2018 Limited Edition Thanksgiving Pringles

I’m not a fan of people who buy up all the stock of a product in order to re-sell those products for exorbitant prices. I don’t know what the term is for people who do that? Flippers? Re-sellers? Funko Pop enthusiasts?

As a Disney Parks fan, I see it happen a lot. Something gets released on Disney property here in Florida, people line up with all their friends to buy the maximum amount a store will allow, and then they list the products online for obnoxious prices to exploit those fans who aren’t so geographically privileged.


It’s not like collecting and dealing in collectibles or antiques where there is knowledge involved and the actual tracking down of the product requires work. Like what those guys on American Pickers do. (Are they still a thing? I don’t have cable anymore.) Clicking a button online or lining up at store, doesn’t require any special knowledge or work. I get the impulse but, I dunno. Economics. I just find it gross. Don’t @ me. I’m not that invested.

So, it is with that preface that I am sad to say that I recently became one of those people.


When I learned these Thanksgiving Pringles were going on sale at 11:59 pm, I was there and I was ready. And by there, I mean in my living room, and by ready, I mean shirtless with Pecan Sandies crumbs dusted about my short pants.

When the hour was nigh, the Kellogg’s Store website crashed instantaneously. Like at 11:59 and one picosecond. Because of course it did. Why would you make sure your website was ready to handle increased traffic from the promotion of your viral product? That’s just unreasonable.

So, while constantly refreshing and trying to snag one of these cans of chips, as the website was twitching, convulsing and gasping for breath, I ended up with two in my cart (also, the maximum number allowed). I was afraid that if I went back and tried to remove the extra one, I’d lose my spot in the queue, or lose the one I wanted, or just not be able to buy them at all, or however it works. I dunno. Economics. So, I kept and paid for both.


The next day, after seeing an article that they sold out in 41 minutes, in my shameful greed, I decided to throw the extra one on eBay. I put it up for an outlandish price because why not. If it sold I could by something nice for my wife for her birthday. It sold for an even more outlandish number, and now they are in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service, on their way to some other fellow lunatic who buys things like Thanksgiving Pringles.

I feel dirty and gross. But here we are.

One comical thing that came from this dalliance, is that I can unabashedly say that the most expensive food I’ve ever eaten, by any metric, are these Pringles. That’s just…I mean…that’s something. Sad, but something.


So, the chips. Three flavors: Turkey, Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie. Thanksgiving staples all.
My favorite was the stuffing. All the flavor and herbfullness like that which is generated from the wonderful science of a delightfully dehydrated and rehydrated box of Stove Top stuffing. Have you ever just eaten dry Stove Top out of the bag? Because I definitely haven’t because that would be weird and I’m not weird I’m totally cool so shutup. These chips are great, and like stuffing, we should be eating more of them year-round. There’s no reason we shouldn’t.

Let’s skip to desert and circle back. I’m usually not a fan of sweet chips. I like my sweets sweet and my salts salty. However, these Pumpkin Pie chips are artfully executed. Just the perfect balance of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spies and sweetness. And pumpkin is listed in the ingredients! By name! To show it the proper respect it deserves. There’s barely any pumpkin when you actually buy a can of pumpkin! It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!

Lastly, Turkey. These were the least intense of the three. There’s some similar herbiness as the aforementioned Stuffing with definite onion and garlic flavors in the mix. Maybe a little too salty. But there’s a buttery flavor throughout that I really liked. I think they could have pumped up the turkey flavor a bit more though. It’s there, but there should be more. I like turkey.


All three of these flavors are really good. This is a very well put together, fun limited-edition product. It’s a shame they made such a small quantity. These would fly off the shelves and make a great pre-Thanksgiving-dinner conversation starter. But sadly, it seems like the only way you’ll get to try these is if you’re willing to shell out crazy amounts of money on eBay, or if you’re married to me, or if you’re one of my coworkers (we are hiring). That’s the opposite of a Thanksgiving miracle. That’s a bummer.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


JUNK AND PRIZES GIVEAWAY: Hot Chicken Oreos and Wasabi Oreos (China Exclusive)

Alright all you foodistic rogues and rapscallions, are you intrigued by the thought of mashing a bouillon cube between two chocolate cookies? Do you want to horrify your friends and family with bizarre snack imports? Do you want to impress and amaze your coworkers with your absolute transcendance of all conventional snacking rules?

I have the products (detestable abominations) for you!


I’m going to give away a small, unopened pack of both Hot Chicken and Wasabi Oreos. All you have you do is leave a comment below telling the WORLD (Food Junk’s miniscule readership) who your favorite teacher was and what made them so great. No need to use names. “My third grade teacher” or “my high school PE coach, etc.

I’ll pick a random comment next Monday, October 8th at 9:00 pm, email you for your info, and send you out these inexplicable monstrosities!

Good luck?

UPDATE: The 20-Sided Dice of Snacking Destiny has spoken! Congrats to the guys over at FlavorCast for winning these gross cookies!

Hot Chicken Oreos and Wasabi Oreos (China Exclusive): A Review

So it turns out that after you quit your career as a teacher after 11 years, a few things happen.

For one, you start to feel like a human being who deserves love and respect as opposed to a withering skin husk filled with dry erase marker fumes and the excuses of a thousand and one terrible parents.

For another, your former co-“workers” begin to un-polymorph and you realize they put an infinite amount of effort into trying to look good and be the “fun” teacher and very little effort into being…you know… actually good at getting children to learn.


Lastly, you realize what an incredibly insatiable, red-eyed, time-eating monster teaching is and how little it gives in return.  During my final year in the classroom I taught a full load of middle school science classes, one reading class, a STEM class, and a different elective each quarter. I ran two after school Dungeons & Dragons clubs, took all the photos for our school social media accounts, was the admin for our school website, and made our yearbook. And I was also our instructional coach, which entailed me being lectured on the latest fads that were going to save education (we’re not going to give any homework this year!!!) Then I would pass that info on to my fellow teachers, so we could care passionately about those fads for a year or so (ok turns out we really should be giving homework!!!). Then those fads would be abandoned for the next book one of the superintendents happened to read, misunderstand, and attempt to institute poorly.


Now that is not to say I didn’t love doing most of those extra things. I did. I loved teaching, and I was good at it. I love my students and I miss them. But at a certain point it becomes a bit of a drag when you’re the last teacher in the building every day, you’re exhausted, AND you have no money. And I’ve heard the patronizing mantra “teaching is not about the money” before and those people can shove it because what IS about the money are my bills. Like they’re exclusively about the money. Turns out I can’t pay for Hulu with my passion.

So, I’ve gone corporate! I have an office job with a cubicle and nice people around me, and when I go home I don’t have to worry about being terrorized by emails from principals who’ve inexplicably failed upward and don’t really have a firm grasp of what their job is, or what teachers do, or what children are.


I can bash the education system and the ineptitude of many of those involved all day long. Literally all day. But let’s attempt to be somewhat positive here.

Bottom line: I feel like a person again, so I think I’m going to dive back into the foodoblogosphere! If you’ll have me, of course. I can provide references.

And, my friends, what better way to jump back in than with two of the most incomprehensible mainstream snack foods I’ve ever seen. When I saw these pop up in my news feed, I knew I had to have them. Hot Chicken Oreos and Wasabi Oreos. Exclusively released in China! I mean, how could I not buy them? They just sounded so…what’s the word…INSANE.

Granted Oreos have put themselves out there with a lot of interesting flavors since those watermelon ones dropped, but all of those flavors at least seemed remotely in the realm of “this is clearly a food item and not a dare.”



These. Are. Foul.

The Hot Chicken Oreos have a gamey, herby nosegrope that is just unpleasant. It’s not like a buffalo sauce smell like I assumed it would be. It’s just pungent. It stunk up my cubicle. The heat on them surprised me a bit. They pack a little bit of a punch. But the flavor of the cream matches its smell. Gamey and chickeny and herby. Like a bouillon cube. So gross. The cream doesn’t meld in any way, shape or form with the chocolate cookies. They are just two very distinct, very incompatible flavors, that for some reason have ended up mashed together. And the taste…it lingers…and lingers…AND LINGERS. I could not get it out of my mouth. Ugh.

But somehow, the Wasabi Oreos were even worse. I actually thought these might work. Like maybe it’d be a sweet, creamy wasabi…or something. But like the Hot Chicken Oreos, these are just two distinct flavors that do not work together at all. These are the most literal Oreos of all time. Each Oreo is a blot of cream that tastes like wasabi and then two chocolate cookies. That’s it. These are harsh. Like top five worst things I’ve ever tasted.


So that’s it. First review back. Thanks for reading. I feel a little rusty, but I think I’m going to try to keep things rolling.

Also, check back this week for a giveaway. Each Oreo box came with two separately packaged packs of five Oreos (I think five). I only opened one pack in each box, so if for someone reason you’d like to experience the taste of these abominations from halfway across the world, I’ll send them out to you and you can pass them around your office. Stay tuned, snacklings!

Spreadable Twix: A Review

Well, what’s going on, everybody?  How are the kids?  Everyone still doing alright?  Watching the shows and tweeting the memes and such?  Presidential race, etc.

It’s been a while, eh?

I’m doing ok.  I mean I’m in the midst of a full-on, clichéd mid-life crisis, but other than that everything is great.  Ok, it’s not like the thing with a bald spot and the new convertible sports car.  It’s more like a constant feeling of existential angst and dread and sadness that never goes away no matter what I do kind of a thing.  You know what I mean?  And it’s not all the time.  Just like when I’m awake.  And sometimes when I dream.

Spreadable Twix 1

So yea, I just kinda hang back these days and watch the reviews hit the webs, endlessly thumb-scrolling through the feeds, curled into a fetal position on the floor.  Maybe I’ll get a waterproof case for the phone, and I could curl up on the floor of the shower.  Ya know, change things up a little.

All the intrepid reviewists in the foodoblogosphere seem to be doing quite well covering all the new stuff.  With all the Peep flavors and Oreo varieties and whatever monstrosity Pizza Hut is unleashing upon the world.  Everyone seems to have it well covered.  With great power, comes great responsibility.  Or something.  Another comic book reference.  I dunno. Who cares?  Did you guys see Jessica Jones?  Pretty great, huh?

Anywho, every once in a while, I’ll see something pass through the stream.  Something alarming, that signals another step in our evolution from active humans to Wall-E-style meat sacks.  Usually it’s someone putting a food into another food.  Or multiple foods into a food.  But this time it’s a liquification.  Those are always alarming, right?  Like when cheese could become permanently liquid?  That was one of those milestones.  It’ll be a moment of importance when the AI that we created finally return to the Earth to comb through the ashes of civilization.

Spreadable Twix 2

This might be another milestone.  Spreadable Twix.  (Cue Sam Neill shakily taking off his sunglasses looking at brachiosauruses.)

This was released in the UK. And as soon as I saw it, I got my best British mate, Clara, on the job.  She sent it over post-haste and it arrived this weekend.  Thanks, Clara!

And you can totally tell it’s British with all the “flavours” (lol) and “grams” (wth).  According to Mashable, Mars said that Spreadable Twix is best enjoyed “spread over warm toast or a crumpet, dunked with a breadstick, or topped on a cake or waffle.”  First of all, crumpets.  We get it.  You have a royal family.  You’re better than us.  Second of all, Mars, don’t act like my finger’s not going right in the jar and then right into my mouth.  Have you ever heard of peanut butter?  Or cookie butter?  Or the caviar at that fancy restaurant at which I am no longer welcome?

Spreadable Twix 3

The nosegrope is very caramelly and chocolatey.  Obv.  The color is Twix- accurate.  It’s smooth and creamy and studded with little bits of Twix cookie.  Or “biscuits” (omg).

The taste is not quite what I was expecting.  I mean, I was expecting a Twix, and it’s not that.  The caramel and chocolate flavors have blended into each other because, you know, the caramel and chocolate have been blended.  The recipe has to be different to account for the change in architecture.  The chocolate on a Twix and the caramel in a Twix, when stirred together, would not give you this consistency.  Whatever that tweak was, changed the Twix flavor.  It makes this taste like a generic cookie butter, or some such.  It’s just off.

Spreadable Twix 4

Spreadable Twix is certainly a delicious treat, and I am going to have no qualms about finishing the jar.  Sure, I’ll have shame, but no qualms.  It’s just a Twix this is not.  It could be Twixier.  (Couldn’t we all?)

If you can get your hands on some, go for it.  You’ll like it and it’ll start a conversation.

Also, the idea just occurred to me to dunk an actual Twix in this stuff and eat both together.  That’ll certainly stave off the void for a few blissful minutes.  (nom nom existential sigh nom)

Lay’s 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists: A Review

(Lights go out)

(Crowd erupts)

(Spotlights sweep through the crowd)

(The wave begins circling the arena)


(Chicago Bulls theme plays)


  • (Wheat waves)
  • (Waves crash)
  • (Mountains majest)
  • (A bunch of birds take flight at once)
  • (Armstrong and Aldrin plant flag on the moon)
  • (The Berlin Wall crumbles)
  • (Death Star explodes)
  • (Spock’s death in Wrath of Khan)
  • (Olympic montage, especially that one hockey game)

(Doves are released)

(That photo of lightning happening down the curve of a rainbow happens for real)

(Blue Angels fly by)

(Morgan Freeman reads the Gettysburg Address)

(Everybody is crying and smiling and laughing and happy to be alive)

(I appear in a flash bang explosion of smoke)

(World peace happens)

Please do not stare directly into the rhinestones on my jumpsuit.  They will blind you.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 5

To quote the great LL Cool J, “Don’t call it a comeback.”  Because seriously I quickly lose interest in things.  These days more than ever.  But here I am and here you are.  Let’s twerk.  (Still a thing?)

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 6

I have finally returned from my self-imposed exile from the foodoblogosphere.  I have earned black belts in all the martial arts.  I’ve climbed the big seven mountains.  And I’ve beaten that guy’s record for jumping out of space in a balloon.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 7

Ok really, I haven’t been doing much of anything.   Just work and Netflix and…well that’s more or less it.  But I watched The West Wing for the first time and damned if I wasn’t feeling the most patriotic that I’ve ever felt.  So with the national presidential vote a few whatevers away, I figured I’d do my democratic part and participate in the next best election: the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest championship tournament contest.  Our greatest president, Josiah Bartlett, would be proud.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 1

Here we go.  New York Reuben.  Pretty strong right out of the gate.  Nosegrope has lots of rye and meat scents.  I think rye is the dominant flavor overall, but it still leaves lots of room for the meat  and sauerkraut.  I think there’s even some Swiss in there.  The flavors ebb and flow as you eat.  It’s not a mad dash up front. This is a well-balanced chip.  Good.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 3

Next up, Southern Biscuits and Gray.  Lots of biscuit-ness upon opening the bag.  Makes me want to go to Bob Evans, I mean that totally local southern place I go to because I’m cool.  The taste is spot on.  Faintly sweet biscuits.  A little peppery.  Some sausage hidden in there.  Same ebb and flow of layers as the Reuben.  Good.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 4

West Coast Truffle Fries.  Of course California went with the fancy pants offering.  You think you’re better than us, California?!  What are you trying to prove, man?  The nosegrope didn’t really lead me into the woods with my pig.  There are some herb notes, maybe some cheese.  These are definitely the most subtle tasting of the bunch.  I definitely got some that good, deep, earthy truffle goodness in there.  And the aforementioned herbs and cheese, too.  I think the softness of the wavy architecture enhances these.  These would hold up best to some seriously heavy snacking.  I could eat these for a while and not feel anything coming out of my pores.  Solid.

Lay's 2015 Do Us a Flavor Finalists 2

Greektown Gyro.  I love me some Greek food, much to my wife’s chagrin.  She’s not a fan.  At all.  She says Greek food tastes like BO.  I’m going to have to secretly slip her one of these. Aaaaaaand she didn’t like it.  “Blerg.”  Very forceful meat and spices in the nosegrope.  The gyro seasoning is good.  Works well with whatever meat flavor we’re supposed to be tasting.  Does it matter?  There’s lot of tang in the tzatziki and some hints of tomato.  Pleasant but very powerful.  Greek food is not subtle.  And I don’t usually go in for kettle chips, but the crunch works here.  Though I’d probably eat the fewest of these.  They’re like The Wire.  Good, accurate, but how many times are you gonna make your way through?

If I had to pick a favorite, I’d probably say the Truffle Fries.  But they’re all pretty good.  It’s like Lay’s makes chips for a living or something.

See you next time.  In two weeks or two years!  No promises!  CJ Cregg in 2016!

Food Junk: A Farewell

Well snacklings, some of you may have noticed that things have been quiet around the ol’ blog for a couple of months now.  I’ve been trying to tell myself otherwise, but I think I’m finally able to admit that my stint as a junk food blogger has come to an end.

What started as a lark one week during my summer vacation, inexplicably turned into a three and a half year passion project that has been huge amounts of fun.  Huge amounts.

So I have some thank yous.

Thank you to Cybele for being my very first Twitter follower, and the very first person to retweet my very first post.

Thanks to Marvo for giving me way too much link love, and an undeserved opportunity to write for his juggernaut of a website.

Thank you to all of my Twitter followers, past and present.  I don’t know who I would be following if I wasn’t following you.  You bring much laughter and shenanigans to my day.

Thanks to CT, Jeeg, and Pax at the Nerd Lunch podcast for having me on their show and then foolishly having me on again! You guys are the best.

Thanks to all of the awesome bloggers who have ever linked to something I’ve written or given me a spot in their blogrolls.  There are too many of you to mention by name, but know that I sincerely appreciate it.

And to each and every one of you, my beloved readers, thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by to read my ramblings and partake of my tomfoolery.  Waking up to funny comments, retweets, and favorites the day after a post was just the best thing ever, and I will always be grateful.

(Also, don’t worry about me.  I know this sounds serious.  But there haven’t been any crazy life events, and I don’t have a terminal illness or anything like that.)

Now, I can’t say I’ll never post anything here again, because you can never say never, especially when there’s that slim chance of finding a never-produced prototype box of Three Men and a Baby cereal from 1987 (with ghost marshmallows!) at a Steve Gutenberg storage locker auction.

But for now I’m going to dim the lights.

So on behalf of myself and the Snack Trooper, thank you, thank you, thank you for reading.


San Quentin State Prison Lunch Pack: A Review

Checking through my 70 or so saved search terms on eBay is one of the highlights of my day.  It’s a part of my unwinding process after work.  The majority of my searches involve some aspect of vintage food culture,  toys from days gone by, or Disney artifacts, with the occasional “unopened Deal a Meal” thrown in for good measure.  Only rarely does an item pop up that really peaks my interest.  I mean it’s all cool stuff or I wouldn’t be looking at it, it’s just that I’ve seen most of it before.  I know all the Jell-O cookbooks, I know all of the releases in the Over the Top toy line, and if something exists with the words “Crystal Pepsi” printed on it, I’ve seen it.  Ten times over.

However, once in a harvest moon something does emerge that makes me sit up and take notice.  And you can be sure this lunch pack from San Quentin was one of them.  In this case, I found it by linking through to an item that popped up under my very broad “Kool-Aid” search.  Of course I had to inquire about how the seller came into such an unusual item.  He assured me that he had indeed done time at the aforementioned institution, and I left it at that.  I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so in my mind, I’ve imagined it as a Nicholas Cage in Con-Air situation.  Hopefully it’s not a Steve Buscemi in Con-Air situation.  Come to think of it he never actually mentioned being released…

Ok guys, everyone just be cool.

If you don’t know (because I didn’t), San Quentin State Prison is located in California.  It has the largest Death Row of any prison in the United States, is the oldest prison in California, houses a total of 4,000 inmates, and has a “Notable Inmates” section on Wikipedia that reads like a goddamn nightmare.

Now, I’m not going to say I‘m an expert on prison culture per se, but I’ve seen Oz and feel my spoken word poetry skills are more than adequate to keep me from being nailed to the floor.  And I’ve watched Orange is the New Black twice.  So I’m reasonably sure I’d be able to survive on the inside of a prison women’s prison minimum security women’s prison.

I know that in prison food is a big deal.  For example, food from the outside, like a Twinkie, can be bartered for a light maiming.  A sleeve of Oreos can be traded for a brutal murder.  (Just ballparking here.  Not really sure of the various exchange rates.)  I’m not sure what could be had for food that is already on the inside.  Maybe an extra dinner roll could buy you a scathing indictment of the family environment in which an enemy was raised.

I’d imagine a whole lunch pack could get you something fairly decent.  Here’s what we have to work with: a package of peanut butter, a package of jelly, some Kool-Aid-ish instant drink mix packs, and some Pepperidge Farms Dark Chocolate Milanos (I know!).  I was told the coffee packs are not usually included.  They were “gifts.”  Not sure if the eBay seller meant they were a gift to inmates or a gift to me.  Oh god, do I owe this guy a favor now?!

Also, included with this pack was a package of bread.  Sadly, I was out of town when it was delivered, and instead of leaving it in one of the many locked mailboxes my complex has, it was left on my door, because the U.S. Postal Service is really good at what they do.  Anyway, the neighborhood raccoon gnawed his way into the box and absconded with my bread.  So we’re working without.

The instant drink mix came in three flavors: Grape, Lemon, and Punch.  They are pre-sweetened with aspartame and contain 25% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D.  So that’s good.  All of them taste like second or third tier whatever the lowest tier of instant drink mix is.  Kool-Aid they are not.  Even though they are labeled pre-sweetened, they are not very sweet at all.  If your mom ever forgot to add the sugar when she was brewing up a batch of Kool-Aid (which happened in my house every now and then), that’s the sweetness level we’re talking about.  They’re pretty tart, and even though we don’t get the sweetness of the aspartame, we still get the horrible aftertaste.  Not good.

The jelly pack is Mixed Fruit, the most heinous and generic of all of the jelly flavors.  It’s very thick, very sweet, and very artificial.  It vaguely tastes of fruit, or “fruit.”  It leans a little in the strawberry direction, though not a whole lot.  Not inedible.

The peanut butter is like spackle.  It’s crazy thick.  Crazy thick!  It’s also a bit grainy.  But truth be told it doesn’t taste that bad.  It’s peanut butter, after all, how far off the rails could it possible go?

The instant coffee is unequivocally the worst coffee I’ve ever had.  It smells a little like caramel, a little like coffee, and a lot like burnt wood.  And judging from the taste, it seems to be brewed from the grounds of cardboard and sawdust.  And not fresh sawdust either.  Old, stale, driveway sawdust.  To add insult to injury, it’s not even very strong.  I would think it would be better to not give inmates this coffee.  Why would you remind them of the best beverage in the world by giving them the absolute worst version of that beverage?  Or maybe that’s part of the punishment.  Drinking this swill would put me back on the straight and narrow immediately.

Lastly, and quite unbelievably, we have the Dark Chocolate Milanos.  Now, I could imagine cookies being served in prison, but I would have thought they were those bagged, bottom shelf pucks that absolutely horrible people begrudgingly bring to holiday office gatherings.  You know the ones.  Those are the people that should be locked up!  I would have never imagined anything from Pepperidge Farm.  Who knew?  These Milanos are delightful.  As Milanos always are.  They were fresh, and thanks to the sturdy plastic tray inside the bag, both cookies were still in one piece.  Good form, Pepperidge Farm.  These cookies could easily buy you a night of companionship.  I’d assume.  Just don’t serve them with the coffee.

Hopefully, this is as close as I’ll ever get to having any kind of prison experience.  It was bad enough for me.  I think I’m going to open a window, have a beer, maybe get some sun on my face.  I might even head out to that big hayfield up near Buxton and get busy living.  Because you know what the alternative is.

Ovaltine: A Review

Well the Christmas season is upon us.  Or if you’ve been keeping score at home, the third month of the Christmas season is upon us (Jack o’ lanterns count as Christmas decorations now, right?).

It’s time to put away the pumpkin flavoring, double down on the peppermint, and steel yourself for the relentless gauntlet of anger and frustration that is the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s a time for giving, a time for reconnecting, and a time for realizing who in your life has absolutely no idea what your interests are.  (A Long John Silver’s gift card.  Thanks.)

For me it’s time to make my annual “You Don’t Have to Buy Me Anything for Christmas, But If You Must, Please, No Mugs” decree to my students and then sit back and watch all of the D students who can’t remember to do their homework proudly offer me a mug the day before vacation starts.

This has always been my favorite time of year.  I never really had any Christmas traditions to speak of growing up, but a few have sprung forth from the tinsel of my adulthood.  Every year I make a thorough examination of my mother’s second Christmas tree, which is exclusively decorated with Star Trek ornaments, being sure to comment on this year’s additions (The U.S.S. Kelvin, Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, and the Gorn trying to stab Kirk to death).

When I’m motivated, I set up and meticulously craft my Department 56 Christmas village, though sadly it will remain boxed this year due to my wife’s new Etsy initiative that is currently taking up all the space in our dining room.  It’s the villagers who suffer.

And of course I settle in for my two favorite Christmas movies, Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story.  Now if I had a cool blog (at the very least one with a nonstandard theme [I really need to get on that soon]) then I’d do a series of holiday posts all about the food products in my favorite holiday films.  But as I racked my brain I could only come up with two.  Lime Jell-O from Christmas Vacation and Ovaltine from A Christmas Story.  If you can think of more, please let me know.  And if I can convince myself anyone would care about a Lime Jell-O review, then maybe there’ll be more than one post in this series that is not a series.

A Christmas Story is amazing for more reasons than I’m going to be able to cover here, but I can think of no other scene in cinema that better captures the disillusionment and loss of childhood innocence than the Ovaltine scene in A Christmas Story.  That moment when you realize you’re a targeted demographic and not a discerning receiver of cool kid-centered culture.  I can’t remember when that happened for me, but as an adult who’s been reconnecting with a lot of childhood cartoon favorites lately, I’ve come to realize that all of them were garbage.  Even the most beloved and fondly remembered.  Garbage.  Looking at you Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Nostalgia goes a long way, I guess.  Long enough to make me forget how utterly annoying and moronic Michelangelo was.

What am I doing?  Talking about the Ninja Turtles in a Christmas post?  Sorry.

I have a very foggy memory of drinking Ovaltine as a child.  Not drinking it as a staple of my weekly diet.  I have one specific memory of being in the kitchen and looking at an orange-lidded jar.  I think I was five or so.  And that was the last time I had Ovaltine.

Having not thought about Ovaltine in thirty years, I figured no one else had either.  I assumed I’d have to take to the onlines and buy a jar, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t sitting on the shelf of the local grocer.

Fudge me, Chocolate Malt Ovaltine is pretty good, you guys!  It’s chocolatey.  It’s mildly malty.  It’s good.  I was expecting a ton of sweetness a la every major chocolate milk I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t.   That’s gotta be good for the kids.  It made an otherwise horrific glass of milk seem like an enjoyable treat.  (I’m milk intolerant.  Not lactose intolerant, like I can’t handle lactose.  I’m not tolerant of milk as an entity because it’s gross.)

Snacklings, if you haven’t connected with Ovaltine in a while, maybe this winter is the time.  Rekindling relationships with dairy-based beverages is what the holidays are all about.

Son of a bitch.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix: A Review

Sometimes in life, things happen that forever change the way you see the world.  Events so profound, that they shake your very foundation.  Events so beautiful, so sublime, that you wonder how you even lived your life before them.  It could be the first time you kissed your true love.  The first time you saw your child’s smile.  The first time you were nuzzled by your best furry friend.  You suddenly realize that there’s been a hole within you, the exact shape of these events.

These events are revelatory.  They inspire tears.  They inspire joy.

Today, my friends, we are here to discuss one of these events.

You can now make Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits at home.  I’ll allow you a moment to collect yourself then I’ll repeat that.

You can now make Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits, arguably the greatest food that has ever existed, in the comfort of your own home.

Yes.  Dry your eyes.

This paradigm shifting product was first brought to my attention a few weeks ago when a Twitter friend posted a picture of it on his feed.  Well, needless to say, I was excited.  Certainly, I am not a crazed Red Lobster fanatic.  I’ve eaten there many times because like you, dear friends, I have old people in my family, and occasionally they have birthdays.  I also have students who, despite being around me for an hour a day, for as many as three years, don’t really know what my actual interests are. Some people bash on Red Lobster, like they do the Olive Garden, but I think both restaurants are fine for what they are.  People have to eat.

Anyway, I took to the web and discovered that these were available at Sam’s Club.  Sadly, I am not a member of Sam’s Club because I live in a small apartment, and it’s hard to find a place to store a small apartment-sized box of Club Crackers in a small apartment-sized apartment. Later, I found out that, like everything, you can buy them on Amazon.  But by then a work associate picked up a box for me, so here we are.

These biscuits come with some assembly required.  You have to add a little water, some cheddar cheese, and then melt some butter to mix with the garlic seasoning powder to brush on after baking, but these are small prices to pay for a fleeting glimpse of the divine spark that lies hidden behind the harsh reality of existence.

These biscuits are fantastic.  They are indeed faithful recreations of the biscuits sold at the Red Lobsters all across this great land.  They are garlicky and cheesy and salty and delicious. The only flavor missing is the slight dash of lemon cast about the top of each biscuit.  But it’s not a big deal.  The handful of parsley flakes is missing too, but who cares?  You can add that if you really have to.

This is one of th0ose products that I can’t believe wasn’t put on shelves eons ago.  Cheddar Bay Biscuits are really popular.  They are the stuff of legend.  Whatever Red Lobsterian it was who decided to take the mix out of the restaurant kitchen and put it in stores is a genius.  I’d like to shake his claw.

If you’ve never been to a Red Lobster (where do your elderly celebrate birthdays?), you should really do yourself a favor and pick up a box of this mix.  Each box makes around thirty biscuits.  Perfect for sharing with friends at your next get together.

Or for covering yourself with while lying in a bath tub listening to Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” on repeat.  Which I will be doing immediately and until my blood turns to salt crystals.

General Mills Monster Cereals: A Review

With Halloween only mere moments away, I’m here to crank out the Halloween-themed post that is required by the Junk Food Bloggers Alliance.  Through nothing but my own oversight (possibly hubris), I won’t have enough time to also review something with pumpkin squashed into it.  I’ll just pay the fine and hope that the sanctions issued against me at my trial aren’t too severe.   So next week, if you notice Food Junk has converted to all comic sans, you’ll know what happened.  Sanctions rarely last longer than six months.  And you can always appeal to the triumvirate.  They rarely give quarter, but it never hurts to try.  Well, unless you violate Nafziger’s Rules of Order.  Then they will hurt you.

I wanted my Halloween post to have the most impact that it possibly could on the foodoblogosphere, so I decided to review some products that every single food blogger on the Internet has already done.   And done months ago at that.  You might say I’m late to the party, but I argue that they were way too early to the party and were just standing around awkwardly while the party host, who hadn’t even changed into their party hosting attire yet, was still setting up the buffet line and lighting the candles in all of the jack o’ lanterns.

You all know about General Mills’ Monster Cereals, so I’ll skip the history lesson.  Suffice it to say that the comeback of the long-discontinued Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy got a lot of people excited.  They’re pretty awesome in that they harken back to a bygone era of cereal greatness.  Five monster-themed cereals?!  Come on.  I don’t think you could pull that off today.

Since these cereals have been covered to death (probably far better than I will do here), today I am going to don the hat of the cereal sommelier (it’s a thing) and offer up some scary movies suggestions that I think will pair quite well with the monster cereal of your choice.

We’ll start with Count Chocula.  It’s been around since time immemorial (1971).  It has always been , and still is, my favorite of the Monster Cereals.  It’s not overly sweet nor is it overly chocolatey nor does it overwhelm with sheer marshmallow intensity.  Actually, I enjoyed the restraint exercised by all five cereals with regards to marshmallow distribution.   My twelve-year-old self would be disgusted with that sentence.

What kind of horror film pairs with Count Chocula?  A vampire film, of course.   And I would recommend one of my favorites: the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In.  It’s restrained and quiet and bleak and intense and awesome.  It makes me want to move to Sweden and brood.  Very quietly.

Next up, Franken Berry.  Strong artificial strawberry flavors balanced, again, with just the right amount of sweet marshmallows.  Enjoyable, though not as strong as the Count.

Franken Berry would pair delightfully with the first ever filmed version of Mary Shelley’s classic tale.  It’s simply called Frankenstein, and it was made in 1910 at Edison Studios, a film production company studio owned by Thomas Edison.  It’s only 12 minutes long and totally worth a watch because GOOD GOD IT WAS MADE IN 1910!  The monster creation scene is great, and the special effects are surprisingly good CONSIDERING GOOD GOD IT WAS MADE IN 1910!

Making a much hyped comeback this year is Yummy Mummy.  Yummy Mummy rose to fame in the brief window from 1987 to 1993.  It is an orange cream flavored cereal that does indeed taste like an orange Creamsicle.  It can be a little strong and sharp at times, but if orange Creamsicles for breakfast are your thing (and I’m sure it’s somebody’s thing) then by all means scoop up these boxes before they disappear!

When one thinks of a mummy movie to pair with Yummy Mummy, one might think of any film from The Mummy franchise.  Those people are dumb.  Instead, you should watch 2002’s Bubba Ho-Tep.  It’s directed by The Beastmaster director Don Coscarelli and stars Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis Presley living out the rest of his days in a quiet retirement home with an African-American gentleman who may or may not be John F. Kennedy.  And he has to fight an evil mummy.  It is a delight.  Well worth your time.

If orange is not your thing, perhaps cherry is.  How about a bowl of Frute Brute?  Fruit Brute hasn’t been seen on breakfast tables since 1984! Which is a tragedy because it’s great.  I’d never had this cereal before and was surprised by how much I liked it.  I figured it was discontinued for a reason, right?  But the cherry flavor works.  It’s not as strong as Franken Berry and certainly not as strong as Yummy Mummy.  easily the best of the two unretirees.

One of my favorite werewolf movies is Dog Soldiers.  It’s also from 2002 and was helmed by Neil Marshall who directed another one of my favorite horror movies, The DescentDog Soldiers is simple.  It’s British soldiers holed up in a country house fighting off a pack werewolves.  Do you need more than that?  No.  You do not.

Last and certainly least is Boo Berry.  I liked the blueberry flavor of the cereal overall, but it reminded me too much of any other berry-flavored cereal.  I also thought its flavor was the most fleeting.  Didn’t seem to hang out on the tongue long.  Like it wasn’t even there at all.  Or was it?!  It was.  Or was it?!

What goes with a blueberry cereal that has a stoned ghost on its box?  Only one of the best ghost movies ever!  Of course I am speaking of Ghost Dad Susie Q The Frighteners!  It’s light and fun.  And you want something light and fun around Halloween, especially if you’ve just watched four other movies and are in the middle of your fifth bowl of cereal.  It stars ghosts, special effects, the guiding hand of Peter Jackson, Michael J. Fox and a Busey.  Stop.  You had me at a Busey.

In the end, my Monster Cereal rankings are as follows in order of best to least best:  Count Chocula, Frute Brute, Franken Berry, Boo Berry, and Yummy Mummy.  Holiday post: accomplished.  See you at Thanksgiving.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  Don’t fill up on cereal!  Save room for candy!