Bluff The Listener
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Peter Grosz, Alonzo Bodden and Helen Hong. And here again is your host, a man who saw his shadow this morning, meaning six more weeks of quarantine, Peter Sagal.
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PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.
Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MELISSA: Hi. This is Melissa from Ithaca, N.Y.
SAGAL: Ithaca - it's quite beautiful there. Do you get outside a lot?
MELISSA: I do. I try to go running and walking and biking when I can. We still had snow in the month of May, but now it's all melted, and we're able to get out.
SAGAL: Well, Melissa, welcome to our show. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Melissa's topic?
KURITS: Fruits, vegetables and beyond.
SAGAL: People are always finding new things to eat in the name of wellness - kale, flax seeds, hydroxychloroquine. This week, our panelists are going to tell you about a new healthy eating trend. Pick the real one, you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAITer of your choice on your voicemail. Are you ready to play, Melissa?
MELISSA: I am.
SAGAL: All right. First up, it's Peter Grosz.
PETER GROSZ: Nine-year-old Brian Butler (ph) of Chiefsburg (ph), N.Y., loves his Oreos. Every day after lunch, he eats two of the iconic sandwich cookies and washes them down with a glass of milk. He used to pack them in his Pokemon lunchbox to bring them to school, but like so many other kids, he's eating his lunch at home these days. And because he's not distracted by food fights or fending off offers to trade his cookies for yogurt - yuck, no way - Brian noticed something different about the flavor of his beloved Oreos.
I couldn't tell exactly what it was, little Brian told the Putnam County Register (ph), but something was weird. They tasted healthy or something. A quick scan of the ingredient list by Brian revealed an item other than the familiar high-fructose corn syrup, cocoa and soy lecithin. It was kale extract. Brian was right. They were healthy or something.
Since early February, Nabisco, the company that makes Oreos and dozens of other snacks, had been secretly adding various healthy ingredients to many of their most popular treats. They put tiny amounts of kombucha in their Mallomars. They put probiotics in Lorna Doones, chia seeds in Chips Ahoy, even CBD oil in Ritz.
Nabisco head of PR Justin Lidowitz (ph) explains. Our plan was to roll out an ad campaign next week saying, what if your favorite snacks were healthier? Well, they are, and you didn't even notice. Then this little shh (ph) - I mean, this adorable child ruined our plan.
HELEN HONG: (Laughter).
GROSZ: For his part, Brian is not deterred and is suing Nabisco on the grounds of, quote, "flavor malpractice." The amount of the suit - well, I estimated I ate two cookies a day for a month, says Brian. That's 60 cookies, which is about two packages at about $3 a package. That's $6 for the weird cookies I had to eat and $10 million for emotional distress.
GROSZ: My mommy is a lawyer, and she said I should go for the throat.
SAGAL: A kid's suing Nabisco because of their secretly healthy Oreos. Your next story of a healthy food fad comes from Helen Hong.
HONG: There are plenty of ways that restaurants are now encouraging social distancing. Some are seating every other table. Others are setting up dividers. And some are giving their customers an unbearable stench. Yes, Burger King locations in Italy are making their patrons literally reek with their new Social Distancing Whopper, which is just like a regular Whopper but with three times the raw onions. The pungent new menu item is meant to make customers' breath so offensive that it naturally keeps others at least six feet away.
Oh, I have a very bad feeling. It's probably going to taste very bad, said Sam E. Goldberg, an American who videotaped himself taste-testing the suffocatingly (ph) potent new Whopper. Struggling with the burger, which was spilling out its excess onion slices, Mr. Goldberg took a bite and promptly started tearing up.
That is the most pungent taste I've ever had in my life, he struggled to say between bites. My eyes are tearing. My throat hurts. I don't think Italy is ever going to have another problem with social distancing. Later, he added, the smell of the onions was enough to keep me away from me. In my opinion, the Social Distancing Whopper is a success - to which every Korean who has ever enjoyed kimchi scoffed, psh (ph), amateurs.
SAGAL: A burger in a Burger King in Italy so pungent it will keep people six feet away from you, thereby keeping you safe from infection. Your last story of a health nut comes from Alonzo Bodden.
ALONZO BODDEN: Denver resident Larry Miller (ph) likes his edibles. He just doesn't like eating them. A triathlete/backcountry skier/MMA fighter, Larry cares deeply about what he puts into his body, or as he likes to call it, his instrument. Quote, "Why does it always have to be cookies or brownies or candies? Can't a man get high while maintaining optimum digestive health?" He says that's what he was thinking when the idea came to him - High Fiber - that is, nutritious vegan treats with loads of natural fiber and a guaranteed minimum hundred milligrams of THC.
BODDEN: His first two flavors, purple flax and faro express, sold out quickly at the local dispensary, although not always to health nuts. One early adopter, Lee Stanton (ph), said he didn't care about getting in shape. He just wanted to tell his mom the edibles were healthy. Almost immediately, there was a problem. You combine a high dose of natural fiber and the munchies, and pretty soon, people were enjoying their inner journeys sitting in a very small, enclosed space trying to part ways with an entire bag of Doritos.
Being potheads, though, the consumers found it funny. Eating a high-fiber bar followed by whatever the local convenience store had for dessert became a game to them. Mr. Miller, though, was not deterred. If people ate sub-optimally after a high-fiber bar, well, he could fix that. He started producing entire prepared multicourse meals of nutritious vegan food without telling the customers into which dish he had hidden the THC.
Pretty soon, Denver potheads were reporting weight loss, increased energy and a new enthusiasm for kale. Larry now sells his complete premade meals with the new name High and Higher Fiber.
SAGAL: All right, then. One of these stories is true. Is it from Peter Grosz, the fact that Nabisco has been secretly making their tasty cookies and cakes healthier, hoping to surprise us with that later on; from Helen Hong, Burger Kings in Italy serving sandwiches so pungent that once you eat them, no one will come within six feet of you, keeping you safe from coronavirus; or from Alonzo Bodden, an entrepreneur coming up with pot snacks that are actually healthy for you? Which of these is the real story of a health food in the news?
MELISSA: I'm going to go with Helen's story.
SAGAL: You're going to go with Helen's story of the Burger Kings in Italy serving sandwiches with so many onions that people stay away from you, keeping you socially distanced.
SAGAL: All right, then. Well, here is somebody who actually tried this particular health food.
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SAM E GOLDBERG: They're hoping because they have to eat this burger, you're going to have such terrible breath that people will not want to come near you.
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SAGAL: That was actual audio of a man named Sam E. Goldberg trying the Social Distancing Whopper. That's from his YouTube channel, Respect The Chain. Congratulations, Melissa. You got it right. You earned a point for Helen.
HONG: Woohoo (ph).
SAGAL: You've won our prize, the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations.
MELISSA: Thank you so much. Thanks, everybody.
(SOUNDBITE OF BOOKER T AND THE MGS' "GREEN ONIONS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.