The Creepy Language Tricks Taco Bell Uses to Fool People Into Eating There


What can you tell about a restaurant from its menu? A lot more than what’s cooking. That’s what linguist

Taco Bell

 Jurafsky, a professor of linguistics at Stanford, looked at hundreds of examples of food language—from menus to marketing materials to restaurant reviews. Along the way, he uncovered some fascinating patterns. For example: In naming foods, he explains, marketers often appeal to the associations that we already have with certain sounds. Crackers and other crispy foods tend to have names with short, front-of-the-mouth vowels (Ritz, Cheez-Its, Triscuits), while rich and heavy foods have longer vowels that we form in the back of our mouth (Rocky Road, Jamoca Almond Fudge). He also describes the shared linguistic heritage of some of the most common food words. Take salad, sauce, slaw, and salsa: All come from the Latin word sal, meaning “salted.”

But it’s Jurafsky’s menu analysis that really stands out. Where most of us see simply a list of dishes, Jurafsky identifies subtle indicators of the image that a restaurant is trying to project—and which customers it wants to lure in. I asked Jurafsky to examine the menus of Taco Bell and its new upscale spinoff, US Taco Co., whose first location just opened in Southern California.

We started with Taco Bell’s breakfast menu. Of course, everyone knows that the Tex-Mex fast food chain isn’t exactly fine dining, but Jurafsky pointed to some hidden hallmarks of down-market eateries’ menus.

The first thing that Jurafsky noticed about Taco Bell’s menu was its size: There are dozens, if not hundreds of items. “The very, very fancy restaurants, many of them have no menu at all,” Jurafsky says. “The waiter tells you what you’re going to eat, kind of. If you want, they’ll email you a menu if you really want it.”

Next, Jurafsky picked up on descriptors. “So there’s all of those adjectives and participles,” he says. “‘Fluffy. ‘Seasoned.'” That’s one thing that’s common on cheaper restaurant menus—as if the restaurant feels the need to try and convince its diners of the quality of the food. A fancier restaurant, he explains, would take it as a given that the diner expects the eggs to be fluffy and the pico de gallo to be freshly prepared.

“Notice the word ‘flavorful,’” Jurafsky says. “The cheapest restaurants use these vague, positive adjectives. ‘Delicious.’ ‘Tasty.’ ‘Scrumptious.’ Wonderful. Again, more expensive restaurants take all that as a given.”

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These Disturbing Fast Food Truths Will Make You Reconsider Your Lunch – By Renee JacquesPosted: 11/20/2013 1:31 pm EST | Updated: 11/22/2013 1:56 pm EST


McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell — which one are you craving today? It’s pretty likely that you have a favorite fast food chain and that you love many of the tasty options offered at these restaurants. It’s hard to miss them. As of 2012, there were 263,944 fast food restaurants in America with a combined revenue of well over $100 billion.

With a Gallup poll revealing that 8 in 10 Americans eat fast food at least monthly and half saying they eat it weekly, these companies know they have a good thing going. And with all the savvy marketing they do, it’s no wonder you’re itching for that Big Mac. But before you scarf one down, you might want to truly evaluate what’s going on with your fast food. Here are some truths that may make you wonder if you still want to go to there for lunch.

Look at this delicious egg sandwich from Subway:

subway

Too bad you’re eating a lot more than just eggs:

Subway Breakfast B.M.T.

David DiSalvo, a writer at Forbes, decided to really look into the eggs in popular fast food breakfast sandwiches. What he discovered was that their “eggs” are really a strange concoction that includes eggs and “premium egg blend.” Some things that are in this special blend include glycerin, a solvent found in soap and shaving cream, dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone that can also be found in Silly Putty, and calcium silicate, a sealant used on roofs and concrete. The age of just cracking an egg and cooking it has long since passed.
Here’s what you get when you order McNuggets:.

mcnuggets

But this is what they may have looked like before:

chicken

“Mechanically-separated meat” is a mixture created when the bones and carcass of a leftover chicken are mixed together in a food processor. There’s been a lot of back and forth about what that lovely pinkish sludge actually looks like, but chef Jamie Oliver decided to create a chicken mixture, shown above, to show what it might theoretically look like. This slime is then molded into a nugget shape, breaded and fried. Reddit user “Dfunkatron,” who claimed to be a former McDonald’s employee, told a horrifying story about his workplace:

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/fast-food-truths_n_4296243.html