My hands smell like pomegranate puree

6 05 2011

I’m baaaack!

It’s finals weekend, too. Did you get that? I’m blogging on finals weekend. You should feel incredibly honored that I’m procrastinating taking time off from my ever-so-valuable studying to do this.

What is “this,” you ask? Well, just a few minutes ago, I consumed a lovely, gooey, chunky, slightly slimy bar of pomegranate pulp.

Let’s back up.

Yesterday, I was getting some shopping done at Target when I noticed they had a food section. Don’t ask me why I never noticed this before. It was a revelation. I thought there was no way I’d find anything out of the ordinary at Target (foodwise, anyway). But then I spotted the health-food aisle. And within the health-food aisle, I discovered Archer Farms fruit bars. (Archer Farms is apparently a Target brand, by the way. So Target really does make food.  Who knew?)

Now, before you call me out and tell me I’m incredibly picky, let me just say that I love fruit. I’m kind of a fruit nut … wait, that’s confusing. I don’t really like nuts. But I do like fruit. A lot.

However, as with all food I enjoy, I like fruit to a point. The picture on the front of the fruit-bar box showed flattened, shiny, sticky-looking slabs of … pomegranate, I guess. Stuck in a food processor and mixed with some unidentifiable chunks. I’m sorry, but that passes the point of appetizing.

Nasty-looking enough to try? Check. I bought them.

Before I ate one this morning, I spent some time getting acquainted with the box. On the front, under the picture of two gooey bars sitting on what looks like a piece of waxed paper on a table, it says, “Serving suggestion.” I assume this is another way of saying, “Don’t put these babies directly on your table, because they’re like gorilla glue and will never come off.” Maybe that was just my interpretation.

The other thing I noticed about the box was a little round seal toward the top that says, “Simply nutritious. Simply delicious.” How cute. I love rhymes. I’m just not sure I believed this one.

Time to find out.

Turns out these fruit bars are individually wrapped, which supported my gorilla-glue theory but is also a nice perk if you’re wanting to take them places, like the park with your children so you can punish them for squabbling by feeding them pomegranate goo.

The packages are incredibly hard to unwrap. Have you ever noticed that about healthy food? Maybe it’s just me, but I swear, every time I try to open something healthy, it’s much more difficult than opening, say, a package of Oreos. I think it’s a marketing ploy. I think they’re trying to make me feel like I need to get in better shape, and the way to do that is by eating their product. I’m on to you, health-food companies.

When I got the package open, I expected some sort of rotting stench to flood my nostrils. (Call me pessimistic, but the bars reminded me uncannily of dried fruit, and specifically raisins. I like dried fruit; I hate raisins. Raisins are grape corpses.) I was pleasantly surprised (even though I shouldn’t have been) when the scent of pomegranate wafted through the air. Yum. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a terrible experience after all.

I tore off a chunk of the bar and put it in my mouth. The experience was a very detailed, intricate one. In order to best relate it to you, I’m going to break it down in terms of the number of times I chewed it:

Chew. Hmm, not bad, not bad. I taste pomegranate. Chew. Actually, it kind of tastes like gummy bears. Chew. Actually, it kind of tastes like those gummy vitamins my mom used to make me eat when I was too chicken to swallow pills. Chew. You know, it’s kind of losing its flavor. Chew. Hey … it’s chunky. Chew. Oh gross, what are these chunks?  Chew. OK, now it doesn’t taste like anything … but it’s really gooey. Gooey cardboard. Ugh, get it out of my mouth. Swallow. All gone. Thank you, God. Where’s the milk?

In case you couldn’t gather it from reading my innermost thoughts, these things are good at first — they taste much better than they look. But the best way to eat them is probably to chew each bite about twice and then swallow it, because otherwise, it loses its flavor fast, and the only sensation left is the gummyness of the … stuff, whatever it is. Pureed fruit, I guess. Suffice it to say, it’s really not good.

The perks are that they’re (mostly) natural, they’re good for you and they taste good at first. The downside — the whole gooey, melting cardboard thing — kind of outweighs the perks, at least for me.

Oh yeah, and as I’m sure you surmised from the title, my hands still smell like pomegranate. They’re down by my keyboard and I can smell them from … up here. You know, by my face.

Can’t say the fruit bar didn’t leave an impression.

———

Ingredients: Apples, fruit juice concentrate (apple, pomegranate, blueberry, lemon), oligofructose, oat fiber, natural flavor, vegetable juice (black carrot, red cabbage) for color and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Price: $2.49 at Target.
Pros: The first few chews taste like pomegranate.
Cons: All subsequent chews negate the deliciousness of the first few. You have been warned.

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Oh, baby, baby

2 04 2011

When I was little, I loved food so much that I wore it on my face.

Baby food, that is. Mind you, I was really little.

Actually, that part’s not entirely true. When my little sisters were born and my mom fed them baby food, I always begged for a taste. I was … well, two years old, and then five years old. Don’t judge. That plum stuff is amazing, by the way. Oh, and the carrots.

Anyway, when I was meandering through Sprouts the other day, I was certain I’d find something blogworthy. It is Sprouts, after all. But after a good 20 minutes of searching, I nearly gave up … until I spotted the organic baby-food section.

I had brought my boyfriend along (I’m a codependent shopper), and he protested that blogging on baby food is most definitely cheating. It’s not really food, he said. My argument was that if it’s not really food, what on earth are we feeding to all the babies in the world? Soylent Green?

There was a ton of baby food in those little jars, but what caught my eye were the tubes full of mush. I don’t think I’d ever seen baby food in tubes before. I guess if you’re marketing organic food these days, you have to be a little more creative than just stamping “organic” on your packaging.

There were several to chose from, most of which were fairly normal (bananas, strawberries, carrots…), but I grabbed the most interesting one: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apples and blueberries.

Is that even a combination? What are we feeding our children?

Checking out was interesting, as it usually is when I’m standing in line with a single strange food item. The looks I get are usually priceless. And uncomfortable. This time, I also bought a bag of organic cheese puffs for good measure, but I really doubt that helped my case any.

What really didn’t help my case was that I’d brought my poor boyfriend along. The cashier and the bag lady (I probably can’t call her that, can I?) were chatting it up about how my choice of baby food was an interesting one, and the bag lady — or whatever you want to call her — said she feeds it to her nephew all the time. I’m guessing the assumption was that I was buying it for my boyfriend’s and my nonexistent child. I couldn’t decide whether telling them I was going to eat it myself would make the situation any more awkward. Probably.

I stuck it in the refrigerator when I got it home, since the package said it tastes good warm or cold. There was no “lukewarm” option, even though that’s how I always ate my baby food. Maybe this means my parents didn’t really love me. Maybe I had a dysfunctional childhood without even knowing it.

The whole tubelike-package thing proved to be kind of cool. The cap twists off and you can squirt the baby food out, and it’s resealable. I’m guessing the idea is to squirt it into a bowl and then feed it to your baby, but if it were me, I’d go spoonless and just do it bottle-style. It would save on dishes.

Of course, for the purpose of the blog, I wanted to see what it looked like, so I had to put it in a bowl. That may have been a mistake. I’m not sure how to put this delicately, so I’ll just say it: It looked exactly like baby diarrhea.

Maybe the idea was to have it look the same going in as it does coming out so babies don’t have to bother with that pesky little thing called digestion.

Plus, I guess babies don’t care what their food looks like. That’s probably a good thing.

It’s probably also a good thing that they’re generally not picky about smell, because this stuff stank of putrid bananas. Why bananas, you ask? That’s what I was wondering. I was more than a little worried as I brought the spoon up to my mouth.

The first bite was a little shocking. It definitely didn’t taste good. But by the same token, it was more interesting than bad — or maybe it was interesting because it was so terrible, like those B-list horror movies with misspellings on the cover and blood that looks like ketchup. At any rate, one bite wasn’t enough to decide what I thought. So I took another … and another…

Would you believe me if I told you I could taste every fruit mentioned in there? Pumpkins and sweet potatoes … kind of indiscernible, but check. Apples, check. Blueberries, check. This was crazy stuff.

I’m still not sure about that combination of flavors. In fact, if I didn’t focus on trying to pick out a specific flavor, the stuff kind of tasted like rotting bananas. (Again, I have no idea why.) I certainly wouldn’t sit there chowing down on it for lunch. But then again, I’m not a baby.

Maybe babies have underdeveloped taste buds, or maybe they just don’t care, kind of like dogs. Whatever the case, this stuff is definitely all-natural, and it’s really good for you. Er, for babies. And if you can muscle past the initial gag reflex and focus on how good it is for you, it’s not actually half bad.

I’m not saying I’m going to finish the stuff, because I’m not. I maintain that sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apples and blueberries should not go together in any context, kind of like blue and orange. But if I ever have a baby (someday far, far down the road) and I need to buy baby food, this stuff’s chock-full of healthiness. I just won’t be partaking in the meal. Not this time.


———-

Ingredients: Organic fruit and vegetable puree (apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, blueberries) and organic lemon juice.
Price: $1.49 at Sprouts
Pros: Healthy. Like, really healthy. It’s like putting a bunch of random healthy food in the blender and feeding it to your baby. It’s also much better for babies than Clamato juice.
Cons: It’s for babies. You and your more-sensitive taste buds probably don’t want to eat it.








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