Happy Monday, and a happy belated birthday to a fast food giant: Yesterday marks 76 years since the original McDonald's opened in San Bernadino, California. It bore little resemblance to the McNugget slinger we know today, however — the first McD's actually began its life as a barbecue stand, and the creepy, 70-ingredient McRib was definitely not on the menu.
In other food news today:
— Amazon has already invaded the grocery and restaurant food delivery sphere — and soon, will start slinging Blue Apron-style meal kits — so of course it's releasing its own brand of packaged foods. In the coming weeks the retail kingpin will reportedly begin launching a number of house brands selling everything from nuts and other snacks to tea and cooking oils; they'll apparently only be available to Prime members, however.
— Some restaurants — including national chain Joe's Crab Shack — are putting an end to their no-tipping experiments. NPR talks to San Francisco restaurateur Thad Vogler (Bar Agricole, Trou Normand) about why his restaurants recently reinstated tipping. While the kitchen staff was pleased to see a pay bump, servers took a small pay cut and many left to work at other restaurants where the traditional tipping system was still in place. Looking back, Vogler says he would have raised prices considerably more to ensure the staff was adequately compensated.
— Starbucks' mini Frappuccino is making a comeback: The 10-ounce size that first launched last summer will return to stores "for a limited time" starting today. Available in every variety including that new waffle cone flavor, it's only two ounces smaller than a tall — but hey, whatever makes you feel better about drinking a glorified milkshake for breakfast.
— Attention, cheese enthusiasts: The Italian food congress known as Le Strade della Mozzarella (or LSDM) is headed to New York this week for two days of chef presentations and tastings. Tuesday will be dedicated to events featuring prized buffalo mozzarella, while Wednesday will feature a number of Italy's master pizzaioli showcasing the traditional margherita pizza. Scope out a schedule of events this way.