Snacking on life, living off snacks.

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Review: Organic Ketchup

In Uncategorized on 04/28/2010 at 1:34 am

I am a person of simple pleasures. So much happiness is found in really simple things: Flower petals cascading from the trees like a spring snow shower. A goofy labrador meandering from its owner. A young’un giving up his seat for the elderly on the subway. The addictive chorus of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. Sweet potato fries that make you want to kiss the earth from whence it came. And so forth.

All this is to say that one of the best products I’ve had from Trader Joe’s is not of the complicated, random or inventive variety. Not the chocolate dipped almonds, the quirkily packaged pita products, or newfangled soy interpretations (such as corn dogs and wannabe chicken nuggets). My favorite product is extremely simple: plain ol’ Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup.

My apartment runs through this stuff like nobody’s business (which may or may not be attributed to one of my roommate’s steady devotion to said sweet potato fries). But I know what you’re thinking. It’s ketchup. Not truffle oil. Not garlic aioli. Not mango ginger chutney. It’s ketchup.

Do not let its pedestrian nature deceive you. I dare you to eat a fry dipped in TJ Ketchup versus one dipped in Heinz. TJ Ketchup has a bold, natural, almost A1-like taste, but the best part lies in the texture. Unlike other ketchups, which have a uniformly squeezable cohesive squirty texture not unlike that of puffy paint, fortified with high fructose corn syrup, TJ Ketchup comes out loose and almost grainy. I don’t know if I’m explaining it the best way, but you can visibly tell the difference between a generic or Heinz ketchup and TJ Ketchup. Plus TJ Ketchup doesn’t leave a lingering stickiness or smell.

The ketchup is fantastic. I will drown my soy nuggets in the stuff. I will eat it with my fried rice. I will slather my eggs with it. Alternated with my trusty Korean red pepper sauce (gochujang), this ketchup is a frequent accompaniment to my dinners.

I am not beneath licking it off a spoon, either. Love the stuff, pure and simple.

Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup: 5/5 pelts.

Review: Oatmeal Complete, original flavor

In Uncategorized on 04/14/2010 at 1:32 am

Were you one of those children who liked to eat paste? If you would like to relive those fond elementary school memories, then boy, does Trader Joe’s have the product for you.

From a health standpoint, Trader Joe’s Complete Oatmeal sounds like the perfect meal. The nutritional merits are manifold: 35% of daily value of calcium, B6 and B12 vitamins, folic acid and flax, and 2 grams of soy protein. Never mind that I don’t know what good the B vitamins do, this thing sounds like a super food! Of course, there is a catch…

Normally, I eat a cup of oatmeal at my desk in the mornings. I’m not a huge fan of oatmeal, but it’s fast and filling and efficient for breakfast fuel. For awhile, I bought Trader Joe’s instant oatmeal in apple and maple/brown sugar flavors. I wondered if I could cut back on my breakfast sugar intake (if anything, to make room for more desserts at night) and boost my nutritional and vitamin intake. Enter Trader Joe’s Oatmeal Complete in original flavor, with a sparse 2g of sugar. Hearty sustenance, without the sugar guilt.

But alas, even my well-trained palate could not take it. I can delude myself into eating soy nuggets. I eat bagels, bread, sandwiches, potatoes, etc. unadorned and unslathered (if I eat them at all). I can eat steamed broccoli for dinner and soy ice cream for dessert without envy. But getting through a cup of Oatmeal Complete was a task. It was grueling.

Edible glue. Elmer’s should slap a label on this thing. Even diluted with more water than called for, even when I added slivers of almond and raw brown sugar, it still tasted like glue.  I felt like maybe instead I should have just mixed in some glitter, slapped it on construction paper and called it a day.

To give it credit, it is quite filling. Also, it is a product of Canada. Oh, Canada, it’s okay. Low crime, bad oatmeal. Can’t have it all.

Oatmeal complete, original flavor: 1/5 pelts

Instant Gratification

In Uncategorized on 04/05/2010 at 1:08 am

Apologies, dear readers, for the long hiatus. I have no excuses.

To break the silence, let me recount this pleasant little episode I had recently:

I was standing in line, spacing out, when I heard the lady in front of me and the checker talk about the milk chocolate bar she was buying.  She wondered out loud what the organic, fair trade dark chocolate bar on the display would taste like.

The checker took one off the shelf and tore it open, just like that. He offered a big chunk to the surprised woman, and then a piece to me. Inexplicably, I refused the piece of chocolate.  Maybe it was the concept of being given something freely, or some ingrained childhood directive to not take food from strangers, but I just instinctively rejected it. I’m sure there’s some theological metaphor or psychoanalysis that can be drawn out of this but I will refrain.

A few weeks ago they were handing out free bunches of yellow daffodils to customers, for reasons unbeknownst to me. I took them merrily and they are a cheerful, regular fixture on our living room table.

Free chocolate and flowers.  Give away some beer and peanuts, Trader Joe’s, or else the guys are going to think you favor the ladies!


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