Saturday, September 24, 2022

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Two Polish/American Vegetables

      Today's post was another random find, which I discovered while shopping for regular old veggies a few months ago.  I happened to read some labels on some cans and jars nearby, and lo and behold, I saw that a couple of them were actually products of Poland.  Granted, the two examples were common foods, but since they were made and processed in another country I counted that as good enough.  Anyway, these were from the Pkl'd brand, their pickles (as in pickled cucumbers) and their sauerkraut.

     As usual, after trying them I went online, trying to get some background and information about the manufacturer.  And man, was that difficult.  This is one of the bigger mysteries I've encountered for this blog--not quite Kijafa liquor (see my June 5, 2021 post for more on that), but up there.  Because as far as I can tell, Pkl'd, or its parent company T'sty Brands Inc., doesn't have even a terse website, such as one which is just a product list and what stores stock them.  There's a website listed on the jars, but it led me to a message that concluded with "still being worked on.  Check back later.".  I couldn't find anything, not even a Facebook page.  It also was unfortunate that these folks chose one of the most generic company names--not shockingly many other businesses use "tasty brands," as their title.  (Even, oddly, a clothing line--I guess they're using "tasty" with a different meaning.)  The only info I could get was from other websites.  Some of these were mostly unhelpful, listing the calorie and nutritional details from one of their products.  Others gave some better background, but just a little bit.  For example, I learned that the brand name Pkl'd was registered as a trademark in March of 2019.  Three folks with the same surname were listed as director or officers--Anna Witek, Andrzej Witek, and Kryzysztof Witek.  (Although the first two were then listed as being removed a couple of years later.)  The company was said to be makers of meat, fish, poultry, game meat, meat extracts, dried and cooked fruit and vegetables, jellies, jams, sauces, eggs, milk, milk products, and edible oils and fats.  Another website, Buzzfile, gave an address, phone number, and a different list of executives--Andrzej Witek is the President, Krzysztof Witek is the Vice President, and Anna Witek is the Secretary.  Supposedly T'sty Brands was incorporated in November of 2017.  It also, amazingly, had an incredibly exact company annual revenue, of (allegedly), $367,688.  (What, no cents?!  How imprecise!)  The Connecticut address had an apartment number, and claimed the number of employees was 2.  Anyway, this information made it look like this company is still a very small business, perhaps working out of an apartment that's also a residence.  And probably needless to say, I could find absolutely nothing about what facility the foods are processed in back in Poland, or where they're grown, etc.  So I guess we're going old school, and the food itself is the only selling point, bereft of any online help as of now.

T'sty Brands, Inc., P'kld pickles:  These were small, gherkin-style pickles--about 2.5 to 3 inches long (about 7-8 cm.), with a diameter of about .75 inches (about 2 cm.).  Typical green color, with the warty bumps that are usually on gherkins.  Some vinegar-y odor.  I tried some plain, and they tasted like a regular sour gherkin.  Not the best pickle I've ever had, but not the worst either.  Solid, but not memorable.  I also tried some on a sub (aka hoagie) roll, with some beets and some of the P'kld sauerkraut.  This combo was okay, I guess.  All in all these were average pickles.  Additionally, for more information about gherkins, see my post on cornichons from February 17, 2016.

T'sty Brands, Inc., P'kld sauerkraut:  Again, the look was what I expected--shredded bits of yellow cabbage.  Smelled like vinegar.  As I mentioned for the pickles, I tried this on a roll with the pickles and some beets, and the results were okay.  Plain, it tasted like regular sauerkraut.  I'm kind of ambivalent about sauerkraut in general--it's alright on certain things, like hot dogs, but if it's not there I don't really miss it that much.  Plain this sauerkraut also tasted about the same as any sauerkraut.  It was better on the roll with the other things, but I can't say it was great or anything.

     In conclusion, if you enjoy pickles, and/or sauerkraut, P'kld's take on them will probably do just fine.  I was a tad disappointed, though.  I was kind of hoping that Polish style versions would be markedly different and special.   Like say, the subject of my May 1, 2021 post, about Cleveland Kitchen's sauerkrauts, including their take on Korean kimchi.  (That post also has some history about sauerkraut itself, if you're curious.)  

     As a preview, October is coming up soon.  Since it's Scary Month, I'll be posting about several classic horror movies, along with some other Halloween-ish themes.  And yes, at least one will be about a topical food or beverage.  Plus, obviously, detail about two publications that will feature my writing--the "Death's Garden Revisited" book, and the October issue of  "InD'tale."


Saturday, September 17, 2022

New Issue of InD'tale is Out!


     As the title says, the September issue of InD'tale is out.  (Actually, it's been out for about two weeks--I forgot to post this on time.  Oops.)  Anyway, as in the past few issues, one of my articles is included, as you can see above.  Thanks as usual to Editor/Owner TJ Mackay, as well as to Executive Editor Katy Nelsen.  This month's features include articles by Tamara Cribley, S.L. Carpenter, Julie L. York, Grace Draven, and Breakfield & Burkey.   There are also interviews with authors Lucy Score and Kate Archer.  Along with the usual book reviews.  Here's the address:

     So head on over, and enjoy some free reading!  

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--A South American Meal

      About a month ago, on August 6, 2022 to be exact, I discussed a Nigerian meal I had while visiting a friend who lives in the Washington, D.C. area (Hi Dan, once again).  Well, we didn't just have the one exotic meal--we also got take out from Kumbia, a restaurant in Rockville, Maryland.  To be specific, I had the saltena appetizer, and the guatita entree.

    As so often happens, especially lately, it seems, the official Kumbia website was rather terse.  It essentially featured a list of their food and drinks, and then a link to their online ordering setup.  However, there were a few newspaper articles about it, so I was able to get some history about the place.  One of their co-founders, Steven Tobar, was until recently employed at the Cuban restaurant Cuba Libre.  He also enjoyed a local Spanish restaurant/bar/nightclub called La Tasca.  Alas, La Tasca was one of the many businesses that suffered during the COVID pandemic, and it closed in 2020.  Therefore, Tobar decided to open his own restaurant/bar/nightclub.  Tobar is Ecuadorian in heritage, and a friend of his, Alejandro Stoto, is Guatemalan.  The two decided not to specialize in one particular nation's cuisine, but instead make things a bit more diverse.  And so, their establishment serves food from throughout South America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador.  They chose a name inspired by a Latin American musical style similar to reggae and salsa, called cumbia.  (Obviously they changed the spelling a little.)  As is the case with the Nigerian restaurant I recently spoke about (Eko House), Kumbia is brand new, having opened on March 19, 2022.  Unlike Eko, Kumbia's hours of operation are much more extensive, as it's open 7 days a week, and closes at 2 am. on weekend nights.

     Saltena is a traditional Bolivian dish, which is a type of baked empanada, that's filled with either beef, chicken, or pork, along with potatoes, raisins, olives, and a sweet and spicy sauce.  (The sauce is inside the pouches, too, not just poured over it.)  Oddly the precise inventor of this food is apparently known, at least according to historian Antonio Paredes Candia.  He credits Juana Manuela Gorriti with creating it, in the early 19th century.  Gorriti was an interesting lady aside from her culinary skills.  She was a battlefield nurse, writer, and feminist, and was also married to the Bolivan President Manuel Isidoro Belzu during the mid 1800's.  The name Saltena is because Gorriti was from the Salta region of Argentina originally.  Saltena is often considered a snack food, and as such is a common offering of street vendors.  Each region of Bolivia has their own variant of saltena.  There is also a vegetarian version.

    Guatita is a national dish of Ecuador.  It uses tripe (stomach) that has been cleaned in lemon juice brine, cooked until tender, cooled, and then chopped up and cooked again in a stew.  Traditionally the other ingredients of the stew include potatoes, and the resulting mixture is then covered in a peanut sauce.  The vegetarian kind uses wheat gluten instead of tripe.  (I didn't see a vegetarian and non-gluten variant listed, so I guess if you have celiac disease and are vegetarian, you're out of luck on this particular dish, unless you want to invent something on your own.)  Guatita is also thought to be a good food to treat hangovers with, which is why it's often served on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  For more information about tripe, please consult one of my earliest posts, on July 3, 2012.


Kumbia restaurant, saltena appetizer:  These looked kind of like pouches, with beef, peppers, and potatoes inside them.  Also there was the gravy, which was brownish.  It made eating them a little tricky, as you had to bite them at the top so the gravy didn't pour out.  There was also a tomato based sauce to put on them.  All in all, the beef was decent, and these were a good appetizer.  They kind of reminded me of Indian style samosas.

Kumbia restaurant, guatita entree:  This was pieces of beef tripe with potatoes, sweet plantains, and avocados, covered in a peanut sauce.  The tripe was spongy in texture, as it usually is.  I'm a fan of plantains, so they were a nice addition.  Overall it was okay, but a bit bland.  However, I had some of the Nigerian gizdodo (see my post on August 6, 2022) left, with its spicy tomato-y sauce.  I put that on the guatita, and that improved things significantly, as the spice bite meshed well with the tripe.  So without the spicy gizdodo it was only mediocre, but with it the result was pretty good.  Finally, I can't confirm whether or not guatita is good for hangovers, as I wasn't suffering from one when I tried it.

     Although I obviously didn't try these, Kumbia does serve several other items that I've covered before on the blog.  Namely, the Colombian drink aguardiente (see my post on January 9, 2021), and chicharrones (pork rinds, and see the March 13, 2021 post).  Due to the continuing pandemic, we did not eat inside Kumbia, so I can't comment on its atmosphere and artwork, service, or musical entertainment.  Overall, I would give it a 4.0 out of 5.0 rating.  Or, a definite recommend, especially if you want to have some South American cuisine.  I'd certainly be willing to eat there again, presumably on a future visit with my friend.  For the record, online the Google reviews for Kumbia were an average of 4.7 out of 5.0, on 82 reviews, and Yelp had them at 4.5 out of 5.0 on 21 reviews.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--A German Fig Liqueur

      It's booze time again!  This was another random find, which I noticed while shopping at one of my local liquor stores.  First, I saw it was flavored with figs, which is a liquor type I've never had before.  Second, when I picked up the bottle I read it was made in Germany.  So that sold it--a new kind of beverage, and from another country to boot.  The name of this drink was Kleiner Feigling, The Original, and it was made by the Waldemar Behn company.

     Waldemar Behn GmbH was created by a German man in 1892, who was not coincidently named Waldemar Behn.  This company, which usually goes by BEHN for short, started off by selling other folk's alcoholic beverages.  However, in the 1950's it started making its own.  These products were enough to keep the business going, but it wasn't until 1992 that BEHN saw one of its own brands become really popular.  This was Kleiner Feigling.  Which is a play on words, as in German "feige" can refer to figs, or to being cowardly.  So the brand translates into "Little Coward."  This is also the name of the brand's logo character.  Who is, like the Billy Idol song, or the fun old horror movie that song was based on, eyes without a face.  Two kind of crossed eyes, on a field of black, with apparent fear perspiration drops coming off the invisible, or incorporeal head of Little Coward.  All of the Kleiner Feigling drinks are made from vodka that's then infused with various flavors.  The original is fig-based, but other kinds include magic mango, red berry sour, coco biscuit, cherry-banana, bubble gum, licorice, strawberry colada, cookie vanilla, and green lemon.  Their alcohol content is mid-range, either 15% or 20% (30 or 40 proof).  These drinks are often sold in tiny 20 mL bottles, or basically, single shots.  Consumers have a custom of tipping the bottle upside down and then tapping the cap, to cause bubbles to form before the beverage is imbibed.  Kleiner Feigling was prominently advertised at the (now discontinued) German Love Parade, as well as being on the trunks of Hall of Fame boxers like Wladimir Klischko and Virgil Hill.  BEHN has many other brands as well.  Some of the more popular ones are Andalo (flavored with sea buckthorn), Dooley's (a cream liqueur), and Danzka, a Danish-made vodka that BEHN acquired in 2013.

Kleiner Feigling, The Original, natural fig liqueur:  Had a discernable and pleasant fig-y odor.  The taste was good--nice and fruity.  A bit strong, but not like a typical hard liquor, which makes sense since they're usually double the alcohol content.  I didn't enjoy it as much as the creme de cassis (see my post on August 21, 2021 for more information on that drink), but it was still solid, better than average.  Overall it was fun to try a liquor flavored with a different kind of fruit.  Also, I had mine plain, but others mix it with other liquids as a cocktail, or over ice.  And I didn't do the "flip it over and tap the cap to cause bubbles before drinking" tradition, since I hadn't heard about that until after I finished the bottle.  Therefore, I would recommend this for folks looking to try something new in a fruity liqueur.  Unless you hate figs, I guess.  I'll look for other Kleiner Feigling flavors as well.

     BEHN is based out of the small seaside town of Eckernforde.  Which, despite its size, has had a couple of famous denizens.  Olympic medalist Ruth Halbsguth was born here.  She won a silver medal in the women's 4 X 100 meter freestyle swimming event in the 1936 Summer Games.  Count Saint Germain  (1712-84) was buried here, until flooding destroyed his grave  in 1872.  The Count was a very colorful fellow.  He was renowned as a chemist, musician, diplomat, probable spy, adventurer, etc., and enjoyed the patronage of many royals of his day, because they found him endlessly fascinating and entertaining.  He might have been born in Transylvania, but nobody's really sure.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Canadian Granola Bars

     Very often the topics of my odd food or drink posts are unfamiliar to me--not just the manufacturer, but the type of food or drink itself.  This is not of those instances.  As I've surely mentioned before, in my decades in the outdoors as a field archaeologist I ate thousands of granola-type bars for my lunches, and frequently also for breakfasts, too.  They were perfect.  Portable, tasty, and with enough energy and sometimes electrolytes to enable me to complete a hard day's work.  So if I'm not an expert on granola-type bars, I'm at least a highly educated consumer.  Today's bars came from the Made Good brand, out of Ontario, Canada.  Specifically their chocolate drizzled birthday cake kind, and their mixed berry one.

     Made Good is just one of the product lines from Riverside Natural Foods, Inc.  Riverside is yet another example of a company that holds back quite a bit of background information about the company's history, and its founders on their official website.  Therefore, I had to consult other online sources to find out basic information such as the founders' surnames, and the start date.  Anyway, Riverside began in 2013, when siblings Nima, Salma, and Sahba Fotovat joined together to make a healthy, allergen-free food company.  Their inspiration is listed as being the frustrating lack of allergen-free products available when Nima's son was first going to school.  (Evidently he had/has food allergies.)  Food manufacturing wasn't unusual to the Fotovats, since their father had run his own company of this sort previously, after immigrating to Canada.  (An article by a person claiming to be a friend of Sahba's said the Fotovats immigrated from Iran, in 1988, and that their father was Moe, which I'm guessing is a nickname.)  Currently Nima is the company president, Salma is the sourcing and procurement director, and Sahba is director of operations.  Aside from Made Good, the other Riverside lines are the Good to Go one (which has snack foods), and Cookie Pal (which is pet treats).  The Made Good foods avoid using peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, sesame, fish, and shellfish, which evidently are the most common food allergens.  Made Good's wares are also organic, certified vegan, kosher, and free of GMOs.  Riverside claims that its facility is the only organic and allergen-free one in all of Canada, as well.  Additionally, Riverside proudly touts its B Corporation status, which is likened to a Fair Trade designation.  Other than granola bars, the Made Good line includes granola minis, cookies, crackers, crispy squares, and light granola.  I also saw they sometimes use agave as a sweetener--see my post on September 13, 2015 for more information on that substance.  As of now, Made Good products are sold across Canada and the U.S.

Made Good mixed berry granola bar:  These were smallish bars, being about 3.5 inches by 1 inch by 5/8 of an inch (or about 9 cm. by 2.5 cm. by 1.5 cm.), with visible grains and fruit chunks pressed into it.  The texture was a little sticky.  The taste was rather bland and boring.  Not as good as the average granola bars I've had.  I suspect the lack of sugar probably was the main culprit.  Not terrible or anything, just disappointing.

Made Good chocolate drizzled birthday cake granola bar.  Same size and shape as the mixed berry one.  It looked different, though.  This one had tiny red, blue, and purple circles pressed into the grains, with streaks and stripes of chocolate overtop.  Pleasant chocolate-y odor.  Better than the berry kind, the chocolate certainly helps.  I guess (?) it had a cake-like flavor.  Still not great.  Kind of okay to good.

     In conclusion, then, I thought the mixed berry bar was forgettable, and the chocolate drizzled birthday cake one was mediocre at best.  Maybe some of the other flavors are better.  So I guess if you suffer from severe food allergies these might be an acceptable alternative, but if you don't, I'd stick with the regular, allergen-containing, tastier granola-type bars like those made by Nature Valley, Quaker Oats, Clif Bars, etc.  I feel oddly guilty about admitting this, however, since the folks at Riverside seem to have their hearts in the right place, seem to really care about health, allergies, the environment, and social issues.  But the reality is that common food allergens make for flavorful edibles.  If you're fortunate enough to not have these medical conditions, why settle for something inferior?



Saturday, August 20, 2022

Extremely Difficult Trivia About "The Lost Boys" (1987)

      Thought I'd take a break from writing about strange foods and drinks, and do another movie trivia quiz.  This one is about "The Lost Boys," the 1987 horror/comedy about vampires.  One of the best vampire movies ever, in my opinion--it's fairly family friendly, but also brings the goods on the intense, scary aspects.  As always, these are unimportant details, of interest only to other obsessive fans.  SPOILERS abound, clearly, so be forewarned if you haven't seen the movie yet.  And if you haven't, you really should--sure, some of the clothing styles and cultural references are dated, but the core of the movie is pretty timeless, I think.  Questions first, followed by the answers below.


1)    What U.S. state is the fictional town of Santa Carla located in? 

2)    Where are Lucy, Michael, and Sam coming from?

3)    What famous horror movie do Sam and Michael mention as they observe Grandpa's house for the first time?

4)    True or false?  Lucy is a widow.

5)    Grandpa says the 2nd shelf in the refrigerator is his alone.  What three products are on it, according to what he says, and what we can see?

6)    What season, and year is the movie set?

7)    What is the name of the temporarily lost boy that Lucy helps, impressing Max upon their first meeting inside his video rental store?

8)    What type of comic book does Sam first pick up in the Frog's comic book store?

9)    What particular comic book does Sam say he's looking for?

10)   What type of comic books does Sam say are racked incorrectly?

11)   What two horror comics do the Frog brothers push Sam to read?

12)   As the 6 young vampires/leave the boardwalk, Star sits behind David on his motorcycle.  Which vampire gives little kid vamp Laddie a ride on the back of his motorcycle?

13)   A couple are attacked by the vampires while in their car.  The woman is reading a stolen comic book just before, resisting her boyfriend's attempts to make out.  What is this comic?

14)   What is the license plate for Grandpa's classic blue and white car?

15)   After they make eyes at each other at the outdoor music concert, Star then approaches and talks to Michael the next night.  What does she first say to Michael?

16)   According to Michael, his hippie parents almost named him what?

17)   David challenges Michael to ride his motorcycle with them to what Santa Carla landmark?

18)   What vampire does David send to get food, and later, the bottle of vampire blood?

19)   Grandpa gives Sam several taxidermied animals, much to Sam's chagrin.  What is the first one?

20)   What movie poster is seen on the walls of Sam's bedroom?

21)   On Sam's closet door is a beefcake poster of what celebrity?

22)   What is the surname of the Lucy, Michael, and Sam family?  (It's said only once in the movie, by David.)

23)   What does Sam suggest that Grandpa use as an unconventional aftershave?

24)   Who is Grandpa visiting, and apparently dating?

25)   What brand of milk does Michael spill all over the kitchen floor?

26)   What song is Sam listening to, and singing along with in the bath, while his brother contemplates attacking him?

27)   Nanook bites Michael before he can attack Sam in the bath.  Where is the resulting wound on Michael?

28)   The Frog brothers ask Sam 4 questions to determine if Michael is a vampire.  What are they?

29)   According to the missing child picture and information on the spilled milk container, what is Laddie's last name?

30)   In addition to vampires, the Frog brothers suspect what two other supernatural creatures occupy high posts at City Hall?

31)   According to Lucy, how long ago did Grandpa's wife (her mom) die?

32)   What 4 things do the Frog brothers and Sam do to test whether or not Max is a vampire at the dinner?

33)   What song are the beach surfer punks listening to as the vampires attack them?

34)   True or false?  By the end of the movie, the only member of the family not to have an earring is Grandpa.   

35)   Which vampire is killed first?

36)   The Frog brothers say when vampires die, no two of them do so in the same way.  What 4 reactions do they mention?

37)   What vampire do we see enter Grandpa's house via the chimney?

38)   What song plays as the arrow impales Dwayne into the stereo, causing his death?

39)   According to Edgar Frog, what famous musician or band does the blonde vampire (Paul) resemble?

40)   A famous television show is referenced twice in the film, once verbally, and once as a wall hanging.  Name it.

41)   Who kills each vampire, and how?

42)   According to Max, how come the dinnertime tests didn't reveal him to be a vampire?  (See Question #32)

43)   What make and model is Grandpa's classic blue and white car?

44)   What was Max's ultimate plan?

45)   Knowing this plan, why did David instruct Star to dispatch Michael for her first kill?

46)   If David, Dwayne, Paul, and Marko are Max's "children," why do they live in the cave/collapsed hotel, and not at his house?

47)   How many horses do we see in Grandpa's field?

48)   What day of the week does the TV Guide arrive at Grandpa's house?



1)    California.  You can see the state flag on the top of the roller coaster, and from vehicle license plates.

2)    Phoenix, Arizona.

3)    "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974).

4)    False, she's divorced.

5)    Root beer, double thick Oreo cookies, and something called Peanut Butter Boppers.

6)    It's clearly summer, as Michael, Sam, and all other kids aren't in school, and aren't truant.  A flyer on a bulletin board indicates an upcoming event on September 10-15, 1985.  But, one of the songs in the movie wasn't released until July 4th, 1986 and the movie poster on Sam's wall was also a 1986 release.  (See Question #33.)  So all in all, probably July or August of 1986.  

7)    Terry.

8)    A Spiderman comic.

9)    Batman Number 14.  Edgar says only 5 exist, while Sam says 4, and that he owns one.  (In reality, according to the internet, Batman 14 is very rare, but there's more than 4 or 5, and other Batman issues are rarer and more valuable.)

10)   Their collection of Superman comics.  A 77 is with the 200's, and a 98 is with the 300's.

11)   "Vampires Everywhere," and "Destroy All Vampires."  (Both fictitious.)

12)   Dwayne, the vampire with longish dark hair.  Don't recall his name?  It's never spoken, but is in the credits.

13)   It's a "Sad Sack," specifically No. 219 from March of 1971.  Which Shelly seems very amused by.

14)   57 FLIP.

15)   He's by the ear piercing station, and Star says it's a rip off, and she's willing to pierce Michael's ear herself.

16)   Moonbeam, or Moonchild, or something like that.

17)   Hudson's Bluff, overlooking the point.

18)   Marko, the smallest vampire, played by "Bill & Ted's" Alex Winter.

19)   It appears to be a woodchuck.

20)   "Reform School Girls," which also came out in 1986.

21)   Rob Lowe.  This is one of several, shall we say, homoerotic overtones in the movie.

22)   Emerson.

23)   Windex cleaner.

24)   The Widow Johnson.

25)   Carnation, which is a real brand.

26)   "Ain't Got No Home," performed by Clarence "Frogman" Henry in 1956.

27)   Michael's left hand.

28)   Does he sleep a lot?  Does the sunlight freak him out?  Does he have bad breath?  Long fingernails?  Sam answers "yes" to all of these, although he says Michael always had bad breath.  Also, I couldn't help but notice that the Frog's parents, seen a couple of times, are always seen wearing sunglasses inside, and apparently sleeping.

29)   Thompson.

30)   Ghouls and werewolves.

31)   8 years ago.

32)   They feed him garlic while telling him it's parmesan cheese, they dump holy water in his lap, they turn off the lights to see if he glows, and then they put a mirror up to his face to see if he casts a reflection.

33)   Run DMC and Aerosmith's hip hop cover/remix of "Walk This Way."

34)   True.  

35)   Marko.

36)   Some yell and scream, some go quietly, some explode, some implode.  Interestingly, the vampire deaths in the movie arguably represent these reactions--Marko and Max yell and scream, David goes quietly, Dwayne explodes, and Paul kind of implodes, causing the water pipes in the house to all back up and burst.

37)   Dwayne.

38)   "Good Times," a cover of the original 1968 Easybeats song, performed this time by INXS and Jimmy Barnes.

39)   He calls him Twisted Sister, presumably meaning that band's long haired blonde singer Dee Snider.

40)   "The Munsters."  Laddie is compared to Eddie Munster by the Frogs, and a poster for the 1966 movie "Munster, Go Home" featuring the TV cast, is on the wall in the vampire's cave/sunken hotel lair.  You can see it during the maggot/worm eating scene.

41)   Edgar Frog stakes Marko, Nanook the dog pushed Paul into the bathtub which contains holy water, Sam shoots an arrow into Dwayne, sending him into the stereo, Michael impales David on the animal antlers on Grandpa's wall, and Grandpa crashes his truck into the house, sending a fencepost into Max's chest.  So of the full humans only Alan Frog and Lucy don't kill a vampire, and of course half-vampires Star and Laddie don't kill anyone.

42)   He says when you invite a vampire into your residence you lose all power over them.  Which is problematic, since the holy water later works on Paul, and sharp objects to the chest destroy Dwayne, David, and Max.  But whatever.

43)   It's a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, with a retractable hardtop (51A).

44)   He wanted to merge the two families into one big vampire family, with Lucy serving as the mother of the group and he the father.  He figured it would be easier if her children were vampires first.  So presumably he ordered David to use Star as bait for Michael, who would then bite and turn Sam, etc.

45)  Obviously Star can't bring herself to kill Michael, and they have sex instead.  But, why the order?  It doesn't make a lot of sense.  Unless David was sure she wouldn't kill Michael, but again, why take the chance?  Maybe he thought Michael would overpower Star and kill her?  Or maybe he's secretly jealous, so he wants Michael out of the way?  David's taking a big risk, since if Michael is killed (and not turned into a vampire), this makes it much more unlikely that Lucy will become their "mother," meaning Max will be furious.  Just spitballing here--I'd welcome other theories.  

46)   It's not explained, but maybe David and the boys are rebelling, which might be why Max is so anxious to get a "Mom" to help keep them in line.  Or maybe Max thinks it's safer if their clan isn't all sleeping in one place? 

47)   Three.

48)   Wednesday.

49)   If the shirtless, greased up saxophone player and singer Timmy Cappello can't make you believe, I don't know what, or who can!




Saturday, August 13, 2022

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Thai/Japanese Baby Corn

      We're back to some canned veggies today.  When I looked at the label I naturally thought it was Japanese, since the brand name was of a Japanese cultural aspect, geishas.  However, the actual corn came from Thailand.  Which should explain the title of this post.  Also, it wasn't regular, "adult" corn, but baby corn instead.

     I know I often complain that a particular manufacturing company doesn't include any history about themselves on their official websites, leaving me only other, non-official online sources, or sometimes, nothing of consequence.  But today's topic is a little different, in that there is some admittedly detailed information, but at the same time other important data is missing.  So there we are.  The label on the can I bought notes that Geisha is "a tradition of quality since 1912."  More specifically, the website mentions that the Japanese Nozaki Bros. & Ltd. company started selling fresh lobster via mail order to buyers in Boston and Chicago in the U.S. in 1911.  In the following year they registered the trademark "Geisha" as a brand.  By 1929 Geisha also starting marketing canned oranges to American customers, and in 1930 canned tuna.  Alas, politics and war made a mark on the company.  In 1943, in the depths of World War II, the Geisha brand was confiscated by the Bureau of Enemy Property, and the American wing of Nozaki Bros. was forced to close.  Then, after the war's end, in 1948, Nozaki was allowed to resume some private trading in the U.S., but had to pay royalties to use their former Geisha brand name.  Then, in 1963 the Geisha brand was finally returned to Nozaki completely.  Although it took until 1984 for all of the company's books and records to be returned to Nozaki.  Back to food details, in 1971 Geisha began selling frozen seafood, and then in 1989 they began marketing canned vegetables.  However, at some unspecified point Nozaki was evidently bought out by another Japanese company, Kawasho Foods.  Since Kawasho started in 2004, it was therefore somewhat recently.  Anyway, Kawasho also sells foods in Malaysia using the brand name King Cup, and sells beer in Korea under the Prime Draft label.  Kawasho's current President is Yasunori Hayashi.  One final tidbit--a non-official website claims that Geisha was actually founded in 1893.  So if this is true the 1912 date may only be for exporting to the U.S., and Nozaki's true founding date would then be at least 19 years earlier.  Aside from baby corn Geisha's products include canned seafood (such as crab meat, shrimp, scallops, and octopus), canned fruit (including oranges, pineapples, and fruit salad), canned vegetables (like mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bamboo), and other assorted wares, such as wasabi peas, tofu stew, and sesame oils.  Additionally, in the future they will be selling a line of non-meat, pseudo tuna, named tuuna to differentiate it.

     As I learned, baby corn itself is kind of what the name implies.  It's corn that's been harvested a bit early, with tiny little kernels and a soft, edible cob.  Some baby corn is just from regular corn species, and sometimes it's species specifically intended to be harvested early.  Or, put another way, for the former some individual corn cobs are harvested early, while others are allowed to mature, while for the latter pretty much the whole crop is taken early, and none are left to become adult cobs.  Baby corn is typically eaten whole, cobs and all, either raw or cooked.  It's a common component of stir fries, for example.  An average baby corn measures about 4.5 cm. to 10 cm.  (or about 2 inches to 4 inches) in length.  Most versions tend to be yellow in color, but some are white, blue, or even pink.

Geisha whole baby corn:  The individual pieces were yellow, and looked like smaller versions of regular corn.  Little to no odor.  They were about 10 cm. (about 4 inches), in length, with correspondingly tiny kernels.  I tried them in several different ways.  I should also preface this by saying I'm not a big fan of corn in general, dating back to a childhood incident when I got violently sick after eating some.  (It was a coincidence, and not a food allergy or anything.)  In short, I like some corn-based foods, such as corn chips, taco shells, or corn bread, but not corn on the cob, or removed corn kernels.

plain:  Just okay.  The fact that I could even eat these was actually a bit of an endorsement for baby corn, as I got into above.  Overall they were chewy, but bland.

With Smart Ones Santa Fe rice and beans microwaved frozen meal:  Better with the meal's sauce, and the beans and rice.  Still rather crunchy. A decent pairing.

With Smart Ones mini rigatoni with vodka cream sauce microwaved frozen meal:  Better than I thought it would be, but still kind of weird.  Strange texture pairing, with the soft pasta and crunchy corn.  Plus the flavor pairing didn't work as well as the rice and beans meal.

With Smart Ones 3 cheese ziti marinara microwaved frozen meal:  Kind of similar, crunchy.  Alright, but I wouldn't really miss the baby corn if it was absent.  It's still clearly better than adult corn, but far from great or anything.

With various Japanese/Chinese dishes:  Over the decades I've had baby corn in many meals served professionally, usually with rice, water chestnuts, onions, broccoli, chicken, lobster, etc., often topped with a brown, soy-based sauce.  Obviously these meals (I hope!) didn't use a canned baby corn brand like Geisha, but presumably fresh baby corn.  I include it to give a more complete view of my opinions on baby corn in general.  In this mix the baby corn works out decently, as it is paired nicely with the other vegetables and meat.

     In summation, ultimately, baby corn in my opinion is superior to adult, regular corn, but still is kind of "meh," average at best.  It's okay mixed in with some other veggies and/or meat dishes, but I can't say I'd really miss it that much if it wasn't included.  Therefore, if you like adult corn in general, and baby corn specifically, Geisha baby corn will probably be an acceptable and okay version.  Not as good as fresh, presumably, but a decent sample.  But if you're not a fan of regular or baby corn otherwise, I don't think it will drastically change your mind on the subject.  That said, I would be willing to try other Geisha foods--especially if they're of foods I've historically enjoyed before.

     Finally, like most Americans over the age of 40, whenever I hear about baby corn I invariably think about the funny scene from the 1988 movie "Big," wherein Tom Hanks's character is confused by his first encounter with it at a fancy dinner party, and ridiculously only eats the miniscule kernels off of the tiny cobs.