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.