Link Buffet: Sweets for the Sweet

February 5th was World Nutella Day! Sorry if you missed it. I’ve written before about how food holidays come about–most often a brand or food commission will propose that a mayor, governor, or president dedicate a day to celebrate the food, and after that it’s simply a matter of marketing. But World Nutella Day has a much more interesting history, since it was proposed by a couple of bloggers who simply wanted to share their love for the brand online. Nutella’s parent company issued a cease-and-desist at first, which was dumb, but they came to a happy reconciliation. Now Nutella gets free marketing and anyone who wants to can share their love with the internet for one special day. Just don’t try to sell it in a milkshake or name your infant daughter after it.

I’m late to the World Nutella party, but I’ll share. I never buy it in the States; Nutella has very strong associations with Italy for me. The first time I visited that country, I was with a school group that flew into Bologna and took a train to Arezzo, where we would be performing. Someone opened the windows on the slow-moving local train as we left the city, and the whole air smelled like chocolate and hazelnuts. I don’t know if we were passing a factory or the Nutellaria or what.
Years later, I arrived in Rome for a month-long summer study. I hauled my month’s supply of clothes and books from airport to the train station down through the metro underground and up a hill to my dorm; it was raining and also a national holiday, so everything was closed and I was miserable and hungry. While I was trying to dry out my things, my roommate arrived. She was an older woman, a late-in-life art student who had visited the city before and knew where to find an open shop in the neighborhood. I bought tea, toast, and Nutella, comfort foods which I ate happily for breakfast every day. No wonder I got so cranky during our four-hour morning class–sugar crash!

Anyway, here are 8 Things You Might Not Know About Nutella via Mental Floss.

This is not really “elsewhere on the internet,” but I love Valentine’s Day unironically and I’ve posted about love, sex, and candy often enough to do my own link roundup as we approach the date:

I’ve only watched one episode of Masterchef Junior, and will watch no more. Sure, it’s adorable, the kids are amazing, it’s hilarious to see Gordon Ramsey be tender and encouraging–but I was chewing my nails off watching those kids compete in high-pressure timed contests! I was a big contest-goer as a kid, but they were solitary competitions: just me, a pencil, and a writing challenge or math test; no teamwork, no cameras, no keeping a straight face during a constructive critique. At the Atlantic, Caroline Framke doesn’t think the critique on Masterchef Junior is all that constructive; she sees it as replicating certain biases that we see in kitchens and elsewhere. She makes a compelling argument; I wonder if those of you who watch the show would agree?

A sweet, nostalgic celebration of Ring Pops. . . . or is it?

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