Tag Archives: vegetables

Food Marketing 101

As the commercials during the Super Bowl prove, success is pretty much just all about marketing and how you present a certain product.


Fashion aside, this is especially true with food.

Would you prefer to eat “soup” or “food-flavored tea”? Drink “coffee” or “bean water”? In other words, some items have greatly benefitted from clever categorization, while others could use a little bit of help in the PR department.


Salads–Salad has become synonymous with “healthy,” due in part to the fact that they adopted “salad dressing” as an accompaniment instead of the phrase, “lettuce gravy.” Things like a traditional salad with greens and veggies helped ensure the “healthy” illusion of salad that things like taco salad and potato salad have benefited from. You know, a burrito dumped into a fried shell and slathered with sour cream and three shreds of lettuce and a bowl of mayonnaise with specks of potato. Vegetables for the win!

Head Cheese—Lies! NOT CHEESE!

Tofu–While I’m a vegan, I can’t tolerate soy so tofu is out. However, I used to be able to eat it and know that tofu is basically just a codependent block of coagulated bean curd. It has no flavor and takes on whatever it’s cooked with, but I guess “tofu” sounds better than “codependent coagulated curd,” although whether it tastes better or not is up for debate. 

Sweet Breads—Lies! NOT BREAD!

English Muffins–Muffins are generally thought of as a breakfast food, which we’ll get to in a minute, but English muffins are not really a “muffin.” They’re more like a butter sponge one has to extract from the (unplugged) toaster with a knife, putting to use the hours you played Operation as a kid. However, I guess “butter sponge” sounds a little less fancy (but honestly, still kind of delicious.)

Fortune Cookies–Cookie Monster would lose his shit if presented with this as a “cookie.” The fortune cookie is to cookies as Kim Kardashian is to acting. You can label it whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any good.  Every fortune should just read, “This is a stale imitation of food and you could eat this piece of paper and not know the difference.” 


Radish--This gets the award for the most tasteless vegetable that also has that capacity to burn your mouth with each bite. It’s a polarizing food, which is why I see this as being how it was named:

Person 1: I love this vegetable! It’s so rad!

Person 2: Meh. It’s not that great. It’s more like rad-ish. Hey! Let’s go with that!


Now let’s take a look at the names of foods that could use a little more help.

Milk Duds–While many people enjoy spending three hours trying to chew three small chocolate caramel confections, they are essentially named after a dairy product that has failed. I can just imagine how that meeting went:

“Hey! What should we call these? Chewy Chocolate Caramels?  Lactose Losers? I know! Let’s go with Milk Duds!”

Muffins–Let’s be honest here. While English muffins benefit from the reputation of muffins, muffins could greatly up their cred by going with what they essentially are—naked cupcakes. For most versions, adding frosting is the only distinction between the two, but I guess I understand the hesitation.

It’s acceptable to eat a 500-calorie muffin for breakfast under the guise of “healthy” whereas eating something with “cake” in the name wouldn’t work. Unless it’s a pancake smothered in syrup, of course, because that just makes logical sense.

Ugli Fruit–This is technically a form of tangelo and while a bit unsightly, was the term “ugli” really necessary? Were these people trying to make them sound unappealing so that they could hoard them all for themselves? I would go with “unique” fruit or “has a great personality” fruit. “Ugli” just seems a bit cruel.

Leftovers–Finally, people complain about leftovers all the time, most likely due in part to the fact that they’re considered scraps that are just “left over.” True, sometimes they’re not as stellar when performing in the second act, but if you think of them as “edible encores” it might spice things up a bit.

Speaking of spice, how did Allspice corner the market on that one? Talk about a confident condiment.

At any rate, bon appetite, my friends.

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The Age of Asparagus

As you may know—and one look at my blog header in which I am “smoking” asparagus will tell you—my love of asparagus runs deep. So deep in fact that I eat it every day and have created a song for this stalk.


 (To be sung to the tune of “Age of Aquarius”)

When I bring the groceries in my house,

And start to make my food.

Those stalks will guide the meals I eat,

And that taste will lift my mood.

This is the dawning of the age of Asparagus!

The age of Asparagus!



Roasting it or often steaming,

Fresh flavors and taste give life meaning.

Don’t care if urine is sulfuric,

This green stalk makes me euphoric,

Eaten raw—a revelation,

And the taste’s true liberation.



When the moon is in the Seventh House,

And Jupiter aligns with Mars.

Then peace will guide the planets,

And love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the age of Asparagus!

The age of Asparagus!



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Perishable Puns

It started off simple enough with this lame Facebook status:

perishable puns

To put it in a nutshell, people relished the update and even mustard up the strength to ketchup with me and contribute to the fray (there was mushroom for improvement.) So that simple update planted the seed for this post, a series of perishable personal ads you probably won’t find on Craig’s List.

Dig in.

Hi. I’m Herb. I’ve been hurt before, but I’m gingerly throwing my caraway and trying to find love one more thyme. While I’m no sage, chive got a feeling that if we share some common interests—conversation peppered with laughs, the desire to curry on a new friendship—thistle work and we’ll become the pesto friends.

Born and bread in Coloradough, I’m just a simple guy wondering what I am doughing here. My past attempts at dating have gone a-rye, and I’ve found myself in seedy bars with weirdoughs thinking, “I donut belong here.” But I figured I kneaded to try this again, and placing an ad was the yeast I could do. I’m looking for someone to loaf around with who is willing to go against the grain, roll with the punches and rise to any occasion. If this is you, please reply and I will millet over.

Well-cultured woman looking for a gouda time with a minimal margarine for error. It a curd to me that I in no whey deserve to settle for less than jam-packed excitement—which is a nice way of pudding it—so the more spontaneous you are, the butter. I cannoli imagine the fun we will have!

Single chick with chili disposition looking to stop floundering around. Past dating experiences have been offal, dare I say the wurst, and I won’t make that missed steak again! I’m accident prawn with a bit of a fowl mouth, but would love to meat someone who I can bacon for companionship and fun. If that sounds like ewe, carpe diem!

I yam hoping this ad will produce some grate replies, as I’m tired of medi-okra dates with men who think a huge celery means we make a great pear. Bean there, done that and sometimes I wonder why I even carrot all. But if you march to the beet of your own drum, lettuce meet and see what might turnip.

I know. I know. Any way you slice it, these are corny and I falafel about how cheesy they are. But don’t worry…I won’t milk this anymore.

That’s a wrap.

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A Matter of Taste

The fact that the employees at my local grocery store pretty much know me by name is no secret. Along with multiple stops during the week for myself, I also do the grocery shopping for my mom (she hates it) and for my uncle (he’s physically unable.)

I don’t mind it, so I do it.

Grocery shopping for someone else is entirely different than grocery shopping for myself. Considering I’m not going to actually eat any of the items I’m purchasing, I’ll admit that I’m much less particular. A banana is a banana and an apple is an apple.

When I’m shopping for myself, I morph back into that delightful (annoying) person who carefully selects the best green beans out of the bin one by one and performs a full body of scan of a potential potato purchase with the intensity of a DNA expert on CSI.

Given the amount of produce that I eat in a week, I consider it necessary to ensure that the money I spend is going towards quality stuff. I will NOT be satisfied with limp beans, people. I will not!

Once my purchases are home, I am vigilant about washing the items before they wind up in my mouth (or on my shirt first, in all likelihood.) I’m not a freak about it, but I’ve witnessed people sneezing on open produce and little kids licking a vegetable and putting it back more times than I’m comfortable with.

That’s why a recent trip to the store has prompted this long-winded post.

First I was cruising through the aisles in pursuit of the two containers of overpriced pineapple my uncle has me buy every week when a middle-aged man walked by the green bean bin, grabbed a handful, started chomping down like a small woodland creature and continued to walk through the store.

What the hell?

Who walks by a bin of green beans and treats it like a buffet with no regard to the fact that a) it’s technically stealing and b) it’s technically gross (see above for snot and saliva encounters, which in this case, serves the dude right.)

Brushing it off, I wheeled my cart towards the grapes and spent 42 minutes trying to open the plastic produce bag before being joined by an elderly lady. From her lowered position on a Hoveround, she began popping grapes in her mouth from a number of bags with the dexterity of a Wack-A-Mole champ.

At this time, please see the paragraph above under “What the hell?” replacing “beans” with “grapes.”

Noticing that I was simply grabbing a bag of grapes without much fruity fanfare, she went on to lecture me about how I was wasting my money by not tasting each batch. She had been “scorned in the past” and was forced to throw out a batch of (literal) sour grapes, and now appeared determined to help others avoid a similar fate.

I politely told her that I was fine and that I would “buy on blind faith.”

Looking at me as if I had two heads—neither one of which was being supplied with green grapes—she went on to warn me of the perils of my decision. At that point I told her I wasn’t shopping for me, but for my uncle, and gestured to the denture cleaner and Right Guard deodorant spray.

Still skeptical, she was either full or thought I was full of it, because she shrugged her shoulders, popped another grape and left me with, “Well, suit yourself.”

As she turned and left in a motorized huff, I couldn’t help but notice that her basket contained no grapes. I guess there’s truly no accounting for taste.

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The Dating Game

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m quite a savvy shopper when it comes to grocery stores.

While the mall ranks just slightly above the gates of hell for me, the grocery store presents countless opportunities to spend my money on the only thing I really enjoy spending my money on—quality produce and food.

But every rose has it’s thorn, and mine can be found in the broccoli stalks that threaten to brown all too soon or on the lid of a cup of Greek yogurt.


Despite the satisfaction in knowing I have a fridge stocked with my staples, there is also the extreme pressure of  (insert dramatic music here) expiration dates.

Once that fridge is stocked with perishables, I feel compelled to revolve my culinary life around these things. When choosing my food, I will usually default to a combination that allows me to use up something that may go bad (in a month) over something else that may sound better.

In other words, because I’m cheap and neurotic, I have this irrational compulsion to “use up” things before they go bad (or I get anxious seeing them sitting on my shelf for more than two minutes.)

Certain things are dateless—other than me, of course—but they still have a way of creeping into my culinary consciousness. Considering that a veritable vegetable army dominates my fridge, I am faced with these decisions every day. Hearty apple or browning banana?

Sigh…banana again.

Sadly, I do this to myself. I don’t know how many times I have told myself not to buy anything else until I have completely used up what I already have.

If the yogurt culture cult wasn’t there with the little date stamps harassing me from their perch of refrigeration or the broccoli wasn’t there to threaten dryness and browning, then the problem would be resolved.

Or so it would seem.

Along with pressure to consume things before their dated (or undated) demise, there is the pressure to stay stocked. If there are less than four yogurts, reinforcements must be sent in. If the “keep it fresh” banana bag is vacant, action must be taken. If there’s no asparagus in the drawer, well, that almost never happens.

Dates on cereal, rice and water bottles (seriously?) don’t stress me out quite as much, as they have more long-term goals tattooed upon their skin. If I have a year to eat the industrial size box of oatmeal in my pantry, I consider that an attainable, enjoyable goal.

If I have a week to use up the hummus in my fridge, I conjure up my plan of attack and prepare to immerse myself in everything chickpea until I can lick that container clean.


Don’t judge. You know you’ve done that.

On the plus side, the date stamps do actually serve another useful purpose in that it’s one of the only reasons that I am ever actually aware of the date. I choose my yogurt in the store (picked from the back, as if they stock correctly, those will be the latest expiration dates) and use it as a frame of reference.

"Let’s see… Aug. 22. That means today’s date is probably some time before that."  

See? Handy for someone with the memory of a hyperactive gnat on crack. 

So I suppose this necessary yet neurotic watch is just one of life’s little pleasures and pressures. I will continue to play the dating game, ensuring my groceries are never outdated while ignoring the fact that my clothes always are.

Pick your battles people, pick your battles.

I pick perishables.