2.29.2012

God bless 'Merican Foodstuffs

Hey yous guys! So this weekend I was in Chicago, Illinois for a fun three-day-adventure in the coldest city known to man. Oh hai America, you could have told me to bring a hat. Would have been super duper. But you didn't! So I kept warm the only way I knew how; by eating so much I fell into a food-coma every night at 11pm. Actually, it wasn't so bad (just a few shades warmer than Hoth). This was actually the first time I stepped off a plane in Toronto and went "PRAISE CHEESUS, MY EYELASHES AREN'T FROZEN". I wasn't in Chicago for any particular reason but to enjoy a 3-day weekend, a cheap flight sale, and eating pizza. TRUTH! It was great. I ate Deep Dish Pizza for the first time and it was very very good. Like a tiny, crunchy bed filled with cheesy, saucy puppies. But this post isn't about delicious food, it's about 'Merican food, so let's get to it.

 First, let me say that American grocery stores have the most fucked up names. Aldi, Publix, Jewel Osco, Topps, Winn-Dixie. I guess Canada's aren't much better: Metro, Loblaws, Sobeys, Independent. There's actually a chain in southwestern Ontario called Zehrs (pronounced ZAY-urrs). That's what we shopped at as kids, Zehrs. To this day, I still call 'plastic bags' Zehrs' Bags. One time a friend of mine asked for a 'Zehrs' bag' and a bunch of people went "a WHAT??" and I was like "A Zehrs bag you dummies. He needs a Zehrs bag. You guys don't keep your plastic bags?"

Okay, enough nostalgia. So the grocery store where I took these pictures was a Jewel-Osco. Nice grocery store, but no Publix. Publix is my FAVOURITE grocery store ever. Tons of crazy, shitty 'Merican food (but also good produce. WHAT the HELL am I talking about??) Second, Chicago reminds me a lot of both Montreal and Toronto. With that being said, their grocery stores were also like Montreal and Toronto. Nothing super ridiculous or crazy, food-wise. Maybe it is just the state? I mean, you know that if you need caloric-nightmares, you go to Florida or Alabama. Illinois was very much like Canada; lots of healthy stuff, nothing too ostentatious. I combed Jewel-Osco like the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang looking for Surf-n-Turf flavoured potato chips or Wedding Cake-flavoured Fruit Roll-Ups.

With that being said, I have found some good ones. One caveat though: NO YOGURT!!! Yoplait needs to step up its game, because there hasn't been a new dessert-flavoured yogurt released in like, a year. Although maybe it was Illinois fault; maybe they just haven't received a shipment of Pecan Pie Non-Fat Yogurt or Deep Fried Mars Bar Mousse Yogurt. Alright, let's get to it! Starting with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast.

Kellogg's Krave cereal. This is crunchy chocolate cereal with a delectable chocolate filling. So, it's cookies then. You're eating cookies. This sounds gross. I love chocolate, but this is too much. I remember being a kid and seeing an ad for Teddy Grahams cereal on TV and knowing my parents would NEVER buy it for me, so one morning I got up early, poured myself a bowl of Teddy Grahams cookies and watched as my father lost his shit over me eating a bowl of cookies and milk. When I think back, I'm like "What a dummy! How was I so unable to differentiate between cookies and cookie-shaped cereal?" NOW YOU DON'T HAVE TO!!! Krave: is it cookies or cereal?!? It's both! It's cookies and candy and cereal, all rolled into one! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Yogurt Bar, you made me positively sick to look at you.  That filling looks like barf, number one. It's strawberry yogurt filled, number two. JUST EAT STRAWBERRY YOGURT!!! That filling must be so revolting. It would have to be much thicker and less damp than yogurt. Alright, sounds like we're talking either cheesecake or oil-based "creme". FUCK YOU, BREAKFAST!

Kellogg's Eggo mini Muffin Tops. I have no words (except that Kellogg's is featured a lot in this post. It appears that they may be the benchmark for terrible food ideas).

 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts in Wildlicious. To me, and with help from the picture, it seems that 'wildlicious' flavour is a combination of cherry, strawberry, and orange. I have no issues with this as a food-stuff; cherry-strawberry-orange sounds like it would be absolutely delicious and breakfast-appropriate. Berry-citrus. Okay! I'm on board with that! The reason it's on this list is because it is lazy. Kellogg's Pop-Tarts has a long-standing reputation of bringing us the grossest fillings in American Pastry History. Ice Cream Sundae. Birthday Cake. Sugar Cookie. Strawberry Milkshake. So a cherry-strawberry-orange filling is not only off-brand, but deeply disturbing. What's next? 1/2 Sugar Pop-Tarts? All-natural fig filling? 100-mile diet, locally farmed apple?? I do not like this Pop-Tarts. Not one bit. Go back to filling your tarts with the likes of Caramel Corn and Spicy Queso.

On to snacks. Merkts/Kaukauna spreadable processed cheese. I understand that the midwest loves cheese (really, who doesn't?) but there was an awful lot of spreadable, tubbed cheddar in the cheese aisle. I think this is supposed to be like fancy Cheez Whiz? Why do we need fancy Cheez Whiz? Just eat real cheese. Life is hard sometimes guyyyyyyyys!

This picture may be confusing, but it's a bunch of single-packed giant pickles packed in brine. Just some huge pickles. Allow me to show an average-sized hand holding said pickle:

Forget about the length of that sucker, it was the width of a hand! Hoo mama, cut me off a piece of that! It's not the size of the pickle, but the motion of the ocean, AMIRITE?!?! Aside from making wiener jokes (which we did) I also marveled at a single, giant pickle. Do NOT get me wrong - I love pickles, and I would probably love this. But this seems like too much. It's also totally weird! You're not supposed to put pickles in bags and bring them to lunch! Hello - has no one seen Uncle Buck? (Remember when he packs the kid's lunch and Macaulay Culkin gets a dill pickle in a ziploc bag?)

Jell-O color-changing vanilla instant pudding. This specific brand is called "Mixchief" (get it? Mischief? So lame) and it turns your pudding green. That looks about as appetizing as lower-back surgery. This is just awful. What is wrong with parents?? Who would buy this?? Remember that terrible green ketchup from a few years back? When will parents finally put down their foot and say "NO. NO I WON'T BUY YOU PUDDING THAT LOOKS LIKE THE HULK'S RUNNY STOOL."

Nabisco's Berry Burst Ice Cream Oreo. Oreo has been trying to think up new flavours for a long time. I don't blame them; we're in a recession, and Original Recipe Oreos aren't going to keep the lights on in the Nabisco factory. Sorry, did you just say that Oreo is the world's best selling cookie? That it literally has no competition? It's an incredibly simple cookie to make and is usually free of artifical flavours and colours? It's almost the same recipe they've been using since the beginning? Oh, okay! Then WHY THE FUCK WERE THESE MADE???

Look, if you're going to change anything, just change the shape to little footballs. Same great taste! Tiny football shape! Get 'em for game day! Friday Night Lights! Go Team Go! U-S-A! U-S-A!!

While in Chicago, I discovered that there is a rather large Mexican population. This was evident in their grocery stores where the "Southwest/TexMex" section was simply labeled "EL FOOD". I really wanted to try Mexican chocolate (because I love Abuleta hot drink mix) and I bough this tiny chocolate bar called Carlos V for $0.39. You can't see on the bottom, but it says "Milk chocolate-style bar". Yep, that means just what you think it means...it tastes like cheap, shitty Easter chocolate. Carlos V is supposed to be the King of Chocolates, but I can tell you first-hand that he is the king of a terrible, dilapidated candy factory. He makes Willy Wonka look like Lenin. 

The Carlos V bar is like a Magic 8 Ball, but instead of predicting your future, the chocolate dares you to eat it. "You want me?" it asks? Both sides should say NO. Or one side could say 'NO' and the other could say 'SI. ME GUSTA DIARREAH.'

Chocolate Twizzlers. Oh boy. Where do I start with this? Chocolate-flavoured licorice. It's bad enough that licorice isn't even black anymore. Whenever someone says 'licorice' you immediately think of red, vaguely-strawberry flavour. Ugh. I also like that it's branded as a low-fat snack. You know what else is low-fat? An apple. A small piece of dark chocolate. Not a whole bag of chocolate-flavoured Twizzlers (because, let's be honest with ourselves; nobody opens a bag of Twizzlers and doesn't try to finish them before they get stale, which is IMMEDIATELY).

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream in Karamel Sutra. Nothing says "Yum! Ice cream!" like hundreds of sexual positions. This was a huge mistake, guys. Huge mistake. No one wants to think about recently-divorced moms and their new weird boyfriend Chad trying out The Crouching Lotus-pouch while eating ice cream.

Duncan Hines Amazing Glazes. Two bottles, same product? Is one supposed to be respectful, decent, and Christian, and the other is dark and sinful and for 'lovers' to pour on their crotches while eating Karamel Sutra? America, why u so hard to understand sometimes?
PS - in case you haven't guessed, I think this looks fucking disgusting.

Speaking of disgusting! Philadelphia Indulgence. It's tough to see, but there are 3 flavours here: dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate. Aaaaaannnnddddd...it's Philly cream cheese whipped with chocolate! It's a dip! It's a spread! It's only ever going to be eaten by the morbidly obese as a low-cal heart-smart alternative to canned Betty Crocker frosting! ME GUSTA.

Last but not least, we have a new champion for the "Which 'Merican Food is Giving the Biggest Middle Finger to Middle America" contest...GOLDFISH! What was once a tasty cracker snack given to toddlers is now a giant stinky prison orgy between salt, sugar, artifical flavour, palm oil, "BAKED, NOT FRIED!" (which means it's as healthy as a carrot) and the letter X. Can I give you some perspective here? In Canada, we have Original Goldfish, Rainbow Goldfish (which is just naturally-coloured cheddar), Pretzel Goldfish, Xtreme Cheddar (okay, fiiiine) and Chocolate Goldfish. In the US, you have Flavour Blasted Chocolate, because regular chocolate just isn't enough for your desensitized tastebuds. Make it extreme! Chock up the flavour!! It should be like a flavour explosion ripping through your gums!!! But look - whatever - sometimes you want super-chocolatey cookies. I'm not exempt from this; I enjoy taking Double Stuff Oreos and pushing two together to make an ultra-thick cookie. So I'll give Xtra Chocolatey a pass. But Vanilla Cupcake flavor blasted Goldfish? Ummmm....what? Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again: what the hell is the flavour profile for "Vanilla Cupcake"? It's like saying something is 'lasagna-flavoured' - it's made up of so many elements, that it could literally be anything. Vanilla Cupcake would be:
- cake flavour
- vanilla
- butter
- a sticky sweetness that comes from icing sugar
- sprinkles (sprinkle flavour?)
I just can't. Look, we had our time with bacon-mania, and now I'd like to see cupcake-a-palooza come to an end too. Also I would die a little inside if I had a kid that asked for these at the grocery store. Not because I'm a health nut, but because I would hope that my kid could tell the difference between Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish and ACTUAL cupcakes, and would ask for the second.

Up next in the Parade of Horrors is Goldfish S'mores Adventures. I love it. The only adventure awaiting the person who buys these is the long arduous trek from the couch to the fridge. So in case you can't tell, these are chocolate and honey (aka Plain) fish and fish-shaped marshmallows. You're supposed to put them together? And eat them like a S'more? Whut? That doesn't make sense. There's no melty part to this. It's just cracker-cracker-dried out marshmallow-cracker. That makes for a very dry mouth. Here's my major qualm with this product (BAHAAHAH - as if I only have one): it's that it would be very very easy to make a S'more-flavoured graham. The base is already graham cracker. Add some teeny-tiny chocolate chips. Swirl some "marshmallow" flavour into that graham (hell, use the Vanilla Cupcake flavour) and there you go. You would have a cracker that tastes like a S'more. But why even bother? Remember that S'more candy bar that NO ONE bought because it was gross and why the fuck would you eat a S'more flavoured candy bar when you could make the real thing in your microwave and it would taste 10000x better? Or remember that cereal, Smorz, that NO ONE is buying because nobody wants to eat dried up marshmallow flakes with chocolate-flavoured dry cereal because S'MORES AREN'T DRY AS A FART? S'mores are gooey and hot and taste like campfire and summer and outdoors and charcoal and wooden sticks. They don't taste like stale, fish-shaped grahams.

Last, but not least, is Goldfish Flavor Blasted Slammin' Sour Cream & Onion. Slammin'. Who uses the word "slammin" anymore? Who EVER used it? And why would you want crackers that taste like Slammin' Sour Cream & Onion? Who made this, Guy Fieri?? Throw some sunglasses on that fish and you basically have Guy "Tex Wasabi" Fieri.

 That's better. Come to think of it, why isn't he the spokesperson for Goldfish? I mean, they've abandoned everything else about Goldfish: the simplicity, the charming jingle. Someone should animate an obnoxious, fake-Italian with bro-hair and unnecessary wraparound sunglasses that shouts phrases like "SLAMMIN" and "SO MONEY" while flying through the air in a flavour-dust fart explosion.

One last thing. If 'Merican food has taught me anything, it's this: in the future, people won't be eating foods in pill-form. They'll simply be eating popcorn seasoning, washing it all down by chugging VitaminWater by the 2L bottle. Eventually there will be no Goldfish; it will all be Xtreme Flavor Blast and Xtra Flavor Coating and Sour Powder and Cake Glaze. Essentially, our diet will be Toppings and Sauces. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i live for these murica food updates.