August 2010

6 Apple Pie Secrets

Fall is creeping in, and with it: apple season!  This is the time to brush up on your apple pie skillz.  Impress your friends!  Amaze your enemies!  Make THE BEST PIE EVER!  

Forthwith, six hard-won lessons from the pie frontier:

1.    Neatness Counts
Take the time to slice your apples thinly, and to stack them nicely inside the pie.  Don't just give them a quick chop, then dump them into the crust.

Two Scoops of Vanilla, Hold the rBGH

One of my absolute favorite ice cream flavors is Breyers double-churned vanilla. I know it’s not the best to buy by any means, but the flavor is just incredible. I’m a big vanilla ice cream eater—unlike the favorite flavors of many people that I know, vanilla is pretty much the only ice cream flavor I love (with the occasional citrus or strawberry exception), and Breyers seems to make it best.

Unfortunately, I won’t be buying my favorite ice cream anytime soon—at least, not until Breyers agrees to stop selling products with rGBH, or recombinant bovine growth hormone, in them. This genetic modification is inserted into cows in order to make them produce even more milk than they are normally physically (and naturally) able to deliver. While it works to meet this highly questionable—if ethical—goal, it also releases the rGBH into our food as well.

Twizzlers Sweet & Sour Filled Twists

I'm not a big fan of sour candy, or of Twizzlers.  But I have to admit, I've taken a liking to the latest offering, which crams a strange tart substance inside a regular Twizzler.  It sounds so terrible, and so unlikely, but the pairing is nicely flavorful.

The texture of Twizzlers is the first thing you have to get past.  They always put me in mind of the vinyl seat covers on my parents' clapped out Nova that was the family car from 1974 to 1978, when it basically disintegrated out from under us.  

Three Crisps: Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, and Baby Ruth

I'm a big fan of wafer cookies.  I recently bought and ate an entire packet of wafer cookies ON PURPOSE.  I like the lightness and the crunch of the wafer.  So I was moderately interested when I purchased these three "crisped" versions of some standard candy bars.

All three bars have a few things in common.  Each one is actually two mini candy bars in one wrapper.  I guess that probably makes it easier for them at the factory, since they don't have to make "regular size" and "fun size," just the one size packaged differently.  

Good & Fiery

I should start by saying that I am a real wimp when it comes to spicy foods.  I can't take too many Hot Tamale candies before I start thinking "These must really appeal to masochists."  When I go to a Thai restaurant, I order one or two stars.  Just to frame the discussion that follows.

If you are a fan of spicy foods, you may be able to get more enjoyment out of Good & Fiery.  But I kind of doubt it.

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms

I have very mixed feelings about this Special Edition flavor of M&Ms.  I guess on balance, I'm just glad it's a special edition and not a real thing.

On the one hand, I applaud companies for mixing things up.  I'm not one of those people who get upset when a company ventures away from its usual products and tries something new.  I'm always curious about new candy, and new forms of old standards.  It's fun!  And sometimes they're really good.  

Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream

I often find some of the Ben & Jerry's flavors to be either too sweet, or too busy, or both.  As far as I'm concerned, there are only so many things you can add to ice cream before it's just too much.  Flavors like Phish Food are delicious, but too cluttered to really enjoy properly.

By comparison. Americone Dream is relatively simple.  You have vanilla ice cream, a caramel swirl, and chunks of chocolate covered waffle cone.  The caramel swirl was relatively understated, which is good, because it definitely had an overpowering flavor.  Thankfully they toned down the caramel, so that it's about the same as a light drizzle of caramel topping.