Wednesday, March 6, 2013

.FOOrD BLOrG. DIY Snacks

There is nothing new about the idea of DIY (Do it Yourself). Many generations look back to previous generations and learn that they can do things that have since become more accessible through big business. Gardening and canning are obvious examples. Sure you can go to the supermarket and buy food or you can grow it and even preserve anything of excess for consumption through the winter. Genius. There has always been an undercurrent of people in these life crusades that frankly not too many people have the time or interest. Those people (whom we will refer to as the majority) have no qualms with sitting in their car in a line at a Taco bell because they don't feel like cooking. (Which if you ask me they are also saying that they don't care about eating either.) Fine. I am trying not to judge. (I am also completely judging but then editing out the sentences.) There are other people who grew their own tomatoes and onions. Then they made a simple red sauce and canned it months ago. They came home and heated up their no preservative, canned at the height of flavor, and freshness sauce and had a satisfying delicious meal. I am still trying not to judge but I can tell you who felt better after the meal. (Also the other person is a gross pig bodied fanny face. *Oops missed that judgement. My apologies to any PBFF.) 

An obvious example but people also DIY clothes, soap, chickens, jewelry, home repair, goats, car mechanics, and pet grooming (probably). I like the idea of it all but like many people I have a limit to that which I can do for myself. Time is the biggest limit but also ability. (I am not allowed to use power tools. This is a very valid rule. One that I don't have the time to get into today but maybe next week.) For example, if I had a child, there is no way that I could do cloth diapers. There are other factors too like "gross." (Now if you want to blow your mind just look at a cloth diaper blog. We are talking 1000s of readers and 1000s of DIY brands.) I hear people talk about it and they say "You have to dump the baby by product (Which is all a baby does. Do you know why people always say a baby looks cute in a picture? It is because you can't smell them. (*Eh, that sounds like a judgement. Judges? Ok. No name calling so we will let that one pass.) then you have to rinse the foulness from the cloth as best you can. Now remember all of this is happening without gloves on. Yeah, grody-mcstinky finger has poop hands! (*Ok that is a total judgement even if it is a fact. Plus it should be capitalized. Public apology to all G-MFs) Then you wash it with your clothes in the wash. See what I mean? It is gross, a lot of work, and too time consuming. (Not to mention a ton of the designs are Tye dyed or have peace signs. If I wanted my imaginary baby to look like a hippy I'd let her grow out her dreadlocks.)  Wait, what was my point?

Today we are going to talk about snacks. Snacks and the idea of: Could I do this myself?

Alright, so first we have a popcorn from Masala Pop which is a Portland Oregon business. I would like to preface this review with the fact that I don't like caramel corn and rarely eat popcorn. So please take that into consideration.

As we can see on the front, this is anything but ordinary. This version (and I believe they have three core varieties and a seasonal feature. I think.) is Chai Masala Popcorn with Oregon Hazelnuts. (Along with the beginning preface I should add that I don't really care for hazelnuts either.) Often in these ramblings I talk about the buzzwords on the front of products. The tactical statement on the front that triggers want or need in the brain and insures that we as consumers will buy the product. Masala Pop clearly communicates what it is and if you don't get enough from the opening statement then they break it down for you below that. This is smart because not everyone understands or knows what chai or masala is or means. Mostly because they are too busy dying in their pointless routines of eating the same bland mayonnaise laden turkey and cream cheese bagel bites with a side of hamburger helper. What a bunch of Chump-Dumps sitting like lumps swelling up their bumps. (*Clearly that was a judgement. Also not so clearly is what that last bit means. Apologies to whomever that was targeted at. Although chances are they don't read this blog. One because they aren't my mother or my wife and also because everyone knows that Chump-Dumps can't read anything that doesn't say ranch.* Second judgement. Sorry. It is kind of fun though.
Lastly, Masala Pop includes a very nice photo on the front to cover anyone that is........Ok. Stopped myself there. Lets just say it is a wise move on their part. Moving on....

I love products that put everything out there. On the back we have just that. They don't hide behind "secret ingredients." They also are showing that they care about people who have food allergies. They seem proud of the product and what is in it and what isn't in it. They also aren't too preachy. I don't want a preachy snack. Nobody should. I can respect all of these things but what it really all comes down to is taste.

Well, the aroma is surprising. There are hints of spice and not a huge sweet smell. I can even detect the scent of popcorn. Yeah. I didn't expect that. See, that is what one word can do. Even though "Caramel" doesn't appear until the second sentence on the label, my brain puts that first. Probably because I know what caramel corn tastes like and my brain just wanted to classify what this snack is. However that is not what this is. There is something far more complex and intriguing going on here.  Lets see the breakdown:

S- Whoa. It is crunchy. I really like that I can taste the chai. It looks like the hazelnuts aren't coated in the same way as the popcorn which is nice and adds another dimension. This is great. I really like the crunch. 5-out of-5

d-It is really nice. I like the crunch and that this is far more savory than I expected. I thought this would be very sweet with hints of spice. I was wrong. Delicious.

Since trying this flavor I have tried the other offerings and they are all creative but make sense. They are all great but my favorite is the limited Saffron Rose. It is incredible. They sell these individually or they also have a tin situation. I recommend you get this if you like snacks, popcorn, kettle corn, or all around awesomeness.

Now for today's big question: Could I DIY this?


Sure I can and have made flavored popcorn but you aren't going to get this light crispness or the aromatic warmth that this spice blend adds. Sure you can make some dumbed down version but why? The art to whatever their process is, is perfect here.

 I give them 5-Animal hats. Look lady, you are over 30 and wearing a hat with cat ears. It doesn't read "I am cute." or "I am eccentric." It reads "My therapy didn't take." Go back and get help. A homeless person doesn't even want to ask you for change and they once courted a frisbee. (Not even a frisbee golf one or even glow in the dark. Just one of those free ones. Yeah, I know.) Nobody cares if you DIY'd that hat but we all wish you DDTYAISH. (Didn't do that yourself and instead sought help.)-out of 5.

So on a not too recent trip to Seattle we encountered these chips. I had to buy these. Crab chip? Is that anything like a cow chip? Lets hope not. Ok. Cheap jokes aside, this is a great idea. Crab is a delight. Nobody is here to say crab isn't simply the delight of the sea and if you are you get your lilly-livered, flima-flab jibbering, wobbly-teated, land-loving self OUT OF HERE! (*Whoa. Ok that was another judgement. I am starting to seriously doubt my ability to self censor. This explains alot about how I am perceived both in and out of the work place. Oh and apologies to anyone named Carlyle or Phulva.*)
My point being that a little salt and spice is nice with crab. Have you ever had a crab boil? You know where you boil, crab, potatoes, and corn all in water with OLD Bay seasoning? If not then go DIY a crab boil. Trust me.

Uh huh. Yep. I can see on the back here we have.... Alright what are some of those ingredients? I get like the first five or so. Might I say, really nice photo skills. Wow. I am quite a DIY photographer. I should probably make an ETSY site where I just copy everyone else's idea. Oh someone does that already? How many? Most? Oh. Well maybe when I take up knitting and make arm warmers. (*Yeah, I noticed it too. This seems like poorly disguised judgery. What do you mean "judgery" isn't a word. Oh yeah, WELL IT ISN'T YOUR FOOD BLOG IS IT? YOU SELF RIGHTEOUS KNOW IT ALL! YOU KNOW LIFE ISN'T A GAME OF JEOPARDY AND YOUR MEMORIZED FACTS DON'T ACTUALLY MAKE YOU ANY BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE. . . .ok, maybe we should all just take a breather. Lets just get up and do some stretches. Hip thrusts are calming? Lets just do some hip thrusts.. I DON'T SEE YOU THRUSTING!!!

How does it look? Well, there you go. They are quarter size roughly. Kinda cute.

S-This is pretty good. They are salty. I like the amount of salt. It might be too salty for some people but this is right up my salt alley. They get a plus one style point for the bag looking old timey. This looks like something you'd get at the beach in years gone by. 5-out of-5. A very good snack.

d- These are great. This is pretty much exactly what you'd want it to be. If you are going to eat a chip knowing that it is all oils and weird what not then this is the one and it would be great with crab. You'd need the salt on this chip.

Could I DIY it? No. Look I have tried "oven" fries. Not even close and not nearly as enjoyable. It just isn't. I know this isn't a kale chip. It isn't trying to be one. I have also seen people fry potatoes in an attempt to make a chip and they are almost always overdone. Especially in Portland sandwich shops. Buy the chip. It comes from the east coast but Picnic in Seattle sells them.

I give it a 5-Look. It is going to shrink. We all know it. Don't bother knitting him a sweater. It is going to go boxy and wonky on his body. It will probably also get too tight on his neck which will freak him out and subconsciously he will feel like you are smothering him. Save yourself the time and stick to scarves. He forgets them everywhere anyway. (because they make his beard itchy. Also ask him to shave off his beard. We hate it and it he lives in a city. He doesn't need to hide his face from the elements. Yes, even though he looks like Elvis DeGeneres with out it.)-out of 5.

Do you know what I love? Chickpeas. Yep. I know that isn't the toughest thing to exclaim but it is true. I love garbanzo beans or chickpeas whatever you want to call them. Cook them, mash them, bake them, blend them- I really don't care. Plain in a an herb salad. Fork yes! (Yeah, that made me hate myself...ugh.) So when I saw this in a Portland grocery store I had to try them. From the cover I figured that this is much like a peanut snack that I love to get from Asian groceries that has szechuan peppercorns in it. The aromatic heat blast of that snack contrasted with the peanut is awesome. I also really enjoy both pepper and coarse salt.

So on the back of the bag here we can see that there are health "facts." Ah they sound pretty good for you. Oh and they have recommended uses other than out of the bag...."Egg salad?" Go take a long walk off a short salad bar you SNACK FREAKSHOW! (*My apologies for this outburst. I really thought we had moved past this. Sorry Good Bean.) Seems to me that egg salad, other than being completely disgusting, is a weird choice for....I am sorry but the idea is just making we want to vomit. Weird choice Good Bean also why rule out the vegans?

WTF are these? This isn't what is on the bag. These look like dirty flesh marbles. (Well, they do!) This is not good business. You make me think clean, light, and healthy chickpeas and what you actually give me to put in my mouth are dirty flesh marbles. Shame on you.

S-Ugh. This has a really BAD texture. Nope. I don't like it. This isn't even close to the picture. This isn't the same product. 0-out of 5.

d-Oh no. The texture makes me think it is old. This is so unpleasantly gritty. It is even shelf stable until July. I can't imagine eating more of this now much less sitting around until July. I don't even get any exotic pepper or coarse salt.

Could I DIY? Yes. I have. It was a thousand times better. It was crunchy and not clay like at all. You can find easy recipes online and at like 80 cents a can you could make a lot more than this bag. Hell, you can get the dried ones at an even cheaper cost but then maybe that is what this is from. I give this a 0-Electrical. Dudes. Hey, put the wires down. Quit impersonating Tim Allen. That was a long time ago. Let it die. He had to. You don't understand electrical currents. Let a professional do it. Don't get all butt-hurt cause you can't use all your tools. Just buck up little cowboy. Tomorrow is another dance at the cow corral.(Is that how men talk?)-out of 5.

Lastly we have Tom Yum Flavored peanuts. Yep. So now you can get a peanut flavored like your favorite Thai soup. Now I hope that this doesn't sound racist but is that supposed to be a peanut with David Lee Roth's hair wearing those x-ray specs that you could order from the back of a comic book in an effort to see people's undergarments? Cuz if so, that is a weird choice for a mascot.


Ah, so we can see here that this is Thailand's #1 peanut snack. Well it must be great then. Although I would like to mention that it is odd to eat nuts from a tennis ball can. Is the hairy peanut man also into tennis? My brain may be reading to much into his hairy peanut activities. Are his tennis whites under the robe? You know what. Not important. Lets move on.

Ok. So once I popped the can open we can see a coated peanut snack. This is very similar in its approach to Cracker Nuts another Asian snack. So what you have is a peanut in a crunchy flavored shell.

S-It is just a dry crunchy peanut. I like the flavor. The texture is a little weird. I taste some of the coconut and a little seaweed or fish sauce but it isn't gross. I even get a little lime leaf in there. It is pretty good. 4-out of 5. Although, minus one style point for the dumb cartoon. Cartoons are for babies and tom yum is not for babies.

d- The aroma is of peanuts. Whoa these are super crunchy. It is slightly sweet at first. These nuts have a weird tang but I like the heat at the end. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Could I DIY? No. I am sure there is some kind of slightly dubious process at work. I give this a 4-Look. Nobody needs your half baked childish ideas about food or snacks. Leave it to the stuffy entitled people to judge other peoples hard work and dreams. The idea that you sit and write for 2 hours and don't edit isn't even interesting or cool. Quit wasting your time and go outside. You look like a pale clam-faced little troll. (*OK. Stop. Now you are bring mean. It doesn't matter that you have become lost in the idea of having two separate voices. It is no reason to beat yourself up. You have made your point. You want people to go out and try these things and decide for themselves. You wanted to give them a chuckle. Hopefully you did that. Now just stop. You are bumming out this frisbee. It was loved once. A long time ago....)-out of 5.

Take care. Hope you enjoyed and are inspired to blah-blah-blah DIY.