You are what you eat (and you’re full of shit)

Before moving to America, my wife told me how many chemicals and additives there were in American food.  It seems the USA doesn’t have the strict regulations that Europe has regarding the shit that companies can inject into what we eat and drink.

I had no idea to what extent she was not kidding!

I first noticed how much sugar there is in stuff over here.  It’s in everything, but to the Nth degree!  Bread has been the biggest surprise; if you open a bag of bread and smell the loaf [insert toilet gag1 here], it smells like cake.  And cakes here are so sweet they’ve surpassed the maximum sweetness possible by the laws of nature and have shifted into another dimension entirely.

But it doesn’t stop with sugar (ever!).  The adverts (commercials) here use the addition of unnecessary chemicals and additives to promote and sell their foods.

Ice-cream is advertised with “No Growth Hormones!“, burgers promoted as having “No hormones, antibiotics or steroids!” and even dairy products brag about their milk having “50% less sugar“, or cheese being “100% cheese, not 51%“.

51%?  Bit random.

Now, I know this is a scare tactic to make you question their competitors’ products, but was I delusional to assume these products wouldn’t contain this shit as standard?

“Hey! Try our new coffee, made with 100% coffee and absolutely no wood screws or powdered glass!”.

Mmm, delicious.

It’s on a level my wife could never have prepared me for.  Even salt here is packed full of additional ingredients and chemicals, the names of which baffle and terrify me in equal measures.  I mean, it’s salt!  Surely the ingredient of salt should be salt?  I understand the need for an anti-caking agent, but outside that….it should be just salt, right?  Or am I overthinking this?

This unnecessary use of additional ingredients reminded me of something my wife showed me back in England; it was the list of ingredients for McDonald’s french fries in the UK and the USA.  Check this out…

fries-uk-vs-usa

Potatoes, oil and salt.  What more do you need?

And it doesn’t stop there.  Check out this seasonal favourite!

latte-uk-vs-usa

Nothing in red can be good!

So let’s take a moment to digest (or not) that the US version of this beverage has ‘Caramel Color’ in it…twice.  This is an ingredient that has been considered carcinogenic by the Agency for Research on Cancer!

So….Fuck. That.

Now, I’m aware these images have been pulled from the internet and could be utter bullshit….but they’re not.

Or are they? 2

So here are a couple of photos I took of products I’ve seen at work that defy the laws of sense and responsibility.

Recognise these, America?

bottles

I drink a lot of coffee….and it says ‘mate’…what’s not to love?

They’re sat next to the coffee machine looking sweet and innocent (and boy are they sweet!).

They look like cream and they taste a bit like cream….but they’re NOT cream.  They are so far from cream, they might as well be a car.

The fact they’re not stored in the fridge should have alarm bells ringing in your head.  In fact, the word ‘cream’ doesn’t appear in the terrifying list of ingredients at all!

ingredients

Do you notice the first (and therefore largest) ingredient is sugar? It appears BEFORE water!

This shit doesn’t even have milk in it, although there is a milk derivative.

A derivative?  What’s a derivative?

Well, Google defines it as:

Adjective – (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason.

Or

Noun – something that is based on another source.

So yeah, it means ‘something that resembles milk, but isn’t‘.  I suppose that’s why it ends with ‘Not a source of lactose‘.  That’s great for those who are lactose intolerant I suppose.  But in all honesty, lactose is probably less harmful to those people than the cocktail of sugar, water and oils in this easy-pump jizz.

Yes, it looks like jizz.  You’ve all thought it.

And it doesn’t stop there.  I saw these packets on a shelf yesterday!

popeyehoney

Wait…Corn Syrup, Fructose and High Fructose Corn Syrup? What the actual fuck?

It seems Popeye’s took honey and added crap to make it sweeter (what??) and more ‘honey-coloured’!  I can’t get over the lunacy here!  Why not just leave it as honey?  After all, isn’t honey sweet enough?  I didn’t taste it because I didn’t want to be sucked into another dimension.

Also, did you notice the appearance of ‘Caramel Color’ again? Those aren’t pictures of hexagonal honeycomb cells on the packet; they’re human cells dripping with cancer.

soapbox

1 Pun/Play on words intended
2 They’re not

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A very ‘British’ cup of coffee

I’m currently at work and I’ve just been to make myself a mug of coffee.

Here’s what happened.

I poured the coffee, added sweetener (I try and avoid sugar from a health point of view, despite the fact that sweetener is nothing but chemicals…but hey, less calories right?), and opened the fridge to get a carton of milk.

One of my colleagues was pouring herself a coffee, saw me add the milk to my coffee and said “How very British”.

I looked at my coffee confused for a moment, then at her, then back to my coffee. What’s very British?  Coffee?  Er, I think you’ll find that’s a very American thing.

Then she placed her cup under one of these bad boys…

CoffeeMate

…and starting pumping her beverage with Hazelnut…erm…’cream’?  Is it cream?

(Shrugs) Who knows?

I smiled at her as she pumped 6 doses of this stuff into her coffee and said “I used to use that until I saw the calorie content.  That’s why I went back to using milk”

She looked at me blankly for a moment.  I couldn’t tell if she was trying to comprehend what I’d said or if she was recuperating from having to count all the way up to 6.

She eventually replied with “And you guys put milk in your tea, right?” as she curled up her nose in disgust.

“Yes we do.  Actually it’s only you guys who don’t”, I said, a little defensively.

There was a pause.

“Yeah”.

She had clearly lost her way in this conversation and went back to stirring her mug of Hazelnut ‘cream’ with a bit of coffee in it.

As I walked away I turned back, smiled, and said, “Tea with milk is epic”.

She laughed.

I don’t know why.

I don’t think she knew either.

Confusion at the coffee house

There was confusion in Starbucks this morning.  The woman who was calling out the finished beverages at the collection area had the loosest grasp of English.

“Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle?”

There was no response.  Instead we were all looking at each other baffled as this small woman held up a large paper cup full of mystery.

“Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle?”

Still nothing from us.  It didn’t help that we were all in need of coffee, which may or may not have been ready.

The small woman looked at the name scrawled on the cup and carefully shouted, “Mackle?”

The man next to me said “Michael?”

“Yes, dis is faryoo”.

“Is that a cappuccino?” he enquired.

“Yes, vebbi capparan cheeno”.

And as Michael picked up his not-so-hot-anymore cup of coffee and left, I realised that ‘Vebbi capparan cheeno fomackle’ meant ‘Venti cappuccino for Michael’.

It didn’t stop there.

“Gradday hansel nub skinnle latty foserra?” (Grande hazelnut skinny latte for Sarah)

“Smor mericano wiz is press shotten exta hor mik fomerry?” (Small Americano with an espresso shot and extra hot milk for Mary)

“Lar feeter coff foffipp?” (Large filter coffee for Phillip)

“Tea fomanderlin”.

Actually, this was the easiest one to understand.  After all, it was tea.  It didn’t matter what words she murdered after saying ‘tea’, the owner (Madeline) knew it was for her.

There is always one who goes to an American coffee chain in England to have tea; the most English of hot drinks.

“Wozdee wul kuh mintoo?”

coffee cat

The great divide

Whilst in ASDA I noticed that the guy behind me in the queue at the checkout wasn’t putting his shopping on the conveyor belt behind mine.

It was a self-service checkout and the woman in front of me was scanning her goods at an impressive speed, so the space being created behind my shopping was fast becoming wider and wider, and yet this guy still wasn’t putting his shopping on the belt.

Odd.

He only had a 4-pint bottle of milk and a couple of loaves of bread, but his reluctance to do his duty and put said items onto the moving black rubber meant the couple behind him couldn’t put their shopping on either.  Their grimacing and angry whispers to each other suggesting they were just fine with it.

Eventually Speedy Gonzales in front of me bagged up her shopping, paid and buggered off, meaning it was my turn to ‘bleep’ through my purchases.  I picked up the plastic divider that had been between my shopping and that of The Flash’s wife and placed it at the back of my items on the belt.

It was at this point that this idiot sprung into action, placing his crap on the conveyor belt in under a fifth of a second.  It seems he had been waiting for the divider all along.  Clearly I couldn’t be trusted to stop scanning when I got to the end of my items if there wasn’t a plastic divider.  I must love the bleeping sound so much that I get into a bleeping frenzy and wouldn’t think to bleeping stop without the bleeping divider!

Bleeping twat.

And what if I DID accidentally scan one of his items that wasn’t one of mine?  Putting aside the fact that I didn’t need any of his shit, what would be the problem if my bleeping frenzy went a little overboard?  Well, I would get a member of staff to remove it, or he gets his fucking milk paid for by a stranger.

Anyway, once he’d finished putting all (three) of his items on the belt, the couple behind him started piling their shopping on behind his with a ferocity that might suggest they’ve been waiting to do it for a while now.  He looked at them nervously and shuffled his shopping closer to mine, creating a very definite gap between his and theirs.

Uh oh, no divider.

Maybe he’s worried that he might forget to stop without a divider there?  Oh no!

Anyway, I finish scanning (luckily there was a divider otherwise I might have kept going) and paid for my shopping.  The moment I removed my debit card from the card reader to indicate the end of my transaction (and the absolute certainty that I had indeed stopped scanning items), he practically leapt onto the plastic divider that had now become redundant and wedged it triumphantly between his shopping and that of Mr and Mrs Grimace.

He then turned back and in doing so, knocked his milk off the belt, splitting the plastic bottle and covering the floor in an ocean of the white stuff.

As I picked up my shopping bags and stepped backwards quickly, I resisted the urge not to laugh, smile, smirk or grin.  The Grimaces, however, did not.  They even pointed.

checkout divider

Take a seat

There’s a worldwide unwritten rule that men don’t sit down to pee. 

Ever. 

I can’t actually remember at what age I stopped sitting, but the act of standing up and draining the lizard rates up there as one of the defining moments of becoming a man; alongside losing my virginity and being in charge of my first barbeque.

Over the years I’ve discovered there are three occasions that I feel allow us to be exempt from this unwritten rule without fear of ridicule, mocking and generally being called a girl.

Here are my three exceptions to the rule:

When you’re drunk

It’s a well known fact that being drunk renders most of us virtually incapable of performing more than one task at a time.  Usually the primary focus is the simple act of standing up, and yet we can still fuck that up; often spectacularly.  So, standing AND aiming is a logistical impossibility and something us men simply daren’t attempt.  It’s easy in the street because a wall (or car, or bus shelter, or police officer) isn’t a particularly small target, whereas a toilet can be.  And if you’re 6ft tall like me, it’s like trying to hit a thimble…from space.  The only real risk with sitting down and peeing whilst drunk is comfort.  It’s likely you’ll simply pass out and wake up on the floor with your trousers around your ankles and your integrity in the bin.

When it’s dark

This one screams of common sense.  I remember years ago sharing a hotel room with a friend (twin beds I hasten to add) and in the middle of the night he got up, went to the toilet, switched on the light (waking me up), said “fuck!” when his retinas burned out of his skull, pissed on the floor anyway because he couldn’t see, then stumbled back to his bed and promptly missed.  I used to do the same to be honest.  I used to attempt to combat this by doing the ‘one eye open and one eye closed’ approach.  This was cunning as I’d switch the light on and I could see where I was aiming with one eye, and then when I switched the light off to go back to bed I would transfer to the other eye that still had night vision.  Genius.  Opening both eyes at this point is weird though.  Try it.  Then one night common sense came for what the Americans call ‘a sleepover’ and I had the ultimate epiphany; just sit down.  No harsh light, no losing valuable night vision, no blue/green blob in your line of sight that looks like an alien attacking the Enterprise when you stumble back to bed….and no having to aim.  Again, the only real risk here is the same comfort as when drunk.  Try not to fall back to sleep.

When you’re horny

The best way to describe trying to pee whilst in this state is a lot like trying to hold down loose tarpaulin in a hurricane.  Just when you think you’ve got it, you haven’t.  It’s messy, difficult, and often uncomfortable and we end up standing like a duck with our arse sticking out trying to get ‘the right angle’.  Just sit down.  SO much easier.  For those of you who haven’t considered this before; beware.  It’s likely you’ll still douse the bathroom floor through the gap between the toilet and the lid. 

Classic rookie error. 

Soon you’ll discover the ‘sit and hook’ method.  You’ll end up sitting a bit forward on the toilet, but chances are you’re on your phone anyway leaning on your knees (possibly reading this right now) so what does it matter?  I was overjoyed when Justin Timberlake’s character in ‘Friends With Benefits’ did the sit and hook.  Good man JT.

Now, these three exceptions to the rule of peeing like a man have been with me for years.  Nothing else made it onto the list; it was Drunk, Dark or Horny, no exceptions.  You could have all sorts of shit on your hands or have a broken leg and it will still be considered a bit girly if you sit.

That is, until now. 

Now there is a fourth rule.

Rule Four

You are excused from touching your penis if your hands have come in contact with chillies.

(I’ll let you take a moment for that to sink in….I fucking did!)

In my case I’d finely chopped three bags of bird eye chillies.  What followed was a sensation not unlike getting a blowjob from the Balrog, and luckily* doesn’t go away anytime soon.  Even if I’d taken my blog’s name literally I still don’t think it wouldn’t have been as bad.  Sitting down was an adventure and I’d even contemplated dipping myself into a glass of milk.

So, exception number four is chillies.  And probably Deep Heat.

 chillipenis

*sarcasm, in case you hadn’t noticed

You f’coffee?

Following my recent entry about the correct way to make tea…

https://headinablender.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/fancy-a-cuppa/

…I’ve since been drawn into the great instant coffee debate.

In my Oscar winning portrayal of a person who gives a shit, I pretended to listen to the same tedious issue of whether you put the milk in first, or the water.

Frankly, I opt for the coffee, but hey….I don’t want to appear picky.

Preparing a mug of instant coffee is even easier than tea. The word ‘instant’ is a bit of a clue.

Repeat after me….

Spoon the coffee into a mug
Add the hot water and stir
Add milk and sugar/sweeteners to taste.

It makes my brain hurt to think that some people still can’t get this right. It surprises me that they’re able to dress themselves in the morning or brush their teeth properly. Most of them have toothpaste in their hair.

These Costa cockheads believe the perfect instant coffee is achieved by putting the cold milk in first before adding the hot water. If you attempt to educate these caffeinated cretins they resort to the dumbest argument in the history of the history of arguments.

“Boiling water burns the coffee which is why I put the milk in first”

Excuse me, what??

“I said boiling water burns the cof…”

Yes I heard you. I’ve just never had to process that amount of stupid in such a short space of time.

Instant coffee is designed to have boiling water poured on it. It’s not possible to burn something designed to have boiling water poured on it. Apparently their argument extends to the suggestion you wait until the water has cooled a bit, reducing the validity of the term ‘instant’.

It’s possible to burn REAL coffee made from ground up coffee beans, but not instant coffee.

This is usually met with a derisive sneer from those ‘in the know’.

Well, you unpercolated pricks, this is how instant coffee is created.

The coffee beans are roasted to temperatures in excess of 165 °C, which is a lot fucking hotter than your kettle, but I’ll continue….

The beans are then ground finely so they become soluble and are percolated in water at temperatures of 155 to 180°C. Again, really fucking hot.

“Oh no….what if they burn the coffee??”

Idiots.

Then it’s spray dried or freeze dried, ready to be rehydrated by the boiling hot water from your kettle….or clogged up with cold milk so it can’t dissolve properly.

But don’t take my word for it, look it up. In fact, here…I’ll save you the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_coffee

And I’m sorry, but saying the flavour is better when the milk goes in first is bollocks. No-one likes those little islands of clumped up coffee swirling in their drink.

Oh, and your t-shirt is on inside out.

twatmug

Fancy a cuppa?

Being British, we tend to default a lot of our inane smalltalk to three tedious topics; the weather (and how shit it is), our health (which some people go into FAR too much detail about, including aches, pains and various forms of discharge) and how work is.  The latter is usually answered with one of the following gems:

“Ah, y’know, work is work”
“It pays the bills”
“Knackering”
“Same old, same old”

It’s never answered with:

“I fucking love it and everything about it!  My boss is awesome!  Here, have some money!”

It should be answered with:

“Work?  Work!!? That soul sucking pit of mindless oppression is slowly driving me to drink.  The mindnumbingly malignant fuckwits I call colleagues only serve to remind me that I’d rather be somewhere else, covered in jam, armpit deep in a fire ant colony, licking piss off a thistle.  But thanks for asking”.

I wonder how that would be received?

The other less common, but certainly contentious and inevitable subject, is tea making.  I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve been drawn into debates about the correct way to make tea.  It’s surprising how strongly people feel about the process which begs the question; ‘why don’t you just get a life?’

I’ve been told on many occasions that I make it wrong.  Wrong?  I’ve been berated for the order in which I add the various components.  I’ve also not given a shit each time, but still they push on.

I personally make it like this:
Teabag in.
Hot water in.
Stir and squash the bag to let it brew.
Add milk.
Squeeze the teabag and remove it.
Add sugar or sweeteners to taste.

Simple. 

And yet I’ve been told you should put the milk in before the water.  Before?  Are you fucking serious?  Firstly, tea only brews in hot liquid (which milk isn’t).  Secondly, the milk clogs up the perforations in the teabags resulting in a shit brew.  Thirdly, don’t be a twat.

But what gets me the most is I also get told that I make a superb cup of tea!  Doesn’t that mean that I’m doing it right and the rest of you can suck it?

Hmm let me think, er yes it does. 

Especially when the person complimenting me on my tea asks me how I do it, only to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

There’s another solution, you make the sodding tea.  I frankly don’t care who makes it as long as it’s not me.

One sweetener please.

shitbrew