Food and Drink Feed

UPDATE, May 25, 2017: I suspect Hoda and Kathie Lee are toasting this Thursday, too! Enjoy a glass of your favorite vino and these wine tax facts on National Wine Day 2017. It's Wednesday. Fans of the fourth hour of NBC's Today show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford also know it as Winesday. In addition to regular Winesday on their own show, Kathie Lee and Hoda shared their vino love with Anderson Cooper on his program. And lucky for Hoda and Kathie Lee (and apparently Anderson, too), today also is National Wine Day. It's no secret that the... Read more →

Happy Earth Day 2016. April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth in 1970 of the modern environmental movement. For farmers, however, every day is earth day, says Naomi Starkman, founder and editor in chief of Civil Eats, a news outlet that focuses on sustainable agriculture. "Farmers work every day to care for the Earth and steward the land that sustains us," writes Starkman in an opinion piece for MSNBC. Farmers like Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump's goat farm helps him get tax breaks on two New Jersey golf properties. Photo courtesy Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Columbia County, New... Read more →

Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Probably at least in some fashion. Everybody and their dogs love celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Photo by Michael Shehan Obeysek via Flickr. The National Retail Federation's annual St. Patrick's Day Spending Survey finds that more than 125 million Americans are planning to party this March 17th. The poll, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics for NRF, says the St. Paddy's celebrants are expected to spend an average of $35.37 per person on green garb, festive food and more. And most of those expenditures will include some tax costs. No toasts for beverage taxes: Let's... Read more →

How will you toast the arrival of 2016? I briefly thought about trying out hard cider this New Year's Eve. But that would require putting on a clean T-shirt, getting out of the house, driving to a liquor store and making the purchase. That's not going to happen. Instead, at midnight the hubby and I will finally pop the cork on a bottle of sparkling wine we've had in our fridge for, well, years. Yeah, we're not really big drinkers. If there's no fizz in that Flat Creek Cellars sparkling almond wine, then we'll rely on our fallback alcoholic beverage:... Read more →

It's going to be a special New Year's celebration for hard cider aficionados. They will be raising a glass of their favorite bubbly fruit beverages not only to celebrate the arrival of 2016, but also to cheer tax law changes that should help their industry. Hard cider, like its cousin wine, is made from fermented juice. In cider's case, that's apples or pears instead of grapes. But hard cider's main competitor really is the craft beer sector. And cider makers have long argued that the tax law imposed an excise tax that put their specialty beverage at a disadvantage to... Read more →

Finally! Dec. 25 has arrived. Not only is it Christmas, it's a no tax day here at the ol' blog. I'm taking the day off to spend it with the hubby, my mom and some friends. I hope you're getting to spend this day the way you want and with those who are important in your life. Wherever you are, here are a few items to bring a little Texas cheer to your day. It's still in the 70s here in Central Texas, but a cold front reportedly is heading our way. Until it arrives, I'm content to sit in... Read more →

Does your Thanksgiving Day menu include a turkey, yams and those fancy stuffed potatoes that grandma used to make every time the family gathered at her house? Thanksgiving meal photo courtesy Satya Murthy via Flickr CC Then there are two things you need to do. First, send me your address and set another plate at the table. Then second, when Congress returns to Washington, D.C., after its holiday break, contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to finish up the tax extenders. If the 50+ tax breaks that expired on Dec. 31, 2014, aren't reinstated, then many of the... Read more →

The only thing we Texans take more seriously than our football (high school, college and pro) and politics (equally crazy at local, state and federal levels) is our barbecue. So it's no surprise that two of the three converged in George W. Bush's Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas. A handwritten note from W's brother, then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current candidate to follow in his father's and sibling's White House footsteps, alerted Bush 43 of a Georgia barbecue joint's "Dubya's Texas Specials" and the meals' associated tax breaks. "Some people support that tax plan!," Jeb tells his older brother,... Read more →

A couple of years ago I made some lifestyle changes to improve my overall health. I started exercising more and I reduced sugar consumption. That second part was relatively easy. All I had to do was drink no more than one can of Coke -- and yes, while the brand name is how we Texans refer to all sodas, I truly am a Coca-Cola devotee -- a day. The Coca-Cola collection in our kitchen pantry. The hubby occasionally mixes in a can of Cherry Coke. I stick with the original. And yes, I have cut consumption. Our stash is big... Read more →

Ins explaining the United States to non-Americans, the quirky online comic website The Oatmeal notes that the Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence through alcoholism, concussive explosions and by scaring the crap out of our pets. I thought the characterization was just part of cartoonist Matthew Inman's exaggeratedly offbeat sense of humor, which is further demonstrated by his July 4th drawing there to the left. But Inman nailed it. All across the country this long weekend we have the fireworks and terrified pets and, yes, the over-consumption of booze. Biggest booze days: Independence Day is one... Read more →

The money saving advice to grocery shoppers is don't go to the market when you're hungry. Today, I found a blogging corollary. Eat before you write about taxes. I didn't get around to having lunch before participating in an early afternoon sales tax webinar. So as I was finally scarfing down my midday meal at my desk, I got to thinking about taxes on food. At the 2015 Sydney International Food Festival, the Australian advertising agency Whybin\TBWA created food-based representations of the flags of 18 countries. I love Italy's green, white and red vertical stripes displayed as basil, spaghetti and... Read more →

Did you make New Year's resolutions? I quit doing so long ago, and I am not alone. Apparently fewer than half of Americans take a pledge to do or be better as each new year rolls around. But those who do make Jan. 1 promises typically have the same goals year after year. (That's one of the reasons I stopped making them.) Among the perennially popular resolutions, according to Uncle Sam's official Web portal, are quit smoking and drink less alcohol. If those are on your 2015 to-do list, they also could save you some tax dollars, especially if... Read more →

Is an anti-soda trend finally getting a foothold? Berkeley, California, voters on Nov. 4 approved a tax on sugary beverages. That 1 cent per ounce levy will begin Jan. 1, 2015. Heading east across the San Francisco Bay, a majority of San Franciscans also supported a soda tax. However, a two-thirds vote on Election Day was needed to enact that tax. Look for health activists to continue the SF soda fight. And last week, another more localized tax that covers sodas as well as other foodstuffs won approval. The Navajo Nation Council signed off on a tax on so-called junk... Read more →

Berkeley, California, finally went where no taxing jurisdiction has gone before. Voters in the city on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay area overwhelmingly voted on Nov. 4 to tax sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and juice. No other town has ever done that. Just as impressive as the 75 percent pro-tax vote -- a simple majority was all that was needed for passage -- was that the Berkeley citizenry shut down the beverage industry, which spent more than $1 million fighting the ballot initiative. Approval of Measure D means that beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Berkeley will levy... Read more →

The hubby and I prefer take-and-bake pizzas to the done-and-delivered variety. While that means one of us has to go pick up our pies, it also means we don't have to worry at all about taxes on delivery charges. Those extra tax amounts are the basis for two lawsuits, one in Florida and another in Illinois, against Papa John's pizza. The Illinois legal action, Zachary Tucker et al. v. Papa John's International Inc., was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois. It contends that the pizza chain's charging of sales tax on their delivery fee violates Illinois... Read more →

Happy National Doughnut Day! I know, my first reaction upon learning of today's seemingly light-hearted gustatory event was dismay that it unfortunately fell this year on the very solemn commemoration of D-Day, the landing 70 years ago of more than 160,000 Allied troops to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. This largest seaborne invasion in history on June 6, 1944, was the beginning of the invasion of German-occupied western Europe. It led to the freeing of France from Nazi occupation and was a key to the Allied victory in World War II. But then I learned that... Read more →

Are you counting calories and still not losing as much weight as you'd like? Maybe counting taxes on the calories would help. A .04 cent per-calorie tax on sugary beverages would reduce consumption by 5,800 calories per person annually, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) study. Plus, says the study, the fractional per-calorie tax would save soda and other sweetened beverage drinkers money. Under the usual system of taxing sugar-sweetened drinks by volume, consumers pay the same tax whether they buy a 12-ounce sweetened drink with 150 calories or the same size beverage with added sugar but... Read more →

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Almost 40 million Americans (including me!) claim Irish heritage. That's almost seven times Ireland's population. And more of us enjoy any reason to party. That makes St. Paddy's Day a big one for businesses that cater to our festive natures. Internet statistics company Statista says (and illustrates in its infographic) that March 17 has become increasingly more popular in the United States. Last year, 56 percent of us celebrated parades, parties and pints. That figure was just 44 percent back in 2009. Translated to dollars, Americans collectively spend $4.7 billion on St. Patrick's Day every year,... Read more →

Food and beverages have long had tax connections. Some states tax groceries. Most tax restaurant and other prepared meals. State and federal excise taxes add to our potent potables' costs. Recently, though, taxes on the serving side of meals and drinks have caused trouble. One in three businesses with a liquor license in North Carolina is behind on taxes, according to an investigation by Raleigh television station WRAL. No tax toasts: Those establishments' nonpayments are costing the Tar Heel State nearly $46 million and some state officials want to start taking away liquor licenses as way to get the money.... Read more →

It's one of my most favorite times of the year. Girl Scout cookies are on sale! I'm a Thin Mints addict. I could eat a whole box in one sitting. They are great alone or crumbled over a bowl (or gallon) of vanilla ice cream. This has been a tasty temptation for as long as I can recall. So every year I buy more boxes than I should. I tell myself that the purchase is for a good cause, and it is. Thin Mints and the other varieties of cookies are a fund-raising project for the local Girl Scout troops.... Read more →