Twix Fino

Turns out America isn’t the only country with snack foods that pander to feeding the obese, hulking mass of good old fashioned misogyny. I first saw this ovary-themed bar on Jim’s Chocolate Mission, and Keepitcoming Love picked this up for me to review. Let me preface this by telling you something you probably already know. I’m a big girl. I like big foods. I like weird foods. So blahed-up, sized-down versions of snacks like 100 Calorie Packs just don’t turn me on. However, I do like new versions of old classics, so with this in mind, I checked out this candy bar.
As Jim mentioned, the bar was designed as a “healthier” option to expand the brand to the female professional market. In replacing the shortbread cookie layer for a less bottom heavy wafer, it opens worlds of opportunities for insult. Y’know, for when you get bored during those stuffy suit business meetings and just wanna eat an entire pint of ice cream. Amirite, ladies? From the get-go, this sounds like a product that just begs to be backed by a sunny KT Tunstall single and at least one shopping montage. Single professional girl in the city seeks…a lighter future. Fatass.
The Twix Fino isn’t too much lighter, in weight, than the normal Twix, which, for all intensive purposes, will be the UK version. Weighing in at a svelte 38 grams compared to the bulky 50.7 grams of its big sister and clad in a sexy, totally unexpected silver wrapper, the Twix Fino just begs to be seduced in a bar and swept up in the moment of a rom-com later at night. Unwrapped, the bar is flatter and a little wider than the original, but looks like your basic Twix knockoff. The mockolate melts creamily, imparting very little substance or nuances to its flavor, and the caramel was gooey but virtually nonexistent. As for the wafer layer, biting into it, it’s clear that this is just one gigantic laugh at the progress of babymakers everywhere. What’s inside? Empty space. Of course.
Aside from being a walking, edible version of “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” this bar is largely unsuccessful in providing a product that would captivate its target audience. I’m taking liberties and assuming here that the average buyer of these is a smart, working, weight-conscious consumer, with a focus on looking sharp and having a snappy appearance. With a bar that sheds its crumbs everywhere and tastes mainly of sugar cones and mockolate, this is more geared toward Jersey Shore watching, filthy mouthed middle schoolers whose biggest fiscal year quarter end goals are to master the art of the no-handed bleacher blowjob. This bar’s demographic is not looking for a product that cuts corners. We can do better than this.

Crystal Light Mocktails Mojito

As humanity moans and wanks off its average-sized dick, advertisers place a mirror in front of them to satisfy the need for products like cocktail-based mocktail-inspired juice-flavored water and pieces of chocolate that are thinner and sexier than bulky chocolate-based products like the ones in accounting, you know, in the cubicle across from yours with the cat calendars and sassy mugs with neon lettering. And small breasts on a large frame. There, I said it. Prose before hoes.
Of course I’m more focusing on the cocktail-based, mocktail-inspired juice-flavored water, the likes of which is tauted to be so pure to that of its cocktail brethren that its original formula likely fed Nazi troops back in ’39 and mothered a few gorgeous Aryan children. However, Crystal Light Mocktails Mojito, assumes it’s virginal in advertising but in real life, isn’t really sure of its purity, like a girl who writes on Yahoo! Answers asking the masses if she lost her virginity by having sex over the internet. It’s about as mojito-flavored as I’m mojito-flavored, or a tube of Lip Smackers lip gloss for underage alcoholics is. It’s not bad, but it’s not pure, just as this blog isn’t bad, but it’s not Pioneer Woman, either. Whatever. In the immortal words of Lionel Hutz, “This is the most blatant case of false advertising since my suit against The Neverending Story.”
This mojito represents the naked truth of all that is evil on this planet. No joke. I hate it just a little more than I hate Rosie O’Donnell and naked self-portraits, but less than my hatred of the two combined. The racy idea that this is a drink that you can add one shot of booze to for every two quarts is unfathomably lame. Crystal Light doesn’t know that I add scotch to my Cheez-Its, so hardxcore, but no amount of rum or rubbing alcohol can save this. It’s practically fluorescent and smells like a chain smoker’s mouth does post nicotine gum. There is neither hide nor hair of this on the Crystal Light website, meaning they’re probably so embarrassed by this stint in womanly desires that they’ve erased it completely. This may be the last canister of Crystal Light Mocktails out there. eBay, here I come! I want my $5.
TL;DR, it’s repackaged Crystal Light lemonade for women who have lost their way but wound up in the same place. Screw you guys, I’m going home.

Kraft Jet-Puffed Stackermallows

Of all the quintessential summer foods, marshmallows are probably the most classic and the most ambiguous. Call them the Princess Diana of your fantasy summer campfire lineup, a lineup that also includes Redd Fox, Buck Angel, and Jayna from the Wondertwins. Actually, don’t do that, that’s a cry for help if you do so. Especially if you’ve already made marshmallow shaped Bruce Oldfield inspired clothing. You need to be hospitalized, and if you commit a mass murder because of it, my website will get negative press in the newspapers. And lots of traffic. Hateful traffic.

And like Princess Diana, this summer, marshmallows have received a new and somewhat anorexic makeover. Too soon? No? Okay. Because my other joke was something along the lines of, “And speaking of Lady Di, she looks better in the car than she does at fifty,” but that would have been tasteless and inappropriate. No more tasteless than photoshopping that ghastly hat, though! Anyhow, Kraft Jet-Puffed Stackermallows are indeed that, both stackable and marshmallows. They taste like the standard, fleshy innards of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man himself but are now rectangular and flattened.
When Kraft offered to send me these, I was immediately intrigued as with most foods, I like the outside’s surface area to be fairly large so as to have a large amount of space for crust, seasoning, sauce, what have you, so I was fairly excited to try these out. I started using these in the method God wants us to use them in, by cooking them over a makeshift campfire on the gas range. While the marshmallows are optimally designed for room temperature usage, they simply do not hold up to the standard rigors of marshmallow activity. The corners of the Stackermallows are very prone to catching fire, and make it difficult to get an even char on each side. I wouldn’t consider them jet-puffed in their flat form, either.
For the stove, I tested these in five distances from the flame. The first was approximately one inch from the stove, or as I like to call it, “The Evel Knievel.” It can be seen at the 12 o’clock mark on my 14 hour clock. You don’t know me! The distances went up by an inch, culminating in the one furthest from the stove, also known as “The Bedwetter.” With each test, I kept the marshmallow roasting on each side for twenty seconds. On the one inch mark, the marshmallow immediately caught fire instead of broiling quickly like I expected it to and charred not only itself, but the skewer it held as well. It was like watching a crime happen and I felt uncomfortable after. Note that this is the only marshmallow of the entire bunch with an even, albeit charred, cooking.

The two-inch markmallow managed to retain some of its midsection, but the edges, border, and most of its backside, were burnt and gooey. It smelled like caramel but tasted like pain. When I flushed it down the sink, I heard its gurgles of cold relief burbling from the surface. The three inch met a similar fate, its shorter ends curling upwards like the belied surface of a ribcage. It slumped and fell off and ended up cooking on one side only. The four and five inches were indistinguishable as they both cooked only on the edges and still had a soft, powdery midsection. Just like me! The toasting was less of a failure than these.
It was clear that roasting these marshmallows would not have the desired effect, so I turned to my faithful microwave to do the trick in a makeshift s’more out of Newman’s Own Organic hermits, a piece of salted caramel chocolate, and hot honey sauce. No, I wasn’t high. No, I don’t know what I While ten seconds in the microwave was effective for melting, the marshmallow did not retain its flattened shape and instead, melted off the cookie and slumped over. This effect could have been achieved with a regular marshmallow. With the cookie, the hot sauce, and the chocolate, this was a gross s’more, but not as a result of the marshmallow. If you’re looking for value and novelty, pick these up.

T-Fal Actifry

I never imagined my few summer jobs in retail would ever come back to haunt me. For instance, I’ve never been offered a free puppy from one of the two imbeciles who owned the pet store I toiled at for two and a half years, nor have I been offered a free child from any of the summer camps I worked for. However, when I worked for T-Fal last summer, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be offered the flagship product of the very store, the Actifry.The Actifry is the stuff of dreams and reality of the incompetent. Where else could you combine a hairdryer, microwave, and peoples’ dieting hopes and fears and charge $300 for it? People would come in and marvel over the two we had in stock. One couple actually decided not to buy it because it didn’t come with the premeasured oil spoon. It was something that both entranced and scared me.

When I was offered a chance to review the Actifry last week, I immediately accepted. The most lauded recipe of the product is french fries, for god’s sake. So to make sure I was adequately prepared for the ensuing wonder, I invited FF over, bought a year’s worth of vegetables, fruits, and chicken, and prepared to have a fryathon. The deal was that if the Actifry failed both to impress and satiate the three of us, we’d all go out to tapas instead and bemoan the football helmet-sized device.

The Actifry is fucking huge. And noisy. When it turns on, it scares the cat and makes a weak, yet persistent whirring noise as it churns its innards around. FF dubbed it “Baby’s First Fryer” after seeing the aftermath of 40 minutes in the chamber. This thing is pretty weak. Keepitcoming and I tried it with both regular fries and sweet potato fries when it first came in. The problem really lies in its construction. The benefits to frying are that, if done correctly, the water from the product being fried will repel the oil and cook the food as it is heated without absorbing any extra oil in the process. Add that to the straining after and frying isn’t nearly as bad nutritionally as it’s made out to be. With this, the one tablespoon of oil is swirled around and distributed, but never really focusing on the exterior of the product versus that of a fried piece of potato that eventually develops a crust. With the Actifry, the oil doesn’t so much develop a crust so much as it just unsticks the pieces after cooking. In our photos, it was sitting on top of the fries in small beads.
The real issue with this, which we found out after cooking no less than nine different traditionally fried foods, is how it’s constructed. Older models of the Actifry had a large paddle that churned the foods similar to the paddle in an ice cream maker or fraternity. The model was revised to have a spade-shaped paddle that lifted and turned the items around. This is, of course, in its most ideal setting. In the worst of all scenarios, in our case, kettle chips, the shovel/paddle/spade scoops up all the chips, mushes them together, and carries them around for the remaining 40 minutes. I imagine this could be improved if the paddle had a setting that automatically switched the direction of its rotation after a prescribed amount of time, thereby eliminating the dreaded clumping syndrome and evenly spreading around the ingredients in the chamber. We found the paddle to better distribute chunks of things rather than long strips or slices.

It’s also difficult to set the timer on the device as the angle that the display is set at is badly placed and reflects so that the dial can’t be seen. It’s also hard to use this at night as there is no backlight or setting to make it easier to see in the dark.

To exhaustively test out the mad skillz of the Actifry, we tested ten traditionally deep-fried items. As a side note, this is NOT an alternative to a deep fryer. We found it to be rather limiting with the number of things one could actually “fry.” Anything tempura-battered or gooey is out as it automatically gums up the works. Deep-fried ice cream is impossible. However, unlike a fryer, it’s easy to do like a crock pot and “set it and forget it.” So we narrowed it down to french fries, sweet potato fries, a leftover frozen Davio’s egg roll, tortilla chips, plantain chips, kettle chips, David Liebowitz’s “foolproof” Korean chicken wings, onion petals, spiced stewed apples from the included cookbook, and deep-fried Oreos.

The Actifry rests its oil-free laurels on its french fries. Spoiler alert: they’re not really that great. They come out tasting like a baked potato with less seasoning. Even my oven fry recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which uses around the same amount of oil, has much crispier, firmer french fries. These just had a hard, crackly exterior and a somewhat gummy and wet interior.Before. How bad would thick, skin-on fries be?And, meh. Any fries over two inches long were mangled by the spade of doom. It looks like we stuck fries in a trash compactor and then ate them. We ate the whole plate of these, but it was only once we were finished that we realized we weren’t enjoying the texture so much as we were enjoying the copious amount of salt we’d put on top.Our next trial was sweet potato fries. A seemingly innocuous recipe. I expected these to be more turgid and harder to break in the cooking process because of how brittle they were when raw. Unfortunately, the Actifry pulled another Frymangling Maneuver again. These fared much better than the regular fries, but only because they were tastier when mushy. There was barely any crust on the outside. Raw fries…Turn into edible, vaguely crisped mush. And origami-like folded fries.Our next item was a frozen egg roll leftover from the last week’s review. This actually turned out to be really tasty. It didn’t break at all in the Actifry, though it occasionally got stuck on top of the rotating spade and had to be taken down so it could evenly cook. The egg roll soaked up all the oil and got very crispy without burning, as well as heating the frozen center. Delish.
We moved from Asia to Mexico with our tortilla chips. I’ve fried and baked tortilla chips before with awesome results, and this somehow screwed them up. After ten minutes, they had soaked up most of the oil, had broken up into a few small pieces, and were rock hard and over cooked, despite looking really delicious.
The plantain chips were fucking gross. Seriously. The flour and corn starch coating we applied infiltrated every bite of the chips and the slices were overcooked and brittle. Appetizing, no?
When FF arrived, we switched to a more finger-food-friendly snack, thinking that they’d be cooked well. Wrong again. While the chips were tasty, they weren’t kettle chips in any respect. The centers of the chips were cooked, but not crispy, so again carried that same wrinkled baked potato texture. The outsides were crunchy. Wholly inconsistent results.
I was most disappointed in the Korean chicken wings. The photos on David’s blog looked mouthwatering and fantastic. Using the exact same recipe, we took our chicken and coated it in the batter. It came out looking tasty, but in the scooping process, had lost most of its spicy coating. The chicken was well-cooked and juicy, but couldn’t really be considered a piece of fried chicken or chicken nugget. With the sauce, it was passable, but overall, not an alternative for the glorious bird.
The fried onion petals looked like discarded aromatics…
And the spiced apples were only partially cooked and oily. They left a film on the fryer.
I believe the above photo illustrates the success, or lack thereof, of the fried Oreos. Purchasing the Berry Blast variety only added insult to injury. Two days later, the pan is still soaking.

So, to recap. Here are our ratings for each individual item, based on flavor, authenticity/resemblance to its fried counterpart, and ease in preparation.
French fries- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 5/10
Sweet potato fries- 3/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 6/10
Egg roll-3/3 for flavor, 3/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 9/10

Tortilla chips- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 1/4 for prep = 1/10

Plantain chips- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 0/4 for prep = 0/10

Kettle chips- 1/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 2/4 for prep = 4/10

“Fried” chicken- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 6/10

Onion petals- 2/3 for flavor, 1/3 for authenticity, and 3/4 for prep = 6/10
Baked apple and apricot dessert- 1/3 for flavor, 2/3 for authenticity, and 1/4 for prep = 4/10 Fried Oreos- 0/3 for flavor, 0/3 for authenticity, and 0/4 for prep = 0/10

Machine pros: Easy to clean up if frying, set it and forget it function, knowledge of exactly how much oil is going in food.
Machine cons: Larger than Rosie O’Donnell’s left ass cheek, loud, takes a long time to prepare food, and $300.

So, either the Actifry is manufactured to only work with specific, low-calorie foods that need to be fried, and like the behavioral modifying drug Alli, discourages against using high-calorie foods in the fryer by turning them into facsimiles of poop, or it isn’t as successful a device as the world thought it would be.

IHOP At Home Strawberry and Cream Cheese French Toast Stuffed Pastries, Griddle ‘n’ Sausage Wraps, and Sausage and Cheese Omelet Crisper

I can’t say that IHOP and I are very well acquainted. It might be because all the IHOP locations near me are in crappy areas of town, or out of state, or shadowed by better restaurants. The only one within a 20 mile radius of me is next to Connecticut’s first and only Sonic, and when push comes to shove, I’m happier eating burgers in my car than I am eating pancakes next to high school stoners. Oh wait, the stoners flock to Denny’s. Disregard that.
Because of my IHOP jeunesse, I look at my experience with the new IHOP At Home line as an anthropological study, as I have never viewed the majestic Cinn-A-Stick Pancakes in their natural, greasy habitat, nor had I watched the brilliant mating rituals of the compote and whipped topping upon a pancake horizon to create the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n’ Fruity. But I knew what to look for. One winter, long ago, Dillinger and I journeyed to an IHOP and feasted upon its bounties.
Needless to say, if eating at IHOP can be considered a journey into Bruce Chatwin-esque territories, eating IHOP At Home is like going to a pet store and playing with abandoned, slightly defective puppy mill dogs. The IHOP At Home line, which I’ll abbreviate as IHOPAH, consists of three varieties of frozen breakfast-inspired items, all of them coated or fried before cooking. I took a little trip to my local Walmart Supercenter and checked them out. All of the products were cooked in what seemed like the hellfires of New Jerse- er, hell itself, in a 450 degree oven. Before cooking, they resembled edible, bulbous building blocks.
Starting with the Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast Stuffed Pastries. The SCCFTSP look pretty when you open the package and when they’re cooking, are fragrant, like fresh beignets. They consist of a slightly sweet, crispy dough that, when bitten into, yields a sauce that looks like the end result of a Strawberry Shortcake gang-related stab wound.
The sauce, which appears to be the bulk of the pastry in the photo, only occupies a scant third of the midsection. It congeals after cooling and has a mild, sweet taste when isolated from the pastry- very creamy and fruity, but when eaten together, is really buried in the fried dough flavors.The next generation in the noble line of the IHOPAH dynasty is the Griddle ‘n’ Sausage, the McGriddle-inspired maple, sausage, and pancake combination in yet another form thrown together in more ways than Taco Bell products. Well, don’t get your hopes up, breakfast-craving late-night McDonald’s goers. It’s just another classic textbook example of “frequently imitated, never duplicated.” The Griddle ‘n’ Sausage smelled like syrup when I opened the package, smelled like syrup when it was cooking, smelled like syrup when I lifted it to my mouth to take a bite, and tasted like grease and meat. What gives? I felt as though this phallic phinger phood was trying to woo me by wearing syrup-scented perfume, much as I tried to woo Keepitcoming by dousing myself in a caustic dose of BK Flame, both equaling in massive failure. Though these were juicy and salty, they gave me a headache and just tasted like fried sausages rather than pancake-wrapped ones.The last of this divine trio was the one I was most curious to try, the Sausage and Cheese Omelet Crisper. Billed as the love child between a McDonald’s hash brown and a microwaved omelet, it actually tasted pretty close to its roots. The result is a somewhat bloated rectangle of egg and potato, which took the longest to cook with twenty minutes in the oven, and smelled burnt and greasy when it came out. After letting it sit for a few minutes, I found that it had crisped up and yielded a fluffy, soft interior. Okay, it was more like mushy. The exterior was the crispiest and least greasy of all three, probably because it was the only one that lacked a dough or batter around it.
With the Omelet Crisper, the crust comes from a potato-based coating which crisps up like the outside of a hash brown in the oven. The mouthfeel wasn’t quite exactly like a hash brown. It was definitely more dense and floury. It’s essentially a giant stuffed tater tot, which makes it delicious. Though I think that the flavor could use more sausage chunks and spices, the overall texture and sensation was definitely that of a crispy omelet. The cheese was gooey and creamy inside and the eggs were more like McDonald’s egg squares, but two out of three ain’t bad. This was the best of all three, which is like saying that Big Bird was the least gay of all the Sesame Street characters. Nobody wins.
That being said, none of these made me feel very good. I forgot the third and last reason for why I don’t go to IHOP very often- it makes me feel bloated and gives me a headache. I have a free monthly biological reaction for those symptoms that I don’t need a $10 frozen breakfast gamut of products for. I threw the bulk of these away and went for a walk. If you’re not a giant lardass, they’re not for you.

Larabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Looks like Foodette Reviews is on its 666th post. Hopefully none of the Healthy Month treats will rear up in our digestive system and kill us, but you never know. At least I didn’t choose to review kombucha or something today. Which brings us to our (relatively innocuous) reviewable today, a Larabar in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

There exists a phenomenon amongst products geared toward women that seems to force us to a point where if we eat anything remotely healthy, it MUST taste like a facsimile of something “guilty,” “tempting,” or “forbidden.” Case in point, energy bars. Things like Luna Bars and Larabars promote the concept that women can’t just scarf down an energy bar because it has to be a treat, hence flavors like chocolate peppermint stick, dulce de leche, and chocolate covered strawberry.
Today’s desserted bastardization is chocolate chip cookie dough. Spoiler alert, it tastes like neither cookie dough or a protein bar, which is surprising as protein bars’ grainy texture usually lends itself to resembling cookie dough.

This particular company really excels at their fruit flavors, but just lacks that prowess in their synthesized desserts. The bar had many chocolate chips in it but somehow tasted only of rich figs and nuts. The texture was chocolatey and could be recognized as such but was totally overpowered. The figginess in this bar was about as subtle as crotchless panties. Something about this felt like I was eating a “special” granola bar from a friend- something I wouldn’t do now and in my reviews.

Crystal Light Pure: Strawberry Kiwi, Mixed Berry, and Lemonade

Recently, and possibly after seeing my MiO review, I was sent a couple boxes of the new Crystal Light line, “Pure.” Pure features flavor packets with all natural flavors and the standard gamut of flavors. Being that it was 66 degrees and hot out today, I decided that today was the day I’d need a serious refresher.The flavors are powdered, like the bulk of flavor packets out today, and are about three times larger than the standard packet. When I saw the size of these, I was reminded of the Special K Protein Water, but in this case, I couldn’t quite see why there was a need for larger packets. I mixed up a glass of each flavor, strawberry kiwi, mixed berry, and lemonade, and was wary before I took the first sip. The drinks, which I expected to be clear and naturally colored as a result of their lack of artificial ingredients, were cloudy and neon-colored, reminiscent of the classic Crystal Light my grandmother would make me by the gallon as a child, with a murky, salty flavor. It wasn’t a very good first impression. In addition to the flavor, these were absolutely pungent. The second I opened the packet, my nostrils were assaulted by acidic, sugary scents.The flavor of the mixed berry tasted somewhat fermented and jammy, like berries that had botrytized before being mixed into water. It was a sour, watery flavor with no distinct flavor that really reminded me of berries. If anything, it was like drinking Life Savers dissolved in water. The dissolving problem that I encountered in the mixed berry and lemonade was more improved in the strawberry kiwi and the water was transparent with no residue at the bottom. The flavor was also sour, but counterbalanced by a nice fruitiness to its body and a non-chalky consistency. This was my favorite of the three.
My final drink, the lemonade, looked appetizing and juicy on the package with slices of lemon. I was most excited for this one as I was hoping it would deviate from the traditional standard powdered lemonade and taste like something freshly made. Well, once you stop laughing, let me tell you that yes, you’re right. Of course this wouldn’t taste like a $4 glass of lemonade in a bistro or a $12 Lemontini or even like Lemon Pledge. Despite its hawkings of all-natural ingredients, I was just not convinced that this was any different than the store-brand version.All in all, I was pretty disappointed. As someone who has already established a healthy love of beverages, I have no qualms in crossing these off my list and sticking with drinks I already know and love.

Freschetta By The Slice Six Cheese Medley

Freschetta sent me a couple of coupons for their new pizzas, one of which seemed perfect for Healthy Month. Recently, Freschetta has come out with a new “by the slice” pizza, which is, as the name suggests, a lone slice of pizza. While this isn’t necessarily a new concept, rehashed by Red Baron and CPK, Freschetta certainly puts interesting spins on their slices.There are four varieties, and they all seem oddly hyperspecific or bland. On the hyperspecific side, we have a vegetable medley and a chicken, spinach, and mushroom, and on the bland side, the omnipresent BBQ chicken and a six cheese medley. This seems to eliminate a vast majority of people who don’t like some of those ingredients. For me, two of them were out of the running because I hate mushrooms. I decided to choose the six cheese medley for consistency’s sake. But geez, Freschetta, was pepperoni too prosaic for you?Because I had some free time today, I decided to dally and make this in the oven. I should note that this carries a $3 price tag and is roughly the size of 1/6th of a large pizza. This a little irritating for me. About a mile down the street from us is Mimmo’s Pizza, a joint that makes massive slices made to order, roughly the size of three of these put together with one topping for $2.50. If I didn’t feel like doing that, Red Baron sells two of their “by the slice” pieces for $3.49. What could possibly justify this?
Not a whole lot. After 14 minutes in the oven at 425, it was unevenly cooked, with crispy burnt edges around the perimeter and a white, barely melted center. It was cooked all the way through but the top made me wonder if I ought to have put it back for a few more minutes. Eating this with a glass of MiO fruit punch made me feel like I was eight years old, cooking Ellio’s at my grandmother’s and sitting down to watch an episode of Rugrats. The pizza crust was crispy on the outside, but flaky and airy in consistency. The “blend of six cheeses” was indistinguishable and gooey on top of the sauce, a salty Chef Boyardee-esque mess on top. It really seemed as though Freschetta had imitated the delicious mediocrity of Ellio’s, slapped enough cheese on it to cover the surface, and upped the price.

I wanted to like this more than I did, but there was something a little creepy about sitting around shirtless on a Saturday morning eating a lunch my childhood self would have high-fived me for. Maybe I’ll have better luck with the Freschetta Inspired line.

Cooper’s Cream Cheese Jalapenos

One of greatest things about being a bachelor and living on my own is that I don’t have anyone to try to control what I eat. Unlike how Keepitcoming keeps strict limits on Foodette’s dietary intake, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I can make my meals as rich or as decadent as I want. When I go to Burger King, I can get a Triple Whopper with bacon and not have to deal with the constant nagging and guilt that poor Foodette would have to endure from the old ball and chain if she even thought of the words “triple whopper” and “bacon” in the same paragraph. One time when I wasn’t feeling like making dinner after work, I decided to make a meal out of a pack of Oreo cookies and about a quart of milk. It wasn’t a few Oreos, or even a sleeve of Oreos, it was the whole damn pack and it was glorious.

I saw these frozen cream cheese jalapeno poppers in the store one day and thought they would be a very nice addition to any meal I decided to make. It might even be something that was easy and quick to make to satisfy those late night munchies. After a hard day of work, I decided to grill up a burger and nuke these bad boys and have them on the side. The instructions to make these were quite simple. All one had to do was to empty the box onto a plate and put it in the microwave for a few minutes. I grilled up my burger to perfection and poured myself a stiff drink and was ready to enjoy.

Yes, that’s a glass of scotch. In case you were wondering…

The first thing I noticed about these cream cheese poppers was that it suffered from the Hot Pocket paradox of microwave heating. For some of them, the cheese center was still stiff and icy cold, while on some of them the center had turned into sticky napalm lava. The only way to make sure all were going to be cooked evenly was to rearrange the platter and put it back in the microwave for another few minutes, of course this resulted in lava filled gushers after a while.

After a few rearrangements of the platter and a series of reheating and cooling, they were finally ready to eat. The taste of these things turned out to be pretty average. The people at Cooper’s definitely did not bring anything new to the Cream Cheese filled Jalapenos market. The cheese was rather greasy and flavorless. The layer of jalapeno pepper was a strange leathery texture and eating it felt like chewing on a thin belt. The breading on each of the poppers was soaked with a strange liquid that was a mix of water and grease. These poppers weren’t good but they were edible. It wouldn’t be something I get to eat on a special occasion but it would probably be something I could bear to eat during one of my late night episodes of the munchies, or at least with much help from my good friend Jonathan Walker.

Vitamin Water Zero Glow

Vitamin Water’s new release, Glow, got my attention with its vibrant, spot-on circa 1985 Barbie-pink hue. Since I can reference this color from my childhood, I think I must be VW’s target audience. Or is there a deeper message than flirty femininity in play here? The typically smarmy packaging copy pulled me in by acknowledging the open secret that “grocery stores double as singles’ “meet” markets.” The Glow bottle goes on to inform me that if I sport this bottle in the supermarket, I should expect a gender-neutral “cart” to be “cruising [my] way” for a “sample.” The striking teal label/pink drink combo will be sure catch the eyes of potential dates, and I’ll be able to communicate my hanky code faves without wearing those stupid circa ’97 pride rally-style bandanas.Now that we’ve got that covered*, let’s address the flavor of this beverage. Perhaps it’s better not to open the bottle if it helps you score the intended piece of ass: its chalky texture and sweet, simplistic, bubble-gum flavor are strongly reminiscent of Kool-Aid. If you poured a little out and added a few ounces of Dubra, you’d capture the exact flavor of a Chris Hansen bust. Uhhh, not that I did that or anything. My advice for CBT aficionados: for best results, just carry it, and leave the actual drinking of this crap to girls who want to feel like Disney princesses.
Why don’t you have a seat over there?

*JK, male subs — Keepitcoming stays busy enough with Foodette.