Happy final Monday of 2015. Christmas, Boxing Day, and Hanukkah are behind us, so the last remaining celebration of the year approaches. This New Year's Eve, go extra trendy and consider sabering that bottle of Champagne with a rifle, or an iPhone. On second thought, don't.
Catch up on the weekend's top stories instead, including a strong vote in favor of raising the federal minimum wage, the passing of a legendary culinary anthropologist, a new shape for a familiar cracker, and what chains in Times Square are charging for dinner and drinks on New Year's Eve.
The NYT Editorial Board Supports a $15 Federal Minimum Wage
This past weekend the New York Times' editorial board came out in support of a federal minimum wage increase to $15. This is more than double the current federal minimum, last raised in 2009, of $7.25 per hour. Restaurant employees are one of the largest groups possibly affected by such a wage hike, which is why Eater has been tracking the changes and city- and state-specific hikes over the past year. As the Times notes, "Minimum-wage raises are examples of states and cities leading in the absence of leadership by Congress... [they] are also potent shapers of public perception. It was only three years ago that a walkout by 200 or so fast-food workers in New York City began the Fight for $15, now a nationwide effort to raise pay and support unions... $15 an hour has gone from a slogan to a benchmark."
Image credit: Progress Illinois
Sidney Mintz Has Died
One of the world's foremost food historians, Sidney Mintz, has died at the age of 93. An anthropologist by training (and a research professor at Johns Hopkins until his death), Mintz's work paved the way for modern food study. Over decades of research and field study he documented a profound understanding of the ways in which one of the world's most prized commodities — sugar — held answers to humankind's past, present, and future. Mintz looked beyond biology and nutrition: Sugar's power extends into geo-political, psychological, economic, and racial divides. His Sweetness and Power is a must-read for any self-professed "foodie."
Image credit: Sidney Mintz/Official
Wheat Thins Just Got Thinner
Wheat Thins, a popular dinner party cracker introduced in 1947, have remained virtually unchanged since they first hit supermarket aisles. But a new limited edition of the product recently hit stores: Wheat Thins that are 14 percent thinner. Mondelēz, the manufacturer, told Buzzfeed, the new thinner Thin is "a real boost to snackability." Note that the same manufacturer was behind the new Oreo Thins, a controversial new cookie meant not to compete with diet cookies, but to appear elegant enough to go with a glass of whiskey.
Image credit: Wheat Thins
Here Is Gordon Ramsay and Family Dressed in the Same Christmas Onsie
How Much Would You Pay to Dine in Times Square on New Years' Eve?
Hopefully you aren't going anywhere near Times Square this weekend, but for those brave souls that plan to watch the ball drop in person, restaurants in the area are hiking prices to keep up with overflowing demand. The New York Post reports that the Olive Garden in Times' Square (which has 3 stars on Yelp) is charging diners $400 a pop on NYE. (Here's the view from the second floor.) Bucca di Beppo, the Olive Garden's Italian chain competition, wants to attract couples with a deal on dinner and booze for two for $1,000. The price to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp, which offers partial views of the scene as the ball drops at midnight, is $799 per person.
Image credit: Wikipedia