In the age of fancy espresso makers, Keurigs, and smartphone-friendly coffee brewers, a classic coffee maker is a breath of fresh (well, coffee-scented) air in an overly-complicated world.

Along with the obvious benefit of simple, American-style coffee, there are actually tons of other uses for your common coffee maker. Covering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert with one appliance, you’ll wonder why the hell you even bother with a stove.

1. A Hot Toddy

Put two tea bags in your coffee pot, let brew, add a shot (or ten) of fine whiskey and some honey. Baby, you’ve got yourself the hottest toddy this side of the Mississippi!

2. Hot dogs

Can you call such a simple recipe a recipe? Put a few thawed hot dogs in your coffee pot and let it sit for an hour. Then stuff those dirty dogs down your gullet.

3. A grilled cheese sandwich

Set your burner on warm or, if your coffee maker is a bit older, brew a hot cup of coffee and immediately after, put the sandwich on the burner. Pro-tip: spray that sucker down with some Pam for maximum buttery goodness. You can also do this by putting a pan on the burner if you don’t want to get it gross.

4. Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal? Easy. Pour 10 oz of water into the carafe, turn it on, wait five minutes. Boom. Done.

5. Ramen

Perhaps the easiest recipe in the bunch, all you need to do is put your dried noodles in the coffee pot and set to brew. Add the flavor packet and anything else you desire and wait a few minutes for delicious results.

6. Scrambled eggs

On a little one-egg frying pan, crack open an egg, and cook to your heart’s content. Is there anything eggs can’t do?

7. Jimmy Dean sausage

Don’t want to use ol’ Jimmy’s sausage? Too bad, cause that’s the good stuff. Pam up your burner, throw on that sausage and cook. Pro-tip: you’re going to want to clear your schedule for this one, it’ll take a while.

8. Rice

Here’s what you need for this gem: 1. instant rice, 2. water, 3. 10 minutes. Toss it in the carafe, make sure the filter area is clear from coffee residue, and set it to brew.

10. Hard-boiled eggs

Toss a few eggs into your glass carafe. Brew and let sit for 10 to 12 minutes, then douse the eggs in cold water. So easy a baby seal could do it.

11. Broccoli

The basket at the top of the coffee maker is perfect for steaming broccoli, cauliflower, or any other vegetable you’re keen to steam. Throw it on top, set your coffee maker to brew the maximum amount of cups possible, and enjoy your steamed broccoli.

12. The best hot chocolate ever

Fill half your carafe with heavy cream and dump in an entire bag of chocolate chips. Brew two cups of water and let it sit, stirring occasionally. Share with friends or drink by alone. It tastes good either way!

Floridians Will Not Stop Eating Armadillos, and the Armadillos Are Giving Them Leprosy in Return

If you’re a nerd like me, you’re fully aware that only two animals can contract leprosy: Armadillos and humans. This is an excellent reason to stay away from armadillos, but Floridians apparently never got that memo.

Why, you might ask, are Floridians handling armadillos? Well, you know the old joke about how armadillos exist to give Texans something to eat on the half-shell? Nobody explained that was a joke to Florida’s population. We’re not kidding: Shooting and eating armadillos is, for some reason, common enough in Florida to become a public health problem.

Just to underline how bizarre and dumb this is, leprosy is incredibly hard to get. Ninety-five percent of humanity is naturally immune to it, thanks to dormant versions of the virus being effectively everywhere, and you can only get it through prolonged contact with somebody who has it. Even then, it’s an exceptionally slow virus; you can have it for decades before you show any symptoms. Similarly, armadillos are very shy and hard to trap, so it’s not like they’re up in our business.

The good news is that leprosy is currently very treatable with multi-drug therapy techniques. Now, the shame of gunning down an ugly-cute animal and eating it, there’s no treatment for that except shame. Work on exporting shame to Florida is ongoing, and we hope to have the first treatments soon.

What’s Inside Every Bottle of Sriracha? Take A Look!

Sriracha hot sauce produces 3,000 bottles an hour, 24 hours a day, six days a week, selling 20 million bottles a year. Yet nobody really knows what is actually inside the fiery bottle. Now, however, we do. The team over at WIRED broke down the ingredients and it turns out that each bottle offers a mix of different ingredients such as red jalapeños home-grown in Valencia, California to give it that extra kick, garlic to add aroma, sugar to soften the kick, salt which helps balance the taste, distilled vinegar to help activate sour taste receptors, and xanthan gum to “cling” to tofu, eggs or oatmeal.

Watch the video below and check out the full piece here.

Google Wants You to Buy Big Macs With Your Face

Google may have been the first big tech company to push NFC payments, but it was Apple Pay that got the public excited about buying things with your smartphone. At a Google I/O session for Android Pay, the search giant announced that it was partnering with McDonalds and Papa John’s Pizza to launch Hands Free, a payment system that looks suspiciously like the Pay with Square app (later called Square Wallet and discontinued). Customers walk in to a store and say, “I’d like to pay with Google,” and the cashier will see a photo of the customer and their name on their point-of-sale system. The service is initially launching in San Francisco in the coming months and those interested can sign up for the beta here. Details about the geofencing payment service are sparse, but it should use cards stored in the upcoming Android Pay.

[youtube id=”Qxet1VdpOQ4″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Ben & Jerry’s Is Using Its New Ice Cream Flavor To Talk About Climate Change

When we pull a pint of ice cream out of the freezer, we’re only thinking about one thing: eating our dessert! But, Ben & Jerry’s is trying to change all that with its latest flavor, dubbed Save Our Swirled.

Instead of just satisfying our sweet tooth, the new flavor is meant to spread the word about the brand’s climate change campaign (likewise called Save Our Swirled). “Ben & Jerry’s has committed to dramatically reducing our own carbon footprint in an effort to help keep warming below 2 degrees [celsius]. With the Paris climate summit approaching at the end of the year, we are asking our fans to join us in calling on leaders around the world to support the transition to 100% clean energy now,” explained Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim in a press release.

Ben & Jerry’s is hoping to convince ice cream eaters to sign a petition from Avaaz (an international organization that helped organize the People’s Climate March) that calls on world leaders to “transition to 100% clean energy.” The brand is promoting the cause at its scoop shops, with events, ice cream tours, and now with pints dedicated to the campaign.

In terms of the ice cream itself, we have to admit the flavor isn’t necessarily as exciting as Ben & Jerry’s last rollout (though, it’s pretty impossible to top cookie cores). It features raspberry ice cream, marshmallow and raspberry swirls, and chunks of white and dark chocolate fudge. Save Our Swirled is now available in scoop shops and on store shelves nationwide.

A Ben & Jerry’s rep tells us that, “The standard Ben & Jerry’s royalties from all sales of Save our Swirled will go to support our partners in the global climate movement.” And, maybe seeing Ben & Jerry’s latest flavor will convince us to think about more than just cookie cores next time we open the freezer for a snack.

Taco Bell And Pizza Hut Are Removing All Artificial Ingredients From Their Menus

Things are certainly changing for Taco Bell and the entire Yum Brands family. Gone are the days of cheap food you apparently buy while drunk and open to poor decisions. Now there’s quality breakfast, big name brand partnerships, and the prospect of alcohol sold on premises. It’s a fresh new era for Taco Bell, a sentiment that’s soon to be taken literally.

By the end of the year, all Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants will ditch artificial colors and flavors in their foods. This is a move to combat restaurants like Chipotle which recently ditched GMOs according to Candice Choi at the AP, forcing Yum Brands to rethink their strategy:

Instead of “black pepper flavor,” for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef, says Liz Matthews, the chain’s chief food innovation officer.

The Mexican-style chain also says the artificial dye Yellow No. 6 will be removed from its nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 will be removed from its avocado ranch dressing and carmine, a bright pigment, will be removed from its red tortilla strips.

Matthews said some of the new recipes are being tested in select markets and should be in stores nationally by the end of the year.

Now it should be noted that this new initiative doesn’t affect their brand partners, Doritos and Mountain Dew. It’s a bit hard to capture Cool Ranch and Fiery without cutting some corners (allegedly). But the AP report notes that “artificial colors, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil” will be out of Taco Bell food by the end of the year, with Pizza Hut following by the end of July and including the new ingredients on their official web site.

It’s always risky when a major chain breaks from their traditional recipes and attempts something new. We can’t forget the debacles of New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. A change in taste can throw off the entire operation, so we can only assume that Taco Bell isn’t making this decision lightly. The AP also notes that chains like McDonald’s and Subway are doing the same, so the change is part of a larger wave.

Check in at your local Taco Bell and see if they’re testing the changes. It’s your duty to warn the rest of us before it happens nationally. Good luck.

Science Has Determined The 4 Types Of People Most Prone To Overeating

We all have our vices. But in a world filled with Pinterest boards and foodie blogs, we can all attest to the fact that our love for food binds us together. But here’s the thing: too much of it can be bad for you — and psychologists have found that there are four types of people who are more likely to overeat.

According to a Swiss study, certain personality traits affect whether you’re more susceptible to tasty treats, like pizza and chocolate (the bad boys of the food pyramid — here are a few things you can eat instead).

Wondering where you fit? Well, here are four traits that are particularly affected:

1. Sensitive People

There is a reason why romantic comedies tend to begin using the “ice cream” cliché when their female protagonist is going through a break-up. The study found that emotional eating is definitely something that sensitive people are more likely to engage in.

2. Extroverts

You might assume introverts would be the ones to eat a lot. After all, you’re more inclined to go on a food bender if no one is wagging their finger at you, but this study says differently. It’s actually your extroverted counterpart who has been nominated for the “most likely to overeat” award. Why? Simply, because they tend to eat out more, leading to larger portions. Yeesh, sounds expensive.

3. Neurotic People

The same study found that people who are neurotic also fall victim to emotional eating, due to their instability. They’re also more likely to indulge in sweet and savory foods.

4. People Pleasers

If you’re the type of person who hates conflict, then you’re more likely to pile it “thanksgiving style” on your plate. Another study found that those who are “people pleasers” tend to eat more in company, in order to make others feel comfortable. After all, who wants to be the person going for the salad bar while everyone else is enjoying burgers and fries? Just saying.

Ben & Jerry’s Just Combined 2 Of Our All-Time Favorite Foods

We already know that Ben & Jerry’s would totally make weed ice cream, so it comes as no shock that the ice cream brand is rolling out a special menu item in celebration of 4/20. Its latest feat of frozen culinary genius combines two iconic stoner eats: ice cream and burritos.

Dubbed the BRRR-ito, the Ben & Jerry’s website describes the new treat as follows: “For times when no ordinary snack solution will do, we have created the ultimate answer.” The BRRR-ito features a waffle cone “tortilla,” which is filled with two ice cream scoops of your choosing. (Ben & Jerry’s was kind enough to make some suggestions, just in case things are a little hazy when it comes to decision-making on 4/20). Next, the ice cream is topped with chocolate cookie crumbles and a chocolate drizzle. Finally, the whole thing is rolled up into a sweet, sweet bundle of creamy goodness. BRRR-itos are coming to scoop shops near you starting on 4/20.

The Science of Bacon

Imagine rolling out of bed on a Saturday morning, shuffling into your kitchen, and tossing a few strips of streaky bacon into a skillet. After a few minutes, you’ll hear a delightful crackling and sizzling, soon followed by a complex and savory aroma that could lure even the most resolute of vegetarians to the kitchen. As time passes, you peek into the skillet and notice the bacon begin to brown and bubble. After an agonizing wait, the bacon has finally reached a desired color and crispness and is ready to be consumed. You eagerly bite into a strip of bacon and are met with a pleasantly smoky taste, crunch, and a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. Bacon is a delight to eat, but it’s even better when you understand the science of why it’s so delicious.

There are two major factors that can explain why bacon has such a devoted fan base, with the first and more obvious factor being its aroma. Scientists have identified over 150 compounds responsible for bacon’s distinctive smell. As bacon cooks, there are a couple of different things going on. The Maillard reaction, the browning that results when amino acids in the bacon react with reducing sugars present in bacon fat, produces several desirable flavor compounds. This same browning reaction is also what forms the darkened and crunchy exterior on a pretzel or provides a stout beer with its characteristic color and taste.

During this process, bacon fat also melts and degrades into flavor compounds of its own. The compounds produced from the Maillard reaction and from the thermal degradation of bacon fat combine to form even more aroma compounds. In one study, scientists used gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy and revealed many of these aroma compounds to be pyridines, pyrazines, and furans, which were also found in the aroma of a fried pork loin that was tested. Pyridines, pyrazines, and furans are known to impart meaty flavors, so what actually sets bacon apart from the fried pork loin is the presence of nitrites. Nitrites are introduced into bacon during the curing process and are believed to react with aroma compounds in such a way that dramatically increases the presence of other nitrogen-forming compounds, including those meaty pyridine and pyrazine molecules. Ultimately, we can thank the high presence of nitrogen compounds as well as the interplay of fat, protein, sugars, and heat for bacon’s savory and unique aroma [1].

Now imagine that you’re eating breakfast. You alternate between bites of fluffy pancake drenched in maple syrup and mouthfuls crispy bacon, and maybe you’ll also have a side of velvety scrambled eggs. Here, you have a variety of textures on your plate –which brings us to our next concept to explain why bacon is so revered—mouthfeel.

Mouthfeel is described as the physical sensations felt in the mouth when eating certain foods. Bacon delivers a crunchy contrast to the softer textures found in scrambled eggs or pancakes in a mouthfeel phenomenon known as dynamic contrast. The brain craves novelty, and sensory contrasts will often increase the amount of pleasure that the brain derives from food, which is why you can find bacon as a textural accompaniment in many classic, creative, or sometimes questionable combinations. In a strip of bacon, you’ll see that it consists of lean meat that is heavily marbled with fat. During the cooking process, fat renders off leaving behind a product that simultaneously crisps and melts in your mouth when consumed, a texture combination that is rivaled by few other foods.

The melt-in-your-mouth phenomenon of bacon illustrates another nuance of mouthfeel, which is vanishing caloric density. Vanishing caloric density can be blamed for why it’s so easy to mindlessly consume massive amounts of popcorn, cotton candy, or other foods that seem to melt in your mouth. Upon ingestion of these foods, it is believed that the brain is tricked into thinking that you’re eating fewer calories than you actually are. Foods with vanishing caloric density have low satiating power but high oral impact, so your brain urges you to consume more, as it finds them more rewarding [2].

Between its tantalizing aroma and its delectable mouthfeel, it’s no surprise why bacon mania has so aggressively swept the nation.

High-Fat Diet Alters Behavior and Produces Signs of Brain Inflammation

High-fat diets have long been known to increase the risk for medical problems, including heart disease and stroke, but there is growing concern that diets high in fat might also increase the risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

A new study published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry raises the possibility that a high-fat diet produces changes in health and behavior, in part, by changing the mix of bacteria in the gut, also known as the gut microbiome.

The human microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, many of which reside in the intestinal tract. These microbiota are essential for normal physiological functioning. However, research has suggested that alterations in the microbiome may underlie the host’s susceptibility to illness, including neuropsychiatric impairment.

This led researchers at Louisiana State University to test whether an obesity-related microbiome alters behavior and cognition even in the absence of obesity.

Non-obese adult mice were conventionally housed and maintained on a normal diet, but received a transplant of gut microbiota from donor mice that had been fed either a high-fat diet or control diet. The recipient mice were then evaluated for changes in behavior and cognition.

The animals who received the microbiota shaped by a high-fat diet showed multiple disruptions in behavior, including increased anxiety, impaired memory, and repetitive behaviors. Further, they showed many detrimental effects in the body, including increased intestinal permeability and markers of inflammation. Signs of inflammation in the brain were also evident and may have contributed to the behavioral changes.

“This paper suggests that high-fat diets impair brain health, in part, by disrupting the symbiotic relationship between humans and the microorganisms that occupy our gastrointestinal tracks,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.

Indeed, these findings provide evidence that diet-induced changes to the gut microbiome are sufficient to alter brain function even in the absence of obesity. This is consistent with prior research, which has established an association between numerous psychiatric conditions and gastrointestinal symptoms, but unfortunately, the mechanisms by which gut microbiota affect behavior are still not well understood.

Further research is necessary, but these findings suggest that the gut microbiome has the eventual potential to serve as a therapeutic target for neuropsychiatric disorders.