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!


Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout: A Review

A few months ago Brewery Ommegang released the first in a series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers.  In that review, I professed my love of the HBO show despite never really having a complete understanding of what is going on at any given time.  My patient wife helps to decode everything, as she is a fan of the books and can somehow keep abreast of all the new treachery and stabbings.

To celebrate Ommegang’s latest Game of Thrones release, Take the Black Stout, I thought I’d take a moment and get everyone caught up with what happened in season 3.  Fair warning, if you’re not current with the show, you may want to stop reading now because there are going to be lots of convoluted and misinformed spoilers ahead.

Ok.  It’s a lot.  Here we go.

Jon Snow (normal name, so I remember it) has gone to the other side of the Great Wall.  It’s either north or south of the wall.  I can never remember.  He went to infiltrate this group of Scottish people for some reason.  While trudging around with them, he falls in love with a girl from Downton Abbey, and they all march off to take over one of the kingdoms (or the kingdom), even though there’s only like 14 of them.  I think he starts to like all the Scottish people, but then turns away from them anyway at the end to stick up for the wall guards.  The girl might have gone with him.

The rest of the wall guards go visit a guy who has a bunch of daughters he likes to do sex with.  Everyone is supposed to kiss his ass because he’s like the white trash king, but the guards ain’t got time for that.  There’s a big fight and everyone gets stabbed.  However, Samwise the Round elopes with one of the guy’s daughters and her baby.

Tyrion saved his family and the whole castle at the end of season 2 but now they’re all mad at him for it.  He’s been banished.  Not really banished.  He just has to live in a small apartment.  Also, he has a big scar on his face now, and he lost his Hand job.

Then there’s that other guy, Standish Boromir, who lives with the Red Witch.  They were the ones who attacked Tyrion’s family, but they lost, and now he’s really mopey.  He has a brother (?) who visits him, but they lock him in the dungeon because he’s not a fan of the Red Witch.  In the dungeon, some little girl who’s face looks like Seal’s teaches him how to read.

Cool Lisa still has her dragons.  They’re getting bigger, but they’re not quite big enough to do any really big damage, so she tries to find an army to help her conquer one of the kingdoms (or the kingdom).  She buys an army of maniacs who have all had their man parts removed.  They’re the best fighters in the world and obey her unquestionably.  I think she said they could be free if they wanted to, but they all stayed to murder people for her because they’re maniacs and they love her.  She frees a bunch of slaves in another town too, so now she’s a really big deal.  Once those dragons get big, lookout!

Then there are the Starks.  They’re trying to get back in the kingdom game.  They’re marching around conquering some things here and there, and generally being sad and dumped on by the universe .  They try to make an alliance by marrying someone in their group to someone in a group led by the Hogwarts’ groundskeeper, but he’s pissed because the guy the Starks offer isn’t the main guy, Rob.  At the wedding, THE RED WEDDING (!), all of the Starks are slaughtered, even Rob’s unborn child.  It’s called the Red Wedding because of all the blood.

Ok, not all the Starks get killed.  The wheelchair kid whose wheelchair is a big dumb guy joins up with some lost boys, and they hang around in the woods and have dreams.

The sassy Stark girl is still hiding from everyone with her new best friend, the Hound.  She wants to murder Joffrey and his family.  Joffrey’s still acting exactly like all the rich kids I went to high school with.

At some point, the really dreamy guy gets his hand chopped off.  That hurts because it’s his sword hand.  He’s so sad that you really wonder how he’s ever going to have incestuous sex with his sister again.

Second to Iastly, there’s Theo, who is a friend or enemy of the Starks.  He’s captured in like the first episode and spends the remainder of the season getting tortured.  He’s a jerk but then you start to feel bad for him.  Because of all the torture.

Finally, I think I the snow zombies are starting to push on to Wintertown.  I can’t remember what they do exactly but I know Samwise kills one of them with some dragonglass. That’s a big whoa moment because no one remembers how to kill the snow zombies because it’s been so long since they zombied the crap out of everyone.

Whew!  It was a really good season, you guys!

Take the Black Stout is more of the type of beer I think of when I think Game of Thrones!  It’s dark and black like the forests of…oh, I don’t know, I’m in over my head.

The bottle design is great.  That face on the bottle is the Weirwood.  It’s where the wall guards take their sacred oath when they are inducted into the Night’s Watch.  My wife told me that.  I thought it was an Ent.  I also really like the write up on the side, despite the misspelling of “their.”  Unless that’s some Game of Thrones thing I’m not aware of.

The nosegrope of Take the Black Stout is a little hoppy and smoky with hints of coffee and vanilla.  It was much lighter than expected.

The flavor profile starts pretty bitter but ends a little on the sweet side.  There are chocolate and coffee notes and some more burnt smokiness.  It also tastes bready.  Couldn’t really find the licorice, and I’ve never had star anise, so I’m no help there.  It’s not as thick as some stouts I’ve had, nor is it as good.

I didn’t like this as much as the Iron Throne Ale.  There’s a lot going on, but I found it fairly dissonant.  Give it a try, if only for the awesome bottle.

The next brew is going to be released in the Spring of 2014.  It’s Fire and Blood Red Ale.  Dragons, y’all!

See you then Westeronians!

Lay’s Canada’s Do Us A Flavour Finalist – Grilled Cheese and Ketchup Potato Chips: A Review

Well snacklings, this post officially brings an end to my “week” of reviewing all of the finalists from the Lay’s Canada Do Us a Flavour contest.  And just in time because Halloween is right around the corner, and I have to get to work crafting my Phantasmagorical Halloween Spooktacular series of Halloween-related snack posts.

Or I’ll probably just do one Halloween post about a product line that everyone was all over like a month ago.  Sigh.  I think I’m losing my edge.  My awesome.  My joie de snack.

I’ll do better next year, guys.  I promise.  I’ll do a big countdown like all the cool bloggers do.  Nothing but pumpkin stuff, or whatever.

It’s not that I don’t like Halloween.  I love Halloween.  In theory anyway.  Two months before Halloween, I’ve always got big plans.  Horror movies lined up to the horizon.  Adventurous confectionary treat ideas.  Crazy complicated costume.

Then October rolls around and I’m lying on the couch next to my wife staring listlessly through Dancing with the Stars instead of watching Trick ‘r Treat.  My snack recipes have been reduced to stuffing three bite-sized Snickers into my mouth at one time instead of two.  And I’m starting to wonder if taping an empty paper towel roll to my forehead is close enough to “unicorn” to be considered a costume.

But it’s alright.  I’m attempting to get into the spirit.  I just watched all of the Child’s Play sextology.  Which was great.  And I’m three films into the Hellraiser ennealogy.  Which is stupid.  I just finished a Stephen King ghost story (which was good), and pretty soon I’ll break out my copy of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things to do my annual reading of my all-time favorite short story “October in the Chair.”  Which is fantastic.  If you haven’t read it, do.  It is the best.

Next year, I’ll go all out.  You guys can hold me to it. All kinds of Halloween posts.  I promise.  Food Junk will be lousy with orange and black and chocolate and pumpkins and ghosts and witches and murderous lunatics.

Segue in…3…2…1…

And speaking of lunatics.  Who dips their grilled cheese sandwiches in ketchup?  That cannot be a thing people do.  I have never heard of this.  Ever.  Tomato soup, yes.  Obviously.  It’s classic.  But ketchup?  Why would you go and ruin a perfectly good grilled cheese sandwich by dipping it in ketchup?  They are dipping right?  Oh god, what if they’re spreading it on?  They’re not spreading it on are they? I need to know the meaning of this.

Enough people have to be doing this for Grilled Cheese and Ketchup to qualify as a finalist, but I still don’t believe it.  Snacklings, sound off.  Have you done this?

The nosegrope upon opening the bag is a combination of ketchup chips and sour cream and cheddar chips.  The ketchup is a little more dominant, but just a little.

The flavor follows suit.  It tastes like a mashup of ketchup and sour cream and cheddar.  And I don’t think the flavors really mesh well.  They don’t build on one another or complement each other, they both just get toned down.  Ketchup chips are usually tangy with a strong vinegar bite, but here it’s just weak and middle of the road.  And I didn’t pick up any breadedness or grilledness, or anything that would make me think of a sandwich.  Just cheese and tomato.

Overall, these are ok.  I found myself just wanting sour cream and cheddar chips.  And doing a blind taste test, I’m not sure I could identify what the flavor is that Lay’s was going for.

In grand conclusion, I’d say Creamy Garlic Caesar is far and away the best flavor in the Do Us a Flavour contest.  I’d place the ok, but uninspired, Perogy Platter a distant second, Grilled Cheese and Ketchup a few strides behind them, and in last place by a Canadian mile, Maple Moose.  Though Maple Moose still gets my vote for most interesting flavor concept.

Canada, in chip contests, as in health care, gun violence, and overall level of being hated by the world, you have bested us.  Your flavors were more interesting, and assuming that Creamy Garlic Caesar is your overall winner, your best chip is better than ours.

Way to go, ay.

And thanks again to Dani at The Daily Yum for helping me track down these chips.  You’re the best.

Lay’s Canada’s Do Us A Flavour Finalist – Perogy Platter Potato Chips: A Review

Last Tuesday I kicked off Food Junk’s Week (or possibly two) of Canadian Grandeur and Majesty. I was going to rapid fire blog my way through the four flavor finalists from Lays Canada’s Do Us a Flavour contest.

I wanted to churn them out really quickly. Back to back to back to back. I wanted to look back fondly on them and be proud of my burst of productivity.  If you’ve been a Food Junk reader for any time, you might remember I used to put up two posts a week!  Two a week!  Hard to believe now that my posting schedule is handled more on a Whenever basis.

So that was the plan. And we were humming along, and I was feeling good about myself. I managed to put up posts for two of the finalists on two consecutive days! Then my wife tried to kill me with poison.

Ok. So she claims that she bought a new cleaning spray for our apartment because it was on sale at the store. She claims she didn’t know that I would be highly allergic to it. She claims she had no idea I would break out in hives or that my eyes would swell shut. She claims she didn’t know I would get the cold shivers for two straight hours on Saturday night forcing me to wear socks, jeans, a t shirt, and a hoodie to bed.

But I have my doubts.

Clearly she has a motive. I mean if I were to suddenly and tragically shuffle loose the mortal coil, she would stand to inherit quite a lot. I’m talking in the range of a few dozen to several dozen dollars, not to mention a respectable collection of vintage Kool-Aid packets, a Back to the Future Trilogy Blu-Ray, and some pretty nice trading cards.  Complete sets of Saved by the Bell: The College Years, as well as 100 Years of Hershey, just to name two.

You don’t have to be Agatha Christie to put all those Indians on the Orient Express. Am I right?  I believe I am.

But I have survived through the power of science and a pretty cute nurse who gave me a steroid shot in my right butt cheek, so here we are.  Back on track.

Our third finalist in the Lay’s Canada Do Us a Flavour contest is Perogy Platter.  The flavor is meant to evoke perogies (I’m going with the weird bag spelling) layered with sour cream, green onion, cheese, and bacon.  I didn’t know perogies were so popular in Canada. I find it interesting.  I would have never picked a flavor like this for a finalist.

The nosegrope was of a bag of sour cream and onion chips with a dusting of some bacon.  Maybe some light cheddar notes.  It reminded me a bit of TGI Friday’s Cheddar and Bacon Potato Skin Chips.

The chips appear to have been birthed from the loins of a sour cream and onion chip base.  That’s the dominant flavor, and like the nosegrope, there is some smokey bacon layered in.  The bacon builds at the end of the chew experience.  There’s not much more going on than that.

These chips don’t really call to mind perogies.  I feel like there should be some kind of dough represented somewhere in the mix.  Without dough, aren’t we just recreating loaded baked potatoes?  Haven’t we already done that?  My waistline says that we have.

These chips are good, but that’s all they are.  There is nothing wrong with them, but overall, they’re pretty unremarkable and easily forgettable.  Definitely the least interesting flavor so far.

Oh yea, and I also have some Huey Lewis and the News albums.  On vinyl.  Watch your backs, snacklings.

Lay’s Canada’s Do Us A Flavour Finalist – Maple Moose Potato Chips: A Review

I don’t wanna brag or anything, but I have been to the Canada pavilion in Epcot like a lot of times.  And I don’t mean just walked through it quickly on my way to Japan to see if they still sell those spinny drum things from The Karate Kid, Part II.  I mean I’ve stopped and looked at the rocks from like all the angles.  And I’ve seen the Circle-Vision movie at least three times.  And that thing’s like 20 minutes long.  Kind of a big commitment.  And there aren’t any seats.  Just rails to lean on.

So really it’s like I’m almost Canadian.

But I still have a question.  Is moose a food that a lot of Canadians eat?  And I’m not judging or mocking or anything.  I really want to know.  Are enough people eating moose that it warrants its own potato chip flavor?  Maple I could see.  Obviously.  But moose?  And is maple and moose a big deal?  Or is it like a mashup of two quintessentially Canadian things?  Like if you were American and mashed up, say, French fries with more French fries, or patriotism and diabetes.

I admit I have next to no moose experience.  I’ve never seen a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, and I’ve only seen the first episode of Northern Exposure.  However, I am a fan of National Lampoon’s Vacation, but that’s pretty much where it ends.  I’ve certainly never eaten moose.  I didn’t even know that was a thing people ate.  I knew people hunted elk and stuff, but do people hunt moose?  If Northern Exposure is to be believed, they don’t seem very fast.  They just lumber through town, right?

I dunno.

Anway, today we have the second of the four finalists in Lay’s Canada’s Do Us a Flavour contest.  It’s Maple Moose. (Check out the other finalists here.)

The nosegrope upon opening the bad was…weird.   I was expecting meat or maple.  Obviously.  But the nosegrope had a weird astringency that honestly reminded me of sauerkraut.  Or some bizarrely spiced cabbage-based dish at least.  There’s some tomato-y barbeque-ness (barbequeity?) there too, but it’s overwhelmed by whatever that first aroma is.  Moose maybe?  I don’t know.

First and foremost what seems to be missing from the flavor profile is maple.  The chips have a slight sweetness.  To call it maple sweetness would be a stretch.  It’s just slightly sweet.  The base of this chip seems to be Lay’s run of the mill Barbeque.  There’s the aforementioned sweetness and then some of the universal chip mix of paprika and onion, garlic, and tomato powders.  There’s also a gamey, sort of meatish flavor.  I guess that’s the moose.  It’s not as strong as the nosegrope would have you believe, but it’s there and up front.  If that’s what moose tastes like, I’m going to be polishing my big gun of hunting things anytime soon.  In fact, on my first taste, I swear I could detect notes of cheap hot dog.  But they were fleeting.  As notes of cheap hot dog always are.

This is by far the most interesting flavor concept.  This is the one that makes people say “What was that flavor?” when they hear it mentioned.  But when you aim high in Canada, sometimes you miss and land somewhere outside Detroit.  Now again, I have no moose experience.  So for all I know this could be dead on.  If it is, my humblest apologies.

All I know is that if I tried this bag and didn’t know what it was, my first thought would be “Hey, barbeque chips!” and my second would be “What’s wrong with these barbeque chips?”