1. ¡What’s Bueno in the Cereal Aisle!

    buenoheaderblogz

    If Joe Besser were alive today…

    IMG_1424

    …this is what he’d be eating for breakfast.

    Sure, Ted — all, what?, six of us readers will be sure to keep coming back for more obscure references no one gets!

    Posted by on October 19, 2015, 3:52 AM.

  2. An Embarrassing Screw-Up In Walmart’s House Brand Graphic Design Department!

    HOLY crap!  I haven’t “blogged,” as they say, in over a month! What did you, what, six readers do with yourselves?

    Well, me, I been busy. But I got something for you today. Oh it’s quick, but don’t worry — you’ll like this one!

    Like you, I love peanut butter. And now in addition to peanut butter, there’s this stuff, that looks just like peanut butter, but technically, it’s not peanut butter:

    peanitspread1

    And note that the label reads not “peanut butter” but “peanut and natural honey spread.” [Italics mine.] You’d be forgiven if you just picked this up and bought it thinking it’s peanut butter, because I did the same thing, and if I did it, well, I guess anyone could make the same mistake.

    Fact is, it’s actually better than peanut butter. It’s smoother, creamier, and even sweeter than peanut butter. Used to be, every now and then a fellow like me would enjoy a spoonful or two of peanut butter right out of the jar! — if you can believe such a thing. With this stuff, by God, I have a hard time stopping myself from gorging on the entire twenty-eight ounces.

    walmart-logo

    It’s from the good people at Walmart — where America shops for value. But I first stumbled across this type of peanut butter-like spread — as I said, presuming it was peanut butter — at Ralph’s, with their version. But this Walmart house brand [industry term] is even better than Ralph’s house brand [also an industry term].

    Anyway, the reason I called you all here today is because of this:

    peanitspread2

    WTF?!  [“What the heck?” — blogging industry term.]

    I don’t get it. Usually when you see “serving suggestion” on food packaging, it’s being run under a photo of the food as it might be prepared and served.

    Here it’s merely words on a label, no photo of the product. Just “serving suggestion.” It makes no sense — no sense at-tall!

    Obviously, some lazy package designer in the Great Value Label Department was asleep at the switch.

    peanitmouf7

    There, I fixed it.

    Walmart, I’ll take payment in a truckload of Great Value Honey Roasted Creamy Peanut and Natural Honey Spread, and believe-me-you, you’re getting off cheap. I could have just as easily contacted the FDA with this and shut your whole operation down.

    Posted by on August 30, 2015, 11:49 AM.

  3. Taco Bell’s Cap’n Crunch Delights: A Review!

    AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, Sunday night found me driving around aimlessly just to enjoy the air conditioning in my car, on account of the oppressive humidity we’re suffering through here in Southern California — thank you, unseasonable July rainstorm! — when I happened by a Taco Bell (one of those ‘quick-serve’ restaurants we’ve been hearing about).

    tacobellnight

    Sunday night is traditionally pizza night in the Parsnips household, but as I wasn’t in the Parsnips household, but rather in the Parsnips carhold (I guess), why not enjoy a good wholesome dinner from Taco Bell, right? Why not indeed! Like our First Lady says, Taco Bell has the food choices Americans can feel good about!

    So I drove up and what do I see but this ad slick [industry term] on the window of the establishment.

    delightslick

    The food inventing geniuses at Taco Bell Labs, in cooperation with the Quaker Oats people, probably, just gave us Cap’n Crunch Delights. That cements the deal. I’m going in.

    Or rather, I went in.  No sense changing tenses mid-stream (to mix metaphors mid-stream).

    A side note: Cap’n Crunch Delights are not to be confused with Cap’n Crunch Treats, which we covered here some time ago, and which even might make a cameo appearance elsewhere in this post!

    Anyway! I got a few of those Taco Whosits and an order of Nacho Dealies plus a couple of them Burrito McGees, a Chalupa This, an Enchordito That, and a Grilled Stuffed Whatsit or two — on account of you don’t want to just order the Cap’n Crunch Delights alone, because you’ll either look like a pathetic loser or a sad blogger. And yes, those two descriptors are mutually exclusive if only to afford myself some dignity; a man of my age and social standing buying these things.

    tacofood

    So, I ordered the rest of the food, as I said, and then, very cleverly, almost as though it was an afterthought, I ordered that which I specifically went in for.

    “Yes, that does complete my order,” I responded to the counter-person’s polite inquiry.  “But, hullo, what’s this that I’m just noticing now?  ‘Cap’n…Crunch…Delights.’ Huh. Huh. Interesting. Well, why not, right? Hold on just a moment, old man! Let’s go ahead and add some of those Delights — the Cap’n Crunch Delights — to my order. Just a two-pack will do. Thank you.”

    Now I was kind of taking a risk just ordering the 2-pack and I’ll tell you why: One gets no sense of scale from the in-store promotional materials for these items — I had no idea how big or small they were. And I certainly wasn’t going to be one of those people who ask to see the Delights in person before making up his mind. Would a 2-pack be enough?  Should I have gone for the 4-pack instead?  Or thrown caution to the wind and picked up the 12-pack, or “dozen?”

    Too late — I went with the 2-pack for a dollar and hoped for the best. Price and participation may vary.

    tacobag

    With bag in hand, I headed home. Regardless of how much of a disgusting slob you insist that I am, I draw the line at eating Taco Bell food in the car, as that’s too messy even for me. And that line I drew…? Actually, it’s not so much a line as just an errant French fry that fell onto the floor from my last foray to Jack in the Box (and which shall remain there until I’m feeling a bit peckish).

    linedrawn

    Once home, I ate the other food, and as delicious as everything was, it was only a precursor, a main course if you will, to what would in effect be the dessert: These Cap’n Crunch Delights.

    The question was “Would these Delights in fact be delights?” — ‘delights’ being a word we don’t throw around here willy-nilly.

    capnbag

    They came in this little paper sack here, which you can bet I’ve saved to put up on Flickr (at which point I’ll immediately be contacted by the moderator of a group called “Mexican Fast Food Chain / General Mills Cereal Crossover Menu Item Packaging” and asked if it can be added to their gallery).

    I tapped the bag over a plate, and here’s what rolled out for my dollar:

    crunchballs

    They were about an inch and a half in diameter, if that, and not quite as thick as they were wide, quite red in color, and besprinkled in crushed Cap’n Crunch cereal — giving them almost a sandy texture. The overall visual impression is not unlike what I, and now you, would imagine the result would be if Cap’n Crunch himself happened upon Jean LaFoote on a beach, with LaFoote getting the upper hand with that sword of his and making the Cap’n start singing soprano.

    capnfoote

    But I guess “Cap’n Crunch Testicles” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (well, with their round shape, technically they would), so I can see why they went with “Cap’n Crunch Delights.”

    Still, I think they should have called them “Battle Creek Oysters.” And yes, I’m aware it’s Kellogg’s, not Quaker Oats, that’s headquartered there. But it just kind of works.

    …Oh, oh! The review!  Right!

    They tasted good.

    Posted by on July 21, 2015, 6:04 PM.

  4. The Future of Breakfast!

    AS REGULAR READERS of this blog know, I was wandering down the cereal aisle at Ralph’s the other day and what do I see — what do I see! — but this:

    minitrix

    And while we all agree the idea behind “Mini Trix” is a good one, we’ll also concede, all of us, that the product development team responsible for this delightful new take on an old classic simply didn’t take it far enough.

    It got me thinking.

    So!

    I spent the weekend in the “lab.” (Ha!  Really, the workbench in the garage!) And after a lot of misfires, snafus, setbacks, and beers, I finally emerged late Sunday night with a prototype.

    Voila!

    microtrix1

    Oh, sure, it may not look like much to the naked eye, but brother, let me tell you, what you see above is the result of a double-sided chalkboard crowded with infinitely difficult math equations describing chemical processes you can’t even begin to fathom, dozens of beakers and squiggly tubes and Bunsen burners going at full tilt, some wacky, repetitive sound effect they always use in cartoons for overcomplicated machines, and, okay, a fair bit of pulverizing cereal pieces with a hammer.

    Ladies and gentlemen, forget “Mini Trix.”

    …I give you Micro Trix.

    microtrix3

    General Mills, I await your call.

    Have that checkbook ready.

    Posted by on June 14, 2015, 11:42 PM.

  5. Always Be One Of A Kind (Except When It Comes To Your Commercial Ideas)

    BETTER blogs, or blog, singular, than mine have chronicled instances of Life Imitating The Simpsons but here’s an example of Advertising Imitating The Simpsons.

    Imitating…Or ripping off?

    “The Summer of 4 Ft. 2” was the show’s seventh-season finale back in May of 1996, and in it the Simpsons head to the beach for a vacation.

    C’mon, you remember the episode.

    As you probably recall, there’s a scene where Lisa shows her new friends how hermit crabs will abandon old shells they’ve outgrown for others that are a better fit.

    This theme is revisited in the very last scene of the episode as Homer throws a Buzz cola can out the car window that lands in the sand. There, a crab decides to make that its new home before it then scuttles off into the sunset.

    simpnscrab

    And today, nineteen years later, we’ve got this Dr. Pepper commercial…

    …which is startlingly similar, although where it’s sort of absurdly funny watching a cartoon crab wander away to the strains of “All Summer Long” by the Beach Boys, it’s kind of creepy watching the commercial’s realistically rendered crustacean hit on a real live woman while “Hot in Herre” by Nelly plays.

    Even more disturbing is that last shot, where the girl’s two friends have evidently left and given her and her potential beach hook-up some alone time.

    alwaysbedrpep

    Thank God the commercial ended when it did.

    Posted by on May 31, 2015, 8:00 PM.

  6. ¿What’s Bueno? ¡Las Vegas Edition!

    vegas99

    AS REGULAR readers of this blog know, I was in Las Vegas a few days ago, and you know what they say: “What happens in Vegas is you go to the 99¢ Only store.”

    Now this brings up an interesting (to me) issue — one that I’d been meaning to share with you, the reader, for quite some time, so that you, too (the reader), will find it interesting.

    And what that is, is that not all 99¢ Only stores are created equal. Or stocked equal. Like you, I’ll go to that one on Ventura in Woodland Hills (the one that always has customers bringing their dogs inside, you know, after they and their pets have managed to negotiate around whatever cadre of solicitors from dubious “charitable” organizations are hovering right outside the door)…

    99bacondogs

    …and I’ll find delicious, high-quality, name brand wieners — delicious, high-quality, name brand wieners that I don’t find at other locations.

    Or, I’ll head over to that one in Simi Valley and find a nourishing breakfast entree, like this…

    morningscram

    …that I wouldn’t look twice at in a grocery store, but since I assume it goes for like ten bucks there, I feel compelled to pick it up here for 99¢ only just because it’s a good deal. Update: I did a little research (which is what I do here for you, what, six readers), and it turns out they sell for an astronomical $2.00 at Walmart. That’s more than double 99¢ Only’s low, low price. Let me break it down for you: By purchasing this at 99¢ Only I saved a whopping 99¢ only plus another two cents. And for the record, I still assume they go for more at one of your so-called “super” markets, so even though it’s sat in my freezer for the last month and I have little interest in eating it, experts will tell you: buying this was a shrewd move on my part.

    And don’t even get me started on that 99¢ Only location in Van Nuys! Oh, I don’t have to tell you – I’m sure you know as well as I do: Filthy toilet of a neighborhood, true!, and yet, the most amazing items specific to that particular store! Example? Oh, how about delicious Nabisco Mallomars…

    mallopallet

    …by the God-blessed palletful! Oh yes. And there were two displays of them, each piled high as you please! As big as a man, they were! A large square man, it would seem. Let me tell you — in your wildest dreams you cannot imagine the marvelous surprises that await you at the Van Nuys store. So do me a favor, pal, and stay away — I kind of like to be the only one of us who finds the neat-o deals. You understand.

    Anyway, the point is, you go to different 99¢ Only stores, you’re going to find different products, sometimes! So I had high hopes for the Las Vegas location I visited. High hopes indeed!

    Here’s what I found there:

    ccpebbles

    And that was about it. Bleah.

    Oh, this Nevada 99¢ Only had all the usual stuff that all their Southern California brothers carried, but aside from these boxes of unsold-store-stock-from-last-October Limited Edition Pebbles cereal, there was nothing I saw that was unique to this location.

    We’ve talked about the Pebbles family of cereals before, haven’t we? Ah yes, here and here.

    And what I find fascinating, and now you do, too, is that without the adjectives “Cocoa” or “Fruity” in front of it, “Pebbles” — which on the original two varieties described the size and shape of the cereal itself — now seems to specifically reference the Flintstones’ baby girl, featured prominently on the box, much like Dora is on Dora the Explorer cereal, or Spongebob on Spongebob Squarepants cereal.  But unlike Dora or Spongebob, no one under the age of thirty has any idea who the hell Pebbles Flintstone is.

    That’s kind of interesting, right? Sure.

    Anyway, most of the cereal blogs out there, when they’re updated at all, offer very little coverage in the way of your seasonal offerings, so as a public service to you, the cereal eating public, I bought a box for 99¢ only and will now review it for you:

    pebblypoo

    Post Limited Edition Pebbles Candy Corn Flavor Cereal

    Stats:

    Name of cereal: Post Limited Edition Pebbles Candy Corn Flavor Cereal
    Manufacturer: Post
    Longterm Availability: Limited Edition
    Cereal shape: Pebbles
    Flavor: Candy Corn Flavor
    Type of breakfast food: Cereal
    Found at: 99¢ Only store
    Price Paid: 99¢ only

    Ratings:

    Prominence of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm on box: 9.5
    Current pop cultural relevance of featured characters: 1.25 (I love “The Flintstones.” Believe me, I hated to have to give this such a low score. I’ll do what I can to make it up elsewhere and bring its overall grade back up.)
    Detail of cereal pieces enlarged to show texture on box front: 9.75
    Balance of orange, yellow and whitish cereal pieces: 9.75
    Uniqueness of seasonal cereal theme (Halloween): 9.75

    Okay, that should even things out, right?

    Unfortunately, no. Because here are the problems:

    • There was no prize inside. Back when I was a kid, it was the law: your cereal was federally mandated to come with a prize inside. Here’s my vintage Cap’n Crunch regulation-size soccer ball that was included in specially marked boxes of Cap’n Crunch back in 1972:

    capntesticle

    Fascinatingly, not only does it depict the Captain as he’d look after numerous redesigns forty years in the future, it was also shipped in the boxes fully inflated, which tended to crush the cereal into powder (which somehow still cut the roof of your mouth!) and made the boxes bloated, misshapen, distended…and impossible to keep from rolling off the shelves. Thus they were only in the stores for a few days before they were recalled, making this perhaps the rarest of Cap’n Crunch IBPs. (In-Box Prizes. Industry term.) Still, as prizes go, it’s one of my favorites. My point is, you want my seal of approval on your cereal, you better give me a decent prize.

    vampebbles

    • Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm dressed as a Wiccan and a vampire? The whole concept behind the cereal doesn’t make any sense! We’re supposed to believe these characters lived thousands of years ago, in the stone age, and somehow they’re celebrating Halloween, i.e, the birth of Christ, millennia before Jesus himself went trick-or-treating in Nazareth (but only at the homes of people who left their porch lights on and didn’t mark their doors with lambs’ blood, if I recall my Sunday School lessons correctly).

    pebback

    • The back of the box features a photo of Halloween snacks and a recipe. What’s going on here? I’m expecting some delightfully garish and off-model illustrations of the gang from Bedrock challenging me to, I dunno, probably a maze constructed by palm trees, boulders and brontosaurus necks — and instead I’ve got an overly complicated 14-ingredient, 13-step set of directions to make something called “Whoopie Pies” (which by the way no one ever heard of two years ago but is now one of those trendy foods that’s all over your precious “Pinterest.”).

    And finally — and there are those who might suggest this is the most important:

    unequal2corn

    • It don’t taste nothing like candy corn. It’s just…sweet. It tastes sort of familiar, like some other cereal, but I can’t quite put my finger (or tongue) on it. (I can put my finger on my tongue, and I frequently do, but given how infrequently I wash my hands, this probably accounts for all my canker sores. …Which now that I think of it, might explain how little I was able to discern any kind of candy corn taste. So take this last critique of the cereal with a grain of salt. No, please, take it. I have no need for a grain of salt that’ll just further irritate my cankered tongue.)

    Bottom line, the only way this stuff is bueno is if, 30 years from now, I unpack the carefully preserved package from my stockpile of old cereal boxes and list it on whatever eBay-like auction site exists then and sell it for a ton of cash. And for that to happen, I need for everyone else who saved their Halloween Pebbles boxes for eventual re-sale as collectibles to perish in some sort of cataclysmic event that fortuitously spares everyone who collects old food packaging but needs this particular box. Could happen. In fact, my entire retirement plan counts on it.

    Anyway, while 99¢ Only in Las Vegas didn’t hold a lot of wonderful surprises for me, at least they had 7-pound bags of ice for 99¢ Only, and that’s the main reason I went there. I make it a point to fill up my hotel room bathtub with ice before I go out irresponsibly gambling and binge-drinking. That way, whoever steals my kidney isn’t relying on hotel-provided ice. I learned that the hard way a few years ago when I woke up in a shallow tub of lukewarm water with a Post-It note on my forehead apologizing that the ice machine at the end of the hall was out of order.

    postit

    I’d tell you the whole story but I’ve got to go. I just had a sip of iced tea and now I have to tinkle like a race horse.

    Posted by on April 27, 2015, 1:42 PM.

  7. Wendy’s Ghost Pepper Fries — A Review!

    IT WAS Maya Angelou who famously said, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has answers, it sings because it has Ghost Pepper Fries” — a sentiment which held little meaning for me before the events of this past week transpired and when I fortuitously wandered into my local Wendy’s quick-serve (as they like to say) restaurant yesterday.

    There on the illuminated menu board, or IMB, was news of a brand new, presumably available-for-a-limited-time offering known as, yes!, Ghost Pepper Fries, which might prove to — however briefly! — take my mind off other issues, and refocus it on the soon-to-be searing pain afflicting my tongue and esophagus (and later, I guessed, other parts of my digestive system). Or so I’d expected.

    wendys2

    The ghost pepper, or jalapeño fantasmo as it’s called in Spanish-speaking countries, probably, is well-known as the hottest pepper on the face of the earth, measuring 212 decibals on the Richter scale, which can easily result in permanent tasting loss in the lower frequency range. It has a well-deserved reputation as the world’s deadliest pepper.

    Wendy’s is now offering it diced and sprinkled delicately atop a bed of cheese-covered fries.

    Screw it,  sign me up — what the hell do I have to live for? Some say I have death wish; others might conclude I just don’t care anymore.

    ghostpepper

    I ordered my usual meal — Junior Cheeseburger Deluxe, Value Soft Drink (Diet Coke — I’m watching my figure. Someone’s got to!) and Value Fries, but then here’s what I did: I flipped the gal behind the counter a couple extra quarters and upgraded [industry term] to these Ghost Pepper Fries of theirs. (Buy ’em separately and they’ll set you back $1.99. Prices vary by location, I imagine.)

    Here’s what I got:

    gpf

    The verdict: Eh, they’re, uh…they’re good.

    French fries topped with cheese and peppers: What’s not to like? I love spicy food, though I do have my limits when it comes to the really hot stuff. But these were a walk in the park, and surprisingly, not a walk in the park where you’re suddenly doubled over, clenching, clenching, looking for a public restroom that isn’t already occupied with homeless men washing out their underpants in the sink or loitering in a stall, hoping to earn a quick 50¢ to upgrade to Ghost Pepper Fries of their own.

    I’d go so far as to say that among a tray of fried potato slivers, cheese sauce and chopped-up jalapeños reportedly grown by Lucifer himself, these raw, diced peppers were the healthiest, or the least health-compromising, part of this side dish.

    More importantly, I’ve finally realized something about America and food and the 21st century:

    As with everything else today, food trends too are moving faster than ever. Believe it or not, we’ve already reached peak sriracha saturation and it’s clear that ghost peppers are the next big thing. And just like sriracha sauce, there’s no definitive, industry-wide standard for ghost peppers. Seems you can call anything a ghost pepper and there’s never any danger of being hauled up in front of a Congressional hearing to explain yourself.

    hearing

    I’ve a pal who’s growing something called “ghost peppers” in his garden this year, and they’re probably no closer to Bhut jolokia, the “true” Asian ghost pepper (illustrated a few paragraphs above, courtesy your precious Wikipedia), than the vaguely spicy peppers with which Wendy’s is garnishing their new menu item.

    But like I said, these so-called “Ghost Pepper Fries” weren’t bad. They used all the ingredients in their basket, they got everything on the plate in time, and most importantly, presentation was flawless. If this were “Chopped,” Wendy’s would be moving onto the next round, which I imagine will involve something like a salted caramel burger on a red velvet bun.

    *  *  * *  *  *

    Update! [From a day after I posted this.]

    Reader Mail: “Ted you [expletive deleted]! No one claimed the peppers on top are ghost peppers. They’re obviously jalapeños. There’s a ghost pepper sauce that they put on with the cheese. Maybe you should actually do some research before you go railing against Wendy’s, a national treasure.”

    My Response: Maybe you should actually Shut! Up!  Thanks for writing! Your t-shirt is on its way!

    Any and all information about these Ghost Pepper Fries at my local Wendy’s was limited to the picture on the IMB, or Illuminated Menu Board, and if there were any specifics about what actually constituted Ghost Pepper Fries, in particular the ghost pepper aspect of them  — and I don’t think there was — it was in print too tiny to read.

    Okay, so apparently the “ghost pepper” element comes from some sauce that my taste buds and I didn’t even notice was commingling with the cheese. Bottom line: These fries were not “ghost pepper” hot; they were still good; and I stand by my assertion that “ghost pepper” has already become a trendy, ridiculous food buzzword that ultimately means nothing.

    Folks, keep those cards & letters coming!

    Posted by on April 10, 2015, 3:07 PM.

  8. ¿What’s Bueno? A Gallon of Miracle Whip, That’s What!

    ¿What's Bueno? I'll Tell You!

    OVER the last year or so, I’ve seen tons (literally!) of mayonnaise and mayonnaise-type products make their way through my local 99¢ Only stores. Everything from off-brand to name brand, though having just written that, it occurs to me that there’s not a lot, if anything, in between.

    But more often than not, that mayonnaise is name brand, and in decent-sized jars, too. Mostly it’s stuff nearing the end of its ‘best by’ date, which really means nothing, but in some cases, it’s unusual and sometimes unfortunate flavored mayonnaise.

    But this was a new one on me:

    galmw1

    That’s a gallon of Miracle Whip, folks!

    And while it may be technically a “dressing” (and I seem to recall that Kraft used to refer to it as a “sandwich dressing”), it still morally falls under the category of “mayonnaise-type products.”

    Anyway, a gallon of Miracle Whip comes in a jug is so big…

    galmw2

    …it’s got a handle to pour it.

    Believe it or not, I passed on it. And I challenge you to further believe it or not, but truth is, it’s not often I make anything that necessitates so much Miracle Whip that I have to pour it out of the gaping mouth of a huge jug.

    But it was a mistake: Knowing how the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team loves their egg salad sandwiches (at least judging by the smell in the break room downstairs), they certainly would have appreciated it. What’s more, the simple gesture of giving a gift, however inexpensive, would no doubt have gone far to build bridges between upper management and lowly, hourly-wage pixel-pushers.

    Heck, even if they didn’t use it in their egg salad, that wide-mouth jug would make it a snap to pour onto a bowl of Froot Loop Slightly Irregular Factory Seconds or whatever the hell the cereal is called that’s been strewn all over the floor and crunching underfoot in the IT department ever since one of them got back from visiting that Kellogg’s outlet store in Waterloo, New York.

    Let me tell you, between inane tangents that have nothing to do with the original subject and specific references that only 16.6667 of my, what, six readers will understand, even I’m beginning to wonder where I get the nerve to click that “publish” button.

    Posted by on March 28, 2015, 4:21 AM.

  9. Today In Gourmet Cat Food!

    cusoontuna

    If the name of this flavor of cat food means what I think it does, you might want to move the litter box a little closer to Fluffy’s feeding station.

    Posted by on February 28, 2015, 3:25 AM.

  10. That Fried Chicken Bologna Sandwich Post You’ve Been Asking For!

    bolofry1

    Previously on Ted:

    At the end of the 99¢ Only Halloween Hullaboo thing back in October, I mentioned how I came across these delightful cans of chicken bologna.  Sure, they had me at “chicken bologna,” but in a can…?  I think we’re all astonished I purchased only one.

    *  *  *  *  *

    Now, months later, I showed said can to a pal who was (inexplicably) disgusted, but did advise me that “You gotta fry that [expletive deleted] up, son! Frrrrrah it up!”

    Looking online, I saw to no surprise whatsoever that there’s at least one chef who is trying to promote fried bologna as a trendy food, which would have immediately dissuaded me (and by extension, you) from having anything whatsoever to do with it, but by this point I was already 99¢-only deep into this fried bologna folly of mine (or frolognly, as I call it) and there was no turning back.

    I wisely ignored his recipe, which involved artisanal this and local-sourced that, and God forbid, gluten-free something-or-other, probably!, and just winged it and created my own unique take on the classic fried bologna sandwich.

    By the way, have you noticed lately that every single recipe you see online is “a [something] take on the classic [whatever]”…?

    No?

    Well, now that I’ve mentioned it, you’ll be seeing it everywhere.

    Anyway! Here’s how we made our version — that is, mine (and now yours):

    bolofry2

    First, I opened the can. I needed to insert the thin edge of a knife twixt can edge and lid to actually pry it off, which was accompanied by a subtle but delightful sucking noise, even after the can opener did its job.

    bolofry3

    I wasn’t sure what to expect , but, eh, this is what I found. I’ll let the photo above describe it; otherwise I’d inadvisably write something completely inaccurate involving the foreman at the chicken bologna cannery hocking up a little extra personal something into each can…that would cause my attorney to suffer a sudden apoplectic fit. Instead, imagine how the infinitely more talented James Lileks might describe such an image.

    I’m usually something of a happy-go-lucky type, but I’ll admit this cylindrical wad of lunch meat — key to the success of our fried bologna sandwich — has me a bit worried, especially given that divot of congealed fat.

    You, however — fretful, nervous type that you are, you’ve been concerned from the first time you read “chicken bologna in a can.” I can’t imagine why.

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    And this black spot I think has us all a little anxious. The can itself was free from visible dents, dings or punctures, and this — this looks like spoilage.

    So then, throw the entire thing out? And piss away 99¢ only?!  Naaah!

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    A simple bolognopsy takes care of things; we’ll send that sample off to the lab [read: “trash can”] and get on with our lives.

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    But not if Mr. Whiskers has anything to say about it, and brother, does he ever! “Mrow! Mrow! Hiss! Spit! Mew! Yowl!” etc., etc.  Apparently once cracked open, the can filled the room with a scent not unlike one of the delicious varieties of Friskies Buffet, at least to the unsophisticated palate.

    Sheddap, I tells him, and continue.

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    Here I’ve flipped the wad of bologna, or bolognawad over, and cut off about a 1/4″ slice.  Next, we—

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    —”Mrow! Mew! Hiss! Spit! Hiss! Mrrow! Yoooooowl!”  Okay, this evidently isn’t going to stop until I take bolognive action. At this point, though I was unable to get a shot of it, the little fella actually got up on his hind legs to beg, and he never does that!

    Trust me, friends, it’s adorable, and thus must be rewarded — and maybe then he’ll shut the hell up!

    So we dice up about a teaspoon of the stuff:

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    Put it into a bowl and present it to his majesty.

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    Mmm-mm, that’s good bologna!  Good bologna!

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    And then two minutes later, he’s finally done, and what the hell – did he even eat any of it? That’s almost the same amount I gave him. Anyway, let’s get back on track here.

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    Next, we take this delicious telera, or Mexican food-bread roll, which I bought from Jons (a local supermercado), slice it open and…

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    …using rich, delicious Challenge Dairy Maid Spread (the challenge is finding the dairy in the list of ingredients), generously butter the inside of the roll.  Oh, excuse me, generously butter the inside of the telera. Oh, oh, excuse me – generously 48% Vegetable Oil Spread the inside of the telera.

    Also, here my attorney would like to note that it’s not that challenging find dairy in the list of ingredients (but they are at the end).

    Next you pop them into your frying pan, butter side down, and kind of toast ’em up, reeeal nice-like.

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    Meanwhile, having already sliced up the bologna you’re going to use, you’ll want to bag up the rest and put it in the refrigerator – you know, so you can enjoy it later. Or at least so Forensics has a starting point after your corpse is discovered sometime next week.

    toastedtelera

    Now don’t let your roll burn! No one wants a telera en fuego. Once properly toasted, you can return it to the cutting board where you sliced your bologna. Don’t worry about keeping a kosher kitchen — when cooking food like this, cross-contamination is the least of your worries.

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    With your frying pan good and hot, go ahead and put your one and two-thirds chicken bologna slices in there. (You would have had two whole slices, but you snipped off that gross black part, and then the cat was being a pain in the ass so you gave him some, remember?)

    onionslice

    Now: Quick, cut yourself up a slice of onion to put on your fried bologna sandwich. Look, your chances of kissing anyone any time soon already went out the window when you decided to cook up a fried chicken-bologna-from-a-can sandwich, so might as well cut that onion good and thick.

    provolone

    Onto the most expensive part of the sandwich: The cheese. It’s the only thing that cost more than a buck. I chose Borden Natural Provolone (with added smoke flavor); for a more authentic Fried Bologna sandwich, simply use government cheese.

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    You’re going to want the bologna slices to get kind of slightly browned on both sides, so flip ’em over now and again. And then, when they’ve got a nice color to ’em, you go ahead and put your cheese slices on ’em.

    Now, see what I did with the 2/3 bologna slice? I folded and scored its cheese slice so it’d fit. It’s this lightning-quick ability to immediately adapt to any cooking emergency thrown my way that would serve me well on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” or any other of those awful cooking shows if I knew how to make anything aside from a fried bologna sandwich, and I’m learning as I go with this thing as it is!

    smokealarm

    Now let the cheese melt on your bologna slices a bit. When the smoke alarm in the hallway goes off, they’re about done.

    Using a spatula, de-pan [cooking term] your bologna slices and slide same onto the bottom of your toasted telera roll, drop that fat slice of onion onto it, and give your sandwich a south-of-the-border flavorita by garnishing with some jalapeño slices, and you’re just about done.

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    All that’s left to do is drop the top half of the roll on, and then cut that sucker in half for no reason other than to display its delicious melted cheese.

    voila

    Well, and to make it easier to share with the cat.

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    For a copy of the Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe, send $4.00 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe, Box 658152, Dept. FBSR, Los Angeles 7, Calif., Attention: Fried Bologna Recipe Fulfillment Office. Please write “Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe” on the lower left corner of your envelope and include the words “Fried” “Bologna” “Sandwich” and “Recipe,” in that order, printed by hand on a 3×5 card. Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe offer good while Fried Bologna Sandwich Recipe supplies last.

    Posted by on February 23, 2015, 1:26 PM.

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