Tag Archives: junk food

31 Days of Junk: Trader Joe’s Candy Corn Popcorn (#9)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Quick: what does candy corn taste like? Tastes like…candy corn, right?

To me, candy corn isn’t a flavor but an experience. What candy corn is supposed to taste like is secondary to the actual act of eating the candy corn.

The semi-gloss surface giving way to a soft, waxy body with each tiny bite–starting with the white tip, or perhaps from the other end. Or by the palmful, letting the little triangular pieces sit in your mouth, your tongue examining the smoothness of each side, over and over.

Candy corn is seasonal, so just seeing them–before you even eat them–can illicit feelings of fall. Images of grey afternoons and wet sidewalks, red and yellow leaves, comfy sweaters and gathered family, all are conjured up just by looking at the little tri-colored candies.

Or how a freshly opened bag simply smells of confection, sweet and soft, unspecific–but somehow specific to candy corn.

So to say something is “candy corn-flavored” is to take away the aspects of what makes candy corn candy corn. Because really, candy corn doesn’t have a unique flavor. Jelly Belly has said that the flavor is “a blend of creamy fondant, rich marshmallow and warm vanilla notes”. So essentially, birthday cake. Candy corn tastes like birthday cake.

And it’s true: Trader Joe’s Candy Corn Popcorn tastes exactly like yummy, buttery birthday cake. The colored corn helps sell the idea, but ultimately, nothing can replicate the experience of eating actual candy corn.

Still, the popcorn is delicious, and this little bag didn’t stand a chance. If you like kettle corn, or caramel corn, or any sort of shellacked popped corn, you will love this.

31 Days of Junk: Jones Soda “Blood Orange” (#8)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I don’t remember how old I was when I and my friends discovered Jones Soda—14 or 15, probably—but I do remember what an impact it had on us as a group. At the time, our punk rock inklings were starting to mineralize; our obsession with art, and counter-culture, and whatever it was we thought was the meaning of life (skateboarding and watching movies), all coming together, coalescing to create who we were as young people and future adults. And suddenly, we had the perfect beverage which embodied all of that and more: Jones Soda.

Artsy photographs, a different one on each bottle, instead of a repetitive boring logo? Photos which could be submitted by anyone—even us? It was a game-changer. We’d had enough of Coca-Cola! We were through with Mug Root Beer. No more Surge! We wanted Jones Soda! And have Jones Soda, we did: we drank the stuff religiously, shelling out our allowances for over-priced 4-packs of the stuff.

It’s how I imagine Gen Xers felt when OK Soda came out.

I mention all of this because I probably haven’t had Jones Soda since then—so 20 years, give or take. (Good lord, where does the time go?) Wait, I take it back: last year, I did have a sip of some of their Thanksgiving-flavored sodas at a party. (Which were from the year 2005; we were drinking sodas that were 12-years-old.) All of this is to say: I haven’t had a proper, unexpired Jones Soda in a very long time.

I also haven’t had a blood orange in a very long time either, so I’m not sure if the flavor of this Halloweeny treat is spot-on. But it’s definitely orangey. Much like the soda I drank last week for #31DaysOfJunk, this one also tastes like a melted popsicle. That’s my biggest takeaway: Jones Soda Blood Orange tastes like a melted orange popsicle. So, y’know, good and sugary.

It has a brilliant, almost glowing, orange color to it. Downright iridescent! I will still take this over Surge any day of the week.

31 Days of Junk: Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake (#6)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

The people at Ben & Jerry’s are great at what they do. Their ice cream creations remind me of the scene from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where the kids eat the three-course meal pills. The little pills, unimpressive to the eye, end up containing incredible flavors and subtle nuances that the kids are able to describe in detail after eating. That’s how I feel whenever I try a new Ben & Jerry ice cream flavor.

It’d be easy to phone the pumpkin cheesecake flavor in. Lots of sugar, lots of cream, a bit of pumpkiny flavor. Boom, you’re done. But that’s where ol’ B&J stand out among their frozen dairy peers. There’s no other way for me to describe the flavor than just saying it tastes exactly like cheesecake. And that’s such a weirdly specific flavor to nail, but they do it!

I’m admittedly not a fan of cheesecake, so a few bites were enough for me. There is a graham cracker swirl, which I found a little too grainy for my tastes. Normally, I can scarf down a pint of Americone Dream in one sitting, but I had to put this one away after a couple of spoonfuls. But kudos to the Ben & Jerry folks for creating an absolutely spot-on ice cream version of pumpkin cheesecake.

31 Days of Junk: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins (#5)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Trader Joe’s outdid themselves this year with the spooky-themed treats. In fact, I have a few more on the roster for this month, but there were several I skipped simply because there were too many; I didn’t want this becoming #31DaysOfTraderJoe’sJunk.

These are probably as fancy of a treat as I have planned this month, too. Chocolate mousse! Like I’m in some fine, Parisian restaurant.

Perhaps it’s the Indian summer happening here in L.A. (then again, it’s always this warm, isn’t it?), or perhaps it’s the fragile nature of these delicate little treats, but they were soft to the point of almost being melty. But between the softness of the cake and the thickness of the orange frosting, it made for an enjoyable bite.

They smell of chocolate, obviously, but the flavor isn’t pure chocolate—there’s a weird artificial flavor on that first chew. I think it’s the dye in the frosting. But hey, there’s something nostalgic about eating junkfood with a subtle plastic taste.

These are essentially showy Little Debbie Swiss Rolls. Surprisingly substantial and rich.  Would pair well with a nice glass of 2010 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac.

31 Days of Junk: Cadbury Screme Egg (#4)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Full disclosure: I don’t like Cadbury Creme Eggs. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten one, so maybe it’s unfair of me to say I don’t like them. As a kid, I genuinely thought it was a chocolate covered egg yolk/albumen, and that thought sickened me. So, naturally, I avoided them.

Here’s a funny story: In fifth grade, our teacher sprang an unexpected assignment on the class. “The first three people to turn in their papers,” he declared, “will get a surprise.” Of course, I just had to have that surprise, and being the little overachiever I was (a trait which waved bye-bye to me long ago), I actually finished first. I trotted up to my teacher’s desk, paper in hand, and eagerly awaited my surprise. He examined my work, gave an approving grunt, and then as if he’d suddenly remembered what he’d promised, frazzedly began rifling through his desk drawers, in search of the surprise he’d clearly fabricated in order to get the class to finish the assignment.

“Ah, here you go,” he said. From the top drawer of his desk, he produced an out-of-season Cadbury Creme Egg; dinged, dented, and flakes of foil peeled back and missing. This was my surprise. He handed me the egg (which, at the time, I think I still believed was a real egg), and sent me back to my desk. Talk about feeling scammed!

This is all to say that I really don’t have much to compare Cadbury’s spooky “Screme Egg” to. From the outside, it looks like a regular old Cadbury Creme Egg, the recognizable star shape stamped into the side of the chocolate shell. The inside of the Screme, however, is much cooler than a regular Creme: instead of yellow and white innards (barf), we get green and white innards! (Cool!)

The whiteness of the goo is a tad pearlescent, which is sort of pretty for a candy. When it got melty and mixed with the slime green, it created this minty color which looked like toothpaste. (Same consistency, too.) As for its flavor: straight-forward sugary vanilla, how I imagine it would taste eating a Yankee Candle.

All in all, a simple yet fun twist on the Easter treat.

31 Days of Junk: Hostess Caramel Apple Cupcakes (#2)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Holy shit! I could smell these suckers the second I opened the box. I’m talking smell them through their sealed cellophane from a good three feet away. I like when a food can do that: signal to me that it’s nearby.

This is junk food in its purest form. It’s cakey, it’s slathered in dense frosting, it has a creme center. It’s pure sugar and fat. It has absolutely no nutritional value. This is what you eat when you wanna do some real damage.

Smells like: super syrupy French toast with bananas. Tastes like: super syrupy French toast with bananas, oddly enough.

These are quite good and dangerously easy to eat. The cake itself is airy, and the whole thing has a bunch of different flavors melding in your mouth with each bite: apple, cinnamon, banana, syrup, vanilla. And there’s something strangely pleasant about the consistency of the frosting, which is stiff and grainy, like a layer of hardened candle wax. Plus, the vibrant blood-red swirl on top is a nice touch—good visual stimulation.

Buy these for pure sensory overload.