from the "Edible Content" Dept.


Chili Con Saywhat?

This may be the funniest arbitrary category I’ve seen in a supermarket ad in a long time. From page 6 of the Ralphs (Kroger’s California branded chain) flyer dated May 13-19.
Or maybe it’s an incredibly perceptive look into “the California Lifestyle”. Na-a-ah.


Wieners and Losers

Just a couple totally trivial (and probably nutritionally awful) observations from the last time I had a hot dog.

Hot Dog Buns are truly the Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, and please let’s get past the old mismatched-quantity-hot-dogs-vs-buns conundrum/standup-comedy-bit, since no matter how many wieners are in a package, the optimum for buns will always be a multiple of 4 (most often 8 or 12)*. Because here you have the buns, baked together in a block of four, and as you pull one from the block, you find it partially sliced in the middle so you can fold it open and drop in a wiener without separating the bun into two pieces. Who thought of that minor marvel of convenience? And who made it work (even if it doesn’t always work)? And why can’t I find a picture of one of these wondrous machines on the web? (I have found three patents for such machines, one from the 1950s, one from the 1970s and one from the 1990s, which means that hot dog bun slicing technology continues to move forward!)

On the other hand, one ‘modern convenience’ that simply does not work is the squeeze bottle of Pickle Relish. Dribbling pickle juice and a bottleneck of relish (no matter how large the opening) that always releases with a burst of way more relish than you really wanted (and not always where you wanted). There is no way to make this work, and I have tried them all. The pump dispensers at the hot dog stand outside Costco stores work well, but the smaller ones inside 7-11s, not so much (although I have not attempted to use one of those since before the Millennium, and the last time I did, the chili dispensing pump was also less than optimum). A Costco-sized relish dispenser is out of the question for me, so good pickle relish will always require a wide-mouthed jar and a utensil (Fork or spoon? I’m not partial to one or the other. I am proudly bi-utensilish, a true sporker).

And one more thing about relish. DILL Pickle Relish is always a special treat and a taste surprise, no matter how well you know in advance what you put on the hot dog/sandwich/hamburger in question. UNLESS you ONLY use Dill Relish; then, after a certain amount of time, your picklish appetite inevitably begins yearning for the sweet stuff.

And chunky salsa (fresh in the carton, not in the jar) can be an occasional substitute for fresh tomatoes, but that wears out its welcome rather quickly (less quickly if you use Mild Salsa, but I’ve always admitted to having Gringo Taste Buds).

*I finally came to accept the quantity mismatch as a Way of Life after I started buying Hebrew National Franks that are SEVEN to a package. Seven?!? And yes, I was brainwashed by their ad campaign claiming that their wieners were of a higher quality and purity because they were Kosher. Of course, there are other things blessed by Rabbis (circumcisions, the Israeli military, Woody Allen) that I am far more dubious of… Still, I like the flavor of Hebrew Nationals far more than Ball Park, Oscar Mayer or even Farmer John Dodger Dogs (forgive me Vin Scully, but Sandy Koufax would agree with me), and I feel less guilty with their 97% Fat Free Franks or even their (Kind Of) Reduced Fat Franks and wish they had similar alternatives for their Big Honkin’ Polish Sausages, which do come FOUR to a package.


What’s It All About, Hamburger?

I really don’t like to partake in making controversial or unpopular statements in this blog (I save those for my 140-character mini-rants in Twitter). Okay, I did make a kind of a hissy fit directed toward Google last month, but it totally urinated me off the way their socially responsible “don’t be evil” image is so frequently contradicted by the way they actually do business. So I really don’t have much patience for companies that float by on mostly unearned goodwill while never really living up to their reputations.

On that basis, let me make this statement: In-N-Out Burger is rather overrated.

Now let me stipulate a few things where the ol’ In-N-Out is as good as they claim. Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.


Playing With My Food

One of my favorite convenience foods (and one with the least negative side effects) is the “steam in your microwave” vegetables that BirdsEye recently came out with (and the supermarket house brands have already copied). Currently, every chain in town is advertising them for $1 a bag for the basic veggies and $2 for the fancies and mixes, which is extra good for me, since when it comes to trying to cook fresh veggies, I have a brown thumb. Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.


Say Cheese? How do I pronounce that?

kraft-neufchatelEarlier today, as I was opening a package of Kraft Philadelphia don’t-call-it-Cream-Cheese 1/3 Less Fat (marginally more healthy and softer straight out of the fridge) Neufchâtel Cheese (the pre-Thanksgiving sale at the super was 4 blocks for $5… how could I NOT buy 4 blocks?!?), I suddenly realized that in all the years I’ve been consuming it, I’d never said the product name out loud, didn’t recall hearing anyone ever say it and had no idea how to pronounce Neufchâtel!

I’ve never had the need to say it out loud, having always taken it off the shelf when it was on sale, and on the rare occasion I talked to someone about a foodstuff where I’d used it, I always just called it Philly. At that point I realized I was dealing with the only food product available in the U.S. that sounded less special when you used the French name. But I never said the French name and I didn’t know how to say the French name.

Not a spiritual or existential crisis, but still a quandary of sorts. So, when I left the kitchen and returned to my Sino-American laptop*, the first thing I did was a websearch** for “Neufchatel”. Of course, Wikipedia came up first, but its article, while confirming something I’d long suspected, that American Neufchâtel wasn’t the same as the Original French Neufchâtel, it offered no pronunciation guidance. A link to was also disappointing (it didn’t mention the American version at all), the next search result, “Wisegeek”, was no help and the next link after that showed how to make Neufchâtel, but not how to say it out loud.

Finally, had the too-long awaited answer: noo-shuh-tell, with the accent on either the first or third syllable (but if you talk like I do, emphasizing either will result in a semi-emphasis on the other). As I had suspected and hoped, that awkwardly positioned “f” was silent (it seems like half the consonants in French are silent, doesn’t it?), because ft it weren’t, some American regional accents would make it sound like NERF-CHATTLE. Which is another reason for the bad blood between France and some American regions.

But what this extremely trivial adventure in Web-based research showed me was that, after umpteen years of massive growth in the disorganized database called the Internet, we are NOWHERE NEAR having “everything at our fingertips”. Maybe if Neufchâtel were also a slang term for a sexual practice 99% of us consider disgusting, it would be different. And if it were, it certainly would’ve been in the first five results (I live dangerously by searching in un-filtered mode). Come to think of it, this blog post has probably set Internet Rule 34 into motion. I’m sure Neufchâtel Cheese porn would also feature Smuckers Jams & Jellies (because with a name like Smuckers, it has to be dirty), and bagels… bagels with tight little [THIS STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS HAS BEEN STOPPED BY WENDELL’S BETTER JUDGMENT]

*it’s a ThinkPad, manufactured far enough back to have an “IBM” label on it.
**after all my documented problems with Google, I don’t even verbify their corporate name anymore.


Third. Pound. Oh, Angus!

So the first thing I did with my new cheap digital camera was to take a picture of something you can add to Paul & Storm’s list of Snack Foods That Sound Like Sex Acts…

Because without the picture of the burger to accompany it, the double-entendre-ity is much more obvious. A Quarter Pounder or a Half Pounder are both obviously referring to weight, but if you’ve ever had a Third Pounder – especially an Angus Third Pounder – well, you know it’s a whole ‘nother thing.

It’s pretty much Business As Usual when the bigot group AFA boycotts McDonalds for “promoting the gay agenda”, but big signs promoting the “Angus Third Pounder”? Even I agree that isn’t Family-Friendly.

And here’s another SFTSLSA that the original list missed…

And don’t tell ME you’ve never twizzled.

a long rambling post about Twizzlers and other Red Licorice that is totally free of lascivious content is coming up soon on most of this same blog


Food, Sex and Twitter

Finally my practice of following strangers on Twitter just because somebody I already follow on Twitter has done a Response-Tweet to them has paid off… with the discovery of Paul & Storm’s Flickr Set of Snack Foods That Sound Like Sex Acts. Some are a little too obvious (anything containing the words Nut, Ball, Creme or Butter), while others are rather… surprising, sometimes the “creme” thing really works, and there are some familiar brands you’ll never think of the same way again…


purple cheese

See? I didn’t really run out of cheese! I never run out of cheese! I had 8 ounces of sliced Cheddar right here… under a pile of magazines. That is, I think it’s Cheddar – not much left of the original cheddar color. I’ve seen blue cheese and green cheese, but never that shade of before. Let me check the date on the magazine on top of it. Can’t tell for sure, but that’s NOT a current picture of John McCain. (And he hasn’t aged much better than the cheese)



I first noticed that sign at a local McDonalds more than 6 months ago.