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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

Weird Food

September 25, 2008

Double Nipple Ripple? PETA's Modest Proposal.

Let's get something straight: PETA and its members don't really want you to eat ice cream made with human breast milk. You've probably heard about the organization's recent letter to Ben & Jerry's, suggesting that the company replace milk from tortured, factory-farmed cows with human milk (in case you haven't, it's reprinted below). But the gross-out reaction it's getting from most media people is kind of missing the point.

PETA members don't see a nursing mother and think: "Ditch that baby and make me some Chunky Monkey." What the animal-rights group does want is for companies and consumers to think a bit harder about where the animal products they consume come from. And although their tactics are often pretty wild, I agree with them in principle, and strive to avoid purchases that support factory farming.

That said, they've provided us with an excellent opportunity for some linguistic fun. Yesterday, on my weekly spot on the Charlie & Ernie Show (620 AM WVMT, Wednesday mornings from 9:10 to 9:30), Charlie told me that their listeners had been calling in with suggestions for naming human-milk ice cream. Here are a few (If you're not amused by vulgarity, please skip down to the letter):

  • PETA Butter Crunch (vanilla and peanut butter ice cream with crushed animal crackers)
  • Double Nipple Ripple
  • Tutti Fruiti Booby
  • Choco Knockers
  • Chocolate Nips
  • Double D Crunch

My contributions:

  • Straw-bra-berry
  • Mammary Munch
  • T&A (Mammary Munch swirled with Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Buns -- a real flavor)
  • Nipple Chip (if you put this atop a banana, it's a Nipple Chip Tit Split)
  • Peanut Butter B-Cup
  • La Leche League Dulce de Leche

The Letter:

September 23, 2008

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.

Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,

On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.

Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.

Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.

Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.

And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.

The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

The B&J Response:

"We applaud PETA's novel approach to bringing attention to an issue, but we believe a mother's milk is best used for her child."

So do the folks from PETA, I'm guessing. Even when the mother in question is a cow.

August 27, 2008

Help Make Jelly Bean History!

The Jelly Belly company is currently holding a contest to select the taste of their next jelly bean. I've always been intrigued by JBs larger than life flavors, many of which taste like pieces of fruit on steroids. Ever tried the juicy pear? That's what I mean.

And I enjoy the weird stuff they come up with for novelties, such as candies made to taste like baby wipes, toothpaste and pencil shavings. Who thinks this stuff up? 

The ones currently in the running are of the more normal, yet still creative, variety. They are:

~ Sublime Chili Lime
~ Honey
~ Thai Iced Tea
~ Mojito
~ Acai Berry

You can vote here

While you're on the website, you won't want to miss their art gallery. It features pictures, mainly of famous people, made out guessed it...jelly beans.

I like the sweet American Gothic, but was also quite impressed by portraits of famous folk such as young Queen Elizabeth II and Elvis. My only gripe -- they should have made Elvis with peanut butter and banana-flavored Jelly Belly beans. The portrait of Reagan seems like a fitting tribute, since it's rumored that he kept a jar of JB beans in the Oval Office.

I once made a paramecium out of frosting, licorice whips and other candies for a seventh grade science project, but it wasn't nearly as accomplished.

June 04, 2008

Pickle in a Bag!

Img_1806 On my whirlwhind trip to the Southern U.S. a couple of weeks ago, I came across an old favorite food packaged in an unusual way: A single, chunky dill pickle, swimming in brine, inside of plastic bag.

Since my two siblings and I are fanatical about pickled foods (artichokes, olives, cucumbers, beans and so on), I just had to invest the $1.49 it cost for me to acquire the 5 calorie, "cholesterol-free" delight, which also boasts a generous quantity of yellow #5.

Img_1808 I brought PIB home to Vermont with me, where I was able to wow my co-workers. "A pickle? In a bag?" They chorused.

It turns out that my very own pickle in a bag was flavored with "hot dill." It was firm of texture, although not as crisp as a Claussens model, and was spicy enough to make my mouth tingly for a few minutes. Since the pickles are shelf-stable for up to two years, it could be good to stock up on these, along with duct tape and flashlights, in case of emergencies such as blizzards or terrorist attacks.

If you want a PIB (or a whole stash) of your very own, you can find them online. The maker, Freestone, has been around since 1903 and is a "proud member of the Pickle Packers International trade association." They also run a 24-hour-a-day pickle store, because "loyal Freestone pickle fans [read: pregnant women] crave pickles at all hours."

What they neglect to mention is that Freestone can't beam your pickles to you via teleportation and the US postal service doesn't give a shit about your late night hankerings, so you probably won't get that late-night pickle you crave for several days. A dream deferred.

May 30, 2008

More Onion-y Fun

I have, yet again, been saving up food-related articles from The Onion. Here are a few for your Friday evening reading pleasure:

~ Potential Employee Uprising Quelled with Free Pizza

~ Piggly Wiggly Scouting Report Indicates J.J. Hardy Enjoys Rib-Eye Steaks

~ Tomato Genetically Modified to be More Expensive

~ Nation's Poorest 1% Now Controls Two-Thirds of U.S. Soda Can Wealth

~ Desperate Chives Marketing Board Launches 'Big Bowl o' Chives in the Mornin'' Campaign

May 28, 2008

Java and Jihad?

Like many foodies, I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray. I admit she has a few decent recipes on her website, but the catchphrases such as "yum-o" and EVOO really annoy me. And some of her recipes sound totally gross: I enjoy hot dogs, but do they belong in a salad? And pizza cobbler? Blech.

But even though I find her annoying, I'm pretty sure that the gal is neither a terrorist, nor a terrorist sympathizer. I make this seemingly out-of-the-blue statement because Dunkin' Donuts recently pulled an ad starring the perky spokeswoman after right-wing pundits pointed out that the scarf she is wearing bears a resemblance to a keffiyeh, a piece of cloth often worn as a headdress in Arab nations. (Read more about it here).

The fabric wrapped around Ray's neck in the commercial features a black and white print, which critics say is reminiscent of Yasser Arafat's preferred keffiyeh styling. Conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin notes that other famous folk -- including Colin Farrell, Kanye West and our very own Howard Dean -- have been seen with similar scarves (Dean's wrap actually resembles a keffiyeh much more than Rachael's scarf does), which Malkin compares to wearing "klan-style hoods."   

I'm not sure that the comparison is apt, given that people in cultures all over the world wear scarves, shawls and headdress of various colors and patterns, but I don't believe that there are any modern day cultural/ethnic groups unaffiliated with the KKK who wear pointed hoods with face masks that include eye-hole cutouts. Thus, I think it much more likely that somebody could innocently wear a keffiyeh-like scarf with no political motivations, while I think that is extremely unlikely in the case of the hood. Anyway...

After DD nixed the online ad, they released a statement saying that the black-and-white silk, paisley print scarf was purchased at a US retail store, and was in no way intended as a political statement.

While we're on the topic of the marriage of Rachael and Dunkin', this tidbit calls the veracity of her endorsement into question: In January, NY Magazine's website reported that Rachael Ray doesn't even like DD's hot stuff. After sipping some DD coffee, Ray reportedly shouted, "What is this shit? Get me my coffee." Her coffee, apparently, is Starbucks. Which is funny, because in the a press release about her deal with the donut co., Rachael gushed, "Having grown up in the Northeast, I have a long-standing and deep appreciation for Dunkin' Donuts' coffee." Hah.

According to that same press release, the company's brand president, Robert Rodriguez, had this to say about Ray: "We believe there is tremendous synergy between Dunkin' Donuts and Rachael Ray. Rachael's philosophy of creating quality meals quickly and without pretense for busy people living busy lives is the same driving force behind the Dunkin' Donuts brand." [Emphasis mine].

Right. Because in my book, a quality meal typically consists of a Boston creme donut and a vanilla bean "coolatta." Or maybe he's talking about the "nutritious" breakfast sandwiches, like the bacon egg cheese croissant version that derives more than half of its calories from fat and includes margarine, corn syrup solids, artificial flavors and "egg patty" on its list of ingredients. Deelish!

May 13, 2008

Best Beer Names

HazedIf drinking wine leads to truth, what does drinking beer lead to? If the names of craft brews are any indication, the answer to that question is, "a good sense of humor."

I've collected more funny beer names than I can list in one post, but here are seven that made me crack a smile (Please note that many such breweries produce beers seasonally, and not all of these are currently available. But this doesn't make the names any less amusing):

~ Ale Mary, Full of Taste: Rock Bottom Brewery

~ Hoptimus Prime: Nodding Head Brewpub

~ Hazed & Infused: Boulder Beer Company

~ Tripel Vision: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

~ Pure Hoppiness: Alpine Beer Company

~ Slam Dunkelweisen: Big Time Brewery

~ Strange Brew: Kannah Creek Brewing Company (their website is down, so no link)

May 07, 2008

Hell-y Jelly? Mean Beans?

Beanboozledbox_2 The Jelly Belly company is primarily known for making colorful, Reagan-sanctioned pellets in 50+ "life-like" flavors such as "juicy pear," "crushed pineapple" and "toasted marshmallow."

In recent years, though, the company has branched out. They capitalized on the Harry Potter phenomenon by producing a real-life version of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans: Sardine, vomit and ear wax are a few of the gross tastes you can find in each box.

And now the company has another unusual product, Bean Boozled, seemingly tailor-made for playground bullies or perhaps those into S&M. There are 20 kinds of BB beans: 10 in delicious flavors like coconut, cafe latte and peach and 10 in gross flavors such as baby wipes (hopefully unused), pencil shavings and skunk spray.

The catch is that each tasty treat looks exactly the same as a nugget of nastiness. For example, both the toothpaste and berry flavors come an an icy, electric blue color, while tutti-frutti and vomit are pink with colorful dots. There's absolutely no way to tell the difference.

Fun party game or stupid marketing ploy? You decide.

One more note: One of the "unpleasant" flavors is moldy cheese. Pardon? I love me some moldy cheese. I'd take a big hunk of Bayley Hazen Blue over a box of jelly beans any day.

April 14, 2008

An Orgy of Oysters

I love raw oysters as much as the next gal, and probably more. In fact, not long after sucking down a bunch with James-Beard-Nominated author Rowan Jacobsen, I realized that cooked oysters, which lack the subtlety and nuanced flavors of the glistening, opalescent raw shellfish, no longer do it for me.

But I still have limits. I can imagine eating a couple dozen at one sitting, but 35 dozen? (For the non-mathematically inclined, that's 420 slippery beasts). That's how many the slim, punky-looking Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, 22, ate in order to win the Acme World Oyster Eating championship belt. And he did it in eight minutes. Eight! I like to eat, a lot, but I can't even imagine...

You can read more about the contest here.

March 19, 2008

Sweet, Almond-Scented Lies

4b486970 Last week, a co-worker forwarded me an email that contained photos of tiny, naked babies supposedly modeled out of marzipan.

If you're not familiar with marzipan, you should get acquainted quickly: The delicious stuff is a combo of sugar and ground almonds -- and sometimes egg whites -- and is malleable enough to be formed into cool shapes. Plus, the word is fun to say: maarrrzipaan.

The small amount of text in the email notes that the artist, who isn't named, is very talented, and asks: "Who could take a bite?"

Yep: The idea of eating small, perfectly formed babies is rather disturbing, so why would somebody mold infants out of a sweet treat? I imagined a cutting edge artist making a bold statement about how America's consumption-oriented culture is selling out its children.

Or not...The delicate pink babes shown in the email aren't actually made out of ground up nuts. They are, in fact, sculpted from polymer clay by artist Camille Allen.  Allen's website assures visitors "If you've seen the "The Smell of Rain" or "Marzipan Babies" ( Or "Sugar Babies") email, you have probably seen some images taken from this website. However those pictures are really of sculptures created out of clay by Camille Allen." The page further notes: "They are not real, premature babies." Phew.

So my question is: Why on earth would anybody want to perpetrate an email hoax of this type? What possible purpose does it serve to tell people that these miniatures are made from marzipan when they're really made from clay. Or was it all just an honest mistake?

*The photo is from Camille Allen's website

February 29, 2008

Snacking on Boing Boing

Scary how time's a fresh installment of weird and exotic food stuff from Boing Boing.


One trend this time around is unusual art. For example, sculptures by Jodie Carey made partially of royal icing. What's so weird about that? Carey uses delicate flowers made of the stuff to decorate images of human bones. And she's made five arrangement out of newspaper flowers dyed with blood, tea and coffee. Tasty.

Prefer flesh to bones? Then you'll enjoy Victoria Reynolds' lush paintings of raw meat. Stylistically, these babies look as though they should be hanging in the Louvre. Thematically, they look as though they should be on the walls at your local butcher shop. If you're lucky enough to have a local butcher shop.

A more wasteful example is a huge statue of a woman made from peaches. It's to promote a skin-care company. I bet the message will be less inspiring when she turns into a sodden, rotting mess. Same goes for a more abstract piece in which artist Stefan Sagmeister covered a really large wall with bananas.

This one is also edible (although it doesn't look it), but it's art nonetheless. It's an R2D2 cake! And an inedible version of the little guy made out of a beer barrel.

And then there's the video of the mostly naked guy wearing a horse's head and cooking wild mushrooms. Must be seen to be believed.


Some mad genetic scientists went messing around with onions in an effort to make them "tear-free."  All I have to say to them is: "You guys are wimps." Oh, and it's my understanding that the volatile compounds responsible for our tears have antioxidant properties. Luckily, this brilliant innovation won't make it to the market for 10 or 15 years. By which point a global water crisis will have far outweighed the suffering caused by alliums (or is it allia?).

Mastered the art of smashing beer cans on your head? Then you should learn how to melt a beer bottle in the microwave. Apparently a blow torch is also required, but just to "get things started."


I think it may actually be more difficult to follow than a traditional recipe, but perhaps visual learners will enjoy this diagram for preparing chicken with beer.

Kid Stuff

Tic-Tac-Toast. You press the little gadget into a piece of bread and it creates a tic-tac-toe board for condiments.

This is one of my faves. It's a TV commercial for a game called "Pie Face" which involves -- you guessed it -- getting smacked in the face by a mechanized "pie." The commercial encourages youngsters to ask their parents for whipped cream to use in the game. Yeah right!

So much for not playing with your food!

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