April 2011

Starburst Summer Fun Fruits

Starburst is definitely pushing it with their "juicy contradiction" ads. I notice they have started downplaying the "Wow, a Korean raised in Scotland THAT BLOWS MY MIND" angle. As well they should.

I mean, seriously. What racial stereotype will they leverage next? "A black person who hates fried chicken!" "An Asian student who's bad at math!" Come on, people. We're better than that.

 It almost makes me long for the insulting foppish "berries and cream" guy. Starburst is obviously aiming for the weirdness of Skittles ads, but they only manage to hit "offensive" square on the nose. That takes talent.

Skittles Blenders

I'm a pretty big fan of Skittles. I staunchly maintain that the original Skittles candy is one of the all-time greats. Even if eating too many of them (more than a handful, really) gives me a stomach ache. (Why is that, anyway? I looked online, but couldn't find an answer. One of life's mysteries, I suppose.)

I get pretty excited when they announce a new Skittles variation. Some of these (Crazy Core) have been pretty good. Others (Fizzl'd Fruits) have decidedly NOT. So in addition to the excitement of having a new flavor, you get to wonder if this is going to be a delicious new treat, or a horrifying salty dread with which to threaten bad children.

Airheads Xtremes

The ad for the new Airheads Xtremes caught my eye recently. It's almost odd enough to be a Skittles ad, but not quite.

And even though the "East Indian convenience store owner" thing is borderline racial stereotyping at this point, at least the guy had a decent role. Plus, when was the last time you saw someone with a turban and a beard given a positive role on television? Or at least not playing Terrorist of the Week?

I have mentioned before that I am not a big fan of sour candy. Although I remember liking sour SweeTarts when I was younger, somewhere along the line I got too old for sour things. Sour just, like, hurts. I don't really care for real green apples these days, much less anything that's artificially flavored to resemble one.

Banquet Personal-Size Apple Pie

If you have ever looked at a Banquet or Swanson's Pot Pie and thought, "I bet you could stuff that with apple pie filling instead," then congratulations! Your day has come!

I was intrigued by these at the store. "Why, that looks just like a pot pie," I thought. And so it proved to be: the crust, fluted silvery cardboard tray, even the box size is almost identical to that of the pot pies. I have no doubt that the exact same machinery and merchandising line was used. Kudos, really, to the person who dreamed this up.

There is a lot not to like about these pies. But let's focus on the positives, first. If you are tasked with providing dessert for a variety of people, it can be difficult. Let's say you have one kid who likes apple pie, and one who likes berry. You can get each of them their own pie! Team it up with the Edward's individual pies and cakes, and you can have a completely individual experience.

Tell Girl Scouts: No More Palm Oil in Cookies

We always try to help support the Girl Scouts in our home. Not only are they a cheap, positive way for girls to get involved with their communities; they’re also not bigot who disallow homosexuals from entering their organization, like the Boy Scouts are. (I don’t get why one doesn’t and one does, by the way. Does anyone have any insights on that?)

My second cousin is in Brownies and we always buy from her, as well as from the local girls if we have any cash on us while we’re out and about. I even have a friend who does volunteer projects called “Book Baskets” that feature Girl Scout cookie boxes as gift boxes (decorated, of course) filled with books for children in foster homes. So we’re pretty into Girl Scout cookies.

Free Ben & Jerrry’s on April 12!

Ben & Jerry, being the hip and groovy old cats that they are, want to give us all a little R & R right before tax day this year—in the form of ice cream, of course! Actually, the free ice cream is in celebration of Earth Day, which is on April 22. They are big Earth lovers, after all; remember when they made the world’s biggest baked Alaska and delivered it to Congress in protest of Alaskan drilling back in 2005?

New Peeps: Sugar-Free and Chocolate-Dipped

Those clever food scientists at Just Born weren't content to invent a Peep for every holiday, as happened a few years back. Nor were they going to rest on their laurels after coming up with the chocolate covered Peeps, which debuted last year. (I love those things, by the way. So much so that I had to hunt them down this Easter season, and I am greatly relieved that they are sold individually so that I can limit the damage.)

This year brings two new Peeps: one for every family member!

First, and most intriguing, is the sugar-free Peep. Sugar-free candy is big business, which is a pity, because it all tastes so very horrible. Plus, what is a Peep without sugar? It strikes the ear as a meaningless phrase like "gasoline-free gas" or "chocolate-free chocolate."

Brach's Pastel Candy Corn

I knew even at the time that I shouldn't buy this bag of candy corn. But A) I was ridiculously hungry and at least 30 minutes from any potential lunch, B) Joann's Fabric and Craft had all their Easter stuff on sale, and C) I was intrigued by the burst on the packaging that said they are "made with real honey."

Honey? Yep, honey.

Candy corn is one of those candies that seemingly skates by based on looks alone. If they tried to market a plain white candy corn, no one would ever buy it. The only reason people buy candy corn is because it is festively colored. Whether it's the traditional brown-orange-yellow of Thanksgiving or the pastel pinks and blues for Easter. (They even have red, white, and blue candy corn for the 4th of July, which seems particularly shameless.)