It’s Back! And I’m Terrified

June 30, 2011 at 11:17 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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When this image appeared in my inbox the other day, I got a little bit frightened.

The Really Big Chicken Sandwich Combo (RBCSC) — its $3.99 price tag too irresistible on a night a few months ago when I was eating alone and did not feel like cooking — was the fast food meal that made me realize I wasn’t a kid anymore, and thus couldn’t eat in the same way without paying an immediate physical price. In this case, the price was chest pains and difficulty breathing within twenty minutes of finishing the meal.

It’s not like I’m someone who hadn’t eaten any fast food for five years, and then decided to gorge myself on an absurdly large meal. Although I do eat real food most of the time, I occasionally jones for chicken nuggets, or curly fries, or a Dr. Pepper, and Jack in the Box is usually my destination when these cravings strike. {This is probably because (a) there is a location about 8 minutes away from my apartment, and (b) it was the fast food indulgence of my youth, so there’s a nostalgia factor there, too.} So while my fast food consumption is not a common occurrence, it’s not exactly rare, either, though I usually try to limit myself to one of the three combo items (sandwich OR fries OR soda) at a time so my stomach doesn’t feel like I consumed a rock afterwards.

But on the fatal RBCSC day, I threw caution (and good sense, and experience) to the wind, and ate fries AND a soda AND two chicken patties at the same time. And I paid for it dearly, by feeling as though I were about to have a heart attack.

So let my experience be a cautionary tale: Do not allow yourself to be fooled by the siren song of a $3.99 price tag. Approach the RBSCS with caution!

[ screenshot from Jack in the Box email ]


Questionable Marketing Decision

March 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | 1 Comment
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Don’t ask why I’m on the Jack in the Box mailing list (the answer is random cravings for chicken sandwiches), but when this number came through my inbox the other day I was a bit stunned by the subject line:

“Dos mas weekos to winno el trippo to Cancun.”

I mean, I see what they’re going for here — dumbass gringos who can’t speak Spanish properly and instead spew an awful version of unintelligible Spanglish — but it still struck me as a bit tasteless. Or maybe just heavy-handed. Either that, or I’m becoming a humorless lame-o in my old age. Get off my lawn, you damn kids!

[ screenshot from my email, via Jack in the Box ]

Attack of the Aggressive Sugar Packet!

January 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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I have a difficult relationship with artificial sweeteners. One of the many idiosyncrasies that tend to mark me as unusual for my age (e.g. refusal to wear thong underwear, aversion to heels, having not read any of the Harry Potter books, etc.) is my extreme distaste for fake sugars, and thus my inability to stomach Diet Coke, low-sugar yogurts, or anything else sweetened with Splenda, Extra, Sweet’n’Low, or NutriSweet. Friends have tried to convince me that “it’s not that bad!” or that such-and-such new sweetener tastes “exactly” like sugar, but thus far I am unconvinced. That said, sometimes I wish I did like artificial sweeteners, because I really do like drinking sugared sodas, and the possibility of avoiding excessive sugar consumption is really tantalizing. Nevertheless, I can’t train my tastebuds to get on board with this plan, so for now, I’m sticking with my Dr. Pepper.

So, with all this in mind, I cracked up when I saw this photo on Passive Aggressive Notes. Talk about your assertive (threatening?) sugar packet! It refuses to cede market share to the Splenda packets of the world. Do you think it knows something we don’t?

[ image from Passive Aggressive Notes ]

Sugar Sugar

January 17, 2010 at 1:48 am | Posted in Me | Leave a comment
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Last week I finally read the New York Times Sunday Magazine’s October column of “Consumed” that discussed the cult of Mexican coke. The key quality that differentiates Mexican coke from American coke (aside from the cute glass bottles) is that Mexican coke is sweetened with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, a difference that devotees claim is both palatable and more delicious. The Times column also mentioned Pepsi’s upcoming “Throwback” promotion, which resurrects both the old-school labels of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, and, crucially, their “Made With Real Sugar” formulas. The article neglects to mention the third soda that would be given the sugar treatment: Dr. Pepper, which has been retooled as “Heritage Dr. Pepper.” *

I’m not sure “Consumed” columnist Rob Walker is even to blame for this omission, for Dr. Pepper’s own website includes nary a mention of Heritage Dr. Pepper; the only reason I discovered it was because I saw it on the shelf at Fiesta Market yesterday. As an avid Dr. Pepper fan who recently finished the chapter of The Omnivore’s Dilemma where Michael Pollan critiques high fructose corn syrup, I knew I had to try it for myself.

The verdict?

I hate to admit it, and I wish it wasn’t true, but I like regular Dr. Pepper much better. It’s probably just because my taste buds are used to those 23 flavors, but still, I was hoping for a revelation or something. Oh well. If Dr. Pepper won’t even push the promo on its own website, I can safely assume it won’t be around for long. Best not to get too attached.

* Until about two minutes ago, I did not know that Dr. Pepper was owned by neither Pepsi nor Coke, but by Snapple—rather, the Dr. Pepper–Snapple Group. Fun facts!

[ image from ]

The White House Gingerbread House

December 10, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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I’m not sure why, but I’m not a big Christmas person. I love the spirit of the holidays—spending time with my parents and siblings, seeing my extended family, and giving and receiving gifts—but the whole, glitter-and-holly-explosion-the-day-after-Thanksgiving and radio-stations-that-only-play-Christmas-music thing, it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not even a distaste for the commercialization of the holiday or anything like that; I’m not really sure where this comes from, really. But mostly, aside from being excited to see my family, I generally feel “meh” about the whole Christmas thing. (Though I do love hot apple cider and peppermint bark from Trader Joe’s: YES.) Nevertheless, I am totally digging the White House gingerbread house this year. There’s a little Bo The Dog in front of the steps, and the best part is the organic garden on the side! Such an adorable touch! Tis the season, ya’ll.

P.S. Apologies for my prolonged absence from this blog; I have been working on graduate school applications, which I just finished two days ago!

[ image from Obama Foodorama ]

Is it just me,

October 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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edible arrangemnts

…Or is it kiiiiinda funny that the person who gets the “now-with-CHOCOLATE!” version of an Edible Arrangements bouquet is the only black person in the commercial?

[ screenshot from YouTube ]

Maybe I’ve just been watching too much “Food Network,”

October 6, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment
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…but why do all the most delicious-sounding soups have to start with bacon?? Come on, Rachel and Paula: where my no-red-meat eaters at?

“The Food Network”: An Experiment

September 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | Leave a comment

Let’s keep the New York Times Magazine kick going, shall we?

Last July, Michael Pollan wrote the cover article for the Times magazine, a fascinating and thoughtful examination of the fact that the rise in the popularity of food television (read: “The Food Network”) has accompanied the decline in home cooking. One of the many observations Pollan makes in the article is that “The Food Network” is basically two channels: during the day it’s the cooking-instruction-show-filled “Food Network: In the Kitchen,” but at night it becomes “Food Network: Nighttime,” where it’s not about learning how to cook, but testosterone-fueled competition—think “Chopped,” “Iron Chef,” and, though it airs on Bravo, “Top Chef.” Pollan also points out that, in general, the “Food Network” has shifted from making people want to cook, to making people want to eat. The types of commercials shown even during the ostensibly-instructional “In the Kitchen” shows exemplify this shift, and so today, while watching an hour of “Food Network” programming, I decided to put Pollan’s hypothesis to the test. I watched a 5:30 pm episode of “Down Home with the Neeleys,” and a 6 pm episode of “Paula’s Best Dishes,” and this is a list of all the commercials I saw (not counting the 16 ads for “Food Network” shows):

Non-Food Ads

  • Almay makeup
  • The Glass Doctor
  • The State of California
  • Some show on the “National Geographic” channel
  • Libman mops
  • Armstrong Floors (x2)
  • Mancini’s Sleepworld
  • The Floor Store
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Asics shoes
  • The military (what exactly IS the target audience here??)
  • Chico’s
  • L’Oreal
  • Tide Cold Water
  • Traveler’s Insurance
  • Glade Candles
  • Comcast
  • Ford Fusion
  • Senokot (some kind of OTC drug…?)

Food-Related Ads

  • Olive Garden
  • Starkist Tuna Creations (seasoning packets for tuna fish)
  • V8 boxed soups
  • Edible Arrangements (x2)
  • Chow Mein microwavable noodle bowls
  • Diet Coke (the one featuring FN’s own Tom Colicchio)
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Sunsweet prunes
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Hefty one-zip plastic bags

Not only are there more advertisements for non-food products than those related to food (19 to 12, to be exact), but not one of the food ads was about cooking. They were either hawking premade snacks, Sandra Lee-esque meal short cuts—don’t even get me started on that woman—like the Chow Mein bowls, or restaurants. The only thing that was even sort of related to cooking was, where you can access the recipes you see on afternoon programming… among many other things entirely unrelated to cooking. My little experiment was, let’s face it, highly unscientific, but based on one random hour of afternoon programming, I’d say Michael Pollan is totally correct.

[ image from ]

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