Monday, 27 April 2009

Flavour of the Month (Not)...

I have no idea about the rest of you in the world, but here in the UK, there is a brand of crisps called Walkers which currently has a marketing campaign to introduce a new flavour onto the unsuspecting British public.

The new flavours were submitted by people who obviously thought for all of ten seconds about the weirdest tastes imaginable and which were then 'developed' by infamous British chef, Heston Blumenthal, who appears to be two butties short of a picnic on the best of occasions (the guy makes porridge out of snails, for heaven's sake). Mr Blumenthal goes off with his chemist buddy, dickies around with all sorts of preservatives, E-numbers, carcinogens and MSG derivatives and comes up with the following:

Cajun Squirrel
Chilli & Chocolate
Builder's Breakfast
Onion Bhaji
Fish & Chips
Crispy Duck & Hoisin

So, in the interests of research, Mr P and I decided to try out each of these flavours for our other reader so that you don't have to (and believe me, you really don't want to...)

Cajun Squirrel

OK. The blurb reads that 'no squirrels were harmed in the development of this flavour'. Instantly, I am on my guard. If it says 'squirrel', I want to be sure I am eating squirrel. If no squirrels were harmed, how does Heston know what they taste like? Did he wait for some road kill or something? Did he ask a fox what squirrel tastes like? How many native Louisianans eat squirrel? 
Verdict: Tastes like chicken which has been rolled around in orange dust.

Chilli & Chocolate

This to me, defeats the object of a savoury snack. Why put chocolate into it? If I want chocolate, I'll go and buy a bar of Galaxy, not buy chocolate-flavoured spuds. That's just bollocks. Yes, I know that it is fashionable to sling a few pieces of dark chocolate into your Mexican banquet these days since some bright spark discovered that the Aztecs used to do it, whilst worshipping their God, Costalotl, but it doesn't make sense to me. 
Verdict: Tastes like spicy chicken with a sickly after-taste of something resembling saccharine.

Builder's Breakfast

Ostensibly, the Full Monty fry-up: bacon, eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, fried bread. What a mish-mash of flavours. When the packet is opened, there is an overwhelming smell of bad farts. It is reminiscent of the egg butties I make for #2 daughter who complains bitterly about the way she is ostracised on the school bus when her bag is accidentally kicked and an eggy pong seeps its way to the gobbiest kid's nose who then loudly asks, WHO'S FARTED?
Verdict: Tastes like the smell of rotten eggs with a smokey piquancy. Weird. Much to be avoided if you want to keep your friends and acquaintances close to you.

Onion Bhaji

I love onion bhajis. In fact, I love Indian food, full-stop. It has to be that cuisine dearest to my stomach lining. I decided to have a prawn vindaloo last week and suffered for 48 hours afterwards. I have never before eaten a curry which tastes of hot. I am glad I put the toilet roll into the freezer ready for the morning after the night before. But, I digress. These do not taste even remotely like onion bhajis.
Verdict: Taste like manky beef casserole.

Fish & Chips

Another bizarre combination for a bag of crisps. I mean to say, chips taste like crisps, don't they? So, is this not a bit of a con? I am paying extra money to have spud-flavoured crisps...which are made from spuds. Chuck in a bit of oyster sauce for a malodourous fish input and Heston reckons we can be kidded into tucking into a bag of fish & chips. Nooooo! You cannot bastardise fish & chips. It is illegal.
Verdict: Tastes like really bad prawn cocktail.

Crispy Duck & Hoisin Sauce

I'm not a great lover of Chinese food, particularly not the variety which has been devised for the 11.30pm chucked-out-of-the-pub-I'm-starving-let's-get-a-Chinese type. And Crispy Duck falls into this category as far as I am concerned. It's sweet gloop which has been created for those whose palates have seared off through the night after drinking ten pints of Carlsberg lager.
Verdict: Tastes like chicken. With chocolate.

Basically, Heston has revamped chicken, prawn cocktail, egg and beef flavoured crisps. And probably got yet another TV series on how to make castles of lard, black pudding and cress. So, there you have it. Which would you vote for? I wouldn't be bothered for any of them, personally. The winner will be as popular as hedgehog flavoured crisps were in the 70s.

Give me marmite rice cakes, any day.


Ian T said...

Gosh - you're gushing today Agnes.

Very nice summary of the crisp issue. I'm glad they didn't go with my suggestion for a new flavour. Dust.


Annie T said...

Mr P: Gushing? I don't know whether to take that as an insult or a compliment.

I think they did go with your suggestion of 'dust' flavour. It's just that it's under the guise of cajun squirrel.

I still think my suggestion of 'salted snot' is best...

Karen ^..^ said...

Thank God I don't eat potato chips. Yuck. Sounds revolting, all of them.

I'm glad you are gushing again, Agnes! Gushing in a good way, of course.

Lissy said...

i vote for YOUR rice cakes, even though i've never had marmite. is it anything like vegemite? i don't like that. still, better that chili-chocolate encrusted fish-and-chipped squirrel.

Media Junkie said...

urgh. none of them sounded remotely appetizing.

Karen ^..^ said...

Oooooh...! I love the new color!! Very grapey! Delicious looking.

Great new look, I love it.

Annie T said...

Karen: I love crisps - but these new flavours are just mending something which ain't broke. Glad you like the new colours...I think they are a bit of a work-in-progress, to be honest. This is what happens when I get bored. I alter things dramatically!

Lissy: I like your suggestion for that flavour of crisps and I think I may submit it in the future. If I win the prize money, I'll send you over a $1. Don't spend it all at once, though!

Media Junkie: Agreed. Although Mr P sneaked in another packet of fish 'n' chips flavour the other day. Nasty!

Media Junkie said...

i can't comment on the Cmen post...

Linda and her Twaddle said...

Despite the names bestowed on each flavour, you still felt compelled to try each and every packet?

Please, do not use the word gushing. I am still recovering from the post after this one.

Marmite! Ah, no thanks. Only Vegemite is allowed in my house.

wynn said...

I god, I hate Heston Blumenthal! He looks like a bully and the way that they film his mouth while chewing is apparently a really bad idea when you have a big, colouful TV. Ughhhhh.

Annie T said...

Linda: It was purely for research. Honest. Mr P reckons he likes the Fish 'n' chips variety and has, indeed, purchased a few further packets. I stare at him with a curled lip, in distaste.

Now, Vegemite. We very rarely get that in the UK although I have seen it before - yellow jar?? I was under the impression that Marmite and Vegemite were pretty much the same thing? Yeast/Vegetable extract? I'll eat anything like that.

When I lived in Oman, Marmite was prohibitively expensive, and I have a mild addiction to the stuff. We drove up to Dubai for a weekend, and I bought five enormous jars of it. By the time the four hour drive was over, I had spooned half a large jar down my throat. I couldn't speak for a week, but my Vitamin B levels were excellent!

Wynn: How lovely to see you here again! Yes, Heston gives me the creeps, too. Did you watch his Big Chef takes on Little Chef programme recently? He was living in cloud cuckoo land expecting the Little Chef patrons to take on his initial menu. What a Big Girl's Blouse! Give me Hugh Fearnley-Whatsit any day of the week.