The Kojima Game That Made You Play In The Sun

Hideo Kojima is famous for being the driving force behind stuff like Metal Gear and Snatcher. But today, we’re going to talk about another of his games: Boktai, a quirky little Game Boy Advance title that asked the player to go outside and get some sun.

While that sounds…odd, it was for a very good reason: not only was Boktai the story of a vampire hunter who was more powerful during the daylight hours, but to ensure that these powers were properly timed, the game’s cartridge included a daylight sensor at the top.

The sensor is that little round thing, which would be able to detech sunlight since the GBA’s design meant the end of the cartridge was always protruding | Image: National Museum Of Play

When you first fire up the game, you get this helpful message:

You were then asked to input the time and your timezone, and Boktai would adjust to your location and match the daylight in the game accordingly (so if it was midday outside it’d be midday in the game).

“I wanted to create a game that involved sunlight, and with the Game Boy Advance you can carry it outside, and there are no other games that involve sunlight” Kojima, who designed the game, told IGN in an old TGS interview. “And I love the theme of Dracula and vampires, I’ve always wanted to come up with a game that players can fight vampires. It was a lot of different ideas that came together, and I thought, why don’t I create a game that involves fighting vampires with sunlight?”

Having come up with a game design idea, Kojima then had to find some hardware that could get the job done. “But I didn’t know if it was technically possible, and I didn’t know how much it would be if I could do this because it might be too expensive with the GBA ROM and having a specialized cartridge”, he explains of the solar sensor’s creation. “There’s a division within Konami that makes specialized toys that have odor sensors and humidity sensors, and they’re pretty cheap. And when I was creating Metal Gear Solid 2, I asked them if it was possible to come up with a solar sensor. And when I knew that it was possible, that’s when I said, ‘We’re going to do this.’”

Which sounds like a completely unique and fascinating way to design a video game, and it was! But the game’s quirks overestimated players’ willingness to tailor their playtime to the need to go outside and underestimated a fundamental hardware flaw: Boktai asked you to be outdoors, but the Game Boy Advance’s screen (the improved SP was available by now, but loads of people still had the older system) made playing outside a massive pain in the ass eyes.

When you did play outside, you could store sunlight in batteries, which would allow you to play for a certain amount of time in the dark. When they ran out, many situations could still be overcome by collecting in-game resources. Oh, and players soon found that you could sometimes get enough sunlight by sitting next to a window or on a porch if you had the right conditions.

But while you could postpone the fact, you couldn’t escape it: eventually you had to play this game outside, especially since it was a requirement for overcoming Boktai’s boss battles. And for many players this was just too much of a hassle.

Boktai reviewed fairly well, and while its annoyances have become more famous than the game itself, it did well enough that a sequel was released in 2004. The sequel made some changes to the basic formula—swapping out a gun for melee weapons—but not to the core one, as it still included a daylight sensor and still made you go outside at certain points. Kojima, who designed the first game, was not involved in Boktai 2’s development.

Boktai 2 didn’t do nearly as well in the West, and so when a third game was made in 2005 (again featuring a sunlight sensor in the cartridge, and again sans Kojima), it was released only in Japan.

When the craze surrounding Pokemon Go last year was at its peak, I sometimes thought of Boktai and how in 2003 its need for outdoors play was received by many as something between a joke and a chore. And sure, the main reasons for Pokemon Go’s success weren’t just its “go outside”design, but its GPS tracking and the fact it was based on a series that millions of people grew up with, and not a weird little video game made by Konami. But still…it’s worth wondering what could have become of Boktai if Kojima had come up with the idea now instead of 15 years ago…

 

 

 

 

15 Iftar meals that keep you satiated and healthy

1. A healthy Ramzan!

Ramadan is a beautiful month that teaches you the best lesson of life-a balance between abstinence and indulgence. Fasting through the day without a single drop of water and then thanking Allah and breaking the bread is the lovely tradition that makes this holy month special. But with increase in lifestyle diseases in the past decade, it is important to eat healthy after a day long fast. Nutritionists suggest that the Iftaar should be a healthy mix of greens, proteins and carbs so that you remain satiated for long and also your body gets the required amount of nutrition for proper recovery. Here is a list of recipes that will keep you filled through the day and also prevent adding those unwanted kilos.

2. Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves

Steamed Fish in Banana Leaves is a South Indian recipe made using pomfret fish, banana leaves, coconut and lemon juice. It is easy-to-make, delicious and perfect for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and parties. This delicious seafood recipe is sure to be loved by all fish lovers. Apart from being tasty, it is packed with nutritional values too. This fish recipe uses coconut which adds a unique taste and aroma to the dish. The strong flavour of garlic is sure to enhance the overall taste. Make sure that the fish is marinated properly so that the flavours are well absorbed. You can prepare this easy recipe on occasions like family get-togethers, pot lucks or even kitty parties.

3. Grilled Lamb Cutlets

Grilled Lamb Cutlet is a North Indian recipe made with lamb, thyme leaves and garam masala powder. This appetizer recipe is ideal to serve on occasions like dinners. If you love lamb meat, but want to cut down on calories, this super easy recipe is a must try for you. You can serve it in parties as a starter or pack it in lunch boxes. Kids in the family are going to love this delicious cutlet.

4. Grilled Fish with Saute Veggies

Grilled Fish with Saute Veggies is a Continental recipe made from grilled fish and beans served with saute vegetables like asparagus, carrot and tomatoes. It is easy-to-make, delicious and perfect for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and parties.

5. Tandoori Coconut Chicken

Tandoori Coconut Chicken is an interesting appetizer recipe made using chicken breast, lime juice, coconut cream and a lot of spices. Easy-to-make, this flavorful and delicious chicken recipe can be had in lunch/dinner.

6. Garlic Grilled Lemon Chicken

Garlic Grilled Lemon Chicken is originally a Thai recipe that you can tweak as per your taste. The tang of lemon gives this chicken recipe a unique taste. Do try out this healthy recipe. It is particularly a must try for those who love chicken and want to make it in a healthy way. Pair it with the drink of your choice and enjoy!

7. Fish Iranian

Iranian Fish is a low-calorie preparation that you can try guilt-free. This fish recipe uses very few ingredients that are easily available in your kitchen. Since the fish is grilled and not deep fried or sauteed, it uses very little amount of fat. Fish being rich in Omega 3 fatty acids is one of the healthiest forms of animal protein. Rich in minerals and vitamins, you can happily have fish daily if you cook it the healthy way. In this quick recipe, boneless pieces of fish or fish fillets are marinated in cheese, salt, pepper, thymol seeds and are then grilled on low flame till a fine crust develops. You must use vegetable oil in this recipe so that the basic taste of fish is not dominated. Try out this delectable snack recipe as a starter in home parties or as a side dish with a continental meal.

8. Fish Fillets

Fish Fillets is a quick recipe that can be made in minutes. On days you have a visitor, try out this easy recipe that requires very little preparation. Fish being rich in omega 3 fatty acids and essential oils, vitamins, minerals and protein, this recipe is a must try for all those who are on a low-calorie diet. Made with basic spices, this recipe retains the original taste of the fish that otherwise gets camouflaged in the deluge of spices. You can try this delectable recipe at home on weekends, as a light weekday dinner accompaniment and as a starter or side dish in parties and celebrations.

9. Baked Fish Cakes

A great appetizer recipe, Baked Fish Cake s are made from fish fillets and prawns. This dish has an amazing flavour of Thai red curry, Thai soy sauce and coconut milk, and is one of those easy recipes that you can prepare at home. You can freeze them and use them as and when required. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, these cakes are out of the world and a must try for those who love seafood.

10. Egg Salad Sandwich

There can be nothing more filling than an egg sandwich. A right combination of carbs, greens and protein, this is the best thing to have on a busy day. This easy sandwich will keep you satiated for long and will also bring down your cravings. Pair it with the drink and dip of your choice and you are sorted for the day. Rich in nutrition, Egg Salad Sandwich is also an ideal lunch box recipe for kids. They are sure to love it if you pack this scrumptious dish with French Fries.

11. Eggs Florentine

Eggs Florentine is a perfect combination of healthy ingredients. Made with eggs and spinach, it is an ideal breakfast that one can have. This easy recipe makes for a healthy snack as well. Cooking this egg recipe takes a little time but it is worth the effort. This recipe uses canned spinach, but you can replace it with fresh spinach leaves, which of course is a better option.

12. Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

This delicious chicken dish only calls for what’s easily available at the neighbourhood grocery store. So, you can actually prepare a gourmet dish by putting in very little efforts! Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower is a power packed preparation and a must have for those who are looking for healthy food. You can make this recipe with uniquely combined ingredients on special occasions and on days you want to display your culinary skills. A wholesome preparation, this delectable chicken recipe is a must try for those who believe in healthy eating. Ideal to be packed in lunch boxes, kids in the family are going to love this amazing dish. So, don’t miss out. Try NOW!

13. Shredded Chicken Salad

Looking for a low carb salad which is satiating too? This Shredded Chicken Salad is the perfect thing to have when you are on a diet. Rich in lean protein, vitamin and minerals, this chicken salad is a complete meal in itself and a must try for those who are looking for a healthy recipe. This easy chicken recipe can be made in minutes and is ideal not just for breakfast, but also as lunch or dinner. Try it on days you feel to tired to cook an elaborate meal or on days you are inviting guests for lunch or dinner.

14. Chicken Salad

Most people say that healthy food is not tasty but Chicken salad serves both the purposes. It is extremely tasty and healthy as well. Perfect for a game night or kitty parties, this Chicken Salad is an easy and quick recipe and can be prepared in just few minutes. The best part of this recipe is that you can add ingredients to suit your taste and preference. Few might like to add some dry fruits to this salad and other would prefer adding few vegetables. The choice is yours! Make it look interesting by garnishing with cherry tomatoes or make use of simple egg slices or mint and fresh coriander, this recipe will win all your matches of culinary skills. You do not need to be a cooking expert to prepare this salad and is something you can depend on for your daily diet too.

15. Chicken Ishtu

Chicken Ishtu (or also known as Chicken Ishtoo) is a quick and easy-to-make tasty chicken side dish. Typically served with naans or parathas, it also tastes well with biryani or pulao. The Kerala style Chicken Ishtu uses coconut milk while this version is more popular in North India.

16. Achari Fish Tikka

Achari Fish Tikka is a North Indian recipe made using fish fillets, pickled chillies and yogurt. This snack recipe goes well on occasions like kitty parties and anniversaries. Try this delicious yet easy appetizer recipe!

10 Regional Snacks from Maharashtra That Are An Absolute Treat

Talk about snacks, and something crisp and appetising immediately comes to our mind. Maharashtrians love their food that is spicy and sweet in one bite. If you haven’t already tried their snacks, it’s time now. We list down 10 drool-worthy snacks from the state that will leave you wanting more.

10 Regional Snacks from Maharashtra That Are An Absolute Treat

1. Shankarpali

 

Shankarpali is one of the most popular Maharashtrian snacks and is traditionally enjoyed during festivals. It is also called Shakkarpara in Gujarati and Shakerpara in Bengali. Shankarpali is a sweet treat made with milk, sugar or salt, ghee, semolina, and maida. Shankarpali can be sour, sweet or salty. It has a long shelf life and can be stored easily and savoured anytime.

2. Aluvadi

 

Aluvadi or Patrode is a Malavani snack, deep fried and made with spinach or colocasia leaves stuffed with spiced potatoes and then rolled up after being smeared with besan paste. This crunchy delight is a delicious way to kill your hunger pangs and it can be steamed as well as fried.

3. Kothimbir Vadi

 

‘Kothimbir’ is a Marathi word that means coriander and ‘Kothimbir Vadi’ means coriander fritters. This is an evening snack usually enjoyed with tea or coffee. It is made with a mixture of gram flour, coriander leaves and sesame seeds and is steamed, sliced and fried to make a crispy snack.

4. Thalipeeth

 

If you have not tasted Thalipeeth while in the state, you have missed out on the authentic Maharashtrian experience. Thalipeeth is a multi-grain pancake found in the western region of the country. It is made with a special flour of roasted sabudana (tapioca), coriander seeds, wheat, rice and cumin seeds. Various vegetables and onions are added in the dough to enhance the flavour. Served with a dollop of ghee or curd, you can enjoy this snack anytime of the day.

5. Rice Chakli

 

Popularly known as Murukku in the Southern part of the country, Rice Chakli is a deep fried snack made with rice flour, gram flour or a mixture of lentil along with other ingredients including sesame seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and some spices. These round delights are crunchy and golden-brown in colour. They generally need a chakli extruder to shape the dough, which is then fried in oil and enjoyed hot.

6. Bhakarwadi

 

A famous sweet and spicy snack, Bhakarwadi is made with gram flour which is shaped into spiral forms and then stuffed with a mixture of coconut, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. This fried and crispy snack has a long shelf life and can be stored for weeks.

7. Sabudanyachi Khichdi

 

Popularly known as sabudane (tapioca) ki khichdi, this quick snack is light yet filling. Sabudana is soaked overnight and then fried with cumin seeds, spices, diced potatoes and crushed peanuts. In Maharashtra, sabudanyachi khichdi is generally made in pure desi ghee.

8. Chiwda

 

Chiwda or poha is the go-to snack in Maharashtra. Chiwda is deep fried puffed rice or flaked rice. A mix of peanuts, curry leaves, green chilies and asafetida are roasted to make this delicious snack.

9. Kanda Batata Poha

 

‘Kanda’ in Marathi means onion and ‘Batata’ means potato. Kanda Batata Poha is perfect for breakfast or in the evening as a mid-meal snack. Chiwda is soaked in water overnight and cooked with vegetables, peanuts and spices. It is served with diced raw onions on top. You can sprinkle some Bhujia (namkeen) to add a crunch.

10. Batata Vada

 

Batata Vada consists of a mashed potato patty coated with chickpea flour, deep fried and served piping hot with chutney. This snack is enjoyed the most with a cup of tea on a rainy day.

Try these lovely snacks from Maharashtra and do tell us about the ones that you absolutely love.

Google Play Music’s New Feature for Samsung Galaxy S8 Isn’t That Exclusive

For Samsung Galaxy S8 users, Google Play Music is the default music player and streaming service. Now, Galaxy S8 users are receiving a brand new feature dubbed New Release Radio, which is a personalised radio station with new music releases and updates on a daily basis.

The latest New Release Radio feature has steadily been popping up on Galaxy S8 devices with “Samsung Exclusive” tagline. The pop-up describes the new feature, “Listen to brand new music, personalised to your tastes and listening history – with new recommendations every day.” The feature was first spotted by a Reddit user, and was reported by Sammobile.

Google Play Music's New Feature for Samsung Galaxy S8 Isn't That Exclusive

Engadget, however, points out that the feature may not be limited to Samsung Galaxy S8 users as some users have been able to add the “New Release Radio” station to their libraries. Some Reddit users also claim that they were able to add the new feature to their libraries while using Google Play Music Web interface as well as on non-Samsung devices. Unfortunately, there’s no word whether the feature will be kept as an exclusive for Samsung Galaxy S8 (and Galaxy S8+) devices or to be made available to all users in the long run.

We can expect an update on the status of availability of the “New Release Radio” station for non-Samsung devices.

Samsung and Google jointly announced their new partnership back in April, and it gave some benefits to Samsung users. They were allowed to upload 100,000 of their own songs to Google Play Music for free, which is almost double the limit for owners of non-Samsung devices.

 

15 North Indian chicken recipes that will make you go “Mmmm!”

1. Gorge on these mouth-watering chicken recipes!

Do you call yourself a non-vegetarian who loves gorging on chicken? In short, if you are a Chickenatarian, here are some of the best chicken recipes that you can enjoy with your friends and family anytime. Whether it’s the succulent Murgh Malai Kebab and Tandoori Mustard Chicken Tikka in the evening or the buttery and gravy-rich Butter Chicken and Kadhai Chicken, these chicken rec‬ipes will make your mouth water.

2. Butter Chicken

One of the most popular and loved curry recipes of Northern India is Butter Chicken ! Extremely delicious and tempting, you can enjoy this chicken recipe with butter naan or even chapati. Try this mouth-watering recipe for kitty parties and get-togethers for your guests.

3. Tandoori Mustard Chicken Tikka

Delicious and flavorful, Tandoori Mustard Chicken Tikka is an easy-to-make recipe. Made with chicken breast, yogurt, chickpea flour and a lot of spices, this North Indian dish is a must try!

4. Methi Chicken

Methi Chicken is a North Indian recipe made using chicken, hung curd, onions and tomatoes. It is a delicious lunch/dinner recipe. Try this recipe if you’re bored with the regular chicken recipes.

5. Ginger Chicken Masala

Ginger Chicken Masala is a delightful chicken recipe which has an unforgettable flavor of ginger and the lingering taste of Indian spices. Try it out on a weekend and this easy side dish recipe is sure to surprise your guests.

6. Dhaba Style Spicy Chicken

Dhaba Style Spicy Chicken is an easy to cook North Indian recipe. It is a spicy non-vegetarian dish that you can have with naan or roti. This chicken recipe is made by sauteing chicken in a thick onion-tomato masala and flavoured aromatic spices. Simmer the chicken recipe for a longer duration to get a smoother and thicker gravy, which’ll make your dish yummylicious. Enjoy with your loved ones- the true flavours of a dhaba at home.

7. Dahi Lahsooni Chicken

Dahi Lahsooni Chicken is a delicious recipe that you can easily prepare at home. Marinated in lots of spices, garlic and curd, this chicken recipe is extremely juicy. You’ll love to prepare this non-vegetarian recipe for your family and friends and they will cherish the exotic taste of this tandoori dish.

8. Kadhai chicken

Kadhai Chicken is a popular North Indian recipe served at several restaurants. A favourite of many, this main dish recipe brings soul to every party or dinner. Made with a melange of spices like kasoori methi, dry mango powder and fenugreek seeds, this chicken recipe is a must try for all the non-vegetarian lovers.

9. Punjabi Creamy Chicken

Punjabi Creamy Chicken comes from the core town of Ferozepur, Punjab and this chicken recipe will leave you in complete delight. Amazingly delectable and delicious, this chicken recipe is made in white gravy and is sure to be loved by people of all age groups. If you’re a spice junkie and have a special liking for everything spicy, then you can customize this recipe by adding more green chillies, as per your taste.

10. Murg Malai Kebab

Murg Malai Kebab is an interesting appetizer recipe. Made with boneless chicken and fresh cream, this quick recipe can be served with green chutney. This chicken recipe is apt for kitty parties and pot luck.

11. Chicken (No Butter) Masala

Can you imagine a chicken recipe made without extra oil and butter? Chicken (No Butter) Masalais a non-vegetarian recipe made without butter and is extremely delectable. This side dish recipe has a creamy texture along with a rich spicy flavour, and can be enjoyed with chapati and pudina paratha. Enjoy this interesting chicken recipe with raita of your choice.

12. Masala Chicken

This non-vegetarian recipe is a recipe of the past and is so yummy that you’ll be licking your own fingers. Masala Chicken is an easy recipe that you can prepare at home for your near and dear ones. This North Indian side dish recipe can be best enjoyed with butter naan, or even homemade chapati. Relish the taste of this chicken recipe!

13. Chicken Korma

An authentic Indian chicken curry, Chicken Korma is a treat for all non-veg lovers! Made using a great blend of Indian herbs and spices, it is cooked using onion,tomatoes and yogurt. Chicken Korma is a aromatic curry that goes best with naan or roti and can be very easily made at home.

14. Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry is a popular non-vegetarian recipe which is made with chicken, lemon juice, tomato, onion puree and a melange of spices. This easy-to-make and low on carbs dish is full of aromatic flavours. Serve this delicious North-Indian recipe to your friends and family on special occasions like anniversaries and pot luck. You can pair this mouth-watering delicacy with butter naan or paratha and steamed rice. It is a must-try chicken recipe for all the non-vegetarian lovers!

15. Tawa Chicken Fry

Tawa Chicken Fry is a popular chicken recipe which is a must have in most parties and weddings in North India. Shallow fried on an iron girdle, this chicken recipe is not just easy-to-make but hugely tempting and goes well with naan and paratha. Try this delicious chicken recipe.

16. Achari Chicken

Achari Chicken is a spicy non-vegetarian recipe which is a mixture of chicken, herbs and lots of spices. This is an easy-to-make chicken recipe that’s delicious in it’s own way. Achari Chicken is a mouth-watering dish that is full of flavours. Serve this succulent chicken with rice or roomali roti for a finger-licking experience during lunch or dinner time. This delicacy is an ideal option for pot luck and buffets.
[“source-timesofindia”]

10 heavenly snacks that all cheese lovers must have

1. A cheesy affair!

2. Mozzarella Sticks

Mozzarella Sticks is an Italian snack recipe made using mozzarella cheese, all purpose flour and breadcrumbs. This is a tasty recipe often served as an appetizer. Loved by kids, it can be a lunch box treat for them. Try it.

3. Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is a American recipe. This snack recipe is made using pasta macaroni, bread crumbs and cheese cubes. You can also make this snack recipe for kitty parties and get-together.

4. Baked Chili Cheese Toast

Perfect for a quick snack, this easy Baked Chili Cheese Toast recipe is exciting to make and enticing to look at. Due to its enticing looks, this recipe will be loved by kids too. A great source of high-protein, paneer makes it nutritious and cheese encapsules the goodness of calcium, zinc, Vitamin A and B12. Try these amazing Baked Chili Toasts with a mint mayonnaise dip or a tangy ketchup and rock your game nights, kitty parties or pot lucks.

5. Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws is a delicious Continental recipe made using cheese and mustard powder. This snacks recipe is a perfect dish to have on special occasions like anniversaries and kitty parties. Try this appetizer recipe at home.

6. Fried Cheese

Fried Cheese is a delightful snack recipe that you can serve in parties as an appetizer. It is also a kids recipe and can be a tempting lunch box recipe.

7. Cheese Pizza

Cheese Pizza is an Italian fast food recipe which is very popular with kids. Bursting with flavours and cheese, this delicious recipe is thick, puffy and brown in texture. Try out this light, flavourful Cheese Pizza recipe with an amazing vegetable filling which is homemade and is any day better than store-bought or delivered pizzas.

8. Cheese Chicken Kebab

Try the lip-smacking and delicious Chicken Cheese Kebab, which is prepared with chicken, mozzarella, egg and lots of spices. The combination of chicken, cheese and eggs sounds tempting and sumptuous and you simply cannot resist these yummy Cheese Chicken Kebabs! Serve this simple snack on game nights, kitty parties, buffets, pot luck and high tea with mayonnaise or mint chutney to your loved ones.

9. Cheese Fries

Cheese Fries is a delicious snack recipe that your kids are going to love! It is made using French fries, cheddar cheese and white sauce. These cheese fries taste the best when paired with some cocktails or mocktails. To keep them from turning soggy, serve them immediately.

10. Cheese Curd Dip

A super-delicious dip recipe that you can prepare for your loved ones in a jiffy, Cheese Curd Dip can be enjoyd with your favourite bread sticks or even vegetable sticks. It will surely win the hearts of your guests in a kitty party. This is a perfect accompaniment for nachos and chips too! Try it!

11. Cheese Corn Balls

Corn and cheese, both are equally delicious and delectable ingredients, and when combined together, they make an irresistible dish. Cheese Corn Balls is an interesting recipe that you can prepare for your loved ones for road trips and picnics. You can also make this snack recipe for kitty parties and get-togethers.
[“source-timesofindia”]

7 Sad Lunches That Are Killing Your Diet

Unfulfilling eats, insubstantial snacks … hear you me: no diet regimen is worth a sad, boring lunch. And get this: that ‘healthy’ meal you’re munching might actually be sabotaging your beach bod success. Check out these seven sad lunches that don’t just suck, but actually suck the life out of your diet.

Greek Yogurt With Granola

Yogurt

Why are we making excuses for this sad, dissatisfying lunch? Who the eff really likes plain greek yogurt anyway? It tastes like sour socks and funk. That granola’s not doing you any good, either. It’s probably loaded with sugar and weird, wrinkly fruits that look like the soft part of an elbow. How ’bout a peach instead? … Plus the rest of an actual meal.

Cabbage Soup.

What. Is. This. Crap? Cabbage water. Literally cabbage in water. Why are you eating this!? Or drinking this?! Or doing whatever you’re doing with this?! If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve got some time on your hands, and that you have at least some agency about the lunches you eat. Listen, I’ve tasted this. I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I had a whole bowl! And then I searched my kitchen top to bottom in desperation, looking for some salt and bread to liven it up as I simultaneously seasoned the soup with my own falling tears. Welcome to Sad Lunch Town. Population: you.

Celery With Peanut Butter

Celery filled with peanut butter

Come on. Admit it. You’re starving. Those ridiculous slivers of grass aren’t going to fill you up. Not even if you slather them with crunchy JIF. Mark my words: you’ll be eating again in 30 minutes.

Salad.

Let me guess: you built a salad out of iceberg, cheddar, bacon, croutons, cucumber “for greenery,” and about half an inch of Ranch dressing. SoOOoOoo healthy. Listen lady: better grab the tissues, ’cause that pile of salad bar rejection has all the makings of a sad lunch.

Rice Cakes.

rice cakes

Ew. Ew ew ew. No. Why? Do you love styrofoam? Did you spend a lot of time making cardboard box forts as a kid and accidentally take a big bite out of the insulation one afternoon? You, my friend, are an adult woman/man/your choice and you get to eat whatever weightloss-y lunch you like at your desk! Please, I beg of you, don’t let it be this one. A cauli rice bowl will do just fine, too.

Wraps.

McDonald's Veggie Wrap

Unless it’s this wrap, which is a piece of cute, low-carb mastery. Factor in that most wraps are easily the size of two people’s faces, contain about twice the amount of ham or turkey or whatever any wrap needs, and usually come slathered in some weird mixture of herby cream cheese and sprouts, there’s nothing ‘healthy’ about this otherwise boring, bologna lunch. I say scrap the whole thing and eat some buffalo chicken bitesinstead.

SkinnyPop.

More like Skinnypo … never mind, I don’t even have to go there. Because if you’ve ever had SkinnyPop, you know you’re only eating it because the name is cute and it’s basically nothing and because that Target swimsuit would feel a heckuva lot better if you weighed maybe 4 to 7 pounds less. Here’s the thing: SkinnyPop isn’t doing you any favors. Like its distant, dreaded cousin, The Rice Cake, SkinnyPop is sad food in sheep’s clothing. It’s air and sodium and dried corn and boringness masquerading as health food. You’re better off eating a cupcake and buying a one piece. DIET BYE!

 

 

The 12 Craziest Things That Have Ever Happened at Starbucks

You probably know what to expect when you visit your local Starbucks — a strong cup of coffee, a barista who spells your name wrong, and slightly overpriced parfaits in the display case. America’s favorite coffee chain is pretty standard on a day-to-day basis. But every once in awhile, something extraordinary happens. From adorable proposals to obscene sex acts to celebrity sightings, Starbucks has seen it all.

 starbucks storefront

1. AN ACT OF KINDNESS INSPIRES AN 11-HOUR PAY-IT-FORWARD CHAIN.

A Florida woman at a Starbucks drive-through paid for her iced coffee at 7 a.m. and requested to pay for the caramel macchiato the stranger behind her had ordered. That recipient of that first act of kindness decided to pay it forward, and so did the next person. Eventually, employees began keeping a tally outside the drive-through window.

“It makes your day better, I think,” Lexie Kane, a customer who participated in the pay-it-forward chain, told the Tampa Bay Times.

The chain continued all day until the 379th customer declined to partake around 6 p.m.

2. ONE MAN TRIES TO MASTURBATE IN EVERY STARBUCKS IN NEW YORK CITY.

First, you read that right. Second, ew. And third, there are 283 Starbucks in New York City. That makes for one hefty goal.

If that’s not creepy enough, the man — known as Mister PeePee — also planned on photographing his, um, results. He announced his plans on a podcast and kept an account of his exploits on Twitter.

In a now-deleted tweet, he wrote, “Today’s Starbucks visit is rated as a 4 Boner. Spacious, clean, excellent coffee, strong wifi, no interruptions & 1 hot chick.”

If you’re in New York City, may we suggest never using a Starbucks bathroom again? Or if you must, scrub your hands with hot water before you leave.

3. SOMEONE PROPOSES AT THE ORIGINAL STARBUCKS LOCATION IN SEATTLE.

Kenna Rusk was working at the original Starbucks location in Seattle six years ago when Ethan Knapp walked in to fill out a job application. They started dating. Then last November, the pair returned to where they first met.

“When we got to the original Starbucks, I half-joked something sappy like ‘If it wasn’t for this Starbucks we probably wouldn’t have met,’ then I said I wanted to be sure we got a picture out front before we left,” Rusk told BuzzFeed News.

Halfway through their photo session outside, Knapp got down on one knee and proposed, bringing their relationship in an adorable full circle. Then, she posted a photo of her beautiful new ring on Instagram… with her trusty Starbucks iced coffee in the background.

The couple tied the knot two weeks ago, and the initial photos are totally breathtaking.

No Starbucks in sight thus far, but we wouldn’t put it past this couple to incorporate their favorite coffee chain somehow. Cake pops instead of cake, anyone?

4. A MAN SLIPS HIS NUMBER TO A CUTE BARISTA…THEN THINGS GET FREAKY.

In the early 2000s, Scott Tayloe marched up to a cute Starbucks barista in Florida, Josh Holder, and gave him his number. “Call me sometime,” he said. But the call never came. Unbeknownst to Scott, Josh was in a relationship.

A few years later in 2004, Josh was meeting a friend for drinks at a bar. His friend had met another guy at a party that she thought would be perfect for him. It turned out to be Scott. Josh remembered — he even had his phone number still stored away. They spoke on the phone daily for the next week, then met for their first real date. Seven years later, Scott slid a note under Josh’s door: “Starbucks Boy, will you marry me today?”

Today, they live together in Los Angeles with their son, Hayden. Mop up your tears now.

5. A WOMAN GIVES BIRTH IN THE BATHROOM.

In a move that should secure both mother and baby free coffee for life, a woman gave birth in the bathroom of a Starbucks in Colorado. She must have the highest pain tolerance ever, because she reportedly walked out of the store carrying her baby and was heading down the street when the paramedics arrived. The happy new family was taken to a hospital and both were in good condition.

6. A COUPLE WRITES AND EXCHANGES COFFEE-THEMED VOWS.

“I want to macchiato an honest woman out of you,” Jordan Senz promised DeAnna Dodson. The Wisconsin couple scaled down their original wedding plans for financial reasons, choosing instead to simply sign papers in the presence of a reverend on New Year’s Eve.

Reverend Donnie Onley offered to perform the wedding either at his house or in a public place. The couple chose Starbucks, since they’d be there to get their morning coffee anyway. It was intended to be a quiet affair. But when someone at the store noticed what was going on, the local paper was called and reporters showed up to capture the moment.

After the couple said “I do” and sealed their vows with a kiss, Senz got one more pun in: “I promise to love you a latte.”

7. A MAN ORDERS A $54.75 DRINK — AND GETS IT FOR FREE.

Andrew Chifari really loves his coffee. Last May, he set out to order the world’s largest Starbucks drink ever, which turned out to include 60 shots of espresso plus mocha, white mocha, caramel, hazelnut, and protein powder in a 128-ounce glass. The whopper would have cost him $54.75, but because he’s a Starbucks Gold member, he scored it for free. Go big or go home, right?

8. TAYLOR SWIFT AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL MEET FOR COFFEE.

‘Twas the red cup seen round the world: Taylor Swift clutching a red Starbucks cup in one hand, her other arm slung over Jake Gyllenhaal’s shoulder. One paparazzi snap later, and the two were an official item.

Taylor’s love of Starbucks is so well-documented by the paps — she’s rarely seen in public without a cup in hand — that even her own mother mistook her “Blank Space” lyric “got a long list of ex-lovers” for “Starbucks lovers.”

9. SENIORS BURST INTO A ZUMBA FLASH MOB.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03CWyCQ59zY]

Can you imagine a more unassuming location for a surprise flash mob? A group of dancers in their 60s, 70s, and 80s took their local Starbucks by storm to perform a Zumba routine. We dare you not to smile.

10. A COUPLE PULLS OFF AN ACTUAL STEAMPUNK-THEMED WEDDING.

A wedding at Starbucks is already pretty quirky. But one couple upped the ante by throwing a steampunk-themed wedding. (Steampunk, for the uninitiated, is a subculture that fuses the aesthetics of the 19th century with sci-fi, fantasy, and industrial-powered technology.) The scene was caught on camera by a surprised customer. For more details, check out the bride’s epic Pinterest board, which documents her dream feathered top hat, crazy intricate corset, and a Victorian Gothic-style Nerf gun. We’re not sure exactly what this all has to do with Starbucks, but we’ll take it!

11. A MANAGER GOES BALLISTIC—AND THE WHOLE MOMENT GOES VIRAL.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qY4bpS4Uds]

When customer Ruby Chen didn’t promptly provide her name for the barista to write on her cup, a nearby manager named Melissa got upset. She took to Facebook to describe the incident.

melissa started to shout at me saying hey helloooo with very bad attitude. The only thing I said to her is “sry I don’t hear you but you don’t have to yell.” And till now, I haven’t figured out which word aggravated her. Then She took the scanner away as I was trying to pay then told me to leave and never go back. I was trying to ask other employees who I can speak to. She thought I am leaving with the straw on my hand (I picked it up before everything happened), she said I am stealing the straw.

When the video went viral, Starbucks apologized, gave Chen a $100 gift card, and fired Melissa.

12. A COUPLE ANNOUNCES THEIR PREGNANCY IN A PRECIOUS WAY.


Reddit user Upstream15 put a personalized twist on four Starbucks cups for an unforgettable pregnancy announcement. Too cute, you guys. Too cute.

Ramzan Special: Dahi Phulki, a Neglected Iftar Dish That Resembles Dahi Vada

Come Ramzan and even the non-devout want to feast on Iftar eats, as the sun sets and the strenuous fast is broken. In fact, the line up of goodies waiting to be consumed by people on Ramzan food walks in the old quarters of cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Hyderabad, and during the now trending Iftar parties has only got more elaborate down the years. However, in all the food prose celebrating kebab and biryani, haleem, nargisi kofte

and baqarkhani, what sometimes gets overlooked is simple home-style snacks that traditionally signalled the end of the fast.

Ramzan Special: Dahi Phulki, a Neglected Iftar Dish That Resembles Dahi Vada

In UP and Delhi, the Dahi Phulki is one of these neglected Iftar dishes that used to be present on all dining tables as a sensible and light evening food for those fasting during Ramzan. What made the phulki such a favourite was undoubtedly its ease of preparation (who wants to cook after you haven’t eaten the entire day?) as well as the fact that yoghurt is a cooling ingredient that benefits even the most sensitive of stomachs in the summer heat. Today, we don’t see it very often. But that’s perhaps because it has never been a “party” food or one served up in restaurants. Instead, it’s a snack that is decidedly homely. It is also ridiculously easy to make.

 

Phulki, as the name suggests, is a “light”, “airy”, dainty pakori. Instead of the fritter being fashioned out of urad or moong dal – as in the case of Dahi Vada and Dahi ki Pakori, common side dishes favoured by the vegetarian Baniya community in northern India – this pakori/phulki is simply made of besan or chickpea flour. The trick is to aerate the batter sufficiently, so that the fritters are light and fluffy inside, crunchy and crisp outside. These are then dunked in beaten yoghurt and served with chutneys like mint and tamarind, quite like the Dahi Pakori, a dish that is more cumbersome to make with the soaking and grinding of the dals.

The presence of phulki as almost a regular item in homes for Iftar meals is obviously a pointer to the Subcontinent’s composite culture. If we examine the fasting-feasting foods of different communities in regions such as old Delhi or the erstwhile United Provinces, where different people with different religions and cultural heritages have lived together for centuries, we find many foods to be remarkably the same, even if they are called by different names.

 

Seviyan, for instance, is not just a celebratory sweet for Eid. It is a Rakhsha Bandhan special for many communities, including as the shorter-strand Jave. So is the Dahi Pakori/ Dahi Phulki. The Dahi Vada, to which these dishes apparently trace their origins, is quite an ancient dish. Food historian KT Achaya mentions it as having been a part of the 12th century mansollasa (vadaswere soaked in milk, in fermented rice water or curd) and conjectures that the dish may have been much older. (He refers to the Sutra literature of 500 BC, where vatakas, or deep fried lentil preparations are first mentioned.) It does not need much imagination to conjecture that the phulki came about as a more modern and convenient substitute for the Dal Pakori as chickpea flour or besanbegan to find wider use.

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The trick is to aerate the batter sufficiently, so that the fritters are light. Image credit: Istock

The vada and chickpeas, however, have other culinary and cultural links too. Falafel, thought to have originated in ancient Europe, is now of course part of much of the Middle East’s food traditions. It is a common fasting food, being vegetarian, and also an Iftar snack. Its similarity to the Indian vada is striking, except that while most vadas are made of urad dal, falafel is made of chickpeas (or fava beans) in most parts of the world. Did the ancient Egyptians and ancient Indians trade in ideas for recipes (leading to the vada/ falafel), and not just ingredients? They may just have.

10 Quirky New French Fries That Will Make Munching Even More Delicious

Potatoes make one of the best and most popular root vegetables in the world. They are often thought of as a comfort food and why not? They can be paired with innumerable dishes without having to think twice. Be it fried, boiled, baked or sauteed potatoes, you can never fail the food lover in you. One form of potatoes that we all love is French fries. You would agree that nothing is as simple yet tasty as them and is enjoyed by people of all ages. French fries are starchy and fried making it harmful in the longer run, but who says you cannot enjoy them once in a while? After all, they make the best snacks to gorge on. But are you bored of eating the same ol’ salty French fries all the time? Here are 10 quirky new French fries that are irresistibly good –

10 Quirky New French Fries That Will Make Munching Even More Delicious

1. Sweet Potato Fries

 

If you are looking at a healthy alternative to French fries, then sweet potato fries is the best deal. Sweet potatoes have low glycemic index as compared to white potatoes, plus if you bake them, they may prove to be better versions of fries. And no, it won’t hamper the taste; it will only get better.

2. Seasoned Grilled Fries

 

Anything grilled is tasty, and when it is grilled potato fries, you wouldn’t want to miss snacking on it. Adding some seasonings of your choice will definitely make the grilled fries flavoursome. These crispy delights are bound to leave you asking for more.

3. Baked Cheese Fries

 

What’s better than fries loaded with lots and lots of cheese? Too guilty of frying and eating them with cheese? Bake them instead. The best part about baking them is that it does not affect the taste so you do not have to worry about it. In fact it is crispier and a healthy alternative.

4. Poutine

 

Poutine is a Canadian dish made with French fries smothered in cheese curds or mozzarella cheese, and topped with some brown curry. Mouthwatering much? Well, that’s what poutine does to you. The idea of a perfect poutine is to have crispy fries and when the gravy hits them, they absorb the flavour and create a resilient texture.

5. Peri Peri Fries

 

Peri Peri mix is spicy, flavoursome and tastes mega awesome with a pack of fries. The western masala can bring boring fries to life. Add on some smoked paprika, dried coriander, oregano, chilli flakes, salt and others seasonings of your choice to make it your way, and then sprinkle some on the platter and voila! Your Peri Peri fries are ready to be eaten.

6. Butter Chicken French Fries

 

Indians have a knack of adding a twist to certain foods and that’s how we love it. If you are an ardent lover of Butter Chicken, then don’t hesitate to spread some of it on your fries to experience the best of both worlds. So what’s all the waiting for, load up on Butter Chicken and gorge on to it without any regret!

7. Bacon Cheese Fries

 

The best thing about bacon is you can have it in any form. How about sprinkling some bacon pieces on cheesy fries and making it amazingly delectable? If you haven’t done it already, DIY at home and indulge!

8. Avocado Fries

 

Change is always good, so why not try avocado fries instead. If you are tired of eating potato fries, switch over to a healthier option. The crunchy and creamy texture of avocados is to die for. Bake them instead of frying, so as to keep them healthy without really loading up on too many calories.

9. Waffle Fries

 

I have heard somebody say, ‘happiness comes in various shapes and sizes’, looks like they meant waffle fries. Waffle fries can come in varying sizes and we are not complaining. They are just like waffle, but made out of potatoes and baked. They can be super-thin and stuffed as per your liking.

10. Potato Wedges

 

Potato wedges are a bigger and better version of French fries. They are baked delights seasoned with Parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, salt and a few drops of oil. What’s not to love? Make it at home and enjoy snacking while you watch your favourite shows or movies.

Do let us know which one tops your list and which one would you love to try making at home!