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Starbucks' Tip Controversy

Starbucks' Tip Controversy


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A court decision has been made; Starbucks baristas must share tips with shift supervisors.

Order in the coffee shop! A lawsuit earlier this year revealed that the world’s biggest coffee chain, Starbucks, didn’t allow assistant managers to take tips because they are full-time employees. However, the counter-argument was that the assistant managers were the ones spending the most time serving up the drinks.

Well the results are in, and New York State’s highest court has come to the decision that the baristas must split the tips that they get with supervisors. According to the Associated Press, the seven-member Court of Appeals ruled that the shift supervisors will get an equal portion of the tips, but assistant managers can be excluded from the tip pools. They defended this statement with the idea that baristas and supervisor’s sole responsibility is to serve food and signature drinks, while assistant managers participate in hiring and firing workers.

“In this business, many staff members share all kinds of responsibilities, and now we have an understanding of who can participate in the tip poo,” said New York State Restaurant Association president Rick Sampson to AP.


Never-ending pasta becomes a never-ending problem for Olive Garden

Sometimes a great idea can be ruined by poor execution, and although plenty of people have been taught that lesson by Olive Garden's kitchen, it took a never-ending pasta promotion for Olive Garden to learn the lesson itself. The idea was a pretty good one: offer 1,000 never-ending pasta passes to the public for the ridiculously low price of $100. For those 1,000 lucky pasta lovers, they could eat all the pasta they wanted for seven weeks. Unfortunately when the sale was done (in under 45 minutes), there were 1,000 voices shouting for joy and considerably more shouting for blood. The problem arose when Olive Garden announced that the passes would be available on their website at 3 p.m. but the website was swamped and promptly crashed before the magic hour even arrived. It recovered in time for the sale to start, but for most people that involved watching the site crash again as they tried to complete the order.

According to an Olive Garden spokeswoman, the website received 500,000 visitors in the first 30 minutes. But since only 1,000 of them successfully guaranteed themselves seven weeks of unlimited regret, that leaves 499,000 customers successfully alienated in just 30 minutes. But not all the winners ran straight to a pasta-filled paradise: they went straight to Ebay. More than 50 were up for auction by the following day, with some bids getting close to $400.


It’s not just your taste buds the espresso in your drink could be bad.

An espresso shot is made up of three parts: the heart (the dark brown base), the body (the middle layer), and the crema (the creamy, beautiful foam topper that provides a bit of sweetness). Once a shot is pulled, or extracted from an espresso machine, it has 10 seconds before it expires. What does that mean? It means it takes around 10 seconds for the crema to sink into the body and heart, making the espresso taste insanely bitter. In the construction of espresso drinks, that’s avoided by immediately combining it with other ingredients, be it milk, water, or syrup, before it mixes.

So if you’ve ever taken a sip of your regular latte and felt like the taste was a bit off, there’s a chance you weren’t wrong.


‘American Idol’ contestant exits show amid controversy

A video circulated of Caleb Kennedy, 16, sitting next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.

A 16-year-old “American Idol” contestant has dropped out of the singing competition after a video circulated of him sitting next to someone wearing what appears to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Caleb Kennedy performs on the singing competition series “American Idol” in Los Angeles in an episode that aired Sunday. Eric McCandless/ABC via AP

Caleb Kennedy, advanced into the Top 5, apologized for the video on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday, saying “it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.”

Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told the Herald-Journal that the video was filmed when Kennedy was 12 and had been taken out of context. She said Kennedy had been imitating characters from the film “The Strangers: Prey at Night.”

“It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks. Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races,” Guy said.

In his post, Kennedy said: “I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse. I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down.”

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Starbucks Stands by Its Most Annoying Customers and Their Wild Custom Drinks

I like to think that when Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm wondered aloud about scientists being so preoccupied with what they “could” do that they never stopped to think what they “should” do, he was really talking about over-the-top Starbucks orders. Because nobody could have come up with some of these more elaborate of these drinks without years of semi-scientific and misguided experimentation.

In a now deleted tweet, a self-identified Starbucks barista, @projectjosiee, posted a photo of a drink he supposedly had to make at work. It was a venti Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino with a whopping 13 extra additions, including extra ice, five “banana,” and seven pumps of dark caramel sauce. He’s also been posting on TikTok about the drink going viral.

However, instead of discouraging people from making their barista’s lives a living hell, the tweet has inspired more people to order this exact drink, now dubbed the “Edward” for the name of its assumed inventor.

Our store has just been cursed a few minutes ago - I had the privilege of taking the order (thankfully not the privilege of MAKING it!)@ProjectJosiee , you have unleashed a torrent of Edwards upon the land! XD

Some have pointed out that ordering through the app encourages customers to go wild since no one has to face the shame of saying “please make sure it’s seven pumps of the dark caramel sauce, not six, because I am a special little boy who needs his seven pumps” to someone else’s face. But according to other Starbucks workers, there are plenty of customers who have no problem being this high maintenance in person.

you’d be surprised . a lady ordered this in person with a completely straight face pic.twitter.com/2OuTuN3Hti

— baby velociraptor (@tunafishpro) May 3, 2021

Of course tweets like these spark discourse over the nature of service work and what’s reasonable to order and expect. On one hand, you have people who say if they want to pay $15 for a drink with twenty extra additions, all of which are readily available and on offer at Starbucks, they should be able to do so. On the other, people note how off-menu-to-the-point-that-you’re-just-inventing-something drinks are a lot of extra work and time for those performing an already demanding job, and that these time-consuming orders are an inconvenience to other customers, as well.

Starbucks has sided with the former, saying that customized drinks is part of the Starbucks appeal. In a statement to Fox News, the company said, “Customizing beverages at Starbucks and our baristas’ expertise in helping customers find and craft the right beverage has and always will be the heart of the Starbucks Experience. There are many ways for customers to modify their favorite beverage at Starbucks and most customizations are reasonable requests from customers.” They stop short of whether saying what an unreasonable request might look like, but apparently the Edward isn’t it.

But mostly, I want to know how many times Edward had to order this particular beverage until he landed on this combination of 13 additions. Was four banana too little, and six banana too much banana? Why was single blended not enough? Isn’t the single pump of honey completely overwhelmed by. everything else? What is the sugar crash like?? I love academics.


Why Conservatives Hate Starbucks So Much

If you follow the sort of controversies that get airtime on Fox News, you’ve probably noticed that, again and again, one brand has been offending conservatives lately: Starbucks. There was the time Starbucks didn’t include explicitly Christian messaging on their holiday cups, and were lumped in with the secularists who are waging war on Christmas. There was the Race Together campaign, in which the brand launched and then scrapped an initiative to have baristas talk to customers about race. There was the time last year when a bunch of men told baristas to write “Trump” on their cups after a white guy claimed he was racially discriminated against at a Starbucks. And then there’s the fact that Starbucks founder Howard Schulz endorsed Hillary Clinton (and was floated as her possible Secretary of Labor).

The latest iteration of this trend came when Schulz announced that the company intends to hire 10,000 refugees over the next several years. Schulz’s statement came after Trump’s initial refugee ban, so conservatives viewed it as a direct attack. Starbucks should focus on America first and give jobs to military veterans, these people said, even though Starbucks has long had a program to do just that. Sketchy conservative sites ran with the story and said Starbucks was suffering because of it, even though there’s no solid evidence of any PR-related decline.

The number of people mad at Starbucks is probably never much larger than the number of people who are tweeting about being mad at Starbucks. But this perceived hatred is still enough to warrant a news story on some not-always-legitimate sites. Other sites pick up the story, and things soon snowball. Backlash to the controversy is followed by backlash to the backlash, and pretty soon Starbucks has to issue a statement saying, “Such backlash or declines are not substantiated in our own measurement of Starbucks brand health and consumer sentiment.” Which then gets written up, resulting in exponentially more coverage than a few tweets deserved.

It’s worth pointing out that not everyone is aware that Starbucks is supposed to be a liberal company. Friends who live in New York told me they associate the brand with tourists, sorority girls, and things they left behind in their conservative hometowns. And of course, the brand’s massive milkshakes are closer to traditional fast food fare than they are to coconut aminos or whatever it is liberals eat. In a way, Starbucks is the Lena Dunham of brands: hated by conservatives for being too liberal and mocked by the vanguard for being too mainstream. They really can’t win, save for the fact they’re unimaginably successful.

How did Starbucks become such an easy target in the culture wars? Of course, there is cafe culture’s long association with that most liberal of places, Europe. Starbucks may not look (or taste) anything like the quaint spots lining the streets of the continent, but its menu offers plenty of funny-sounding foreign words (imagine Hank Hill’s horrified reaction to Bobby ordering a venti mocha frappuccino). Then there’s the brand’s coastal pedigree. It was born in Seattle, expanded into many cities, and now has a presence in every suburb and mall around the country. To some conservatives, Starbucks is a force of liberal imperialism, invading their towns, misspelling their names, and suggesting they talk about diversity.

A cursory twitter search for “snowflake” and “latte” finds dozens of tweets conflating fancy coffee with “social justice warriors.” Similarly, #BoycottStarbucks brings up hundreds of tweets, mostly from right-wing accounts who are angry about the refugee hiring plan. I messaged an account named @moekamerow, who had posted an image macro of Middle Eastern men’s faces photoshopped onto the bodies of Starbucks employees with the text “Hello infidels how may we kill you today,” and the chain’s famous green logo altered to say “Starbombs Coffee,” and also a hand filling an iced coffee cup with liquid from a container marked “Poison.” Moshe, the man behind the account, told me that he’s endorsing the boycott because “Starbucks CEO wants to hire 10,000 Islamic refugees no thank you freedom of speech works both ways and on top of that Starbucks is horrible coffee unless you like burnt beans no thank you.” (He also told me he’s a “renaissance theologian samurai who would rather die than tell a lie.”)

One of the bigger names I saw active in the #boycottstarbucks tweets was alt-right superstar Mike Cernovich. “Starbucks is mediocre coffee, but as someone who enjoys long city walks, I am grateful for their clean restrooms,” he told me when I asked him for his thoughts on the controversies. “Starbucks plays left-wing politics and supports left-wing causes. They alienate their customer base.” When I asked him if he thinks it’s still possible for a company to just sell a product without alienating one side or another he said, “Taylor Swift plays it smart—stay out of politics. Note, however, that she caught a lot of drama for staying neutral.” Well, OK.

When reached for comment about why Starbucks has consistently drawn the ire of conservatives, the Starbucks PR team referred me to a statement by Howard Schulz at their most recent shareholders meeting: “If there is one message that I think I hope you came away with today, is that none of the things that we have tried to do as a company, which is based on humanity and compassion, is based on politics, but it&aposs based on principle and our core beliefs, which I have tried to really outline very specifically.” Which sounds fine, except what is politics except the real-world manifestation of principles and core beliefs?

Starbucks is not alone in taking heat from activists in recent months. Alt-right stunts like #TrumpCup and #BoycottStarbucks may be the most absurd iteration of this phenomenon, but New Balance, Nordstrom, Uber, Pepsi (whose Kendall Jenner ad managed to offend both the left [when it aired] and the right [when it was taken down]), and Red Bull are just some of the brands that have been criticized.

Keeping up with the controversies can be a bit tedious, but I think they’re pretty understandable reactions to our heightened political climate. When so many people believe we are living in political end times, and that the other side offers an existential threat to their way of life, it’s natural for shoppers to not want to give money to a company they feel is morally repugnant. “There is no ethical consumption under capitalism,” the meme goes, but surely some consumption is even less ethical? I𠆝 rather my money not support someone who actively attacks my core values, to borrow a phrase from Howard Schulz. At the same time, I don&apost really want to have to consider a CEO’s political views every time I go out for coffee.


The Drinks

At first, navigating the menu through a low-carb lens can be overwhelming. Many ingredients that you may not associate with net carbs can add a significant amount to your drink, such as milk, half and half, “sauces,” “syrups,” and whipped cream.

To make your trip to Starbucks as easy as possible, we recommend sticking to the following list of delicious keto-friendly Starbucks drinks. Below the graphic, you can find a more in-depth explanation behind each:

1. Skinny Mocha

A short (8 oz.) Caffe Mocha comes with 14 grams of net carbs (which is surprising until you find out that pure sugar comes before cocoa on the ingredient list).

Instead of passing on this incredibly comforting combination of coffee and chocolate, try ordering a skinny mocha with these simple alterations:

  • Use the skinny, sugar-free mocha sauce instead of their regular Mocha Sauce.
  • Skip the whipped cream and milk.
  • Use heavy cream and water if you want to replace the milk or add some extra fat.

Estimated nutrition info for an 8 oz. keto-friendly skinny mocha without heavy cream*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

2. Keto-Friendly Frappuccino

An icy cold frap is one of the most refreshing ways to get an energy boost at Starbucks, but the frappuccino syrup makes it more like a milkshake than a coffee drink.

To reduce the carbs in your frap, try this keto combo:

  • Start with a tall frappuccino cup
  • Fill to the bottom line with undiluted cold brew coffee
  • Fill to the middle line with heavy cream
  • Add 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla and sugar-free cinnamon dolce
  • Add a tall scoop of ice
  • Double blend to get the ideal taste
  • Optional: blend in 1-2 scoops of keto-friendly Starbucks protein powder if you want your drink to be more creamy or need help meeting your protein needs

Estimated nutrition info for a 12 oz keto frappuccino:

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 18g
  • Net carbs: 2.5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g for every scoop of Starbucks protein powder
  • Protein: 6 g for every scoop of Starbucks protein powder

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte, Keto Style

If you don’t have the time to make your own pumpkin spice latte at home, you can still go to Starbucks and get your fall flavor fix without kicking yourself out of ketosis.

  • Start with a grande iced coffee, no Classic syrup or flavored sauce
  • Skip the whipped cream and milk
  • Add 3 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Use half heavy cream and half water for a great creamy texture
  • Add pumpkin spice flavoring (you can do this yourself at the flavor bar)

It won’t come out tasting exactly like the traditional, sugar-filled pumpkin spice latte, but it will give you a lower-carb, keto-friendly option for when you are craving those comforting fall flavors.

Nutrition info for a 16 oz. Keto-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte (before the heavy cream)*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

4. Keto-Friendly London Fog

If your favorite drink is a London Fog, you can create it in a keto-friendly way at Starbucks — but don’t tell the baristas you’re ordering a London Fog.

Instead, your order will be something like this:

  • Start with Earl Grey tea
  • Add a pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Add a 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Nutrition Info for a 16 oz. Keto-friendly London Fog (before the heavy cream)*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

5. Keto-Friendly Pink Drink

You can transform this refreshing summer favorite into a low-carb drink that is both caffeine-free and sugar-free.

  • Order unsweetened Passion Tango iced tea without added sugar or water
  • Add heavy cream
  • Add 2-3 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup depending on your flavor preferences

Estimated nutrition info for Keto-friendly Pink Drink (without heavy cream)*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

6. Americano

An Americano is simply espresso and water, so as long as you skip the milk and sugar, you’ll have a keto-friendly drink that’ll boost your ketone levels.

The best thing about this drink is how easy it is to customize for keto. Here are some examples of how you can personalize your Americano:

  • Want some extra fat and flavor? Add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.
  • For some sweetness, add your own keto-friendly sweetener.
  • If you want an additional energy and ketosis boost, ask your barista to add an extra shot of espresso (Each shot has

Nutrition info for a 12 oz. Americano*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

7. Low-Carb Latte

A basic latte is a coffee combined with steamed milk. Surprisingly, even an 8 oz. latte will come with 10 grams of net carbs because of the milk.

To get the flavor you want without the carbs, replace the milk with half water and half heavy cream and ask the barista to whip it up until your keto latte has a beautiful foam on top.

Nutrition info for a 12 oz. Low-carb Latte (before the heavy cream is added)*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

8. Iced Coffee

Like standard coffee, iced coffee has only a minuscule amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbs. If you need more fat or flavor, add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream.

Nutrition info for 12 oz. unsweetened iced coffee:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.

9. Low-carb Caramel Macchiato

If you are looking for something warm and comforting with the right amount of sweet, then you’ll love this keto-approved version of the Caramel Macchiato.

Though you can order it as a “skinny Caramel Macchiato with almond milk and no caramel drizzle,” It will be difficult to control how many calories, carbs, and fat you’ll be getting with the almond milk. A grande may have 6-8 grams of carbs in it, while a tall can have up to 6.

For those of you who want a better idea of the macros in your drink, try ordering your caramel macchiato like this:

  • Short Americano with the espresso shots on top
  • Fill 3/4 water and 1/4 heavy whipping cream
  • 2 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup
  • Extra-light caramel drizzle

Keep in mind, however, that this Starbucks drink is going to be higher in carbs than the previous options, so make sure it fits within your carb limit for the day.

Estimated nutrition info for the low-carb caramel macchiato:

* To decrease the carb content by 1-3 grams, skip the caramel drizzle.

10. The Keto Horchata

There are many different types of Horchata found throughout the world, but the most flavorful is the traditional Mexican variety made with rice milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. This combination of flavors is so surprisingly tasty that it’s worth trying at least once.

Here’s how you can order a keto-friendly Horchata at Starbucks:

  • Ask for a Venti shaken iced white tea with no sugar
  • Add two to three pumps of sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce syrup
  • Finish it off with heavy cream and cinnamon powder

Estimated nutrition info for a 24 oz. keto horchata (before the heavy cream)*:

*For each tablespoon of heavy cream, add 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of net carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein.


15 Reasons You Need To Learn How To Cook, Seriously

We go through great lengths here at HuffPost Taste to discover the best recipes and newest cooking techniques for you guys to try at home. We are endlessly searching for dishes that will pique our readers interest, without ever stopping to ask ourselves a fundamental question: how many of you out there actually cook (and how many of you are just in it for the food porn)?

While it's one thing to be able to whip up a four-course meal at a moments notice -- that's a skill we don't expect from anyone but the best of chefs -- we do hope that everyone one of you can at least make a decent pot of soup, a nice bowl of pasta and a solid batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch. Knowing how to do these very basic kitchen tasks will make your life so much better, for so many different reasons -- about 15 of them to be exact.

If you've been meaning to test out your stove for the first time, but have been procrastinating for no good reason, read on and you might find just the inspiration you need to finally do so. You'll probably also learn that cooking can be pretty fun too.

Behold, the 15 ways learning how to cook will make your life even better:


'Stop this madness': NYT angers Italians with 'smoky tomato carbonara' recipe

The New York Times has cooked up a controversy in Italy after tinkering with the recipe for the classic Roman dish pasta carbonara.

Called “Smoky Tomato Carbonara”, the recipe, by Kay Chun, was published by NYT Cooking. To be fair to Chun, she did preface her version of the recipe by saying that “tomatoes are not traditional in carbonara, but they lend a bright tang to the dish”.

But it wasn’t just the tomatoes: the recipe replaced guanciale with bacon, “since it’s widely available and lends a nice smoky note”, and used parmesan cheese instead of pecorino.

The indignation began among passionate foodies on social media – “This isn’t remotely close to being a carbonara. Stop this madness,” wrote one – before attracting the ire of top Italian chefs and the farmers’ association Coldiretti, which described “Smoky Tomato Carbonara” as the “tip of the iceberg” in the “falsification” of traditional Italian dishes.

This isn’t the first time an interpretation of an Italian recipe has sparked outrage, with foreigners often mocked for adding pineapple to pizza or chicken to pasta. But that the recipe was published by the NYT came as a shock.

“I follow the NYT on Instagram and thought it was a fake,” Alessandro Pipero, a chef in Rome known as “the carbonara king”, told Corriere della Sera. “It would be like putting salami in a cappuccino or mortadella in sushi. OK, fine, but then let’s not call it sushi, similarly with this one – carbonara with tomato is not carbonara. It’s something else.”

Coldiretti was sterner in its reaction. “The real risk,” the association said in a statement, “is that a fake ‘made in Italy’ dish takes root in international cooking, removing the authentic dish from the market space, and trivialising our local specialities which originate from unique techniques and territories.”

Coldiretti added that pasta carbonara was one of the most “betrayed” Italian recipes abroad. But the association is keeping track of plenty of others.

“Caprese is served with industrial cheese instead of mozzarella di bufala or fior di latte, while there are also cases of pasta with pesto served with almonds, walnuts or pistachios instead of pine nuts.”

The NYT also triggered outrage in the UK in 2018 after publishing a recipe in which it described the yorkshire pudding, a roast dinner staple, as a “large, fluffy pancake” that was excellent for “breakfast, brunch, lunch and dessert any time of the year”.



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