Happy Tuesday and also happy James Beard Awards nominations day! In other vital food news today: Starbucks has a new super limited-edition beverage; chemists have figured out what gives Parmesan cheese its distinctive flavor; McDonald's workers are not so keen on all-day breakfast, and now's your chance to own a piece of Parisian fine-dining history.
— Attention Starbucks fiends: The chain just unveiled a new seasonal Frappuccino flavor. The spring-inspired Cherry Blossom Frapp "is a blend of sweet strawberries and cream with white chocolate sauce and matcha drizzle, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha." Similar drinks have been available in Japan for years, but this is the first time such a beverage has been offered in the U.S.; get it now through March 20.
— Why is Parmesan cheese so delicious? A duo of German chemists say they've figured out exactly that by identifying the compounds that give Parm its signature flavor, creating a "molecular blueprint." A USDA chemist says the new information "could be used to engineer food that tastes the same as the genuine product," so perhaps going forward we'll all have to be extra-viligant to ensure our Parmesan is really cheese and not wood pulp.
— McDonald's customers — and therefore, its stockholders — are loving all-day breakfast, but employees apparently feel differently. McDonald's workers in Australia took to Reddit to voice their feelings on the all-day breakfast process, and the general sentiment seems to be that it's a huge pain: "I wish [McDonald's] would just go back to cheap and simple stuff," writes one worker. "Always changing the menu and trying to be 'a little bit fancy' just means its harder to make sure there are trained people in the kitchen. Turnover for the past few years has been crazy because who the fuck wants to work for shit pay and then expect to pull miracles out of their ass and still get shouted at."
— Paris's famed fine dining icon Tour d'Argent, which dates back to the 16th century and is even featured in the Pixar film Ratatouille, will auction off cookware, furniture, and tableware in May as it looks ahead to reinventing itself for the 21st century. Check out the catalog of what will be auctioned, including a silver duck press for the low, low price of approximately $5,000. A nominal fee to own a piece of culinary history, no?
— Actress and E! News host Maria Menounos is hopping on the cookbook train. Here she is on Jimmy Kimmel Live! talking about the soon-to-be-released book, The EveryGirl's Guide to Cooking, which she says was written with the help of her mother, who's a former cafeteria cook.