I’m not feeling the holiday flavour

Halloween is long gone and thanksgiving is not far behind us…but pumpkin fever is still strong in America.

Everything is pumpkin flavoured (flavored) over here:

Lattes, pies, sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), cereal, doughnuts (donuts), yoghurt (yogurt), crackers, tea, cream, wine, cheesecake, bread, chocolate, tortilla chips, salsa, marshmallows, moonshine, beer, bagels, jelly (jello), pretzels, milk, pancakes, crisps (chips), cream cheese, ice cream, popcorn, almonds, oatmeal and lube.

Delicious 😉

The thing is, it’s referred to as ‘Pumpkin Spice’, but it’s not ACTUALLY the flavour of a pumpkin.  The worrying thing is, I don’t think many people here realise that.

“I love pumpkin!”, is something I hear a lot, but to be honest I don’t think anyone here knows what a pumpkin really tastes like.

I’ve asked many Americans if they’ve eaten pumpkin and the answer is usually “Er, hello?  Pumpkin pie?” followed by a derisive look.

Ah, bless ’em.

You could make a pumpkin pie from mashed carrot, swede (rutabaga), turnip or even baby food and they won’t know as long as it tastes like ‘pumpkin’.

So, to set the record straight, this is pumpkin spice.

pumpkinspice

And this is pumpkin.

pumpkinflesh

This is a vegetable. Can you say v-e-g-e-t-a-b-l-e?

They’re very different.

I HAVE eaten pumpkin and it’s nothing like the spice.  If anything it’s like the bastard lovechild between a swede and a honeydew melon.

But less sweet.

This misrepresentation of a flavour bothers me and I don’t know why.  I think America needs to have flavourings that are more representative of the fruit or vegetable it’s supposed to be.

Like grape.

 

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Crisps vs. Chips; a story with flavo(u)r

A couple of weeks ago I posted a little amusing event involving crisps [or ‘chips’ as the Americans call them].

Since then I’ve written a few other posts and the subject of crisps hasn’t entered my head at all.  In fact I haven’t given them a second thought and instead have focused on compiling a multitude of notes and scribblings about other non-crisp related things.

Well, I noticed the other night – whilst shopping in Walmart with the wife – that there is a radical difference in the flavours [flavors] of the crisps [chips] on offer in the USA [USA….oh, wait, that’s the same.  Never mind].

With the sheer abundance of crisps [chi….oh you get the point] in America I thought there would be a massive variety of flavours too.

But no.

Now, before I go ‘full rant’, I want to preface this post by saying that I’m not talking about specialist flavours of crisps like Jalapeño and Lime, Sea Bass, Garlic Snails or Children’s Tears…no I’m reserving this for the everyday flavours you expect from your everyday crisps, every day.

Make sense?

Good.

Now, I want to quickly talk about Doritos.  When it comes to Doritos, the flavours are pretty much the same in both the UK and the USA.

Having said that, ‘Cool Ranch’ in the USA is somehow called ‘Cool Original’ in the UK because, apparently, the English aren’t able to comprehend what Ranch is.

Admittedly we’re not like the Americans who worship and bathe in the stuff like Cleopatra did in milk, but we know what Ranch is!

We have it as a salad dressing.

Also, ‘Cool Original’ as a name makes no sense.  It implies that this was the first ‘original’ flavour to be released when they hit the UK, but in fact they were accompanied by Tangy Cheese and Lightly Salted (thanks for the clarity Doritos, I’ll look elsewhere for ‘Heavily Salted’ shall I?).

Also, the word ‘cool’ suggests these corn snacks are somehow hip and trendy.  That’s just a bit weird.

It makes so much sense when they’re ‘Cool Ranch’ because, well, Ranch is cool.

Like bow-ties.

Also, the variety of Doritos flavours in the UK are almost identical to those in the USA, except for Nacho Cheese. How is that different to Tangy Cheese? Tell me America, how?

But as far as general flavours on other brands of crisps are concerned, there are significant differences.

In the UK, the general flavours you will find – over several different types of brands – are:

  • Ready Salted
  • Cheese and Onion
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Crispy Bacon
  • Beef and Onion
  • Prawn Cocktail
  • Pickled Onion
  • Hot and Spicy
  • Barbecue
  • Marmite
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Roast Chicken

We even went crazy and had limited edition flavours like Tomato Ketchup, Fish and Chips, Sausage and Egg and Hedgehog.

Yes, Hedgehog.

Seriously.

In the USA there are hundreds of brands across different styles all offering this wide variety of flavours:

  • Salt
  • Salt and Lime
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Barbecue
  • Cheese
  • Barbecue Cheese
  • Hot and Spicy
  • Hot and Spicy Barbecue
  • Hot and Spicy Cheese

Are you noticing a pattern here?

I see these huge aisles of crisps in the supermarket and I get excited only to find it’s either salt, cheese and barbecue OR the hot and spicy versions of salt, cheese and barbecue.

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE exotic flavours like Jalapeño Lime and Garlic Bread, but we have those in England too and I consider these to be specialist, exotic flavours.

Where America gets it right though is with Pringles.

In the UK we have a few flavours, but in America there are SO many more.  Here are a small selection of the ones that have made me stop in my tracks and buy them:

  • Wasabi and Soy Sauce
  • Buffalo Wing
  • Honey Mustard
  • Mango Salsa
  • Dill Pickle
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Pizza
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Salsa De Chili Habanero

And there are a lot more, but these are the ones I’ve seen so far. I shudder to think what else they have in the works.  Probably Hot and Spicy versions of each.

Now we just need to work on getting some UK classics over here.

tara bath of crisps

Are you going to eat that?

Here’s something that really pisses me off.

You’re in a restaurant with friends and you all order your meals. But when the food arrives and your much anticipated delicacy is placed in front of you, one of your friends exclaims loudly “Euw! That looks disgusting! What is that? Are you really going to eat that?”

Did it ever occur to these culinary challenged arseholes that the reason these meals are on the menu in the first place is because there are those of us out there with a palette craving more sophistication than a Big Mac and fries?

Of course I’m going to fucking eat it. Why else do you think I ordered it you prick?

Also, thanks for pointing out that it looks disgusting. No, really….I mean it, thanks. Now I really, REALLY can’t wait to eat it; knowing full well that others at the table may now perceive it as disgusting. Did I say the same about your wife when I met her? No.

At least I get to poop mine out in a day or two.

It seems to get worse with anything salad related. Usually I get told by people that they “don’t eat that green shit”. That might explain why, when we were seated at the table, you decided against sliding onto the bench behind the table by the wall and opted for the chair instead. I know you said it was for better back support and leg room, but you’re fooling no-one.

I have one friend who, whenever the word Parmesan is mentioned, scrunches up his face and squeals “Oh god, come on! What’s wrong with you?”. This is to highlight that I’m somehow an idiot for loving an entire nation’s most revered grated cheese. He then continues to loudly exclaim that it smells like baby sick, over and over again.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually smelled baby sick. However, I do concur that it does have an aroma not unlike full grown adult sick. Mind you, Stilton smells like feet and I still absolutely adore it (Stilton, not feet). One could argue that a curry smells* the same going out as it did going in, but does that make it any less appealing?

Does it fuck. Pass me a fork.

He makes matters even more infuriating by announcing that he hasn’t actually tried Parmesan. The smell is enough, apparently. He also doesn’t like Stilton…or any strong cheeses for that matter. He also hasn’t tried any of them either.

When I was 5 years old I probably said that girls smell funny and are disgusting too. How wrong I was.

He then continues to ‘correct’ us all by saying that chicken has no place on a pizza and neither does barbecue sauce. Domino’s and thousands of their customers worldwide may disagree with you, but what do they know? Apparently pizzas should only have pepperoni on them. I suppose he’s just being a traditionalist, although I haven’t the heart to tell him that pepperoni pizza is actually American.

But it’s not just him. Loads of people have sat there and done the whole “Euw! What is that? Are you going to eat that?” shit at various times in my life. Yes, I like a variety of foods:

Liver, steak and kidney, Marmite, artichokes, Parmesan, Stilton, lettuce, parsnips, brussel sprouts (yes, I fucking LOVE brussel sprouts….what’s wrong with the rest of you??), garlic, plain yoghurt, skimmed milk, ice-cream in a bap (the Italians do it all the time, and yet we’re accepting of it in a cone shaped wafer somehow…and arctic roll gets away with it in sponge!), calamari, baked beans, etc…..the list goes on and on.

And these were just the ones I could think of recently.

I do, however, draw the line at things like tarantulas, placentas, sheep’s eyeballs etc…because I don’t want to do something that would make the room smell of parmesan. Otherwise I’m a lover of flavours, textures and variety.

I also once got openly berated for saying that I’d eaten cornflakes for my lunch.

“Cornflakes for lunch? They’re for breakfast; you can’t have them for lunch!”

Oh the scandal!

I did point out that the cereal box didn’t specify that it HAD to be the morning, but it made no difference. What if I worked nights and my morning was actually at 5pm? Would the world implode? Apparently, it’s just the way it is…cereal is for the mornings.

I recall this conversation vividly. We were walking in town on a lunch break and when we’d arrived back at the office my friend approached some colleagues standing outside having a cigarette and said, “Dan had cornflakes for lunch, what the fuck’s up with that?”, to which one of the guys replied, “Yeah? So? I do it all the time”.

Awesome.

In your face traditionalist.

Two days later my berating friend admitted to trying cereal in the evening when he’d got home from work and had loved it.

I’m changing the world, one narrow-minded wanker at a time.

*and feels

gross-food-16