The Grapes of Wrath

I feel like going back to my blogging roots so today I’m going to write about food. Not necessarily food I’ve been cooking because, well, let’s be honest here, I’m not much of a cook. And going to the hospital after work every day rather limits my desire to cook even more. So today we’re talking about prepared foods.

With my niece and sister-in-law being at the New England Medical Center/Floating Hospital for Children, I’ve been going to the markets in Chinatown a lot lately. I’m always fascinated by the unusual fruits and vegetables you can find there (not to mention the various types of dead aminals they offer as meat). But the aisle of every Chinese market that appeals to me most is the snack aisle. Unlike American confections that are sweetened to the extreme and packaged with pictures of the actual product inside. The imported snacks packages are more subtle…and with a focus towards your inner child (or perhaps to actual children and I’m just an idiotic 34 year old man drawn to the pretty packaging).

Anyway, my favorite items are Pocky (which I’ve written about before: wafer sticks dipped in chocolate) and gummies. Essentially, these gummies are like gummy bears but made with real fruit juices and not put into animal shapes. Flavors come in melon, grape, peach and kiwi. In fact, the kiwi ones even have little black kiwi seeds in them. YUM. As a man of routine, I tend to get the same flavors every time. This weekend, I decided to be adventurous and try the pineapple.

The package shows whole pineapples. No images of the actual product inside. But what really makes me smile is their tantalizing description on the label. With their fascinating command of the English language, the package boasts the magnificence of pineapple gummies: “The gorgeous taste of fully ripened pineapple imposing as a southern island king crowned in glory, is yours to enjoy in every soft and juicy Kasugai Pineapple Gummy.”

How could you not love a snack like that? I’m very curious, now, to see what the packaging says on the other flavors.

Another treat I recently discovered is, well, this package doesn’t have a single English word on it so I couldn’t tell you what it is. But it’s basically little shortbread cookie stems with mushroom shaped chocolate heads. Very trippy. The box is yellow and green with fields of grass and trees…and edible mushrooms! BRILLIANT!

and tasty!

Here’s the front of the package:

…and the back:

I particularly enjoy the cartoon animal professor apparently explaining the biology of a mushroom chocolate dessert.

Finally, I want to talk about grapes. I’ve been snacking on them a lot lately, yet every time I rinse them off I have these recurring thoughts. I’m not sure if this is a local thing or whether it’s national, but it seems that at least a few times each year, somebody finds a black widow spider while cleaning their grapes. The news teams then flock to this house to show the spider (either captured under a glass or dead) and then ask the person (usually a mother) how it happened, what she was thinking, what she did, etc…

So, every time I rinse off my grapes, I’m paranoid I’m going to come upon a black widow spider. I’m not fearful of getting bit. I’m fearful of the media attention if I report it to the appropriate authorities. Why is this news? And what kind of reaction do you expect a person to have upon finding a dangerous arachnid in their snack?

Maybe if they had some of those trippy chocolate mushrooms the reporters would be too distracted to ask such silly questions.



  1. Comment by Mark on September 13, 2005 2:42 pm

    I love that there is a “Men’s Pocky” flavor because you know that dark chocolate turns women into salt and grows hair on your chest. 🙂 Maybe they need an owl on the back of that one explaining the biology of the Men’s Pocky versus the other ones.

  2. Comment by JC on September 13, 2005 3:44 pm

    Dude, those mushroom things look positively naughty.

  3. Comment by mindy on September 13, 2005 4:48 pm

    In the cutaway drawing, I think the mushroom cookie looks like a nun.

  4. Comment by karyn on September 13, 2005 6:27 pm

    I think they look like peanut-penis hybrids in chocolate hats. Wigs. Something. And I could do without the cartoon…dog? raccoon? what the hell IS that?…you know Karl, I don’t understand why you can’t just buy some Drake Snack products and stick them in a backpack. Take your ho-hos with you. 😉 (I love saying ho hos.) Tsk. You and your goofy snacks.

  5. Comment by Bryan on September 14, 2005 12:33 am

    Haha, try going to a big Japanese grocery store, they have even crazier snacks. The chinese stores are only the tip of the iceberg.

  6. Comment by Brad on September 15, 2005 1:19 pm

    Leave it to Karyn to find something phallic in the mushrooms. 🙂 As for me, I say eat the mushrooms (phallic or not) and skip the grapes . . . grapes are way too healthy, plus I hate spiders. 🙂

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