St. Louis: A "Soda" Land Bridge to "Pop" and "Coke" Country

Some people wear their allegiances on their chests.
A linguistic study out of North Carolina State went all kinds of viral last week. Perhaps you saw it clogging up your Facebook feed?

The study mapped out the different ways Americans refer to the same thing. For example, what do you call those little freshwater lobsters that live in creeks and streams? Crawdads, crayfish or crawfish? (St. Louisans, FWIW, tend to say the latter.)

The researchers also examined regional pronunciations. St. Louisans, for example, are somewhat an anomaly as we pronounce syrup as "sear-up" when most of the nation's pancake eaters like their "sir-up."

But where St. Louis most stood out in the study of dialects was in the great soda vs. pop debate. And here it wasn't even close.

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Supreme Court Rules 9-0 for Monsanto in Seed-Patent Case

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Soybeans ain't free, folks.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously this morning that an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto's patents on genetically modified "Roundup Ready" soybean seeds. The case, Bowman v. Monsanto, hinged on whether the farmer, Vernon Bowman, ought to pay Monsanto for seeds that he purchased from a grain elevator and planted for a late-season second harvest.

Those seeds, though marketed at the grain elevator as "commodity seeds" for human or animal consumption, ended up producing for Bowman the same sort of herbicide-resistant soybean crop as the Monsanto seeds that he had paid the St. Louis-based company to use in his first planting of the season. In total, Bowman harvested eight late-season crops with this technique.

(As a rule, Monsanto licenses its patented seeds to farmers for use in one and only one year. The following year, farmers cannot replant the previous year's seeds but must again license new seeds from Monsanto.)

In her opinion, Justice Elena Kagan told Bowman, in essence, "Nice try, but no."

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Black Market Caviar Ring Busted in Missouri; Investigation Snags 100+ Poachers

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Mo. Dept. of Conservation
Paddlefish caught during the undercover investigation.
A two-year investigation into illegal fishing and harvesting of paddlefish eggs in southwestern Missouri ended this week with citations and charges filed against more than 100 people. The suspects include eight men who face federal charges in connection with their alleged efforts to transport paddlefish "caviar" out of Missouri in violation of state and U.S. laws.

Authorities say tipsters first alerted them to suspicious activity along the Osage River near the town of Warsaw, known as the "Paddlefish Capital of the World."

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MOBot Scientists Discover Tasty (That Is, Non-Fishy) New Source of Omega-3's

courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden
The fruit and flower of Plukenetia huayllabambana, the wonder plant known as sacha inchi.
Omega-3 fatty acids, for some of us, are a mixed blessing. On one hand, they have insanely good health benefits: they reduce the risk of heart disease, they ease inflammation from arthritis and asthma and they may even help with depression, ADHD and Alzheimer's. On the other hand, for the longest time, the only way to get them has been from eating fish -- in particular, oily, fishy-tasting fish.

Recently, though, researchers from the Missouri Botanical Garden discovered that the seeds of Plukenetia huayllabambana, a plant that grows in northern Peru where it's known more familiarly as "Sacha Inchi" or "forest peanut" are also a reliable source of not just omega-3's, but their cousins omega-6 and omega-9.

And it tastes good! Well, at least according to Rainer Bussmann, who, along with his colleagues Ashley Glenn and Caroline Tellez, discovered the secret of Sacha Inchi during a series of lab experiments meant to uncover its nutritional properties.

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Missouri Chocolate Makers Patric and Askinosie Clean Up at Good Food Awards

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The Good Food Awards celebrate food that's good in all senses of the word: tasty and ethical and responsible. That is to say, food that's all natural, made by actual people who respect animals and the environment and the seasons and the culture of the people who produce it. It's food that costs a little bit more, but you'll feel good about yourself when you eat it. Or, at the very least, smug.

This year, two Missouri chocolate makers have earned the Good Food Award seal approval, bestowed last week in San Francisco: Springfield's Askinosie for its Dark Milk Chocolate + Fleur del Sel Bar and Columbia's Patric for its 67% Madagascar Bar, 75% Madagascar Bar and The In-NIB-itable.

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Heinz Heats Up the Holidays With New Jalapeño Ketchup

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Heinz Jalapeno Ketchup.
Heinz Ketchup is preparing for a spicy new year with its 2013 limited-edition release of Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Real Jalapeño: "The classic ketchup recipe blended with real jalapeño peppers [sic] for a fun, spicy twist." It retails for $2.49.

The jalapeño-flavored condiment is set to hit shelves in January 2013, but as a teaser, Heinz's Facebook page sold a few bottles between November 26 and December 7, in what it called the "12 Days of Jalapeño Ketchup."

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Hostess Hoarders: It's Late, But Not Too Late [Update: It's Not Late At All!]

Update: (Monday, November 19, 2:30) Is it a Thanksgiving week miracle for Twinkie addicts? CNBC reports that Hostess and its bakers' union have agreed to mediation, thus apparently avoiding the company's shutdown. Developing!

Here's the AP story on Hostess and the union entering mediation.


Ian Froeb
As you've no doubt heard from every news program/late-night talk-show host/relative, Hostess Brands is going out of business. So once the current stock of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and other Hostess staples is sold out, the products won't be available again for a long time -- maybe forever, in the case of some of the more obscure brands.

On Friday, Gut Check visited the Schnucks at 6920 Olive Boulevard in University City to see whether a run on Hostess products was underway.

To our surprise we found a display of individual packages of Twinkies, Ho Hos and other products on sale -- coincidentally, not because of the closure -- for 10/$10. That display is pictured above.

What did the display look like after the weekend? We returned this morning to find out.

See Also:
- "Vintage, Psychedelic Ads for Hostess Twinkies"
- "Hostess to Liquidate, Sell Brands"
- "R.I.P. St. Louis Hostess Plant; Most Delicious Field Trip EVER!"

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Hostess to Liquidate, Sell Brands

via Facebook
Earlier this week, Hostess Brands shuttered its St. Louis factory, crushing the field-trip dreams of countless area schoolkids.

Today, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and more announced that it's liquidating the whole damn company.

Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the beginning of this year. The company claims that a strike by its union employees forced the closure of select factories, including the one in St. Louis, and now the company.

See Also:
- "Vintage, Psychedelic Ads for Twinkies"
- "R.I.P. St. Louis Hostess Plant; Most Delicious Field Trip EVER!"

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5 National Restaurants Sticking to Anti "Obamacare" Policies

Image via
Notable plutocrat Charles Montgomery Burns.
Since President Barack Obama's reelection last week, several national restaurant chains and franchise owners have said they're sticking to anti-"Obamacare" threats made during campaign season. Many restaurants said that if the President was reelected they would enforce layoffs, restaurant closures or reduce staff hours to eliminate health benefits in reaction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

And some of those robber barons weren't crying wolf.

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Just As We Thought -- Wash. U. Students Dine in Splendor [Updated]

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Dinnertime at Wash. U.
Update: Alert reader Micah Herstand has informed us that we were mistaken in our reporting. Unlike many of the other institutions mentioned in the Daily Meal's rankings, Wash. U. does not have 24-hour dining.

He writes:

The Whispers Cafe space is open 24-hours, but they stop serving coffee and food at midnight or earlier. I'm guessing you don't count their run-of-the-mill vending machines as "24-hour dining". ;)

Wash U students, just like the rest of St. Louis, gotta trek over to Coffee Cartel for 3am cappuccinos.

Wash. U. students, you have Gut Check's heartfelt sympathy.


A long, long time ago, when Gut Check started college, well-meaning upperclassmen took us aside and passed along a few rumors we were sure were meant to scare us. Some we dismissed out of hand (these involved ghosts). Some remained a source of intrigue (the steam tunnels that ran beneath the campus). But one we clung to as absolute fact for the next four years:

Our school's food service specialized in institutions. It had nine levels of quality, ranging from prison food at number one to four-star hotel food at level nine. We students, it was rumored, were fed number two. We were eating food that was one step above prison food. And we had to pay for it!

We ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches during those years.

Just as we suspected, college students today are way luckier than we were. We refer, in particular, to those who attend Washington University. Their library has a snack bar with real coffee. (We got ours out of a machine.) Their student center has leather armchairs and chaise longues. Their mattresses, we hear, are TempurPedic.

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