Friday, 31 May 2013

Schneider's Hot Stuffs Philly-Style Cheese Steak

Even though I've posed my version of the Schneider's girl that adorns all their packaging in an electric chair, I'd just like to remind you that these pocket-sized delicacies are baked, not fried. That still didn't stop me from giving her all 9-volts of my mini-electric chair, sending her little Dutch bonnet flying and messing up her hair. But she kind of deserves it if she chooses to associate herself with these edible atrocities. I dusted off the old lab kitchen microwave to prepare for this Hot Stuffs experience and also removed an old meat pie from inside its radioactive cavity, a meat pie that I'd actually been saving because its crusty, dried gravy-clotted doughy dome uncannily resembled Ernest Borginine's face and I was planning to use it in my Ernest Borgnine museum that I hope to open one day. Moving on to another kind of meat, I was highly anticipating this dough-covered meat treat because I'm a huge fan of Philly cheese steak. I've never tried one hermetically sealed in a breaded casing before making the whole undertaking all that more bewitching. I radiated the two that came in the box for the specified time the instructions suggested. It was recommended that I place them on a paper towel on a plate while microwaving but I didn't have a paper towel and thought of using a sanitary napkin instead but spotted a coffee filter at the last minute, which was fortunate because I'm not sure sanitary napkins are safe in the microwave. After the allotted two minutes cooking time I then let them sit for an additional two minutes per the instructions, perhaps to save you from a hot gush of Philly cheese steak arterial spray when you puncture the encasing and release the pressure of its heated and turbulent centre. Now I'm no fool to believe that everything appears in reality as it does in the advertising or photos on the packaging but this thing couldn't have been more misleading than if it were a Wall Street banker in front of a Senate committee. The package shows it practically bursting with formidable strips of steak surrounded by a rich slathering of molten cheese and studded with red and green peppers that look like they were plucked only moments ago from right out of the Hot Stuffs garden. The crust in the photo is a golden brown, not unlike my parents after one of their many visits to Acapulco, but because I went the microwave route I wasn't expecting the carapace to achieve this result. Nevertheless, what emerged was this rectangular construction with a jailhouse pallor and a kind of listlessness I associate with obese people in unwashed sweat suits. Hot stuff indeed if you live on cell block #6. The first bite revealed nothing but a mushy, tasteless mire. The second bite deepened my suspicions. The third bite and I was sure I was eating a Depends undergarment. Unused of course because a used one would have had more flavour. Whatever facsimile of steak there was was beyond miniscule. A hamster has more meat on it than this thing. They weren't so much bursting out of the casing as much as cowering in a gooey mucilage that could've been cheese or white glue or an intriguing mixture of the two. I think I got a pepper stuck between my teeth at one point but it could just as well been a remnant of the cardboard packaging that I'd failed to remove. Oddly enough, it still didn't stop me from eating the second one although I did douse it with enough hot sauce to cover both the lack of flavour and kill any bacteria that might still be lingering on the odd sliver of slaughterhouse scraping that I was actually only too happy to discover if only for a change of texture. Am I now dissuaded from ever touching Hot Stuffs again? Or jaded about what they hold in store for me in the world of efficient snacking? Nope. Trooper that I am next time I think I'll try pepperoni. Although if J. M. Schneider were alive today he'd get 9-volts from me and my mini-electric chair for letting this monstrosity out of the meat laboratory.

Here I've posed the Hot Stuffs Philly-Style Cheese Steak with a toy scuba diver so you can get an idea of the scale of this snack food. Obviously this thing wouldn't stand a chance in a bathtub filled with barracuda.

 In this photo Boris the Galachialsaurus is infuriated by the sadly lacking and near-empty Hot Stuffs interior and now has to look for his meat from other sources. You've been warned. 

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Original Munchies Snack Mix

Raggedy Jimmy Durante at peace with his favourite snack mix.
This is one of those snack foods where I think Frito Lay decided to hedge their bets and help potheads across the country with their muddled decision-making process. Because it can be hard to choose when you're in that state and stoners clogging up the aisles of the local supermarket with limited funds and too many choices is not something Frito Lay wants resting on their more clear-thinking heads. Thus, why not just throw everything a munchie-driven person could want into one bag and keep everyone moving through the checkout line at a reasonable pace. Intriguingly, this philosophy also works on kids. And parents who don't want to purchase four different bags of snacks at triple the price for sodium-crazed kids with feral glints in their eyes. Which is what attracted me to this salty smorgasbord in the first place. As for the taste, what could go wrong when you throw Doritos, Cheetos, Sun Chips and Rold Gold Pretzels into one attractive bag with an enlarged photo of the various components showing their alluring textures and seasoning-mottled surfaces, all suggesting that this is all you need to satisfy your snack cravings. As for quenching your thirst after a bag of these, I suggest actually investing in and installing a Slushy machine in your living room or den because, honestly, someone crossing the Sahara wouldn't build up a thirst like this. Of course you could always go the water route but really, after you've consumed this much salt isn't sugar the more obvious and natural choice. And why settle for mere soda when you can slush-up that drink like a Winnipeg curb-side in mid-January. You wouldn't pair foie gras with Mountain Dew so why pair Cheetos with some water pumped out of a French septic tank. Anyway, it's a no-brainer that these things are very popular in our house. Go get yourself a crate load at COSTCO and if you're a paranoid pot-smoker (like I used to be in my younger days) you won't have to leave the basement for days. As an added bonus for all the kids and pot-heads out there, not to mention satisfying my puerile mind, I've added a picture of Raggedy Jimmy Durante with snot dripping out of his nose. Look! It's dripping into his bag of Original Munchie Snack Mix. The good thing is is that with their strong, persuasive flavours he'll probably never taste the difference.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sensible Portions Veggie Chips

I'm not usually attracted to snack foods that bill themselves as sensible. In fact, by nature, I believe snack foods are required to be the exact opposite and there should be nothing sensible about them at all except maybe the ease of opening the package. Still, I am drawn to the odd sensible snack substitution if only to balance out all my other stupid decisions. Like posing Barbies and a Ken, wearing only his underpants, with a bag of these crispy legumes. Really, I was looking for a snack that would be healthy for my kids and help Barbie and Ken keep their svelte figures for frolicking at the beach. Actually, I lied. I wasn't really looking for a healthy snack for my kids but we got them free at a baseball game so we kind of had health forced upon us. Well, not forced but we'll pretty much eat anything that's free. Except maybe broccoli. And earthworms. And pocket lint probably. Unless it has a mint attached to it. On first perusal of the ingredients I was disheartened not to find anything from the hydroxide, inosinate, glutamate or guanylate families as experience tells me, these cheerful additives really punch up the flavour of a chip. Instead, what I read was beetroot powder, spinach powder and turmeric, lightly sprinkled over these 'tater discs. I gave these things about two seconds before my kids spit them out on my lap. The floor of the bleachers at baseball games are littered with healthy half-chewed foods that my kids have been coerced into trying. So, I was properly astonished when my kids devoured these things without batting an eye or retching uncontrollably. Now that it was tested on them, I went for a bag myself. What can I say? They were actually very tasty and not at all like eating topsoil. The dusting of various veggie powders added enchanting flavours, like tiptoeing through a garden at twilight, feeling at one with all of God's creatures, even the ones that fit on a bun. As an added bonus, you can also get these snacks as veggie straws that are hollow through the centre so they double as blowguns for the kids. And that brother-in-law from the trailer park that you never see can use them to snort cocaine in a pinch. With the veggie powder it's like getting your vitamins and indulging in your vice simultaneously. Made by a company called Sensible Portions, there was nothing sensible about the portion I ate but then again you can never eat too many dehydrated veggies unless there's such a thing as beetroot powder poisoning.