Vegan Gummi Bears
Submitted by Nancee Reeves
Being a vegan means no animal products. It sounds simple, but so many innocent-seeming things have a dark past, such as a bit of horse hoof. So imagine my delight when I came across a box of vegan gummi bears.
I must admit that my first bite was rather disappointing. Of course they had a different texture than regular gelatin gummi bears—softer, less elastic. But this did not bother me. It was the flavor. The makers of these animal-friendly bears had made them taste like real fruit. I could actually tell what flavor I was supposed to be getting, not just the usual “some kind of red fruit.” Yes, they tasted good (with the exception of the green bear, which I thought had a slightly fishy flavor), but what I was craving was the nondescript-fruit-plus-sugar taste.
In despair I turned toward the supersour gummi bears made by the same vegan company. I know that sour can be a subjective term, but I really think the good people at Edwards & Sons Trading Company are bending the truth just a little here. I can detect no trace of sour on these bears at all. They have a sugar coating, which implies you are in for a sour treat, but the bears just don’t carry through. The only thing the sugar coating adds is texture. The designers of these so-called supersour bears have to know that their candy is, in fact, not sour. So why don’t they just call them sour gummi bears, and lose the “super”? I can understand that sour gummi bears might not be that sour. But a box that proudly calls itself “supersour”? I expect the roof of my mouth to be raw for a week after eating something like that.
After I spent a week glaring in disgust at the boxes of uneaten gummi bears whenever we would encounter each other, I gave in and ate them all in a single sitting. The taste of real fruit really grows on you and my bitterness over the “supersour” fiasco is already melting.
Submitted by Kristen Elde
It’s ridiculous, really, the notion of comparing ergonomically tuned office furniture with the latest Hershey’s invention. If only it weren’t so appropriate.
According to the Hershey’s website, Swoops are currently “swooping the nation” with their “irresistible curves.” There are four flavors to choose from—Reese’s peanut butter, Hershey’s milk chocolate, Almond Joy candy, and York Peppermint Pattie; there’s a complimentary dance move, too. (Bust-a-Swoops, they call it. Find an invigorating demo at www.hersheysswoops.com.)
Irresistible? Eh, not in the usual sense. As I stand holding the cardboard receptacle—roughly cylindrical and depicting a Pringlesque spill of chocolate bursting from its plastic tub below a rich, syrupy font—I’m tempted not by conventional imperatives, wooed not by promises of far-out flavor or electrifying taste sensation; it’s the shape, rather, that draws me in, compels me to dip down and pinch a single sweet slice ‘tween thumb and forefinger before proceeding mouthward with Hershey’s answer to stackable potato chips and setting it, just so, on the topside of my pleased pink tongue.
And I’m reminded of my desk chair. Of my wonderfully form-hugging bum supporter — its lightly padded seat with sloping, waterfall front; five-leg, stability promoting base; its built-in lumbar reinforcement.
Swoops are to tongue as chair is to backside. The taste is nothing new; the fit, now, is revolutionary.
White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Submitted by Alycia Yerves
They have them in white now.
Panda Brand Vodka Chocolates
Submitted by Ellia Bisker
You love chocolate, right? And lord knows you love vodka. And usually there’s no conflict between these two loves, but sometimes, when you wake up in the middle of the night, say, you just can’t decide which one you need: the bracing burn of the bottle, or the warm embrace of cocoa butter and phenylethylamine. It is for moments like these, perhaps, that the good people at Panda have concocted this brilliant, deceptively simple confection: a hollow cube of chocolate filled with (you guessed it!) vodka. How is it, you ask, that no one has thought of this combination before? I really don’t know. Apparently it was up to Poland. It’s hard to decide what the best thing about vodka chocolates is. They taste pretty terrible, like you might imagine rubbing alcohol and M&Ms would taste. There is some kind of wafer embedded in the chocolate shell, so that it is disconcertingly, even disturbingly crispy, and when you bite into one the shell collapses and the vodka immediately spills all over the front of your shirt. This might be the best part, actually — not when the vodka spills all over your shirt, but when you get to offer one to a friend and watch it happen to them. Have reservations about participating in such a vicious cycle? Feel free to be a good sport and warn them to just pop the whole thing in their mouth — it doesn’t matter. They will not listen to you. Each vodka chocolate is just large enough to be slightly intimidating: what if you don’t like it? Thus the wary bite, and the spillage, and your shriek of laughter. Then you can go with your friend to offer one to the next unlucky victim. Still, it’s not like these are red wine chocolates or something — vodka doesn’t stain, and even if it did, after a few more chocolates you wouldn’t care anyway.
Submitted by Kim McCann
Finally, Frito-Lay has the bravery to correct an error. Let’s not beat around the bush — Doritos are a pain to eat. It’s not that orange (or puce or green) dust which collects on your fingers, it’s not the indigestion, the terrible breath, nor the tiny abrasions an errantly sideways-thrust chip leaves on the roof of your mouth. It’s the damnable triangle shape, and we all know it.
Is a single Dorito a single bite? Alone, sure, in front of the TV, no one around, a stack of three fits easily in the mouth. A quick wipe of the sweatshirt sleeve solves the residue problem; you work hard, you’re single, you deserve a bag of nacho-flavored chips! But in polite company? Never. One acts overwhelmed by the prospect (“This whole thing? In one bite?”) and nibbles off a corner. The rest goes in afterward, or perhaps the chip is rotated and another corner removed. It takes a geometry theorem to figure out how to publicly eat a Dorito without looking like a pig, or like a pig who is trying not to look like a pig. Pinkies out? Who the hell knows. Thank God there’re now Rollitos! The geniuses at Frito-Lay have come to the public snacker’s aid by creating a smaller, rolled version of the ever popular nacho-flavored snack chip. Ever eaten a teeny, tiny, cheddar-dusted, hollow tacquito? Ever wanted to? Do I really have to ask? The new, diminutive size fits easily in the mouth; no stretching or napkin required. I ate a handful during a faculty meeting and was greeted with pleasant smiles and nods throughout. Take that, Isosceles!
If I still smoked pot, I’d probably run these Lilliputian lip-smackers through some cream cheese and pop in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on DVD. They’re just that good.
Diet Coke with Lime
Submitted by Diana Spechler
First there were cherries. Then lemons. Then a splash of vanilla. And now, finally, Coca-Cola has done it: developed a soft drink for the weight conscious with a refreshing splash of lime. I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw the half-liter bottle in the gas station convenience store, saw the bubbles twinkling and rising like so many refreshing jewels.
Before ringing it up, the clerk held the bottle to the window and squinted at it. “You like citrus?” she snorted. “Squeeze some fresh lime in there, and you’ll really get pucker popper.” She clenched her lips up like a drawstring to demonstrate.
The beauty of Diet Coke with Lime is that it’s a lot like Diet Coke with Lemon, minus the sensation of drinking Lysol. It doesn’t, really, taste much like lime, but what does? I just can’t wait for Pepsi to catch on.
Chapman’s White Lemon Superlollies
Submitted by Sarah Ennals
These look like white popsicles—there’s no colouring in them—and the flavour is a zingy, not-too-sweet lemon. Basically, if you were to take a bunch of them, scrape them off their wooden sticks, and mush them in a blender, you’d have something indistinguishable from Italian lemon gelato. They make me wish my neighbours were less into yelling and more into throwing swanky dinner parties, because then maybe one day, someone would be freaking out over a collapsed soufflÃ©, and I could say don’t worry, I’ve got a box of this brand of popsicles that can be turned into sophisticated gelato. The closest real life came to that was last summer when the power was being restored after the big blackout. I’d come back from the grocery store with two boxes of popsicles when the lights went out again, and I had to take them around the building trying to find people to hand them out to. Just as I’d got rid of the last one, the power came back. I like things that can turn into other things, though, and there’s a website for them and other Chapman’s products, although I think you can only get them in Canada.
Submitted by Michael de Leeuw
In the midst of the grayest, coldest winter in thirty-seven years, the candy man has taken the last pigment from my bleak existence. I commute, I work, I eat lunch, I work late, I go home. Daylight wakes me up but does not sustain me and does not figure into the rest of my life. My office building is a tower of ugliness in lower Manhattan, and I spend far too much of my life—my prime—here. Somewhere outside, there is a nineteen-year-old film student drawing on her cigarette and getting used to the mouth-feel of her new tongue stud. I will never meet her. Somewhere outside, there is an ignored old man on a park bench with a head full of stories that would captivate anyone who would dare to listen. I won’t dare to listen.
And now Colorless M&Ms. They are white, black, and shades of gray. I try them after lunch. They disappoint. I know I am losing my mind: it’s the same candy! I work on a brief and distractedly reach for more. Again, they are not the same. I have lost my mind. I walk down the hall and everything is black and white and gray. I feel panic set in. I duck into a conference room to compose myself. I lean my face against the cool window and look out on the chunks of ice floating in the Hudson River. They are gray. The snow in Battery Park is gray. Tomorrow, I will buy Skittles.
Pataks Coconut-Flavoured Rice with Mustard Seed
Submitted by Bethany Round
This was listed as a “new item” at the grocery store in the oft-marginalized “ethnic foods” aisle and promised to help me rise above the greatest obstacle of my home-cooking career: how do you make the rice at home taste like the rice at the restaurant? At home it’s always a little too sticky or dry, and never has the subtle taste I’m trying to recreate.
Turns out it’s as easy as cutting open a vacuum-sealed package of this precooked rice, throwing it in a pan with a smidge of olive oil, stock, or water, and two minutes later… a fabulous dish of Indian rice. For those even less motivated, you can microwave it in the package, with the same result.
Maybe I was the last to find this stuff, but I felt like I had discovered fire. I danced around the pan, pointing at the rice. I ate it with my hands. The one drawback is the price. Pataks is more expensive than your bulk varietyS by about two dollars. Once you get over that and try it, you’ll never go back unless you’re just trying to prove something or you enjoy cleaning sticky rice from the bottom of a pot. Suit yourself. See if I care. I’ll be eating perfect Indian instant rice.
Submitted by Charles Monson
Those who are troubled by the phallic aspect of Snickers may find comfort in the bosom of the Twin Bing. The Twin Bing also has nuts, but they are broken up and mixed into a chocolate blanket that swaddles two plump swells of cherry goo. The Twin Bing is a regional concoction, made in Sioux City, Iowa, and in truth its bad complexion makes it less reminiscent of cleavage than of Midwestern hillocks covered in rocky glacial till. It has a charmingly mature taste, anchored by peanut chunks that cooperate with the slightly bitter chocolate to provide a sober counterpoint to the sugar-addled fidgeting of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The cherry cream is a glowing pink that comes as something of a surprise compared to the stolid agrarian look of the peanut-chocolate coating, and one might be tempted to use it as a launching point for speculation about the hidden appetites roiling in the bellies of heartland Protestants. Unfortunately, it is too absurdly bright to be considered a subversive pink. It is bubblegum pink, a pink for babies or senior citizens or those little fruit-flavored marshmallows that stud Iowa church-picnic Jello molds. The Palmer Candy Company homepage boasts that Twin Bings are hand-dipped, perhaps by a cadre of grandmothers who roll cherry-cream balls in their kitchens while they cluck about the weather, their grandchildren, and the price of pork bellies. The Twin Bing, in short, remains doggedly un-ironic even in the face of its own unmistakable potential for innuendo and camp. In this smirking world of chocolate body paint and creme-filled long johns, there is something comforting about that.
Lingonberry Swedish Kristall
Submitted by Thomas Spoth
Lingonberries, hilariously immortalized in the movie The Big Lebowski (and also, I hear, in the Saving Private Ryan director’s cut), are bursting (with flavor) onto the American pop-culture scene. Their first stop on this whirlwind tour was, in my mind, the little corner café a few streets over, where I was unwittingly mesmerized by pictures of what looked to be a small bunch of cranberries, which do not, I believe, grow in bunches. “All Natural!” the bottle exclaimed. “A Distinctive Light Fruit Soda!” (Exclamation points not in original.) Having immediately forgotten its distinctive bouquet, I can only assume the drink tasted like lingonberries, which I can only assume taste rather like cranberries, which I consider to be to fruit as lone electrical sockets are to power strips. For personal reasons on which I do not care to elaborate, the bottle has been perched amid the mess on my computer desk for several months. Upon tentatively sniffing inside, it smells not of cabbage, not of moldy death, but of sweet, sweet, sour lingonberry. For the purposes of this brief commentary, the scent lingers with me still. Surely this scathingly delicious elixir will one day become as American as lingonberry pie, or even lingonberry pancakes.
Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green Ketchup
Submitted by Kevin McManemin
So the ketchup demographic was skewing too adult; is that your excuse? Well, kudos to you, Heinz. In your race to pander to the kiddies you’ve answered the long-pondered question, “how can mankind ruin ketchup?”
Step 1: Turn it an unappealing shade of dull, frumpy green. Yes, awesomely funtacular colored ketchup is a great idea to market to kids. Fluorescent Fuchsia? Yeah. Neon Orange? Yeah! “High-School-History-Teacher-Elbow-Patch Dark Green?” Heinz, your product focus groups pranked you. Admit it.
Step 2: Package it in a squirt bottle that spits out this industrial sludge in cold, humorless, thin lines of condiment conformity. Efficient: yes. But what do we lose of our American traditions in this race for speedy ketchup delivery? In simpler times, older generations would lovingly pass on to the younger the secret of where to strike the ketchup bottle to force the recalcitrant goo onto their fries. You, Heinz, were once a proud part of this heritage. I might expect other condiment companies (say, French’s) to so callously turn their back on our way of life, but not you. Shame.
Step 3: Add words and semi-words such as “squirt” and “blastin’” to the bottle to rebrand the product for children, who get a kick out of words with vaguely diarrheal connotations.
And that’s the recipe for killing ketchup. What we’re left with is an ostentatiously packaged tube of green grout with the consistency, nutritional value, and vague aftertaste of pepper spray. Congratulations, Heinz.
Trader Joe’s Unsulfured Three Flavor Guava (Sweet/Hot/Salty)
Submitted by Gayle Brandeis
I am a sucker for sweet and salty. Give me a chocolate-covered pretzel, I’m in heaven. Watermelon dusted with salt, ditto. If I eat too much sugar, I have to sprinkle salt on my palm and lick it off, just to balance my taste buds. If I eat too much salt, I begin to crave honey, or caramel, or a packet of toasty-brown Sugar-in-the-Raw.
Trader Joe’s Unsulfured Three Flavor Guava (Sweet/Hot/Salty) provides the perfect marriage of salt and sweet, with an extra kick of spice thrown in. It looks jewel-encrusted, this dehydrated fruit, studded with big glistening crystals. The eye can’t discernÂ‹which crystals are sugar? which ones are salt? —but the tongue takes in their shimmer equally, gratefully. The tongue finds the sassy scraps of chili and stirs. The tongue discovers the leathery but tender hank of fruit underneath and sighs.
Taralli Italian Golden Rings
Submitted by Harris Bloom
Unassumingly nestled toward the back of the gift basket I received from my firm for the holidays, it took a while for me to even acknowledge its existence. Only after I engorged myself on jams containing fruits I’d never heard of, chocolates that even Whitman wouldn’t sample, and wine that could strip paint from walls, did I give the nine-ounce box of “Premium Quality Red-Pepper Flavor Taralli Italian Golden Rings” my attention. If unfamiliar with them, as the package states, “Taralli are Italian ring-shaped snacks which take their origin from an ancient recipe… flour semolina, oil, and wine.” When ingested, I am immediately taken with the crunchy texture, as I am with most snacks. The flavor is like that of a breadstick…with red pepper—lots of red pepper. Simply put, if you like red pepper, you’ll like Taralli Italian Golden Rings. I do not. Then why can’t I stop eating them?
Candy-Coated Cocoa-Covered Sunflower Kernels
Submitted by Andrea Farrell
Not only are these lovely to pronounce, they are lovely to eat. They resemble sad, deformed little M&Ms, except smaller and with a much glossier coating. There are no blue ones—only deep red, green, dark orange, yellow, and black. When you bite down, the shell makes this soft little crack, followed by the chocolate breaking apart, ending in the gentle snap of the sunflower seed. The whole time you eat them you’re thinking about how much they remind you of peanut M&Ms, except not quite as harsh—but then, when you finish the bag, you realize that they are in fact much, much better.
Submitted by Ken Mondschein
Combining the power of ostriches with a healthy dose of Dada, Ostrim is “America’s #1 Sports Nutrition Meat Stick.” Mind you, it takes a strong meat stick to hold on to the title of “America’s #1 Sports Nutrition Meat Stick,” but Ostrim is man enough for the job. The secret? Ostrich meat. Not only is each protein-packed meat stick filled with flavor, it’s full of ostrich, as well—yet Ostrim manages to remain delightfully low in carbs, fat, moisture, and polyvinyl chloride! Besides giving us something to do with the national ostrich surplus, Ostrim is versatile. The product website says you can make it into an omelet filling, a nutritious lunch for picky children, party snacks, and salad toppings. Our testers found it also makes a superb replacement fan belt for an ’87 Volvo. Indeed, Ostrim is most worthy of praise. All hail Ostrim!
Inside-Out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Submitted by Dave Stinton
So they’ve come out with a limited-edition inside-out version of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, where the cup is made of peanut butter, and it’s filled with chocolate.
Unlike the inside-out Oreos from awhile back, or the various discolored breakfast cereals we’ve been subjected to, this product does not feature the word “oops” on the packaging, nor any lore about how the factory got wackied up one day. No. There is no question about it—this was a deliberate act of candy subversion.
Those geniuses did this on purpose.
You encounter a delightful vertigo upon opening the package. There are your sweet circles, nestled in their corrugated-wax-paper diapers, but they’re light brown instead of dark brown, as though the colors of the world have not been adjusted properly, or you’re looking through a visor as you explore an alien landscape. Already, you have been thrust into a new way of viewing the universe, and you haven’t even taken a bite. Not many candies offer this.
The first thing people ask me when I describe this product is, “How does the cup stay together?” Yes, it’s messy, but not much messier than the normal Peanut Butter Cup. This is not peanut butter that has been scooped out of a jar; this is that ultrasweet industrial candy peanut butter. A more decadent choice, and a more stable building material.
And it’s by far the dominant taste of this product. Oh, Lord. This is not merely a variation on the original “Peanut Butter Cup”; by rights, this is what that phrase should refer to. It finally makes sense—a “Cup” built from “Peanut Butter.” Yes, yes, you taste the chocolate, but only enough to cut the flavor of the peanut butter, only as the last remaining stake that tethers you to the earth as the peanut butter floods over you.
Five minutes after finishing mine, I noticed with some confusion that my big toe hurt. Eventually, I realized that it was cramped from remaining curled up with pleasure inside my shoe.
Submitted by Christopher Knight
Picture, if you will, a piece of buttered toast on a plate somewhere in Australia. It lies there as if bereft of hope, a maiden waiting for her mighty chevalier. I would submit that Vegemite is that mighty warrior, the champion of the breakfast table. When describing the taste of Vegemite, it is tempting to stray into superlatives. Mighty indeed. The salt content from one jar could flavor the tureens of a thousand soup kitchens. It has the consistency of peanut butter (creamy, not crunchy). Its color is not brown, not dark brown, not even very, very dark brown. It is black, and proudly so. It laughs to scorn such frivolities as honey, jam, and marmalade. Did I mention it is salty?
It is an acquired taste, a fact most Australians revel in. It is common, as with all national foods (such as maté in Argentina) for the locals to gain great enjoyment from the discomfort of the foreign visitor trying it for the first time. With Vegemite, this experience is not unlike drinking a glass of what you think is pure, cold water, but is actually warm sea brine. The reaction is similar. I still laugh when I remember the time a guest was told it was a “chocolate spread for ice cream” by my father, always the trickster. Why she never noticed the sudden silence and gaping as she raised her spoon is beyond me.
It is a yeast extract, and claims to be one of the world’s richest sources of vitamin B. There are many clones: Promite, Marmite, and Bovril, to name a few. None, I feel, have the saltiness of Vegemite. It tastes best on warm toast with butter. Spread it very thinly, or in small patches. Or, if you’re Australian, by the spoonful.
Ocean Spray White Cranberry Peach Juice
Submitted by Will Tetsell
Just when we thought that cran-grape or cran-raspberry was the pinnacle of cran-based juice blends, Ocean Spray shocks the market with a juice to top all juices: Ocean Spray White Cranberry Peach Juice. Do not expect the extreme tart flavor the red cranberry yields, for this is a whole other realm of cranberry. The white cranberry is less tart, and sweeter than its wicked, deep red brother, regular cranberry (aka cranberry). Sweet and tangy, this blissful concoction of the rare albino cranberry, Mother Nature’s misfit juxtaposed with the soft sweet touch of peach juice, is bound to mend hearts and moisten dreams. This complex blend of two distinct flavors (tart cranberry and sweet peach) is perfectly matched to not only flirt with your taste buds, but also quench your parched tongue. It seems that the white cranberry is having difficulty breaching the ever-so-fickle market; nevertheless, Ocean Spray will stop at nothing to produce and deliver this product to fine retailers across the nation. All hail White Cranberry Peach Juice.
Submitted by Jason Bredle
Given the general stank of all things cherry (i.e., cherry cough medicine, cherry Chapstick, cherry-flavored edible underpants, anal lubricant, and condoms—that’s right, I’ve tasted them all, bitch), you may be skeptical about introducing yourself to yet another product touting the good name of the cherry. But don’t count this one out just yet, mis amigos! After a recent visit to the fertile soil of Cherryland, USA (or, um, Door County, Wisconsin), I was nudged (a little forcibly, but I don’t want to get into that right now) into giving this beverage a try by all the voices in my head (I think I need psychiatric help, seriously!), and freak it!, what a discovery! I mean, if I ever lose my virginity, I doubt the experience will come anywhere close to how it feels to drink this illustrious cider (but wait… didn’t you say up there?… all those adult-oriented items?… hey, come on now, etcetera)—because all in all, it’s exactly like drinking a cherry pie! And the best news is a few days ago I stumbled across this very cider at the Jewel-Osco on the corner of Clark and Bryn Mawr in Chicago. I don’t know if this means the cider has infiltrated other parts of the globe (we can only hope), but I strongly urge y’all to go forth, immediately, and seek it out at all costs (and I mean all costs, people!: fiscal, emotional, physical, whatever it takes—it’s just that good!)!
Sweet Black Bean Cakes
Submitted by Elizabeth Batsos
The texture is earlobe. The taste is sweet and what, exactly? Beany? Dark and peat mossy, but nonetheless pleasant? They harbor no oak or cherry overtones, of that I am sure. But do these soft, round and lightly powdered rice cakes qualify as shabui—Japanese for elegantly understated? They may not even qualify as “cake.” Cake is traditionally not made from beans.
Still, I am intrigued. Touching the smooth surface of one of them reminds me of touching skin.
Ojingaa Dang Kong (Squid Balls)
Submitted by Eric Silver
This is a favorite among the young Korean demographic, and don’t worry, it doesn’t endanger the future population of squids. It is actually a ball-shaped cracker that in essence shells an explosion of peanut butter, and get this: the cracker is squid-flavored!! At last, we no longer must toil away in our kitchens, trying (without nuclear capabilities, I might add) to fuse those three timeless elements of in-between meals pleasure: peanut butter gooeyness, a cracker crunch, and squid! They are readily available at your local store in Korea, and perhaps on a limited basis at your Korean store in your locale, or whatever. For any fans of the S’more, the infamous Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana sandwiches, and, hell, even Combos, this is a must try, or must miss, depending on how much you’re into squid. I’m not particularly a fan, but going with the theme, I will most certainly recommend squid jerky, which is surprisingly like beef jerky, but guess what….
Dunkin’ Donuts Apple Cider Donut
Submitted by C.J. Feehan
A civil war over baked goods has taken root in mid-Atlantic America, pitting Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (founded in 1937 in North Carolina) against Dunkin’ Donuts (1950 in Massachusetts). All the cool kids who grew up parking their used Hondas and dented pickups in front of twenty-four-hour “Dunkies” while cutting Biology class in New Jersey high schools are now donning suits and ties and palming oven-hot glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts on their way to work. But like the first Civil War this great nation faced, the South will once again inevitably yield to the masterful seduction of the North. In September, Dunkin’ Donuts unleashed its unstoppable fighting force: the Apple Cider Donut. Weighing in at 250 calories (energy!) strong, Dunkin’ Donuts’ secret weapon in the baked-goods war to end all wars is referred to in strategic terms as the Cinnamon Frosted Apple Cider Cake Donut, or C.F.A.C.C.D. It is topped with an arsenal of autumnally colored sprinkles, or “jimmies” for our Southern friends, and it will not hesitate to use all necessary force. One might say that the C.F.A.C.C.D. is the greatest example of a hot beverage transmuted into a food since the invention of coffee ice cream. I would certainly say so. But their destructive capabilities have a short shelf life, and therefore they will not be offered after November, by which time the North will have hopefully claimed victory once and for all.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Submitted by Jason Feifer
My father and I used to eat Philadelphia Cream Cheese by the slice. We’d buy one of those bricks of cream cheese, the type wrapped in easily torn and obviously ineffective foil, and dig in with butter knives. Slice, gulp. Slice, gulp. The stuff was so slippery and smooth, so cool as it oozed down my throat, that I sometimes didn’t chew. We laughed as we ate, our cream-cheese-covered teeth glowing and bulbous. It wasn’t until seventh grade, when I mentioned this to a friend, that I discovered that the world does not eat cream cheese by the slice. In fact, the world thinks that eating cream cheese by the slice is disgusting. Who knew?
Submitted by Kate Hahn
Don’t buy if you want a good car-food!!! I could not get this to fit in my cup holder. And when I (finally) opened the so-called “wrapper” (which was a nice orange color, I’ll give them that… BUT “Hello nail salon? I’m coming in for an emergency repair!”) it turned out it was not all one piece, but “segments.” I did not expect this! If there are going to be a lot of pieces, they should make that clear on the package! They should make it more like fries, which come in a container (which doesn’t collapse when you open it—geez!) so you can eat one at a time, no problem. This food almost caused me to have an accident! Pro: tastes like Tropicana (the pulpy one).
Atkins Beanit Butter
Submitted by Adam Baer
You’re fat. You need to lose weight. You eat too much, but there’s certainly got to be a way around that. At least that’s what you thought when you started Atkins. But now you’re finding that the mesmerizing tray of salted chicken-thighs glistening in the Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie isn’t enough for a solo low-carb dinner. Your three-pound chuck steak family-pack, broiled to perfection, is flying right though you by the beginning of Must-See-TV. Your $9 block of Parmesan is light fare, despite your cardiologist-brother’s characterization of it as “the most potent mass of cholesterol I have ever seen anyone ingest.” You need something to really stick to your ribs. But you can’t gorge yourself on PB&Js like you did when you ditched ninth-grade chem lab to run back to your house and binge while attacking your father’s porn collection. You’ve made a “mature decision” about how you will “view food” and the “act of eating.” And that’s where Atkins Beanit Butter comes in. With less than one gram of “Net Carbs” per two-tablespoon serving, there’s no stopping your nostalgia for tongue-slathering Skippy. Gorge on the nut-buttery goodness of this high-protein soy product and feel completely at ease that you haven’t cheated on your new, disciplined “lifestyle choice.” Spreadable on new Atkins Bran-A-Crisps, and a perfect lead-in to a bowl of Atkins Nutlettes—the “crunchy crispy” cereal-and-milk-flavored treat sweetened with the low-glycemic “Sugar Not” for those of you carb-controllers hankering to revisit memories of midnight dorm-room Fruit Loops.
Submitted by John W. Vinson
Vegetarians can now enjoy chorizo, the sometimes-delectable pork, garlic, paprika powder, salt, white wine, and herb sausage of Spain and Mexico that now comes in a soy incarnation. Owing to the incredible progress made in the processing and recombining of soy and other (hopefully gastronomically benign) substances, the taste and even the texture of Soyrizo is remarkably true to that of its namesake. Soyrizo works with the traditional migas (basically, scrambled eggs) and most other Ibero-Hispanic menu entries, as well as other nouvelle cuisine items, e.g., Aubergine en Croute con Soyrizo, or Pho Soyrizo Tom Yam. Soyrizo can be found in the frozen section at your co-op (with the edamame, spelt/oat breads, and veggie burgers). Please remember to remove the metal clips, which hold the casing together at the ends of each link, before microwaving or, obviously, eating. Will it be long before we see “Soyloin Steaks”?
Submitted by Daniel Greengrass
Irn-Bru is a caution-orange energy soda by way of Barr soft drinks in Scotland, where locals swear by its rejuvenating power for the morning after a single-malt and fried-Mars-Bar binge. To fit in with other food products from the heart-attack capital of the world, such as boiled sheep stomach and ham-injected egg half-shells, Irn-Bru has been engineered by stimulant experts to deliver the biggest punch per drop as is (legally?) possible, so much so that the secret energy-inducing ingredients go by the puzzling pseudonym “flavourings,” unlike the “Taurine” and “Rejuvenizine” and “Steroidizone” of carbonated energy drinks this side of the Pond. But the end result is similar: a smooth concoction that is overwhelmingly chemical and eyeball-opening.
The problem is, the “flavourings” in Irn-Bru are devastatingly addicting. OxyContin-style, crystal-meth-style addicting. On a recent trip to Scotland, a drinking pal and I hit up a tiny little aluminum can of the Tang-orange stuff the morning after a lager-filled night on the kilty town, and after only three days, we were buying one two-liter apiece for morning, noon, and night. After five days, we were foregoing the booze to concentrate solely on the Irn-Bru, which we consumed until we were bouncing off the hostel’s walls, cheering maniacally for over-forties doubles matches on local broadcasts of the Wimbledon tennis tourney. We wrecked the poor hostel’s common space in our Irn-induced enthusiasm for the elderly athletes, and were subsequently homeless. After two more days of street-sitting and soda-swigging, with our hearts beating electric and our pupils popping, we decided to give up the hard stuff and rely on good old American Coca-Cola to detox.
For those who dream of the good old days when amphetamines were just a twist of the cap away, head down to your British import store and pick up a six-pack of the best Scottish export since that moody shoe-gazing music you listen to in the dark when you do Quaaludes. Any country that gets twelve straight months of stormy weather has to be some sort of expert on chemical diversion, and Irn-Bru is the glowing, medicinal embodiment of the rainy desire to kill oneself before one’s time, and as quickly as fucking possible.
Jolly Time Kettle Corn
Submitted by Konstantine Simakis
Imagine if popcorn blew a dope line of snow and you’ll begin to understand the addictive allure of kettle corn, a fatty snack that’s a lot like normal popcorn except, what the hell? It tastes like candy, and leaves you with a sugary postnasal drip. And don’t even try to figure out how they get it to do that. Trust me, I’ve tried.
Until recently, kettle corn was a curio available only at fairs, freak shows, and other summertime special occasions—but thanks to the sticks-in-the-mud at so-called Jolly Time, now you can pop a batch of kettle corn in the microwave whenever you goddamned please. So go ahead! Stuff handfuls of it into your mouth in the middle of February! While you’re at it, listen to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” on repeat! Yeah, you’re desecrating the sanctity of American seasonal tradition, but what do you care, you pinko scum?
Submitted by Lisa J. McIntire
As of June 6, 2002, the Japanese government officially outlawed the psychotropic drug popularly known as “magic mushrooms.” Thankfully, there remains a serotonin-boosting fungus among us, beckoning from supermarket shelves and brightly lit convenience stores throughout Japan: the mushroom-shaped confection bearing the name “Kinoko Noyama.” The classification of this sweet species proves a tricky endeavor. Are they a candy, as the creamily rich chocolate “caps” and bite-sized dimensions might suggest? Or, taking a cue from the superbly crunchy biscuit-stem, would they be more accurately placed on the cookie branch of the junk food family tree? In either case, I caution you, the intrepid snacker, to venture no further than the classic chocolate flavor; the far less appetizing “chestnut” variety resembles an unhappy union between Kahlua and cheap shortening-based frosting.
Submitted by Francis Raven
It doesn’t taste like soap. Honestly, it doesn’t taste like Classic Ivory Soap (3.1 oz. size).
Vegetarian Macro and Vegan Peking Duck with Shiitake Mushrooms
Submitted by Catherine Price
Whom are they trying to fool, these macrovegetarians from Flushing, Queens, with their soybeans, shiitake mushrooms, and organic brown-rice sweetener? Do they really think that marinated sheets of tofu can pass for the crisp, fatty skin of an actual Peking duck? Perhaps they have been vegans from birth, and having never tasted cooked flesh, have grown into those people who actually believe that “wheat meat” can substitute for chopped sirloin steak and that “not dogs” and “tofu pups” have a place among their pig-lipped, processed counterparts. Their delusions make them pitiful, like thirteen-year-olds with imaginary friends, and people who see Jesus in their toast. I want to write to them to say, “This isn’t meat!” and “Your tofu requires too much effort to chew!” But every time I sit down to do so, I picture the macrovegetarian/vegans sitting in their Flushing test kitchen, smiles of joy breaking over their emaciated faces as they say to one another, “Boys, we’ve really done it this time! This is real fucking duck!” and I drop the letter, unfinished, into the trash.
Submitted by Charles W. Negendank
This shit is fucking magic! I would never have even begun to step in front of the freezy freezers in which these are stored at the local Kroger megalomart until my thirst-for-convenience-addled roommate brought a couple bags home. He said he was cooking dinner for the two of us, and next thing I knew he was in the crapper as half a bag of Voila! was mysteriously making its way to full-entree-status all on its lonesome in the deep saucepan. Still, despite my wonderment at its self-sustenance, I didn’t release my fear and suspicion until the hot plate was set in front in me just seconds after the roommate pulled his pants back on and flushed. No need to salt or season: a delicious dinner of ultra-quick but surprisingly fresh chicken cubes and veggies. The ultimate microwaveless TV dinner—if only we had cable. Perhaps if we continue to save our bucks by stocking up on freezer bags full of this shit, we’ll go for the gold. Yum.
Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze—Key Lime
Submitted by John Moe
Don’t think this is a pie. It’s way off from being a pie. It’s a drink that comes in a bottle. And it refreshes! Get that pie out of this house, my brother. Also don’t think it’s a dessert that’s been sort of, you know, pushed into a beverage like a wack-ass frapuccino or strawberry Quik. This ain’t that. This is mostly tart, but not overtly pucker-inducing like them there Sour Patch Kids. This is fizzy, but just enough to keep the party people in motion without causing the kinds of mass seizures that lead to the party people being carted away. This has parts of real fruit (limes, we’re thinking) floating about it in a not completely assimilated sort of way just enough to let you know that this beverage is keeping the citrus real. And this tastes like what you imagined booze would taste like when you were a kid. This is the taste of the promise of Canada Dry drinks without the bleak reality. This is not too sweet. This is a good thing to be drinking. It’s not pie. It is not some pie.
Miss Meringue Minis—Chocolate Chip
Submitted by Kristen Iskandrian
Sugar, egg whites, chocolate chips, alkalized cocoa—what does it spell? A sweet, light, airy, vaguely disturbing texture not unlike sugar-spun foam packaging peanuts, also known as “America’s Favorite Meringue Cookie,” since there are so many other brands in the running. Right? Wrong! Miss Meringue, founded by Chef Jacques Pautrat (who is a man), is the ONLY version of this whimsical type of confection to grace my grocery store shelves—no wonder it’s our country’s favorite! And rightly so! Who SAYS political relations can’t be bolstered through cuisine? I feel closer to the French already! These little treats are dollop-shaped and cocoa-speckled, and each bite (I expend two bpm, or bites per meringue) yields tiny chocolate chips nestled within the cavernous, sugary hollows. You can eat ÂŒem like popcorn and never get full. Each peculiar crunch leaves you wanting more, I think because these petites cadeaux evade the most cunning classification faculties of even the most refined taste bud. What are they? Weirder and healthier than cotton candy, they’re Miss Meringues! Feminine and coquettish, they pack a seriously cloying punch—even the fellows will agree. So grab a big plastic container and the remote control, and hunker down to enjoy a guilt-free accompaniment to your WE network habit.