Breakfast on a stick

5 08 2011

Well, this is awkward. I really have no idea how to start this, because I feel like “Oh, hello” or “I’m back” would be cliched and also a little obvious. I guess the best thing to do would be to apologize for that little (or not-so-little) unannounced hiatus. Work and classes have entirely devoured my life and probably will continue to do so, but I promise I’ll keep this blog going. It just may not be as often as I’d like.

Today’s featured delicacy is something I’ve had my eye on for at least the past few weeks when I’ve been doing my grocery shopping at Fry’s. You know how you go to the mall and you see that puppy in the pet-store window and you want it so badly it’s all you can do not to think about it and you have dreams at night of playing with the puppy and it drives you crazy until you finally break down and go buy the puppy?

Yeah, this was nothing like that.

Every time I saw Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick (artificial-blueberry flavored, no less — note the “artificial”), I wanted to cry or gag or maybe both. How can such an atrocity make it onto the grocery-store shelf? And how on earth can the store keep selling it unless people are actually buying it? What a gruesome mystery.

The other day, it occurred to me that maybe instead of being revolted every time I passed these things, it was time to buy a box of them and try one for myself. And then blog about the experience, because this poor blog desperately needs some sort of jolt to bring it back to life.

So I burned over 7 bucks on a box of frozen treats from hell. I hope you’re happy (all five of you who read this).

I admit I had a slightly (OK, very) negative mindset before trying one of these would-be blueberry corndogs. I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand the concept. I know a lot of people who like to mix their breakfast food. I see family, friends and random people in restaurants (whom I watch eat, yes) do it all the time: They cut up their sausage and mix it into their scrambled eggs, with maybe a bit of maple syrup thrown in for good measure. I call these people Breakfast Multitaskers because the impression I get is that they’re in such a hurry that they can’t enjoy their breakfast foods individually but have to mash them all together.

Of all the things I’ve seen people mix, however, I’ve never, ever seen blueberry pancakes with sausage. I mean, isn’t it just common sense to keep those two things far away from each other?

When I was a kid, I was of the devout belief that food was meant to be eaten separately. My ham could not touch my potatoes or neither was edible anymore — and leave the cheese off my macaroni, please and thank you. As I grew up, I realized some food actually does taste better if you mix it together. But there’s a limit. Sausage wrapped in blueberry pancakes crosses way over that line.

Before I took a bite into the piping-hot corndog-esque breakfast food (the frozen ‘dog has to be heated up for precisely 50 to 55 seconds, by the way), I tried to clear my mind. (I call this breakfast yoga.) No bias, no revulsion (I mostly managed to quell my gag reflex) … just open-mindedness. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

It was that bad.

I took a generous chomp into it and got a mouthful of rubbery blueberry pancake (which I could smell from across the room when it was in the microwave, by the way), and then the sausage made its way to my taste buds and all I could think was, “Why, God, why?” Over and over. “Why, God, why?”

Some things were never, ever meant to be mixed. I stand by that. Colorful packaging and almost-appetizing blueberry smells are not enough to convince me otherwise. Sweet blueberries, rubbery pancake coating, salty, chunky sausage … just no. Something is very wrong with that.

This is another one of those foods where I go, “Who eats this? Someone must, because the store’s still selling it.” I don’t understand. Maybe it’s the perfect to-go snack for Breakfast Multitaskers with dulled taste buds (or wide-open minds). But it’s just not for me.

I love blueberry pancakes. I like sausage if I eat it with (certain) other things. But I will continue to keep my blueberry pancakes far away from my breakfast sausage. And I think I’ll stick with eating them off a plate.

(P.S. I now have a box in my freezer full of 11 pancake-covered sausages on a stick. Any takers?)

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Ingredients:
Pancake batter: Enriched wheat flour, water, sugar, artificial flavored blueberry bits (invert sugar, sugar, water, wheat flour, algin, potassium sorbate, artificial flavor, FD&C red dye No. 3 and blue dye No. 1); contains 2% or less of: soybean oil, artificial flavor, salt, dextrose, leavening, dried egg yolk soy lecithin, nonfat dry milk, cooked in vegetable oil. Fully cooked maple sausage link made with pork & turkey, BHG & citric acid added to help protect flavor: pork, mechanically separated turkey, water, sugar; contains 2% or less of: soy protein concentrate, sodium lactate, salt, dextrose, sodium phosphates, spices, natural and artificial maple flavor, monosodium glutamate, sodium diacetate, natural flavorings, BHT, citric acid. Contians egg, milk, soy and wheat.
Price: $7.41 at Fry’s.
Pros:
You know, it didn’t smell half bad when it was cooking in the microwave. You could probably use these as makeshift air fresheners. Or you could just bake blueberry muffins, because those have the same effect and they actually taste good.
Cons:
Three main points come to mind. One, it’s a crumbly sausage on a stick wrapped in a spongy blueberry pancake. Two, the ingredients list. ‘Nuff said. Three, the package says the sausage is “made with pork and turkey.” Parts is parts, I guess.





Thanksgiving in January … for breakfast

20 01 2011

I was all set to go out searching today for the perfect food to blog about. Turns out I didn’t have to.

I was rummaging through the pantry in search of dinner when I came across a jumbo box of Pop-Tarts labeled “pumpkin pie.” Apparently my mom bought them earlier today for my sister, who begged and pleaded and gave her puppy-dog eyes.

Score.

So I didn’t even have to go shopping this time around — which makes it seem like I’m lazy or a recluse. Both are probably true.

It almost feels like a cop-out, since I love both pumpkin pie and Pop-Tarts, but hey, I started classes this week — it’s a wonder I’m taking the time away from my hated bio homework to blog at all.

Plus, pumpkin pie and Pop-Tarts, while they make for a great alliteration, don’t necessarily sound like the most delicious combination out there. Nor the most obvious combination — I mean, who eats pumpkin pie for breakfast?  Besides me, I mean.

Kellogg’s does a lot of strange things with their toaster pastries (e.g. flavoring them like strawberry milkshakes), but usually their efforts turn out well (e.g. strawberry-milkshake Pop-Tarts).

But “frosted pumpkin pie” is just a little strange.

Time to give it a try. I ripped open the foil package — which has always frustrated me because they put two pastries inside each package, like they automatically expect you to be a pig and eat both. And if you don’t eat both, you’re forced to find a little baggie to save the second one in, since now you’ve destroyed its packaging to get to the first one. I feel like Pop-Tarts need an announcement on the front of the boxes: “Individually wrapped … sort of.”

I pulled out one pastry (and found a little baggie for the other) and bit into it. Another pet peeve about Pop-Tarts (even though I love them anyway): The crusty edges are always so dry. They need to make crustless Pop-Tarts, like that crustless bread my mom always refused to buy me when I was a kid no matter how much I complained.

Once I found the actual filling, I was able to get a better idea of what the Pop-Tart was supposed to taste like. Well … sort of able to. For as strong as pumpkin-flavored things usually are, this was surprisingly weak. I could definitely taste the spices, but the pumpkin flavor was almost entirely in the aftertaste.

I don’t know why, but that made me kind of sad. Maybe it’s because I’m the kind of person who heaps extra frosting on my cake and prefers my Oreos double-stuffed. But whatever the case, the minuscule amount of filling in the PopTart was really disappointing. Especially because it was supposed to taste like pie. I like pie.

I finished the pastry — which I don’t always do with everything I try, so that’s an indication that it was at least OK. And that’s exactly what it was: not great, but good enough.

I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more filling in these, but maybe that’s just me being picky. If you’re a pumpkin liker and not a pumpkin lover, I’m sure these will work great for you. But if you eat pie for breakfast and you’re expecting these to be a perfect substitute, you should probably just stick to pie.

———

Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [Vitamin B1], riboflavin [Vitamin B2], folic acid), corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soybean and palm oil (with TBHQ for freshness), dextrose, sugar, cracker meal, contains 2 percent or less of wheat starch, nonfat milk, salt, pumpkin, maltodextrin, cornstarch, corn cereal, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), molasses, yellow corn flour, eggs, gelatin, cinnamon, vanilla extract, modified cornstarch, nutmeg, ginger, caramel color, sunflower lecithin, tricalcium phosphate, soy lecithin, cloves, Vitamin A palmate, niacinamide, reduced iron, Yellow #6, pyridoxine, hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Yellow #5, thiamin hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Red #40, folic acid and Blue #1.
Price: $3.42 at Wal-Mart (16 in box)
Pros:
Pumpkin pie … ish. Portable pie, in a way — if you’re a morning-pie person and you hate the fact that you always spill your pie all over yourself on your way to work, these are a good idea.
Cons: Doesn’t really taste like pie. So don’t expect a lot.








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