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Pop Culture

Author is causing debate over theory that we've 'tricked' ourselves into loving lobster

"Lobsters are like diamonds. Bad product, great marketing."

lobster, scarcity, jason pargin

Jason K. Pargin shares his controversial theory on lobster.

Novelist Jason K. Pargin has inspired an online food fight after his video about lobster received over 500,000 views on Tiktok and nearly 6 million on Twitter. Pargin believes that we’ve all been tricked into liking lobster and that people only like it because it’s considered high class.

Pargin is the author of the “John Dies at the End” and “Zoey Ashe” series and the former editor of Cracked.com.

"I don't think anyone actually enjoys eating lobster. I think they've just been convinced that it's a high-class food for a really specific reason,” Pargin says in his controversial video. He then describes how just a few centuries ago lobster was once used as prisoners' food and ground into fertilizer.


But after the food developed a reputation for being hard to transport from the coastal areas inland and that it spoils quickly after being cooked, it began to be seen as a delicacy.

"So because it was difficult to mess with and because it had to be shipped live inside the country, away from the coast, it became known that lobster was difficult to obtain," Pargin says in his video. "And because it's difficult to obtain, it had to be expensive, and because it was expensive, we decided it was good.”

"You were eating lobster not because you enjoyed it but because you wanted it to be known to all who were watching you that you could afford lobster," Pargin continues.

His final point was a real blow to those who only eat lobster if it’s drowned in butter. "You know what also tastes good when you dump it into a bucket of butter? Anything," Pargin says.

The viral video sparked a hot debate on Twitter, where it appears that most people disagreed with Pargin—especially those who live in the northeast and enjoy lobster no matter how it’s prepared. Many had a problem with Pargin framing the argument from the limited American perspective.

Lobster is eaten worldwide and has been enjoyed by countless cultures since the prehistoric era. People enjoy lobster in places where it’s affordable and where it’s considered a delicacy. So that kills his argument that we’ve been duped into enjoying lobster simply because it’s expensive.

But Pargin is entirely correct when he claims that we value things more when they are scarce. In psychology, the concept is known as the scarcity effect.

"Scarcity is a pervasive condition of human existence," Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today. "Everyday circumstances of limited resources (money and time) can make individuals experience a sense of scarcity. Scarcity functions like an obstacle to goal pursuit, which intensify the value of goal."

Here’s what people are saying about Pargin’s videos on Twitter.

Sorry, Jason, history goes way past the 1800s.

Some swear they do not need to drown a lobster in butter to enjoy its flavor.

Many disagreed and shared why they love the cockroach of the seas.

Is lobster really just a butter-delivery system?

Some agree with Pargin that people only like lobster because it's expensive.

Pargin’s argument makes sense. We value things harder to get, and anything dunked in butter tastes fantastic. But that doesn't cover the fact that people enjoy lobster around the globe, regardless of its perceived scarcity. In the end, the real winners of this debate are those who don’t like lobster. Right now, a pound of Maine lobster goes for up to $80 a pound. That’s an expensive night out at the local fish joint.


This article originally appeared on 3.18.23

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Joy

Gen X has hit 'that stage' of life and is not handling it very well

We are NOT prepared for Salt-n-Pepa to replace Michael McDonald in the waiting room at the doctor's office, thankyouverymuch.

Gen X is eating dinner earlier and earlier. It's happening.




The thing about Gen X being in our 40s and 50s now is that we were never supposed to get "old." Like, we're the cool, aloof grunge generation of young tech geniuses. Most of the giants that everyone uses every day—Google, Amazon, YouTube—came from Gen X. Our generation is both "Friends" and "The Office." We are, like, relevant, dammit.

And also, our backs hurt, we need reading glasses, our kids are in college and how in the name of Jennifer Aniston's skincare regimen did we get here?

It's weird to reach the stage when there's no doubt that you aren't young anymore. Not that Gen X is old—50 is the new 30, you know—but we're definitely not young. And it seems like every day there's something new that comes along to shove that fact right in our faces. When did hair start growing out of that spot? Why do I suddenly hate driving at night? Why is this restaurant so loud? Does that skin on my arm look…crepey?


As they so often do, Penn and Kim Holderness from The Holderness Family have captured the Gen X existential crisis in a video that has us both nodding a long and laughing out loud. Salt-n-Pepa in the waiting room at the doctor's office? Uh, no. That's a line we are not ready to cross yet. Nirvana being played on the Classic Rock station? Nope, not prepared for that, either.

Watch:

Hoo boy, the denial is real, isn't it? We grew up on "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, for goodness sake, and it's starting to feel like we made a wrong choice a chapter or two back and suddenly landed our entire generation in a time warp. This isn't real, is it? Thirty years ago was the 1970s. That's just a Gen X fact. So what if we've lived long enough for our high school fashions to go out of style and then back into style and then back out of style again?

Seriously, though, we can either lament our age and stage in life or we can laugh about it, and people are grateful to the Holdernesses for assisting with the latter. Gen X fans are also thrilled to see their own experiences being validated, because at this point, we've all had that moment in the grocery store or the waiting room when one of our jams came on and we immediately went into a panic.

"They were playing The Cure in the grocery store and I almost started crying," wrote one commenter. "I mean, how 'alternative' can you be if you're being played in Krogers? You guys are great! Thanks for making us laugh."

"I couldn’t believe it when I heard Bohemian Rhapsody being played in Walmart," shared another. "That was edgy in my day."

"I know!!! Bon Jovi at the grocery store!!! That was my clue in!!" added another.

"Long live Gen Xers! We have to be strong!! We can get through this together!! #NKOTBmeetsAARP" wrote on commenter.You can find more from the Holderness Family on their Facebook page, their podcast and their website, theholdernessfamily.com.


This article originally appeared on 1.28.24

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Photo by Karlo Tottoc on Unsplash

Blood draws can be nerve-racking for everyone, dogs and humans alike.

The fear of needles—technically known as trypanophobia—is an extremely common fear that can range from "Eh, I'm not so comfy with the idea a needle going into my body" to full-on fainting at the sight of a syringe. For some, the idea of having blood drawn adds another layer to the fear of needles ("Wait, you mean you're taking some of the life-sustaining blood OUT of my body?") and can the fear can be so strong that it leads to people avoiding lab work altogether.

Perhaps that's one reason a video of vets and/or vet techs dancing for a dog who was nervous while getting a blood draw is resonating with so many people.

The video, shared by Hawaii Kai Vet Clinic on Instagram, is delightful on its face—the music, the dancing, the commitment, the random woman in the background, the good doggo, all of it. But it's the desire to have that kind of distraction as a human in a phlebotomist's chair that really got people.


I mean, who wouldn't enjoy a blood draw with this kind of entertainment?

"Distraction team ready!" they wrote. "Treats, head pats and even dancing can help keep the nervous fur babies from focusing on the treatments being done, we love doing our best to keep things fear free as much as we can."

"Do you have to own a pet to see this performance live and where can I purchase tickets?" wrote one commenter.

"I’m hoping these kind people are available for my next Dr appointment," wrote another.

"Can you guys come with me to MY doctor's appointment next week?" added another.

Here's to the vets and vet techs who go the extra mile to make their patients as comfortable as possible. Check out Hawaii Kai Vet Clinic on Instagram for more veterinary joy.


This article originally appeared on 10.14.23

Family

Woman goes to huge lengths to adopt husband's ex-wife's baby to save him from foster care

She had lived in foster care and didn't want it for the newborn with no name.

Christie Werts and her son, Levi




Christie and Wesley Werts have taken the idea of a blended family to the next level. When the couple fell in love five years ago and married, they brought together her children, Megan and Vance, and his children, Austin and Dakota.

As of January, the Ohio family has five children after adopting young Levi, 2. Levi is the son of Wesley’s ex-wife, who passed away four days after the child was born. The ex-wife had the boy prematurely, at 33 weeks, and died soon after from drug addiction and complications of COVID-19.

When Levi was born, he was a ward of the state with no first name or birth certificate.


“When I heard about Levi, without hesitation, I said we should take him,” Christie said, according to The Daily Mail, and her reason went far beyond the fact that the child was the half-brother to two of her recently adopted children. “I myself was a foster kid and, although for the most part, I had a great experience, I did not want him going to foster care,” Christie said.

@cjthemom5

Replying to @Journey♥️ Yes, they will always know of her and ill be there for every emotion good or bad. But im also mom, ive been to every game, every doctors appt, sat with them if they needed an ear loved unconditional . I am mom also. #adoption #srorytime #siblings #foryou #loveislove

Before the family knew of Levi’s birth, Christie had a recurring dream about a blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy.

"Before Levi, we had wanted to try to have a child of our own," she told Newsweek. "I'm in my forties, so we knew that we would probably need fertility treatment, so I thought let's just think about it and what will be will be."

The problem was that Levi was in Texas, so the family sold their house and moved to the Lone Star State to go through the arduous adoption process. The situation was further complicated because Levi’s biological father had parental rights even though he had substance abuse problems. The family couldn’t move out of Texas until his rights were legally terminated.

But after a 16-month process, in January 2023, Levi became a legal family member. Christie understands that adopting her husband’s ex-wife’s baby may seem unusual to some people. "It's a lot to process for a lot of people, but honestly, it seems a lot crazier than it was. At the time, it just made sense," she said.

@cjthemom5

Our adoption is official !!! after 17 months!!! #adoption #son #loveyou #ourstory#foryou #fyp

Even though Christie knew in her heart that she must adopt Levi, she wasn’t without reservations. “'If I said I did not [have concerns beforehand], that would not be honest,” she told The Daily Mail. “This was different—I was going to walk into a child I never met and was worried the circumstances would hinder this instant love. But [...] he stole my heart. I also felt this intense need to protect him.”

These days, Levi fits right in with the family, and the rest of the kids are happy to be back to living an everyday life without any caseworkers or inspections.

“He's great, he is the king of the house! We are all very close. He won't understand the journey right now, but someday, I will let him know we fought for him!” Christie said.


This article originally appeared on 8.31.23

Pop Culture

Someone questioned the Costco cake ordering system. You do not question the Costco cake system.

Lucy Huber was confronted by the Costco cake brigade when she posted about the antiquated way you have to order.

Photo by Annie Reneau

Costco cakes are huge, cheap and delicious. Every time.

Costco is known for many things—their employee satisfaction and retention, their amazing Kirkland Signature generic brand, their massive (and addictive) $4.99 rotisserie chickens, their never-going-to-raise-the-price $1.50 hot dog and soda meal and more.

But one favorite Costco feature that might just top them all? The Costco cake.

Costco cakes are legendary. If you've never had a Costco cake, I'm so sorry. If you have, then you know. They are the trifecta of awesome—huge, cheap and utterly delicious. I don't even like cake that much and I can't stop eating a Costco cake. Like, if you ordered a fancy cake from a fancy patisserie and it tasted like a Costco cake, you'd say, "Oh yeah, that was worth the $ I just paid." Only at Costco, you'd get that delicious of a cake that would feed a thousand people for just $25. (Okay, 50 people, but still—cake for days.)

This is why people have a serious loyalty to Costco cakes, which writer Lucy Huber discovered when she dared to question the Costco cake ordering process on Twitter.



Huber took to the social media platform to share her anxiety over the antiquated way you have to order a Costco cake. You can't call it in. You can't order it online. You have to physically go to the Costco bakery, fill out a paper form at an unmanned cake ordering kiosk, drop your form in the drop box without speaking to a single human being, and then trust that your cake will be there when you return at your requested time.

It was the last part Huber poked fun of when she wrote, “Ordered a cake from Costco and their system is from the 1800s, you write what you want on a piece of paper & put it in a box then nobody follows up and you just show up and hope they made it? I tried to call to confirm & they were like 'if you put it in the box, it will be there.'”

"Oh also," she added, "when I called I had to call the main office bc there was no number listed for the bakery and they told me 'the bakery has no phone'. Truly living in 1802 right now."

Everything she wrote is true. But as she quickly learned, one does not question the Costco cake ordering system, as the Costco cake brigade demonstrated with a deluge of "Trust the system!" and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" sentiments.

Multiple people said they'd ordered more than 50 cakes from Costco with their dropbox system and had never had a problem. And any slight anxiety that might cause is worth it for cakes that are that cheap and that delicious. (As one person wrote after their first Costco cake experience, "100/10.")

People who love Costco really love Costco.

Only the Costco fanbase is built on a solid foundation of awesome business practices, fabulous food and great deals.

Even some Costco bakery employees chimed in with some humor and support.

For the uninitiated, someone shared a photo of the magic cake kiosk where you make your choices, hope for the best and are never disappointed.

Huber got a kick out of the response, sharing that she's never had a tweet go viral that fast and she was no longer worried about the box system.

As of this writing, she has not shared whether she received her cake as ordered or whether it was as scrumptious as the Costco cake lovers promised.


This article originally appeared on 5.12.23

@rexartistry/TikTok

One generation is way better about taking up space.

While millennials and Gen Zer’s often get lumped together as the “young group,” they are certainly not the same. (Although, it is kind of hard to tell with all the Y2K fashion floating around.)

But speaking as a millennial, we definitely have different approaches to life, a lot of which seems to come down to a sense of self-assuredness. That goes for shopping, socializing, self expression…and even going to the hair salon, apparently.

Alexis Rex (@rex.artistry), hairstylist and owner of Rex Artistry Salon in Maryland, gave a brilliant (and hilarious) demonstration of some key personality differences between her millennial clients and her Gen Z clients in a now viral TikTok video.


First, Rex played her Millennial Customer.

Millennial Customer gently knocks on the door and immediately expresses her gratitude. “Hey girl! So good to see you! So excited!”

But at the same time, Millennial Customer wants in no way to be an inconvenience, so she immediately comes back with, “Where should I put my purse? It's okay, I'm just going to shove it in my own personal space so it's not in your way. At all."

Never one to demand attention, Millennial Customer wants a very subtle hair color change. Really, "it shouldn't even look like I got my hair done.” Not “super bold,” not “in your face.”

Then after flooding the hair stylist with compliments, Millennial Customer (ever wanting to be a good student) will ask a bunch of follow-up questions about how to maintain the style.

@rexartistry Millennial V Gen Z getting their hair done #hairstylist #hairstylisthumor ♬ original sound - Alexis Rex

Then, Rex played her Gen Z Customer.

Gen Z Customer bolts through the door with a “Hey queen!” like a hurricane (who has time to knock?!) and is ready to plop her stuff down anywhere. Unlike her millennial counterpart, Gen Z Customer is perfectly fine to take up space unapologetically and even show up with hair that “hasn’t been brushed in a month.”

Gen Z Customer also knows exactly what she wants, and it’s anything but subtle. “I wanna do like in-your-face, bold contrast…I wanna look like a different f**king person. Let’s do it.”

The confidence…it’s…palpable.

Gen Z Customer has a different approach to complementing her hairstylist: “Oh my god! F**king Queen! You did that! God I love you.”

No further questions. Gen Z Customer already knows her brand of hair care products, and it’s “Olaplex. All Olaplex.”

Rex’s post quickly racked up 8.6 million views, generating literally thousands of comments discussing how spot on her imitations were.

Millennials in particular chimed in, many of whom couldn’t help but applaud its accuracy of depicting how millennials seem to constantly be apologizing for simply existing.

“I’m a millennial and once I missed the armhole for a sec when putting the cape on. I was convinced I had ruined the appointment,” wrote one person.

Another added, ‘I’m sorry for my hair. I’m sorry my hair takes so long. I’m sorry I had to move my head, omg I’m sorry. You offered me a drink? I will say yes. And then sorry.”

Many were also quick to applaud how Gen Zer’s seemed to have no issues in this arena.

“Gen Z just fully owning the ability to take up space,” one person commented.

"As a millennial I love Gen Z so much. They’re so free to be themselves and so open,” wrote another.

While there may be differences between generations, we can all learn something from one another. And we all enjoy getting our hair did.

By the way, Rex didn’t leave out her Gen X or Boomer clients. She has plenty videos of her imitating them, as well as some nifty style predictions on her TikTok, found here.


This article originally appeared on 2.23.23