Is it real, or is it Oreo?

original oreoLike most all-American persons, I like snack foods. So much so, I eat them all the time. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do take a break from eating snacks now and then.

Usually when I run out and have to go get some more.

There aren’t many snack foods I won’t eat, but there is one you’ll never catch me scarfing down – Oreos. Not a big fan of them. Don’t want to dunk them into my milk. Don’t care to twist their necks, pull their cookie heads off and just eat their insides. Nope, Oreos are safe around me.plain old oreosMilk’s favorite cookie? Not in my milk you don’t.

That said, you can imagine my surprise the other night when my wife and I were eating cookies. I was on my fifth one when a thought occurred to me.

“Um, what am I eating, by the way?”

“Oreos.”

“No freaking way, I don’t like Oreos.”

“Good thing then – I’m scared to imagine what you’d be doing if you did.”

“These aren’t Oreos. Oreos are black and white. These are yellow and uh, more yellow-er.”

“Special, limited edition Oreos. Lemon Twists.”lemon oreosIntroducing the Trojan Oreos.

I felt tricked. Bamboozled even. I was going to yell “No fair!,” but I was raised right and don’t talk with my mouth full. It’s not every day that one has a snack food revelation of such diabolical proportions. How could this be?

I needed answers. So I did what any naturally-curious all-American snack-food-eating person does in such a situation. I went to my laptop and Googled: “Oreos.” And found that not only are Oreos everywhere, they’re … everything.

Warning: The following images are graphic. They just may unhinge you to the core. As well give you a sugar high like you’ve never felt before.
banana split oreos

candy corn oreo

strawberry milkshake oreos

peanutbutter oreos

watermelon oreos My God, does it ever end? Nope.

Creamsicle oreos

Berry-Burst-Ice-Cream oreos

ice cream oreos“Shure, Bert!” Really? Really? Really.

gingerbread oreos

fudgesundae oreos

peppermint oreos

That was it. There were many more, but I could look no more. I stumbled from the computer room and into the living room, clutching my stomach, nearly drenched in sweat.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Oreos, they’re everywhere. No snack food is safe. They’re taking all of them over.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Oreos … Oreos are taking the place of all of the snack food, I tell you. Did you ever see that movie, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’?”

“No, why? Did it have Oreos in it?”
invasion-of-the-body-snatchers

What did they do to my Twinkie?

magnifying glass guyIs nothing sacred anymore?

No Virginia, there is nothing sacred anymore.

Walking the aisles of my neighborhood supermarket, I came ’round a corner and there they were. A giant display of them. The only Made-in-Hollywood ingredients missing from this sudden, yet touching reunion scene were the heavenly warbling of an angelic choir and a hovering, golden halo-like hue.twinkiesHostess Twinkies. Hundreds of them. If only I could have run to them in slow motion. If only I could run, period.

But instead, I jammed my shopping cart into hyper-drive, swerved round some elder reaching for toilet paper and cut off some kid waving a box of Cocoa Puffs above his head and running after his mother. I grabbed a box of Twinkies and one of another resurrected dessert delight, Hostess Chocolate Cupcakes. Then on to the dairy cooler, snatched a gallon of milk and headed straight away to the checkout.

The Hostess Powdered Donettes would be another day. Alas, I was already locked and overloaded.

In less time than it takes to stuff a wad of sugary white something into a yellow, sort of cake-like tube, cash changed hands, snacks were bagged – paper, not plastic – and I was out the door.

Of course I didn’t wait, not even long enough to start the truck. Ripped the box open, reached in and pulled out … an extra from the kitchen cupboard in the movie, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
twinkies-cartoon-hellerI was appalled. But not speechless.

“What have they done to my Twinkie!,” I yelled to no one. “Why, it’s no bigger than my pinky! In fact, it’s downright dinky! And why am I talking like this, Dr. Seuss is dead and this is beginning to feel creepy!”

What. The. Hell.

Later, at home, a little research provided me with a lot of answers. Like this, from a nydailynews.com article:

“Purists might notice a slight difference in this latest version of the beloved snack cake — it’s about 15 calories less than the traditional version, and weighs less too.

A single spongy treat now has 135 calories and weighs 38.5 grams, according to a Hostess spokesperson.

The traditional Twinkie weighed 42.5 grams and had 150 calories.”

Now, wait a minute. Granted, I can’t tell the difference between a diet book and kindling, but something tells me there’s not one diet plan that includes the Twinkie. No meal plan that recommends you pound down a couple of Twinkies with a glass of skim milk, then turn sideways and look in a mirror and proudly say, “Now that’s slim and trim.”

Nutrition, thy name is not Twinkie.

I’m not mad, just … disappointed. And I’m not giving up on my just-returned palatable pal. The shelf life of this smaller snack has been upped to 46 days, far greater than the old, bigger one’s 26. So I’m putting my box up on my shelf, way in the back, where it can’t be seen or touched. I won’t take it down for another 45, 46 days.

By then they should be full-grown.twinkies-cartoon-beeler

God Bless America …

1 JoeyChestnut … land that I love …3 sonya … stand beside her and guide her …2 joey-chestnut … through the night with a light from above …
mountains … from the mountains …
5 nathan hot dog … to the prairies …8 sonya … to the oceans, white with foam …7 joey chestnut … God bless America …4 sonya … my home … sweet … home.

Life: Time to dumb it down

mad_scientistI never had much use for science when I was in school. At the time I thought it was because I was too dumb. Now I know better.

Science is stupid. And worse, it’s making our lives more stupid every day. Why? Because they do stupid studies that come up with stupid conclusions. And a lot of people stupidly believe them because they’re living with the stupid impression that science is all about being smart.

And that’s really stupid.

Take, for instance, a group of scientists in the U.K., “leading experts on food safety,” who decided to find out how clean and sanitary is the average backyard grill in the Land of Brits. They released their findings over there on Friday, just in time for the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend over here. The headline on the story posted on one U.S. news website, theweek.com, sums it up pretty well.

“Happy Memorial Day: Your BBQ grill may have more germs than a toilet seat.”

I knew there was more than one reason to wage war on that country.

Let me introduce you to the Three Bringers of Your Apocalypse: Sam Onella. E. Coli and Les Teria.

Allow me introduce the Three Bringers of Your Apocalypse: From left, Sam Onella, E. Coli and Les Teria.

Seems the average home BBQ grilling surface is a magnet for harmful bacteria like salmonella, e-coli and listeria. Because most of our backyard grills aren’t kept clean enough to … well, to eat off of.

Interesting. Now, wait just a minute. Before you, me, and every barbecuing person in this country runs out into the streets and falls on our long-handled meat forks, let’s recall one little-bitty, silly thing that seems to be missing in this whole conversation here.

I see cavemen. I see meat. I see dirt. Whoa now - I DON'T see any Handi-Wipes! How the hell did we ever freakin' evolve!?!

I see cavemen. I see cavemen cooking meat. I see dirt. Whoa now – I DON’T see any Handi-Wipes! How the hell did we ever freakin’ evolve!?!

Fire.

Fire is enlightening. Fire is even somewhat pretty. But fire also is hot. Fire burns things. Like houses, paper, trees. Why, fire’s even been known to burn people’s beating hearts … with a hunka-hunka burning love. Oh, and also quite a few hamburgs and hot dogs too.

Grill, meet fire. Fire, meet grill. Bacteria? Meet your destruction.

Grill, meet fire. Fire, meet grill. Bacteria? Meet your destruction.

But before it ever puts a sear on a steak, I’ll bet it burns up every single bad ol’ bacteria that might be hanging on to that grilling surface as it burns and brings up the temperature to the necessary sizzling point – hot enough to grill those hunksa-hunksa barbecue food items.

But what if they don’t all die? The bacteria, I mean. What if a few get through and into your disgestive innards?

I’ve already thought of that, got it figured out. And I’m not even one of those smart scientists. Remember, I flunked science.

A bottle a day keeps the bacteria away.

A bottle a day keeps the bacteria away.

Beer – cold, sparkling, refreshing … and alcoholically antiseptic.

Eat it and weep

“Don’t play with your food.”

“What else am I supposed to do with it?”

“You could try eating it.”

“What, and ruin my mashed potato Mona Lisa?

When I was a kid, I never had much of a chance when it came to conning my mother and talking my way out of eating all of the food on my plate. Of course it might have helped if the mashed potatos I’d smeared all over it actually looked like Mona Lisa.

Back then, if I played with my food for too long I’d get sent to my room. With the plate. These days, if some fast-food restaurants play with their food, they just may end up going to the bank. With the cash.

Take Pizza Hut Middle East, for an example. Yes, there’s a Middle Eastern division of the American-created chain of Italian fast food restaurants. Almost has a “world food” feel to it, doesn’t it?

Well, while you might think the people working at the Pizza Hut out there at the Oasis are just waiting around for the next caravan to pull in for take-out, they’re not. They’re playing with their food. And finding people actually will buy it and eat it.

All right, you read the English in the top lines from left to right, and then the Arabic lines underneath them from right to left. Bi-lingual Pizza Hut Middle East customers must get vertigo … just reading the menu.

Kit Kat cookie-candy encased in pizza dough. Interesting? Very interesting. Appetizing? Lemme think. No. And wouldn’t a Kit Kat melt out there in the dessert, I mean, desert? Gastronomically ghastly, you ask me.

But wait, not so fast-food there. The menu-making folks over at Pizza Hut U.K. evidently aren’t to be outdone by their Middle Eastern colleagues, though. Yes, there’s also a British branch of the American-based Italian fast-food restaurant chain. Now you know why King George was so adamant about crushing that nasty American Revolution way back when. The king wasn’t afraid of what we’d do over here, but what we might end up doing over there.

With good reason. The poor monarch may have woken up in the middle of the night suffering from nightmares of food like this being eaten in the realm.

I’ve heard pizza called a lot of things … but “succulent”? Blimey.

Yup, that’s a hot dog peeking out of that crust end there. Why else would you need a mustard “drizzle” for a pizza?

That may sound weird, but what would really seem odd is that this menu item is available only in the U.K. There are no plans to bring it to America.

Well, it doesn’t seem so crazy. We Americans would want nothing to do with such a crass combination on our dinner plates. Leave the weiners out of the pizza dough, mate. Well, unless there’s also cold beer in that crust. We have our standards, after all.

I mean, really. If you’re going to play with American pizzas, you’d better do something that makes sense. Or at least saves time.

Like the pies coming out of a Boston pizzeria called Salvatore’s. Someone there, wondering how to “jazz up” the pizzas, got the idea of combining them with toppings soaked and infused with booze – like raspberry-flavored vodka, Kahlua or rum.

Probably cuts down on the use and cleaning of glasses in the bar. See … aren’t we Americans clever? An idea not only for the thirsty, but the thrifty.

In the high-heat ovens, the pizzas quickly come out baked to perfection, though aren’t in there long enough to cook down the alcohol levels. But while Salvatore’s says some of their pizzas pack a punch and you need to be 21 and show an I.D. to buy one, you’d probably have to eat at least two to get a buzz from them.

Lemme think.

Can do.

Holiday food for thought

It is Saturday, May 26, 2012. The first official day of the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend.

That means a lot of things to a lot of people in America. First and foremost, but sadly too often overlooked, is this is a time for us to stop whatever silly or self-indulgent thing we may be doing now and remember how it is that we’re even able to do it. We owe it all to so many Americans who came before us, who fought and died to keep this nation’s beliefs and ideals safe from enemies who, had they won, would have crushed them. No matter how much we’ve screwed up this country lately, it was our freedoms that got us into this mess, and we’ll use the same ones to get us out of it as well. No one should forget that for one moment this weekend. Or on any weekend, or day, or minute, for that matter.

But you can’t overlook the fact this weekend means a few other things as well. Maybe not quite so reverent, but certainly not irrelevant.

It’s the unofficial first weekend of summer, the first opportunity to take our summer clothes out of our closets, hold them up to us, look in the mirror and put them right back where we found them. Looks and the physics of fitting do not deceive – no point in even trying it on. Maybe next Memorial Day.

It’s the first time for many of us to hit the road … to travel and join friends and family to enjoy the long holiday together. This is soon followed by another first, at weekend’s near-end, when many of the same people are snagged in their first highway radar trap of 2012. This, as they just attained Mach 1 speed to race – these sunburned, overindulged, slightly hungover bats-out-of-hell – to get away from those same friends and family. Never met those people before in my entire life, or the two previous ones either.

But for most us, at home or away, Memorial Day weekend is the first chance we have to venture out into our backyards, pull the proverbial manstove out from under its winter wraps, shove out the mouse nests, knock down the spider webs, and scrap off the remnants of last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend.

FIRE IN THE HOLE!

And with patriotic and enormous pride, we load up our grills with propane or charcoal briquettes, strike a match and in one flip of the wrist, in one single macro-mini-micro-nano-second of an instantaneously combustible moment … we singe off most of our facial and frontal body hair, in one flew swoosh.

But undaunted, and though soon to be under a doctor’s care, we forge ahead, we endeavor to persevere … and we proceed to blow our already semi-bulging waistlines all to bloody, char-broiled hell.

Hey gang, gather ’round! It’s that time again and we’re ready – let’s have ourselves a cookout! Let the dietetic debauchery begin!

There will be flipping and sipping and munching and crunching, forking and knifing and sizzling and wizzling (I know, I know. It just sounded better). Slurping and slathering, belching and burping, chewing and spewing, moaning and groaning, brapping and barfing.

God Bless America.