Tag Archives: food

blueberry chips

Chinese and Japanese junk food brands seem to be the most adventurous with their flavours. Last December a friend of mine came back from a trip to China with some interesting supermarket finds. One discovery was Lay’s blueberry flavoured chips.

Top shelf, second pack. Photo credit: Malingering on flickr

I tried them and this is EXACTLY what they’re like:

Eating plain chips while chewing Lotte’s Blue Berry gum. It’s not a general blueberry flavour. They taste like that specific brand of gum. They’re not that disgusting, but I think I’ll pass next time.

But if you happen to like blueberry, kiwi, cucumber, mango, or lychee flavoured chips, Lay’s has got you covered.

Serious question: Were these flavours picked out of a hat? I’m all for interesting chip flavours and creative thinking, but really, who’s going to buy blueberry chips more than once?

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bacon gone wild

Photo credit: Dave77459 on flickr

One of the things I knew I had to write about when I started this blog was “bacon mania”. In the past few years bacon has been an unusual ingredient popping up in all sorts of desserts (and drinks): ice cream, chocolate, cookies, donuts, cupcakes, crème brûlée- you name it, it’s been done. It sounds strange but so intriguing.

UNFORTUNATELY, between me researching this bacon obsession and actually writing this post, the weirdest thing happened: The TV show ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ featured a recipe for “bacon and eggs ice cream”. What?! Bacon ice cream has gone mainstream?! Seeing “Fast Ed” make it kind of ruined the allure for me. But I’m writing this damn post anyway!

Photo credit: kightp on flickr

First, let’s break down some conventional flavour combinations:

Salty + sweet flavours= GOOD.

Consider the appeal of salted nuts on ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzels, or mixing salty popcorn and M&Ms- it’s like a party  in your mouth. And seeing salt as an important element in sweets is another relatively recent dessert trend. But there are old classics, like salted caramel. And slightly less classic inventions, like chocolate-covered potato chips.

Sweet flavours + savoury/salty food= GOOD.

I think it’s universally acknowledged that sweet flavours CAN be a good match for savoury flavours and meats: honey-glazed ham, pork and apple, turkey and cranberry, Moroccan lamb stews with apricots, raisins, or prunes – the lists goes on.

But the absolute best sweet meat hands down (this is obviously an objective statement) is the maple sausage.

Photo credit: frozenfoodjournal on flickr

Whether made with pork, chicken or turkey, the addition of (real) maple syrup somehow makes these small breakfast sausages unbelievably juicy. I’ll admit I’ve only ever ones that come frozen in a box, and they are perhaps the richest sausages in the world. But in small doses they’re the perfect special occasion breakfast treat with pancakes or waffles.

Not surprisingly, this sweet meat combination comes from the maple farming regions of eastern Canada and America’s north-east (folks in those parts can be a little maple syrup nuts).

Photo credit: ~*Lauren*~ on flickr

I don’t think you’ll find maple sausages in Australian supermarkets or cafés though, so if you want to try them you might have to make them yourself. But even if you’ve never had a maple sausage you’ve probably had bacon with pancakes and maple syrup. You might never eat steak and cake in one bite, but these three things are a match made in heaven. Bacon and maple syrup, like maple sausages, are a perfect pairing because together they feature the trinity of indulgence: salty, fatty, and sweet. That’s why many bacon desserts also include maple syrup. It’s like turning a big yummy breakfast into a small yummy dessert.

The famous Bacon Maple Bar (donut). Photo credit: mccun934 on flickr

The reason bacon is the chosen one is because unlike other meats it can get really crispy and caramelised. It has to be properly browned so that the texture is more candied than meaty. Soft bacon in sweets would NOT have the same appeal.

Maple bacon ice cream on french toast. Photo credit: Amanky on flickr

If these bacony sweets are calling out to you, dessert guru David Lebovitz has a recipe for Candied Bacon Ice Cream on his website. Or if (like me) you don’t have an ice cream maker, this article includes some really tempting recipes, like the Chocolate Chip-Bacon-Pecan Cookies. I was seriously THIS close to getting up and making them while writing this post. Although I’m missing the pecans, and more importantly, the bacon…

[Anyone with a kosher or vegetarian diet, please excuse this bacon celebration.]

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some mayo with your jello?

Recently I had a major craving for a peanut butter and jelly (jelly here=jam) sandwich, so I just HAD to buy peanut butter (always a dangerous move). And thinking about peanut butter combinations, I remembered the weirdest I’ve ever tasted: peanut butter and ketchup on crackers. It was a snack served to me by my grandmother, and I’ve never seen or heard of it anywhere else. I don’t know why- it was surprisingly edible. Maybe even yummy (it’s been a long time, I don’t remember). And it dawned on me: a lot of retro food is weird food.

My grandmother grew up and became a housewife in an era so different from mine. One that included jello* salad. I have to admit I’ve never encountered one, but I’ve heard stories… As a kid my father dreaded Christmas dinner because jello salad was always served. Really, is it a salad? Is it a dessert?

A lot of jello salads are made with fruit and nuts, especially nowadays. Cranberry jello salad can be made to accompany meat roasts. Those sound nice, but they are NOT the jello salads I’m talking about. I’m talking about the “congealed salads” that became all the rage in 1930s America (JELL-O History). At first when you think ‘savoury jellies’, you might think ‘aspics’. But the congealed salads Americans started making used flourescent LIME flavoured Jell-O as their base, before mixing in ingredients like grated onion and mayonnaise. It was only some 20 YEARS later that Jello-O introduced savory jelly flavours, like celery and tomato (Jello Recipes).

From Better Homes and Gardens magazine (US edition), 1954. Photo credit: larry&flo on flickr

My poor father… Born in 1950s America, the height of suburbia, when home and lifestyle magazines were filled with jello recipes, because jello mountains were the height of sophistication. And sophisticated dishes always had to be garnished with lettuce- obviously.

Photo credit: amy_b on flickr

And whatever the dish, if it came out of a mold, it was sure to impress. Like this appetizing meat cake with green frosting:

Photo credit: x-ray delta one on flickr

I bet you’re hungry now! It’s scary to think that the jello/mold craze lasted until the 70s…

P.S. If you enjoyed the photos in this post, you might want to browse this delightful flickr photo pool: Gee, That Food Looks Terrible! [Vintage]. It’s where all your nasty retro food porn dreams come true.

* “Jello”, an American term for jelly or gelatin, came from the popular gelatin brand Jell-O.

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