Archives for free lunch



A Frog in the Salad

Two years ago, we did a podcast on a dining experience Stephen Dubner had at Le Pain Quotidien. The podcast was called “Mouse in the Salad,” so you can probably guess what happened. And it looks like animals in salads are all the rage lately — The Atlantic Wire reports that a Wall Street Journal editor recently found a frog in her Pret A Manger nicoise salad. The reason given by Pret was similar to the one given by Le Pain Quotidien CEO Vincent Herbert in our podcast: it’s organic. From WSJ.com:

Ellen Roggemann, vice president of brand marketing for the company in the U.S., said that Pret A Manger’s goal of selling “handmade natural food,” often made from organic ingredients, could be partially to blame for the frog in the salad.

“We don’t use any pesticides with our greens and they go through multiple washing cycles,” she said. “An unfortunate piece of organic matter has made its way through,” she added.

In our podcast, Dubner’s friend James Altucher had an interesting perspective on how things like this happen: Read More »



Our Daily Bleg: Something That You Expected to Be Free

Hi everyone. We’re working on a Freakonomics Radio episode about — sorry, I’m going to be cryptic here — a person who expected to get/use something for free but was very surprised to learn that it wasn’t free after all.

I am looking for another good/fun example of this same idea. Do you have any? Ideally, it would be something that happened to you personally but it’s okay if you only read or heard about it, as long as we can verify it and maybe interview someone involved.

Thanks in advance.



New Lawyers in New York Must Give First 50 Hours Free

Fascinating article in today’s Times, by Anne Barnard:

Starting next year, New York will become the first state to require lawyers to perform unpaid work before being licensed to practice, the state’s chief judge announced on Tuesday, describing the rule as a way to help the growing number of people who cannot afford legal services.

The approximately 10,000 lawyers who apply to the New York State Bar each year will have to demonstrate that they have performed 50 hours of pro bono work to be admitted, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said. He said the move was intended to provide about a half-million hours of badly needed legal services to those with urgent problems, like foreclosure and domestic violence.

Read More »



There Used to Be Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Tyler Cowen writes books more often than some people brush their teeth. He also blogs many times each day, including weekends, and does a variety of other productive, interesting things.

His latest book, An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies, is probably my favorite thing he’s written. (It’s not out ’til spring; I am lucky enough to have scored an advance copy.) It does such a good job exploring the economics, culture, esthetics, and realities of the food network that I don’t even mind the short shrift he gives Japanese cuisine (while being more thorough with Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Filipino, and especially Chinese food).

There are a number of mind-blowing ideas and facts in the book, the most interesting of them in a chapter called “How American Food Got Bad.” Read More »



There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch: South Korea Edition

You’ve heard it before, if not from Milton Friedman, then surely from a proselytizing grandparent or a macro econ professor: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL). Of course, that’s not exactly true. Some 31 million low-income public school children in the U.S. get just that every year: a free or reduced lunch.

As Western countries tighten their belts and look to reduce social welfare spending, the city council in Seoul, South Korea is considering expanding free lunches beyond just the “proven” underprivileged, to all 810,000 of Seoul’s elementary and middle school students at a cost of $378 million annually. Read More »