Monday, December 31, 2012

.FOOrD BLOrG. Weird weird world.

Spoiler Alert: The world is a very strange place.

If you don't agree with the above statement then  "Either you don't know, don't show or don't care about what is going on in the hood." -Ice Cube (Boyz in the Hood) Ok, that makes no sense but neither do a lot of things going on everyday. Honestly most of my days (when in public) consist of me in awe of how strange people are or I am baffled as to why they would be doing what they are doing. (If you don't know what I am talking about, find me on FB.) I don't mean this in an "open your eyes" Matrix/Conspiracy kind of way but if that application is what it takes for you to look around and see how unusual things are then so be it. 

Lets just talk about food for a moment. Did you know that a commonly used thickener for bread or dough is human hair? Yeah. Or duck feathers. They both fall under "Natural ingredients." Some soy sauce has used hair since way back. So to recap you have eaten human hair on rice. That is weird. (*I am not going to site articles or pages because if you do your own search you will no doubt find many things on your own journey. I don't want to take the pleasure from you of falling down the rabbit hole here.) Also at a fast food joint you have had a burger with human hair and feathers. Are you cool with this? Now the really weird thing is that you can tell this to someone and they can and will be not only ok about it they will eat those items again. Another thing that has just been released is that there is dried beaver anal sacks used in vanilla and raspberry flavoring. Hey, its natural! So you have most likely drank a beaver anus soda. This is a truth. This is the real world that we live in and that is a truth. (Do a search for "soda with beaver anal sack." Enjoy!) Now I could tell a person this. Face to face. Perhaps even with pictures and if that soda is present as well, they might still drink the soda. That blows my mind.

Well, enough about food. Lets talk about snacks! (That makes no sense.)

(*Todays 1-5 scale is brought to you by weird worldy ongoings.) 

This snack is called Neru Neru Nerune and it comes to us from Japan. This flavor is grape. As you may know I love grape candy from Japan. To eat this snack you kind of have to work for it. Similar to the cheeseburger kit a few reviews ago, you must first make the snack before eating it. That is what the weird yellow guy is doing there.

So here you can see the instructions. Sure, that makes sense.

Here we have all of the components. Mmm. Sure is looking good.

So first you add a packet of powder and then you add a tiny cup of water to it and that creates what you see here. It looks like detergent. It is glossy and gritty in the tray.

Next you add a second powder (the picture didn't turn out. sorry.) and in a few stirs the liquid has morphed into this whipped thick marshmallow like consistency. (That is strange.)

The next logical step is to add sprinkles into the weird guy shape in the tray. Lastly you use your tiny plastic spoon to gather the whipped weirdness and dip it in sprinkles and eat!

The aroma of this product is similar to classic grape gum like Hubba Bubba. It is sweet and pungent in the best sense of the word. The sprinkles are just crunchy sugar. If their intent is to create a textural interplay between the goop and the crunch then well done. To be honest, I could do without the sprinkles. Here the star is the goop. The texture is almost like Laffy Taffy. Almost like if a marshmallow and a Laffy Taffy had a baby. (A flavor baby? No. Too weird.) It isn't slimy or even wet in your mouth. It is thick and almost creamy. A confusing texture and taste since I just combined two powders and a tiny amount of water. Lets all agree that there is nothing "natural" about this snack. This is most likely straight chemicals.

The flavor is quite nice once you get past the weird elements at play here. The flavor is a rich grape flavor. Like grape Nehi. I could really see kids loving the strange out of this snack. I give it a 4.5- The other day we passed an Arbys and the drive thru was packed. Think about that. There are people who not only eat at Arbys but DRIVE to it. They don't live next door and haven't gone grocery shopping in awhile. These people left their homes and got into their car and thought "I have the ability to go anywhere in this automobile and eat anything in this entire city of restaurants and amazing chefs and they decided ARBYS. That is weird. You have to admit that is weird.-out of 5.

Another strange thing is how few amazing friends there are in this world. We have more people on the planet then ever before and  yet it seems less of them are "good" people. Should be 50-50 right? I digress, this snack was brought to us from France. Our great friends Caleb and Natasha bought this and flew it back to Portland for this blog. Now that is true awesome friendness. (I know that isn't a word.)

Lets take a moment just to admire the packaging here. I don't know how well you read french so I will translate "Bonbons or candies with the ass milk." I will give you a moment to let that steep in.

Ass milk candies. (If that didn't just brighten your day then I can't help you.)

Awe but look at that cute little ass. Is he salsa dancing? What is with the rose in his mouth? Wait. Is it a he? I don't think we should make candies with his "milk."

Oh good, it is sugar free! So we know it doesn't have sugar but does have ass milk. Dehydrated none the less. Ah and it says that 1% dried is equal to 15 fresh ass milk. That maybe the grosses math ever accomplished.

(Don't worry I am getting to what sorbitol is....)

Awe look, somebody put that cute ass all over my candies! (Never said that before.) It is a cute design though. I forgot to say that the overall old school vibe of this snack's packaging is pretty rad. The paper has a nice weight and texture and the font choices are all very classy for a snack so ass-y. (See what I did there?)

The smell of this snack is chalk-like. Perhaps sweet chalk. It is very much a pressed tablet of dehydrated milk of ass. (I am sure a lot of extacy dealers wish that their product looked this nice.)

I opened this while our friends were over and here is everyone's thoughts:

S- I will pass. I can't even try it because C talked about donkey semen. Can't put it in my mouth. They do get 2 style points for the packaging.

C- Ugh. This tastes like a god damn medicine. Ass medicine milk chalk. Like if you made a nice high end chalk for kids but made it out of donkey milk. I give it a 1.

N- (Spits it out after a few moments) Ugh. That is enough of that. I give it a 1.

d- OH. It is weird! It tastes cold. It also is super chalky. Slightly sweet. I am trying not to think about the donkey nipples while I eat this. I have never thought that before. That was a debut. In my thirties and still new life discoveries. What a world we live in. Ok. This wasn't great. It is like a vanilla necco wafer but thicker and chalky. I give it a 1- Remember when you could by potato chips that had the side effect of anal leakage? Yeah, that made it to shelves. People bought it knowing the risks. This happened. Imagine the possible snack repercussions possible still. The hair is just the tip of grody iceberg.-out of 5.

(Sorbitol is a medication used as a laxative to treat constipation. Yeah, somebody made a medication for your ass made from an ass. That is like the grossest Venn diagram. Like a snake eating it's own tail only way ickier.)

Well. This cute cat is a nice distraction from all that ass-talk. (Probably a very popular website.) Ah. Just look at his cute cat face. OH NO! Please tell me that this isn't CAT IN A CAN! If this is a can of kitten parts I am going to throw up. (and maybe poop myself. I did eat 2 ass milk tablets before googling sorbitol.)

What does this say? I don't speak Japanese! Does that look like kitten meat? I don't see any recognizable parts!

Well. The can is pretty light for being canned kitten in it's own gravy. The instructions seem a tad excessive. Like someone would see the pull tab and be like "..Nope. I don't get it." I mean it is literally called a pull tab, right?

Ok. I admit that I am just stalling. (Deep breath...)

No kitten. Alright. I have to admit that I knew that this wasn't a stewed kitty cat. This product obviously comes from japan. It isn't made of or made for cats. It is bread in a can. Yeah, that isn't weird.

No wait! That is weird. Bread in a can!!! You know what is weirder? See that silver packet? It isn't just to keep it fresh. When you open the lid it activates that packet which heats up. Yeah, the packet heats up the bread in a can. These aren't random words that I am stringing together Mad Libs style. This is what happened. Truth!

Sure the heating element doesn't quite work the way it is supposed to. That is, unless it is just supposed to BLOW MY MIND! Which it did.

The bread is incredibly light. The scent is of cinnamon and maybe a touch of maple. It isn't too sticky or anything.

Here you can see how light and cloud like the bread is. The flavor was quite pleasant. A little cinnamon and slight sweetness but nothing like any american sweet bread. Similar to that microwave cupcake a few years ago but with a better flavor and no microwaved egg. I know what you are thinking "I bet that has hair in it. Human and cat." Sure, it might. Now that idea is on the table I am going to stop eating it. Thanks.

I guess this bread in a can snack is popular in Japan. Hence the cute can. I will say that to order it and all it cost me 12 dollars. That is a lot of bread. (For canned bread.) How was the experience? Worth every cent. It was new. It was exciting and in my case I got to experience it with my lovely wife. (Who is so great and supportive of me even if that involves buying a 12 dollar can of bread for a food blog that 4 people read. That is pretty awesome.) Sarah also gives it a 5 out of 5. That is a purr-fect score. (groan) and also 1 style point for the heat pack. (I am still not sure how these style points work...)

I give this snack a 5- Still don't think the world is a big ball of weird? Google "cat bread in can" That is how people spend their time-out of 5.

Well, the holidays are over and tomorrow is 2013. This is the last post and I have so very many weird things here to share. Cheers to next year. It is going to get real strange around here. See you next time.

Oh and watch out. My new years resolution is to either get better at hugs or sneezing on people's necks. One of those two. Haven't decided.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

.FOOrD BLOrG. A simpler thyme. (You change that back!)

Now more than ever people are looking back toward traditions. Back toward older times. Back to simpler aesthetics. Sadly this is mostly to cannibalize for a profit than to honor a specific thing or idea. Sure some new businesses might want to honor an old style but for every honest one there are 400 plus hipsters who look like doctors from the 1800s but the only thing they can operate is a 6 dollar a cup coffee maker at the local coffee roaster. It isn't their fault. Their generation has no aesthetics. Everything is shiny electronics and completely otherwise intangible. There are no apps for that. They must pick the bones of the 80s, 90's, 70's lumberjack chic, etc... This makes them less popular than the any person who joins Etsy trying to sell their jewelry. (There are a lot of people who make jewelry that are nice but there are more that scour what others do and then take their ideas for their own. Total craft cannibals.) Look, we tip a homeless person for a a witty sign or to appease our own guilt so why not throw a hipster a glance that they can ignore and they will in the end feel like all the mustache waxing was worth it.

The thing is, times change. I don't have anything really against "hipsters" for they are just the current name for a group of people that are trending. I know because I have been mistook for one. Here is how or why I am not one:

1) I am not nor have I ever been concerned with what anyone thinks of me. Not in a cool way but in a "please nobody ever look at me. I would be perfectly fine hiding at home forever way." 

2) Before this I was called "Metro sexual". It was a dark time but it has passed. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing. Nobody but members of Le Tigre should have uni-brows.

3) Before that I was called "fag" This was fine and all. I am not gay but I am also not a misogynist, sexist, all around jerk, or a homophobe. So I took the hate for not hating. Always did. Always will.

4) Before that I was "goth" Probably the most accurate label. Not in the full on make up type of way or even belonging to the scene. More along the lines of morbid sense of humor and enjoyment of most things horror. I also like Bauhaus and early Cure etc... Plus black is slimming. (Not for all goths. It is a color not a miracle.)

5) I have always enjoyed odd hairstyles. Since Aaron and I got into Sun In in the 80s. I then fell in love with post apocalyptic 80s films where men wear shoulder pads but no shirt and have mo hawks and wield weapons that make no sense together. Like a motorcycle with a chainsaw welded on the front and a wrist crossbow. They are and were hilarious. (Most of which were set in years that have passed which makes viewing now even better. As I grew up I could choose and design my hairstyles and I did. I even drew them out first. Now as an adult I can do whatever I want and I will. If that means that I want to look like I just had brain surgery I will. I am not allowing anyone to tell me to "grow up" because that just means get boring. Oh so I grew up so I could have ultimate freedom and then not use it? I think not and no nomadic generation or people hating them is going to stop me. I have resigned to the fact that I will always be in the crossfire of these two groups that I don't belong to. That is cool. I will just be over here putting leather studs on my jacket with one sleeve missing because it snags on my wrist mounted blow gun.

Why are we both here? Oh yes, candy. Today we are looking at old time snacks. Lets get to it.

First up we have Horehound. Ok, stop giggling. This isn't a slightly more pc version of "b*tch" it is a flavoring that refers to two different flowering herbs. The company that makes this was started in 1919. So this is a legit old time snack. Lets look at the back.

See. Back in the day, one couldn't afford entertainment and food. You had to choose. Until this snack which combined a long yarn on the back with a bag of sugared whimsy. (None of that is true. Sometimes I make stuff up and then rather than do research I just choose to believe it. Saves time.) This story of Claeys Old Time Candies was so popular that  the bag out sold the Bible and was often read to crowds in speak-easys until such people were deemed heretics and burned alive. Ironically in fires started by horehound. (Ok, none of that is true but it is so much more interesting than this bag.

Well here it is. Yeah. That is the deal with old time candy. I can say one and you can picture it. Previous to this moment I hadn't heard of Horehound but if you tell me it is an old time candy-got it. Root Beer Barrel- yep got it. Butterscotch-no problem. Nobody is ever like "Ribbon candy? Why does it look like a ribbon? Huh, didn't anticipate that." They are a predictable lot.

How does it taste?

Well, first of all it smells like corn syrup. That is all. no herbal anything. Upon tasting it. I just mostly get that hard candy blandness. For all I know, that is some of the appeal here. As to not be to aggressive on the taste buds. One shouldn't over excite ones mouth for the mouth is a direct gateway to one's loins. (What?) I am not going to beat around the bush here. This tastes only like corn syrup. I am not exaggerating. It tastes solely like corn syrup. This is like the personification of anticipating a candy having flavor. Like it is the base for something that was forgotten. Perhaps the most perfect description for an old time candy. Sadly though I give this snack a 1- Easter pink polyester pant suit-out of 5.

Horehound Stick Candy? What did we go even further back in time? Stick Candy has to be the least pleasant style of candy. You can even tell when you give a child a stick candy that there is a moment where the kid is like "Seriously. For reals? This is what you give me? You saw me eat a strawberry. That thing was the size of a quarter and I mashed it everywhere. My mom will find some in my ear. This thing I will drool down the sides. It will run into my arm pits. I will set it down on my pants. Yeah, you heard me. I will put it down on the carpet and then eat the dog hair covered stick candy. This is a terrible idea." Stick candy is almost always a terrible flavor. Green apple? Not likely. Even if you call it that I know it will taste like a salt water taffy. Yeah, and when can we all agree that no matter what flavor you say a salt water taffy is going to be that it just tastes like 2 mouthfuls of sugar and a hint of a vague flavor. You can try 40 different flavors and other than peppermint I cant tell them apart. Over it. You should be too.

How does it taste? (sigh) Well it has a very similar corn syrup flavor. Alas this stick candy has more to offer. Bitterness. Oh man this thing is bitter. Ugh. You know how blood tastes metallic? This tastes like robot blood. So I guess Horehound tastes like robot blood with a hint of regret. A big fat lingering hint of regret. An all consuming hint. It isn't a hint. It is its entirety. I don't like this at all so I give this snack a 0- -out of 5. (How could they be taking a break?)

Well, here we have a sucker but it is nutmeg creme flavored. This is a mash up of new flavors and old school candy making. Smells like hipster but I can't remember where Sarah got this for me so I can't say. I will say that I have put this off for awhile. It is old. When I ate it I could tell. It smelled like a caramel and it disintegrated into grittiness quickly after putting it in my mouth. I can only blame myself for not eating it 6 months to a year earlier. What can I say I had more interesting snacks to eat. It never fit into any posts. Alright, I admit it. I haven't been excited about this post and that is why it took me a month to make myself do this. Fine. I am ashamed and I apologize. How does this sucker taste? Like a caramel with a hint of nutmeg. Yeah. Pretty spot on with the name and all. The only bad part is the texture and I am not going to say it is the anonymous candy makers fault but because I don't know I can't say if it is great or not. I will put it this way, I don't enjoy it. It is too creamy for me. This is also what it was going for though. So I will give this mystery snack a 3-are there gold dentures?-out of 5.

Yep. You can also get a big C for Christ. I mean, that is what jesus would do, right?

Here we are with the last snack from this post.  I have no idea what this is called. Should I look it up? I mean, probably but I am not going to. We got it at Luce which is one our favorite restaurants in Portland. I did try to look up what it is called but I can't even tell you what google image search brought up from the key words "a man, a woman, a dyke, and a basket." Yeah, I know. I was imagining that this is Holland and there is a dyke nearby. How is it? Like a foreign version of that disappointment sucker from Sees Candy. A tad easier on the teeth and maybe made from sheep. If that floats your barge than by all means pick one up. For me, I'd rather have a Blow Pop. (Which is a great name for a sucker with gum inside and a terrible name for a soda.) I give this sucker a 3- lap blanket..that is all I fear about age. Requesting and finding joy in a  lap blanket.-out of 5.

Alright, so as i said, I put this off for a month. The whole point of this blog is to enjoy snacks from around the world and write about it as an exercise. This is something I do for fun. I guess sometimes the "fun" is the challenge. I just wasn't that excited about these snacks and luckily they weren't all very good. The next 6 posts are full of strangeness though. So I hope to see you again here next Wednesday.
Take care.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

.FOOrD BLOrG. Chews Life. Be the gummy.

So I was thinking about chewy candies and it dawned on me that "chewy" might be a better way to live than "hard." I am talking lifestyle. Candy metaphor lifestyle. Now I am not saying that one shouldn't have morals or ideals or stand for something. Sure, we should all do that. I am saying that perhaps there are ways that we all could be a tad less rigid. What I am saying is be open.

If you think about it, when you first chomp down on a gummy there is a sort of remix that happens. Your teeth might not break all the way thru and just the shape of the gummy changes a bit. Now it might even regain it's shape at that point. If this had been a hard candy it would break or splinter. You don't have to break. A bit of a stretch maybe but hear me out.

See, last year I told my wife that I was going to have a year of yes. Whenever she asked if I wanted to do something my answer would always be "yes" even if I didn't really want to go downtown or whatever it was. Why would I decide to do that? I did it because I had become perfectly happy in my home with the blinds drawn in my controlled environment. I needed to test myself. I needed to be open. So my awesome wife was the integral part of the equation because it wasn't up to me what I was going to or not experience. Well now we are coming up to the new year again and what do you think happened?

Nothing except a years worth of fun memories and experiences that I wouldn't have had otherwise with the person I care about the most. To be honest, I wish I had decided to do year of yes from day one. Every moment, no matter how small, you can spend with the person you care about and an inside joke or a moment of endearment can happen at anytime.

My point isn't in absolution it is an open evolution. I don't regret it. Not even things that I didn't maybe enjoy much but to be honest I can't name one of those but I can name several really fun memories that I might have previously missed. All I am saying and all this funny little blog is saying is "Try new things. Please be open to great and even bad experiences." That is life. You can't do the whole live and learn thing if you stick to what you already know and never leave your little box. 

Ok. I am done. Let us eat the chewy candies!

Well hey there cuteness! (Um, I was talking to the panda.) Here we have SUPPANDA!! A strange little candy hailing from Tokyo. First impressions, either this is sour or that panda's mouth is down south and what is supposed to be down there is on it's face. You get what I am saying? You know, like:
()*().  Well, that doesn't look right. Never mind lets just move on to the back.

Much better. So here we see the panda still has a b*tthole for a mouth and it's armpit is proclaiming something about a pineapple. That lot.

So it looks pretty sour. It smells slightly of either powder lemon and pineapple. At this point we have pineapple and Tokyo going in this snacks favor. I am pretty excited about trying it.

S- Well, the panda's mouth looks like a butth*le. So minus one style point for making me picture a panda butt. Mmm. It tastes good. Is there goo in the middle? I like it. I don't normally like the goo. I give it a 4-out of 5.

d- I like the texture. It has some resistance. Like a kinda ballsy jelly bean but not grainy. Like a high quality Spree. Is that the one? The goo is good. A little tart but not sour really. A nice pineapple flavor. I give this snack a 4-I don't like crowds but I can survive them by preparing myself before hand-out of 5.

In my humble opinion. You cannot go wrong with a cola flavored gummy from Japan. You can't. Anytime I try one I feel like a super mega winner. So here, that is exactly what we have. My mouth is watering. Obviously the front tells me nothing since I can't read Japanese. I think it says " Hey dirk! Buy these because they are soooooo delicious! Speaking of Dell. Remember that "shoulda got a dell" commercial. Whatever happened to that kid? Kids was a movie. Who wrote that one " I like to move it. Move it" song and why isn't that in commercials for U-Haul? You sure are good looking dirk. Have you been working out? Why yes, self. I have"
. . . . Wait, where were we?

Anyway, here we can see the back. Which clearly states....a lot of stuff. Pretty much all I know is that this candy is cola flavored and it has 2900 somethings worth of collagen. Is that a lot and why is it there? What is collagen?

I am not going to explain that to you. Me not got great thinking meats. So here is a link:

Look at that little one. It is lightly dusted in a fine tart powder. Just opening the bag and I could smell awesome cola smell. Look, I don't drink soda. I don't drink any ever. (Unless it is for this blog.) That being said I love cola candy. I know. I don't understand it either.

S-I like it.  It has a nice texture. More body than the average gummy. Really good flavor. Minus one style point for looking like licorice. This could be like the Nicorette for soda drinkers. They could chew a piece of candy instead of drinking a gallon of soda. 5-out of 5.

d-Totally. I agree with every thing that you just (eats second piece) said. It has a nice chew and the flavor is really full but not too big. A nice tartness. If you like Haribo's sour cola bottles than this is like the high end of that. I give this snack a 5-Always look around you. There are funny little small things happening everywhere. It is amazing what the normal world finds normal.-out of 5.

Oh what? Dueling Japanese pineapple gummies? What did I win the mouth lottery? (That sounds like something one would lose in prison.) Once again I have no idea what any of that says and you know what my guesses are like. (Not entirely accurate.)

Whoa. Am I not the best photographer ever? Good lord I am terrible at taking pictures. This doesn't even show the collagen count. Yes this one features collagen as well. Mmmm. Animal proteins and stuff or things... It sure looks pretty on the packaging. Let's open it up!

Wait. What the f*ck is this? Where did the pretty shinny pineapple from the packaging go? This sure isn't it. This looks like a gummy from the dollar store. Luckily it smells of pineapple. Let's see how it tastes.

S-Uh. This tastes like canned pineapple. Why would anyone want to make a candy taste like canned pineapple. Minus one style point for looking so cloudy. The color is a real turn off. 3-outof 5.

d-It is ok but it does taste like canned pineapple. Who is the person that is like" Man, I LOVE canned pineapple. I just wish it was somehow more portable. I mean, than this can." It isn't terrible. It smells right. I give it a 3-I pretty much now know that anything "confit" is not for me but I had to try from beef cheek confit to duck confit to figure that out-of 5.

Ok so here we have a candy that is Let's just get one thing out of the way. The thing at waist level on the melon man there.

That melon headed dude is sporting a full on erection. I believe this is a candy for kids. I mean, I have heard about being a fan of yourself but really! I mean, he is a melon man who is drinking a soda that tastes like him. And he is REALLY is into that.

Imagine tasting a soda that is flavored just like you. If you didn't almost vomit just now than you aren't applying your imagination. I mean, that isn't my thing but I have been in gas stations far from civilization where I have seen men who have wondered "Why t'aint thar human soders?" U no. Like a Marly soder, a Jethro soder, a Billy Bob soder... Taste like a juicy skin suit! Yee haw! Ma sister is ma wife." (Too much?) My point is that I am all for being open but maybe not that open.

(Why would anyone think that they should put a package on packaging for kids? right?)

Alright. So here we have a melon soda caramel. We have had a red wine caramel and a few others so lets just dive in.

S- Ugh. This tastes exactly like a banana runt. Exactly. (Spits it out.) -1 style point for the BS wax paper wrapping. 0-out of 5.

d- At first I am getting wax notes. Like a candle. Then the essence of cheap bubble gum. That is probably the soda flavor. After that follows hints of regret and banana flavor. This is gross and not at all like melon. Now I have never had melon soda but if this is what it tastes like I will pass. This snack gets a 1-The people that go to a day spa are very different than we are but in some way making them uncomfortable is even more satisfying than a seaweed massage-out of 5.

So ends another chewy episode of FOASP. Thanks for taking the time to read. Thanks to my wife for trying all of these snacks with me and for all of the year of yes experiences.

Lastly I'd like to share that a chef friend of ours started a 30 minutes for 30 days exercise challenge and we are a tad over a week in. The reason I mention this is because we are not big exercise people but here is what we have learned this far: 30 minutes is not a lot of time. It is very approachable. After 30 minutes of exercise a few days you really do feel different. It doesn't take much. In the time I would surf a few websites we have made a minute change to how we live and feel better. Also doing the exercises together is far more fun than alone. Lastly any exercise with any allusion to "buns" in the title is an exercise worth doing. Especially "Bollywood Booty 2."

Till next week. Keep your head up and out of any sodas.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

.FOOrD BLOrG. Don't fear the Chocolatier.

October is one of my truly favorite months. I love the fall and I love the onslaught of horror films everywhere. Ever since I was little (but not too little) I have enjoyed creature features and other scary tales. As we all know, one of the things that make a really effective spooky film is that it taps into a specific fear.You know, like nuclear fallout turning people into zombies or wanting to be like the people on Keeping up with the Kardashians turning people into zombies or zombies turing people into zombies.....or well, just zombies. 

There are some scenes in films that shock and disgust us. Scenes that we instantly put ourselves in the "What would that feel like? AHHHHH!" situation. For instance the ankle scene in Pet Sematary or the entire last quarter of the film Audition. (shudder.) However horrific a scene is though, if we can't imagine it being real or edit ourselves into the scene than it isn't going to work. That being said, allow me to regale you with a very true scene from my life just a few days ago...

Four months ago I has a minor odd feeling in my right ear. It didn't hurt but it felt like a mild pressure. (Are you nervous where this is going yet?) After much deliberation I made an appointment to see a doctor. Long story short, he knew nothing of what it was and could see no visible problem. He prescribed me drops for both ears and sent me on my way. The drops were a real treat and after a week of my loving wife putting drops in my ears for me nothing changed for the better. So I returned again and this time the doctor (different one) prescribed me antibiotics which as we all know come with their own horrors. So for ten days I took my punishment and it helped me with nothing but perhaps drop a few pounds. I returned again and this time the doctor referred me to a specialist. (*Cue The Dead Milkmen song "Take me to the Specialist")

This problem had lingered for months now in varying stages of displeasure. Sometimes I wanted to bang my head into the desk in an effort to alleviate pressure or simply scream at the top of my lungs for some kind of release. After a while I had become accustomed to the situation but I still didn't want to go deaf if that was a side effect to whatever was happening in my ear. Prior to the specialist I had to have a hearing test. Now this is the part of the film where the main character sits in a strange room with someone on the other side of a tinted window. The unseen person makes bleep sounds and I would press a clicker when I would hear it. Then the person would say words and ask that I would repeat them as their voice would become quieter and quieter. In my cold padded room I'd hear a voice "Bedroom" and I'd say "Bedroom." The a quieter voice "Cowboy" and again I would repeat "Cowboy" until I would hear nothing and be left to wonder what had become of said bedroom cowboy.  I had tested above average all across the board and was sent to another area to wait.

Once admitted into the room I sat for a moment before in walked a beast of a woman. She had a wide face that was devoid of expression and stringy hair like that girl who crawled out of the t.v. in The Ring (The original not the bs remake.) She dragged her legs across the floor like she was a zombie and her voice was monotone at best. Now I'd just like to pause and say that in a patient care situation "care" is an important word and an even more appreciated feeling to have when something is wrong with you. This lady was giving up none of that. She turned my chair and and asked what was the problem. So I told her the whole ordeal which she took in without blinking or moving a muscle at all. This lady was really freaking me out now. She shined a light into my ear and reached over for a long metal stick about 4 inches in length. "What is that even here for?" I thought. "Don't look at her....Don't look at anything she picks up. She is rummaging around for things to stick into your ear!"

It was at this point I decided to look forward. That would be a good point to focus on  and then all I have to do is go to my happy place and wait for this to all be over. A great plan. Except for one thing. As she pressed my head into my left shoulder I realized that she had turned my chair so that I was facing myself. I had nowhere else to look as she placed a small metal cone on my ear and lifted the small metal rod and slid it along the cone and slowly into my ear. (Do you understand what I am saying? I have the pristine image of somebody slowly lowering a surgical implement into the confines of my head. That is so f*cked up. Nobody should have that.) What happened? It hurt and I shook and somehow made my squished-into-my-neck face look even more worse. She was displeased. She told me not to move or I might get hurt. Yes those are her words. The same words a kidnapper uses or a bank robber. I thought, "This has to be the first time she has done this on a living person." She tried again by squishing my face further into my neck. My eyes filled with fear as she again lowered a different but still metal pick into my skull. Same results. She huffed like Dahmer probably did after ever failed lobotomy. By this point I figured that this is either a hidden camera show with really good lawyers or that she is an escaped patient from a torture institution. (They still have those right? That is where toothbrushes are made of sand paper and their t.v.s only show those "real housewife" shows.)

So the "dr?" calls for the nurse and then drips fluid in my ear and tells me to "sit still and wait." The nurse walks in and the "dr" says "I need to put something in his ear to numb it because he is so jumpy." I didn't have a problem with this at first. Until she said "An eye dropper OR a syringe." PROBLEM. I can't explain nor should I have to how much I am on team eye dropper in any situation where the two option of what will be put into my ear canal is A. eyedropper or B. A SYRINGE!!! (Now let's just take a moment and acknowledge that this lady doesn't seem to know her way around this room. Anybody else concerned by this? I was.) Nonetheless, what did they go with? Syringe. (FMLx1000) 

The nurse then leaves after doing nothing but silently agreeing that the dr.'s crazy idea is a good one and she leaves the door open. So now the lady presses my already squished face into my shoulder. My eyes dart from the mirror, where I can see her filling the syringe, to the open door as people are passing and NOT HELPING. Then I see what will forever be my horror moment. I literally see this person slowly lowering a dripping syringe into my ear canal. Like she is flying a spoonful of food into a babies mouth. You know what? If she had made a crazy airplane noise that would have somehow made it better. Listen to my words: I have fleeting images of seeing a syringe be inserted into where my eardrum is. If that doesn't creep you out. Then you aren't human. 

(What happened? She then dug around with a tool in my numbed ear and removed some debris that she said was the problem. The problem was caused by the ear drops from the first dr. I know. FML.)

Now lets talk chocolate!!!!

I know that in the past I haven't given chocolate the highest of praise. So this time I have a team of friends who will weigh in on each snack! Welcome to the fold: Tara, Kurt, Beverly and returning awesome wife Sarah.

Well first up we have Magic Fingers. I believe we purchased this at a russian grocery but judging by the title you might think it came from an adult store.You know, the kind where nobody dresses like that chef guy on the packaging. (Maybe one guy but rest assured he has no magic fingers. The only thing he has on his hands is too much time and calluses. You know, from baking...)

Well it appears to just be a biscuit-like Twix kind of deal. Lets see the breakdown:

S- I don't like it. 0-out of-5 I like the gold wrapper for each MF but the outside wrapper is crap so no style points. (*Side note: She literally just started giving out style points. This has never been a part of the judging so let's all welcome STYLE POINTS!)

T- It is a little bland. 1.5-out of-5 because it isn't horrible. Nothing to turn to for a treat of quality in either biscuit or chocolate.

K- It is kinda like a Whopper and kind of like not eating anything. Not bad. 2-out of-5

B-This is stupid. It isn't gross but who cares. At least try to wrap it nicely. It looks like it has been previously unwrapped. 1-out of 5.

D- This is cheap and the biscuit part is powdery. The chocolate is super cheap and has more in common with candle wax. Cheap candle wax. I give this a 1-If you hated the ankle scene in Pet Symatary than you should watch Sympathy for Mr. Vengence-out of 5.

So there are literally hundreds of chocolate companies in Portland it seems. We hadn't seen this one before so we bought two different kinds from The Meadow in North Portland or maybe New Seasons somewhere....You know what? Doesn't matter. What does matter is that the buzz words on the cute little packaging matches with the flavors inside.

Here we can see all of the special ingredients. Yep. Ok everything seems to be in order here. This seems to be looking good.

So I screwed up and didn't take a picture before I cut it up but I did with the next one. Don't worry.

S-Tastes like chocolate. That is it. My throat is a little burning but that is probably from the habanero sauce at dinner. I give it a 1and a half-outof 5 Also 3 style points for the packaging. (*we still don't know how many possible style pints there are so maybe that isn't even good.)

T- I just taste chocolate. Wait, there was a small chunk of something in it. No nothing. 2.5-out of 5. It is ok but really nothing special.

K-SAME. I agree with everything that is being said.

Bev-This is just dark chocolate. Bummer. NBD. I guess if you hit those ingredients really hard though it maybe gross. I give it a 4-out of 5.

d- I get dark chocolate. No ginger or anything promised on the front. This doesn't seem balanced or impressive. Disappointing. 2-The most intense french horror film is titled INSIDE and it will murder your brain-out of 5.

Well, after that warm response who wouldn't want to try another one? Show of hands? (You can't see this but it is all hands in here.) I selected this one because it has hazelnuts and fernet. Sarah loves both of those things. So I thought that this was really going to be something special. Maybe it might become her new favorite thing. Only time and mouths will tell. (That sounded weird.)

So here we can see more fantastical blah blah blah. Chocolates do this SO much. It is like a book on the back. In fact I expect sometime to pick up a book and turn it over only to find out that it is a chocolate and all the literature is just their food mission statement. Look if you need a paragraph to win over a consumer maybe focus more on what your product is and make it approachable and less like you are so smart and unique. Just an idea. Your whimsical hoopla just makes you seems like a stuffy a-hole. (Not exclusively this snack just most high end chocolates. I just want the snack. I already have a library card if i need anything else. Thanks.)

So here you can see how pretty it looks in it's little plastic sleeve.  Let's just move on to what the team thought.

S-This one is a bit waxy. It seems lighter than the last one. They get a 1-out of 5 for no Fernet. Ugh. So disappointed. However I like the packaging. I like that each flavor has a different colored wax seal. So 5 style points. (That is the most style points since the style points have been added.)

T-I like this chocolate better. 2-out of 5. (She must have said more but that is literally all I wrote down.

K-I like this one much better. Smooth chocolate. Not too flavory. 3-out of 5.

B-Bummer again. There is nothing to it. I might taste fernet but it might be psychosymatic. It tastes like fernet farted. 4-out of 5. Good chocolate. (Swear to god that is what I wrote down. In that order. That is what she said. The weirdest highest rating for that snack.)

d-Eh.... Where do you start with something that gives you so little to remark on. This is like being a kid on that last day of school and the other kid that you like offers to sign your yearbook and you are so excited to see what it says. You get your book and open it and notice that they wrote "stay cool this summer" which would be exciting if Joey and Heath and Karl hadn't also written the exact same thing. Unremarkable. 2-The spanish film [REC] should be the only found footage film. Period.-out of 5.

This was a gift I received for my birthday from our good pals Caleb and Natasha. Now I have had many chocolate snacks and many bacon snacks. Bacon donuts, bacon beer, bacon water, bacon gum etc....... I have had one chocolate bacon before and it wasn't my favorite thing ever. However that didn't make it to the blog as it was on vacation. Here is a close up of the actual product.

S- I am giving it a zero for just being here. Negative style points.

T-Uh. It tastes stale. I am really not into the bacon. Ugh. 0-I am finding it...hard to swallow..gross.

B-No problem. It is kinda interesting. Home made would be way better than sitting on a shelf. I am not upset about it. 3. NBD.

K-This is disgusting. Is this real bacon? This can't be real. Ugh. 0-out of 5.

d-This smells like if a shoe had a basement where bad things happened. This is like the worst of two worlds. I feel like the oily fat from the bacon has leeched into the chocolate. The texture is a waxy fatty affair. Nobody wants that. Why would somebody want to share this with people? 0-The Innkeepers is one of the best old style ghost stories of the last decade-out of 5.

B -{round 2} I get more bacon. Ugh. It is way worse this time. That three is fading fast. Ultimately resting at 1-out of 5.

So there you have it. Yet another chocolate chapter closed. As always I encourage you to try these or any of the other snacks on this blog and find out if it is delicious or not. I am always surprised at what people like that I don't and vice versa. See you next time. Happy Halloween.

Yes I realized it is odd to put a terrifying ear experience before a food blog.

('*side note: Once the lady removed the dried chemical from the drops and the experience was over I felt like she was the best person in the world. That being said, she had just dumped a bunch of numbing things into my brains.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

.FOOrD BLOrG. Weird convenience

Well, hello there. I guess if we are both here it means that it is time for another season of FOASP. (Fear of a Snack Planet)....Or would it be FSP. Hmmm... Either way, it is nice to see you. First of all let me just say that the break since the last post was not due to a snack shortage. Rest assured, the back stock for this blog is bloated with things from around this floating rock we call home. Back in June I went on break from my day job and was helping my wife and her hot sauce business do farmers markets etc... This quickly became more encompassing than anticipated. For 3 months we had very little down time. This brought to mind how the old model of television will create a certain number of episodes and then take a break. So taking that blueprint, I have scheduled this season of FOASP/FSP with a few open bonus episodes for the oddity unexpectedly encountered. Otherwise every post is packed with some of the most original and possibly awful snacks we could find. I really hope that you enjoy it and come back every week.

Nuff said.

This summer was so busy that my wife and I were literally making sauce until 3-3:30 am and getting up to market at 6-7 am then napping between 3-5pm and back at the sauce. This left little time to eat. We found that the best mode for sustenance was small snacks. (Especially, since in the framework of exhaustion, you can't tell if you are tired, hungry, awake, nauseous, etc..) There is a lot to be said about how quickly we need food sometimes. Like despite some form of planning, we have to eat right then and there. Whatever we can get our grubby little mits on. (P.s. Wash your mits.)

So today our three snacks are focussed on one thing: Convenience.

First up we have POWER BEEF! Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. Those dreary dog days of dragging your heels over to a meat sack and just wasting SO many minutes chewing jerky BEFORE having an energy drink are over. Finally somebody has answered our prayers and combined the two and in doing so has saved us valuable.......seconds? Minutes? Anything? Okay, let us address the elephant (made of POWER BEEF) in the room. This is a weird idea. I am not judging and saying it is a bad idea but you can't deny that it is weird. You also can't deny that by calling it POWER BEEF with a lightning bolt behind that and stating "Get your move on!" that this might make you poop your pants.

Alright. We get it. I found the back paragraph so extreme that I wanted to try it more than words. (Eh? See what I did there?....(sigh)) Seriously? "..slam a bag of POWER BEEF"? Don't get me wrong, I love a good beef bag slamming as much as the next person but this whole Guarana flavored meat snack just has me worried a tad. For instance, is that "flavored with.." portion of the bag a sticker? Is that a good sign? Was this some sort of rush snack job? This is 2012 maybe the limelight belongs to POWER BEEF.?. (If you get that last sentence than either you listen to way to much Rush or you are my high school drama teacher...Or both.) What was under the mysterious sticker? I had to know. So I peeled and scraped it off and under "FLAVORED WITH GUARANA" was "This product contains Guarana seed and Green Tea extracts scientifically designed to boost your energy level." I am dead serious. That is what it said. I suppose the figured that the person buying anything called POWER BEEF (in all caps) would not take kindly to word wizadry messing with their minds. Plus clapping out the syllables to "scientifically" could really burn all that energy received by slamming that beef bag in the first place.

Well, there it is. It doesn't look too powerful. It sort of looks like ordinary unpowered beef. I thought it might smell like an energy drink. Maybe that is next RED BULL BEEF or MONSTER MEAT. Uh, no thanks. I don't want either of those. Although just imagine making your thanksgiving gravy with a 5 hour energy drink. You'd beat that post dinner slump and the dishes would get done lickity split. (That is a gross saying.) (Also I do not endorse POWER GRAVY in any way. I am sure there are health risks and maybe a baby heart would explode or something else hellish. So do not do that. Wait, did that baby just have a bottle of POWER GRAVY? Who is it's parents? Ugh. Some people...)

This was another one of those strange snack encounters where you fear the worse and when it isn't the devil in jerky form you kinda are a bit sad. I say this because POWER BEEF is actually fine. It smells like middle of the road jerky. It just tastes like jerky. Like a mildly smoked and ever so slightly sweet meat treat. S and I both tried it and had braced for bad but instead got what could only be described as totally fine jerky. Is that a good thing? I guess. I mean you want it to be edible. It costs 3 dollars. See, I don't mean to sound let down because it wasn't gross. I am glad that this Oregon company has made an edible product. This is just a case of an extreme package to sell the same ole meat sack. Neither of us felt the "POWER" part of the beef and I am pretty sure neither of us pooped our pants.

So all in all, you can do far worse in the jerky world for far more money. As always I recommend that you slam a meat sack and find out for yourself. I give this snack a 3.5- brushing your teeth in the shower is a time saver, brushing on the toilet is gross-out of 5.

Now if meat isn't your thing than maybe you might need this Fruit Cake on the go. Uh, my first concern here is that this doesn't look at all like fruit cake. Is that a picture of a carrot? Wait. Is carrot a fruit? I am pretty sure NOBODY has ever argued that a carrot is a fruit. I am also confident that nobody ever wanted fruit cake on the go. What else is in this snack?

Oh man, LOOK AT ALL THAT FRUIT!!!! See, just imagine, you just put some of these fruit cakes in your purse and when you want to snack on carrot, whet flower, and honey then you can just reach in and snack away. Doesn't that sound soooooooo good?

Oh yes, it looks EVEN better than any of us could have imagined. It smells like if a candle thought that it was really fancy only to realize that it is a dollar store candle in a cheap piece of pottery shaped like a shell with a baby climbing up one side and the candle shed a tear and you bottled that sadness. You know? No? Well, it smells like if a fruit rollup got a perm. Part of that could be because the "fruit cake" is wrapped in rice paper. Yeah, the same kind that is wrapped around "rice candy" which is not candy. I am sorry but I bought some as a child and was never more disappointed.

How does it taste? Like drinking my first explanation of how it smelled. I mean first lets address the texture. It feels pretty firm like jello with rigor mortis. Once in your mouth the rice paper clings to everything so that once the revolting sense of dread sets in that you won't be able to escape the death that is any mouth fun for you for the next 20-15 minutes. The taste is a thick sweetness. Like if you licked Winnie the Poohs back as he was gorging on honey all wedged in that tree. Where he is just so full and his sweaty bear back is just oozing honey sweat. Yeah, it tastes like that. So hopefully that isn't your thing but if it is then here is a snack for you. I can't honestly tell you if there is carrot in there as I just wanted it out of my mouth. I know that this is not a snack designed for me and that it is great for some bear licker just not me. Thanks but this little black rain cloud is going to stick to Sweetarts. I give this snack a .5-Why not do yoga in the elevator? If you do downward dog someone will make room. (Besides elevators and yoga studios have equal square footage to passed gas ratios. That is a scientific fact.)-out of 5.

Lastly today we have a product from Japan that costs just under 5 dollars. This hails from a snack line called "happy kitchen" and the whole appeal here is that you make the snack. As in, every element of the snack you create. Including the cute little packaging and all. I chose this for the "convenience" post because it is fast food. However in an ironic turn of events it is the MOST labor intensive and time consuming snack I have ever encountered. I get that is most of the appeal here and if I was a child this may have been magical. One time when my friend Aaron and I were at a beach house (as children) we found a make a cake kit in a box of Lucky Charms. We followed the instructions and made this microwave cake and spread weird frosting goo on it and stuck the "marshmallows" to it and split it. We gobbled it up but neither of us looked pleased about the final outcome. I suppose it really was about the mad scientist angle of creating this weird hybrid snack that was fun.

So by now I am sure that you have put together that this kit makes 2 cheese burgers, one order of french fries, and a small coke like soft drink.

Here you can see the super simple instructions. Right there is the part that tells you Well, there is a stick in some goo. Also a few arrows as to say "this" or "that" and of course the "put someone's finger in this part"

Sure, business as usual.

Here we have the bag that contains an assortment of packets and small plastic bucket type things. It says "hamburger sheet." You know, because it is...the...hamburger sheet?... WTF.

Alright! Now I get this. It says "smoosh some goo on this blue square and cut it into two pieces. Then you should tape stuff to a cup and make something to put fries in." Duh. That all seems way too obvious. Right? I mean, what am I an idiot? (Perchance)  So maybe there was a few steps that I was missing. Luckily I found a tutorial on the ole youtube that walked me thru making my happy kitchen cheese burger meal. Before we get to that though I'd like to point out a few things. First of all, the video is significantly shorter than it took me to make this snack. All in all it took me 30-40 minutes. Secondly,  I didn't know if this was candy or supposed to taste like what it is emulating until I actually put it in my mouth. Thirdly, rhymes with turdly. (Not important. Just skip that last one.)

So here is my finished product. Kinda cute right? However looks can be deceiving. (Especially with food.) My first inkling that this wasn't going to just taste like cookies was that when I microwaved the fries mixture it smelled like potato. Like fake potato or reconstituted to say the least. My heart kind of sank a bit and not just because I knew that the tiny fries were going to be cold in 30 minutes when I finished making my burgers, soda, and ecoutremonts. It was because I really wanted this to be a good experience. Powder that you mix with water and microwave into burgers and fries sounds as tasty as a summer bus seat. Here is the tutorial:

So how was it? Well, I thought that the fry was disgusting. It tasted like a Pringle kept in a freshly jogged in shoe. S however said it tasted fine. The soda was exactly like a powder that you add water to and it fizzes and tastes vaguely of cola. I bet everyone can picture that one accurately. Now the burgers. Pardon me, the cheese burgers. As the video showed, this kit comes with "ketchup/catsup" slime. So for the benefit of really getting the experience I nibbled one burger without the slime. It tasted like a dense bread with almost a pencil eraser texture. For a moment I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the eraser bread took on a finish of cheap burger. Thankfully the cheese was nonexistent as I was really grossed out by that particular powder-sludge transformation. So imagine eating a piece of bread with an eraser texture that seems fine but leaves a cheap burger taste in your mouth. MMMMM.

At that point I really wanted to stop. I knew that the red slime was not going to work in my favor even in the slightest. Nothing good was going to come from this. However I knew what I needed to do. So I closed my eyes and took a nibble all while trying not to gag. As anticipated it tasted like a burger eraser with the sweetest horrid tomato flavor on it. My mouth wanted little to do with it and my throat just said "No friggin' way! You expect me to swallow eraser burgers? Then you better get ready for the big D because stomach has also said no to the processing of said burger bread eraser." I spit it into the garbage which was the one step of this product that I think should be clearly printed on the box.

I give this snack a 1.5-maybe only wear workout pants when you are actually working out.(You might say that isn't convenient but I say that the way people are turning regular public places into a weird shaped butt festival is inconvenient.)-out of 5.

Thanks for your time and I hope to see you next week.

(You know the whole weird cat doll portion of that youtube clip just isn't sitting well with me....  I don't know how you feel about it.)