

The fry-up

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Fry-ups across the UK vary on where you order them

Forget your smashed avocado or poached eggs, the humble fry-up remains the king of breakfasts. But what you get on your plate depends on where you order it.

In England a fry-up usually consists of bacon, sausages, eggs( fried or scrambled ), fried tomatoes, beans, hash browns, toast and black pudding.

Northern Ireland is renowned for the Ulster fry ,~ ATAGEND which has all the main components of a full English, but some key substitutes. Rather than hash browns, an Ulster fry features potato bread – fried potato pancakes – and soda farls, which is delicious soda bread induced with buttermilk.

Scotland has its own difference of potato bread known as the tattie scone, which is served with a traditional fry-up. Also a lorne sausage, which is square, is more common in Scotland than connection sausages. You could also be given fruit dessert, which is made of flour, beef suet, sugar and currants.

In Wales your traditional fry-up could come with laverbread ,~ ATAGEND or “Welsh caviar” as performer Richard Burton referred to it. The local delicacy is boiled, minced or pureed seaweed which is fried and coated in oatmeal.

Chips

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chips and gravy – a staple in parts of the north of England

Across the south of England chips are usually served with salt, vinegar and your selection of ketchup, mayonnaise or brown sauce; your brand of choice depends on where you hail from. In the Midlands and the West Country, ‘Daddies’ sauce regulations the roost in most chippies, but it turns out that it is made by Heinz, which is dominant elsewhere.

Across parts of northern England chip fanatics do without such decadent flavorings, and instead coat their fried potatoes in the beefy goodness of gravy. Wales takes it a step further by drenching takeaway boxes with curry sauce. Chips can also feature in curry culture in Wales, with many Indian restaurants offering “half and half” chips and rice with curries.

In the Black Country orange chips are traditional. They are glazed in an orange batter before being fried. The batter’s ingredients differ from shop to shop, but some use a hint of paprika to give the potatoes their orange hue.

Pie and mash

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Authentic London pie and mash from a pie and eel store includes a parsley and eel alcohol sauce

Pie and mash is a simple combining – potatoes and meat encased in pastry – but the end results can wildly vary.

In London pies are traditionally made from mutton, with a mix of suet and whiff pastry .~ ATAGEND Rather than a traditional gravy, the tart and mash can be served with a green eel alcohol sauce, made of parsley and stewed eel water.

In Wigan locals take the pie delivery system one step further by chucking the gravy and potatoes, and replacing it with a bread roll. The “pie barm” might look odd to foreigners, but Wigan locals love the ultra-portable snack.

Porridge

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Scottish conservatives say porridge should only be made with oats, water and salt

Porridge is either a sweet breakfast treat or a hearty savoury snack, depending on where and how you prepare it. In most parts of the UK porridge is usually induced with milk and then finished off with some fruit, sugar or syrup.

But Scottish conservatives believe that porridge should be nothing more than oats, water and salt.

Food for thought – your emails

Neil in Southport says: “No cooked breakfast should ever contain beans , no matter which variant across the UK.” As for building tea, he insists: “Milk is always second so the tea/ milk ratio can be accurately judged by colour.”

Sticking with breakfast, Barry in Bath, loves “An Ulster fry, which could include fried eggs( not scrambled or poached ), bacon, sausages, tomato, potato bread, pancakes( drop scones ), soda farl( split in two ). A bit of tomato ketchup , no mushrooms , no beans, never hash browns.”

Later in the day, Stephen in St Helens recommends “The culinary pleasure of a tart barm, adopted from Wigan, and called so because it is placed on a barm cake.”

Keith in Worthing suggests the Cornish pasty was “crimped at the leading edge so miners could enjoy the treat with grubby hands down the mines.” His burning question is: “Are the potatoes in the pasty sliced or diced? “


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Things You Should Never Say To A Picky Eater

These days there are so many groups of eaters to please — the gluten-free, the vegans, the vegetarians, and so many more. But there’s an underrepresented group that has been tormented for too long, and we’re here to help: It’s the plight of the picky-eating adult.

For selective eaters at every meal, there’s a dread of enduring “That Conversation” — the one where you have to defend your displeasure for mushrooms, or your hatred for pt.

Whether it’s an icky texture, negative memory association, allergy or full-on phobia, we asked selective eaters in the HuffPost newsroom( along with many of their friends) about the questions that are asked when family and friends are reminded of their nutritional selectivity. We’re keeping them anonymous to protect the innocent. Here’s what picky eaters wish everybody could understand about their preferences.

1
The Huffington Post

“Just because I don’t eat sushi, doesn’t mean I don’t have a personality.”

2
The Huffington Post

“When I order food, I ask for no garlic and onion, but people ignore my order, lie or simply put less onions and garlic in everything. It’s gross. I’ve had waiters tell me, ‘but it won’t savor good.’ What I wish I could say to them in return when I get a dish that has onions and garlic on it, after specifying I didn’t want them, is: ‘When I asked for no onions and garlic, I didn’t mean less onions and garlic! ‘” onions and garlic, I didn’t mean onions and garlic! ‘”

3
The Huffington Post

“Thanks for trying to disgrace me into eating something I don’t like.”

4
The Huffington Post

“Because body dishonor is a good technique for a selective craving. Family, they mean well … ”

5
The Huffington Post

“Welp , not to me, you dingbat.”

6
The Huffington Post

“I’m not stuck up — I just know what I like and don’t like to eat.”

7
The Huffington Post

“I don’t know … I simply don’t. I wish they would understand that I get how they could love a specific food, but personally I don’t love it.”

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Oscars 2018: Will an Accused Abuser Win Best Actor Two Years in a Row?

Marlow : We’ve kvetched over who should have been nominated at the Oscars, discussed this year’s biggest disagreements( I can’t believe E! is still having Ryan Seacrest host the red carpet ), and pondered whether, devoted its lagging ratings and absence of intrigue this year, the Academy Awards even matter anymore. And now we’ve ultimately arrived at the actual awards.

Kevin: Marlow, Get Out premiered at Sundance 14 months ago. I have aged seven years during this awards season.

Marlow: It’s been 84 years … Now, part of the reason why the Oscars has been drained of any and all suspense this year is due to the high quantity of shoo-in winners. For the last month or so, it’s been a foregone conclusion among awards pundits that Frances McDormand will win Best Actress( her second, after Fargo ) for her revenge-seeking Rosie the Riveter in Three Billboards ; Gary Oldman ( Darkest Hour ) will dodge disagreement, including a domestic abuse allegation and anti-Semitic and misogynistic commentaries, and get a career statuette in Best Actor for his begging-for-it Churchill biopic; and Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell’s abusive hillbillies will snag gold in I, Tonya and Three Billboards , respectively. Yawn.

Kevin: The biggest snore! It’s so annoying, too, because, as we mentioned before, there was the most fleeting of moments when it seemed like each of those races were going to be two-way photo finishes, with Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Laurie Metcalf, and Willem Dafoe at one point galloping neck-and-neck alongside those frontrunners. Of course, obvious Oscar night winners is nothing new in increasingly interminable, increasingly consensus award seasons. But while other years have treated us with spectacular speech after spectacular speech from these winners–I mean, Viola Davis was pop culture’s therapist, historian, preacher, and friend all at once last year–this year’s quartet have been pretty lame at the microphone. Save, of course, the always unpredictable firecracker, Frances McDormand.

Marlow : Look, I love Frances McDormand–that time we talked about falling LSD remains one of my most fun movie-star chats ever–but none of the aforementioned frontrunners would be my picks. Saoirse and Timothee so perfectly realise the throes of teen agony in Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name , and it’s a shame their work won’t be properly rewarded, while Lesley Manville was an icy delight in Phantom Thread . The Kris Jenner of House Woodcock. And for Best Supporting Actor, I’d go with Willem Dafoe’s empathetic director of those on the margins in The Florida Project , a movie that deserved far more recognition at this year’s ceremony.

Kevin: I’m with you that The Florida Project should have scored way more nominations than it did: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress, for starters.

Marlow : Justice for Moonee ! Kevin : But for how much I adore that movie–it’s my favourite of the year–I actually wouldn’t even have nominated Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor. That’s not a knock on his performance. Everything about the cinema is pitch-perfect, and his work is integral to that harmony. But it’s such a subdued, quiet role that, though he plays it exactly how it should be played, doesn’t really showcase the various kinds of acting I’d deem award-worthy. But since my Supporting Actor vote, Michael Stuhlbarg, isn’t even in the conversation I’m not entirely sure who I’d hurl my support to, if not Rockwell or Dafoe. Marlow : Can’t believe Stuhlbarg wasn’t nominated. And everyone should read your piece on why his was the monologue of the year. Where’s my Halo Top when I need it.

Kevin : And it’s interesting that you mention Manville because, while I think most people guess Laurie Metcalf is Allison Janney’s biggest competition–the Metcalf vs. Janney debate has nearly violated the gay community altogether–I gues the most likely upset on Oscar night is Manville benefitting from a upsurge of Phantom Thread love.Marlow : That would entail Manville and her ex-husband, Gary Oldman, would both be taking home statuettes. Our own Ira Madison lately made a compelling case for why Phantom Thread should win the Best Picture Oscar( more on that afterward this week ), and a great deal of that had to do with Manville, who manages to transcend her 1950 s London milieu through sheer force of will, laying waste to musty patriarchal conventions. She’s a big reason, too, why I ranked the exquisite Phantom Thread as my No. 1 movie of the year.

Kevin: Phantom Thread is the weirdest movie. That’s not to say I didn’t love it. But I still giggle every time I think about the plot–kinky mushrooms !– or remember that Daniel Day-Lewis was referred to as” the hungry boy .”

Marlow: Or that he is” Mr. Woodcock ,” which is quite literally the title of a shitty Seann William Scott movie. There’s been some chatter about how Denzel Washington could pull off an upset in the Best Actor race–for the little-seen Roman J. Israel, Esq ., my second-favorite Washington character name to Lincoln Rhyme, followed by Easy Rawlins and Napoleon Stone–given how many in the Academy and beyond thought he should have won over( accused sex harasser) Casey Affleck. Spike Lee even slipped a excavation at the decision into his Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It . Is there any chance of this happening, or is it wishful thinking?

Kevin: What bleach-swilling Looney Tune were you talking to who thinks that Denzel Washington could win? The voters on our radar have all not-so-jokingly quipped that they haven’t even bothered to watch the movie, that’s how little chance he stands of winning.

Marlow : The Gold Derby!( Although I agree, it reads like Oscar fanfic intended to enliven an otherwise dull category .) Kevin : That’s not to say that I don’t agree with the idea that he should have won last year. I definitely think he should’ve, though also remember most people guessing that was a crazy opinion to have, even with Affleck’s controversy. The truth is, though, that while we presume all these races are sewn up, the changing, fresher, younger, more diverse make-up of this year’s voters really could entail a few cases surprises. I’d venture that Chalamet is the most likely to benefit from that, with Get Out ‘ s Daniel Kaluuya a possibility, too. Do you think there is any chance that this new voting body makes any sort of difference this year? Marlow : Lemme fell some stats on ya: the Academy invited a record 774 new members last year, 30 percent of which were people of color. But that only raised the total amount of POC in the Academy to a paltry 13 percentage( it was at 8 percent in 2015, so has gone up considerably over the past two years ). I think it made a difference in that Kaluuya got nominated–it’s pretty atypical for the Academy to recognise a performance in a horror film–but I’m not sure it will lead to any inspired choices as far as the actual acting winners go on Sunday( although there could be a lil’ surprise in store in Best Picture ). Gary Oldman is impressive under a heap of prosthetics in Darkest Hour , but I’d like to see more young, deserving humen be recognized in the Best Actor category. For so long, since the Academy was so overwhelmingly old, white and male, the wins reflected their tastes: young white women in the prime of their careers and older white men in the twilight of theirs. And at this phase, I have serious Oscar-bait-biopic fatigue.

Kevin: I will say that, while Oldman’s dominance this season is hardly good evidence of this, there does seem to be movement away from rubber-stamping what would be traditional Oscar movies and performances. Get Out ‘ s inclusion in Best Picture surely been shown that, and renegade moves like including Mad Max: Fury Road in the past supporting that notion. But in a year when Meryl Streep played Katherine Graham, Judi Dench played Queen Victoria, and Annette Bening was Gloria Grahame, to name a few cases, it’s encouraging that Best Actress is filled with untraditional characters: an angsty teen, a mute in love with a ogre, a curse-happy mama on a retaliation mission, and, um, Tonya Harding. I think you find similar shiftings in different types of movies and performances being rewarded across all the categories. There’s a long way to run, and I’ll groan when Oldman wins, but it seems like faint progress.

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Nintendo and Universal Studios taunted us with even more info about Super Nintendo World

Image: nintendo/ universal studios japan

Great news, Mario fans: an IRL version of the Mushroom Kingdom is on its way.

A new theme park called Super Nintendo World, a collaboration with Universal Parks& Resorts, will open in Osaka, Japan in 2020 just in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Universal corroborated the target date in an announcement Monday.

We’d heard clues of this before. Spec plans for the park were leaked by a Japanese publication back in March, which was when the 2020 opening was first pestered.

Image: nintendo/ universal studios

Details about what will actually show up in Super Nintendo World have been scant. There was a juicy teaser with Nintendo icon Shigeru Miyamoto and Universal Creative President Mark Woodbury riffing on the potentials of Nintendo additions to Universal parks last month, but it was low on details.

According to the release, the parks will feature “globally renowned characters and game worlds from Nintendo” and will be “comprised of expansive and multilevel surroundings filled with unprecedented, state-of-the-art rides, interactive regions, stores and restaurants.”

Like Universal’s mega-popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, everything in the park will be tailored to fit the fictional world.

The project has an estimated 50 billion yen( around $433 million) development expense. But Super Nintendo World will likely act like one of Mario’s mega mushrooms on the Japanese economy. Professor Emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto of Kansai University estimates that Universal Studios Japan’s addition of Super Nintendo World will result in economic benefits of 11.7 trillion yen( approximately $101 billion) for the country, along with 1.1 million jobs within a decade of its opening.

With Nintendo-themed expansions planned for Universal Studios parks in Hollywood and Orlando close behind, it looks like Mario is poised to join Mickey Mouse as the top mascots in the theme park game. Hopefully, the development process won’t run into any trouble from Bowser.

BONUS: Japan’s prime minister, dressed as Super Mario, stole the show at the Rio finale

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