Vinegar in a Snapple Bottle
It’s strange foods time with The Surfing Pizza! I’ve bought weird foods at the grocery store! I’m going to eat it! I’m going to review it! I’m going to artfully photograph it on the nice plates! Well, we don’t have nice plates. We have Target plates. But the girlfriend registered for nice plates for our wedding. AND THEN WE ARE GOING TO FEAST LIKE KINGS ON THE TEN-DOLLARS-A-PIECE PLATES FROM MACYS.
Ahem. Sorry. I’ve arranged my weird food finds into a five-course meal. First, there will be beverages, then salad, an appetizer, followed by the main course, and dessert. The entire meal will be followed by light vomiting.
It all began with a trip to the local organic market. It always begins that way, doesn’t it? The girlfriend called it the hippie store. But I thought about how hippies are actually cool people, and these were just holier-than-thou vegans. The place is called Mom’s Market, but I guarantee you my own mother has never heard of half this crap. This place carries stuff like fermented soy, flax seed cereal, and effervescent salt. I was raised on ground beef, Jimmy Dean sausages, and the Gorton Fisherman’s popcorn shrimp. We trusted the Gorton Fisherman. He looked like Kenny Rogers.
Our beverage today is Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Honey.
Supposedly, drinking Apple Cider Vinegar is really good for you. Except I can’t find specific information about the benefits—only vague ones like “neutralizes toxins” and “balances pH.” I’m suspicious. My body is not a swimming pool. In fact, it is a highly-evolved organism comprised of complex self-regulating systems. Apparently, drinking vinegar every day will oxidize my blood. Except, you know, my heart pumps to my lungs every second to do THE SAME THING.
This ain’t no Snapple. It’s really fucking vinegar. I just kept thinking, ‘wow, I’m really going to drink vinegar,’ and this thought really upset me. Then I untwisted the lid and—hoo boy. IT SMELLED LIKE VINEGAR. This shouldn’t have shocked me, but I guess I was hoping the product wouldn’t seem like the thing it was. Like how cheesecake doesn’t seem like it’s really cheese.
I poured the drink into a glass and tried to lift the glass to my lips, but my arm felt like a lead weight, unable and unwilling to move. But I pushed forward. I took a sip. It was vinegar, except cut with a globs of honey. I’ve never understood the whole top note/bottom note thing with wine tasting, but suddenly I understood. This has two distinct notes. The first taste is strong, acidic, sour vinegar. The second taste is honey.
It was as truly horrible as it sounds.
Next, for our salad course, is Kelp. Whales eat it and I can too! Exciting. Kelp is a seaweed. According to the packaging, it can be sauteed, roasted, or baked. Of course, it can also be “enjoyed” straight from the bag.
I was surprised by how hard it is. I swear you could sew clothes with dried kelp. It’s very durable and hard to rip. I tried to bite into a stalk of it, but I couldn’t. The taste wasn’t awful. It tasted like the ocean. It was so salty, that after chewing and chewing and chewing the cud of it in my mouth, it was like swallowing sea water.
Cooking it would soften it up. Actually I think it would be decent in a stir-fry. Just add some rooster sauce to that shit and you’d be dining on some kelp and noodles like Free Willy. That sounds awesome. I’m doing it later.
Next, our appetizer, which is not so appetizing.
This is the one I’ve been dreading the most. Canned octopus. This one I did not get at the Natural Market. I found it at the regular grocery store, Giant, in the aisle with the ethnic foods and Old El Paso taco kits. Something in my brain is causing a strong aversion to this without even opening the box, and I think it may have to do with the well-defined tentacles on the dish in the picture.
The ominous easy-open can.
I peeled back the tab.
In my mind, I heard Ringo singing, “I’d like to be under the sea, in an Octopus’ Garden…”
Then I saw them.
There they were, the chunks, glistening under a thin yellow liquid, which revealed themselves to be a pink, fleshy color as I lifted them out by fork. The smell was disgusting. Like cat food. Cat food after it has been vomited up by the cat, which the dog then ate. That is, the smell of re-eaten barfed cat food on the dog’s breath when she came over to kiss me. Yes, I know this smell. You learn a lot in childhood. It’s one of the reasons—life lessons, really—why parents get pets for their kids.
There were no cooking or heating instructions anywhere on the box, so I can only assume and hope to God that this is safe to be consumed straight out of the can.
I fished around in the liquid for the least fleshy piece. As I did this, I noticed the least fleshy piece was also the most gristly, and possibly a leg. I raised the fork to my lips.
I bit in, but I could not proceed to the chew stage. My gag reflex kicked in. And I don’t mean it in a frat boy “dude, I was totally about to puke” kind of way. I mean it in the sense that, as the fork was coming towards my lips, my brain suddenly realized, “OH SHIT,” and sent an emergency distress signal to my stomach.
WARNING. WARNING. STOMACH HAS BEEN NOTIFIED OF INCOMING OCTOPUS CHUCKS. STOMACH WILL REJECT ALL CONTENTS IMMEDIATELY. WARNING.
Remember what I said about the human body being a highly-evolved organism of complex self-regulating systems? My system was REGULATING. So I’m sorry, I cannot report to you how this actually tastes. From what I bit into, I could only taste the yellow garlic liquid, which was the flavor of fishy salt.
The main course is next. Tofurky Pizza. Actually, this is the one I’ve been dreading the most. This is a vegan pizza, meaning it’s also dairy free. The “cheese” is made from tapioca and canola oil. The “pepperoni” is made from brown rice and tofu.
Sorry Tofurky, but I find this pizza extremely offensive. I love life way too much to even call this a pizza. Anything that advertises that the cheese actually MELTS with excitement is not going to be good. I live by that rule.
The first thing I notice about the TP is that it smells exactly like elementary school cafeteria pizza. Huh. This could be interesting. They’ve really loaded up the thing with the gobs of tofurky, or whatever it is.
The verdict – not bad, but also not good. The sauce and pizza crust are acceptable, but the cheese and pepperoni are completely flavorless texture. The problem is, stuff like tofu, brown rice, and tapioca take on the flavors of the things they are prepared with, so the whole thing just tastes like a goopy pizza ball of Italian seasoning. I would recommend this only if you hate life and have no desire to enjoy it through food and drink.
Finally, dessert. Fish Marshmallows.
The gelatin in these marshmallows is derived from fish which makes them kosher. I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about Jewish dietary laws. One time in college, I read an essay written by a Jewish woman about keeping kosher in her kitchen. I had to write an essay exploring the cultural meanings of food, how an act of cooking has implications in post-modern and feminist thought, and how eating is an integral part of one’s understanding of the Self and Other. I totally got an A on that shit.
So at first, I was all like, “ooh marshmallows made from FISH, these are totally going to be weird and FISHY!” But then I thought about how the gelatin in regular marshmallows is made from boiled horse lips, and how they’re not all weird and HORSE LIPPY to me. I realized I was being extremely ethnocentric in my thoughts, and the fish marshmallows were teaching me a lesson.
As an aside for a moment, I’ve been a real jerk today. There was just someone knocking on my front door. I hate dealing with people when I’m by myself. I hid in the kitchen until they went away, thinking it could be a serial killer, the people selling meat out of a truck, or one of those guys with flyers offering to clean my gutters. Or maybe worse—the DOOR TO DOOR HOME SECURITY SALESMAN. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. But finally, I snuck over to the window to peek out, and saw I was only hiding from two old ladies in long skirts, carrying bibles, going door to door. I need to take a good look at myself in the mirror and shift my own implicit understanding of Self and Other.
What the hell does that even mean?
In fact, it’s actually better that the packing lists the exact animal the food is coming from, in this case either perch or tilapia. What if the packaging on regular marshmallows stated that the gelatin was made from the boiled bones and lips of horses and pigs? I would run away screaming. When I really think about it, I’d much rather eat fish marshmallows than horse marshmallows.
But damn it, horse marshmallows are just so fluffy!
And these look kind of gross.
These Kosher marshmallows are not light and airy. They’re sticky, uncomfortably moist, and dense. And my brain kept thinking fish fish fish fish the whole time. I was even disappointed that they did not taste fishy at all. They reminded me of Circus Peanuts—cloying and stale and chewy in an upholstery-like way.
And that’s the end of my meal. And now I have absolutely no appetite for my real lunch.