Amuse Bouche’

by Brian Clarey

This month the Big Mac, McDonald’s most famous burger, turns 40. According to our friend Wikipedia it was created in 1967 by McDonald’s franchisee Jim Delligatti. The entry goes on to say that the hamburger was made famous by a jingle listing its ingredients (which many of you probably don’t remember); that an entity known as the Big Mac Index, listing the burger’s price in different locations, is used to make relative the cost of living in different areas; and that in 2005 the fast-food restaurant chain began offering hip-hop stars five bucks to name-check the burger in their raps. Journalists, by the way, have no such luck.

What the site doesn’t mention is that the Big Mac spawned thousands of “special sauce” jokes. That’s what I’m here for.

Also on the fast-food front, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who made his money with Denny’s and Hardee’s, has gotten back into the game, so to speak, with the acquisition of a controlling stake in Bojangle’s fried chicken restaurants. Richardson is also known for catching the game-winning pass from Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas to defeat the New York Giants in the NFL Championship Game in the pre-Super Bowl year of 1959.

Firehouse Subs has removed all trans-fat from their menu, making their food more healthy sure, but taking it one step further from actual firehouse cuisine.

And Sprite is marketing a new product in Europe – a can of soda that comes half-frozen out of a special vending machine.

Locally things are going slushingly, as well.

Cincy’s, the lunch joint that brought Cincinnati-style chili to Greensboro, celebrates its 20th year on Friday with a sidewalk celebration starting at 11 a.m. and special dinner hours starting at 5 p.m. Cincinnati chili is actually a bastardization of the form, created by a Macedonian in 1920, and uses Eastern spices like cloves and cinnamon to achieve heat and complex flavor. And it is generally served over a bed of spaghetti, which is genius. Try it five-way, with spaghetti, beans, cheese and onions. And don’t forget the garlic bread.

Earth Fare will hold two installments of its culinary series this week. On Wednesday experience the “last taste of summer” with a lesson in vegetarian linguini with carrot ribbons and lemon ginger butter at noon. Then on Friday at 7 p.m. Earth Fare will host a marinara sauce clinic for people with too many tomatoes on their hands.

And our friends at the Press Wine Café will hold a beer tasting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. This sampling will focus on beers from the East Coast. Call 336.333.3190 for reservations or more information.

E-mail your food and drink information to Brian Clarey at