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Things that don’t fit anywhere else.

Thanksgiving Leftover Burrito

I can’t believe it’s taken me 33 years to make a Thanksgiving Leftover Burrito. (Feel free to use that to wittily jab me for my blog-updating prowess.) Tortilla, turkey, mashed taters, and some thickened gravy, nuked for 45 seconds. Nom.

I’m working on two very diverse theories as to why it’s taken so long:

1) Having moved from the Midwest to the “more westy Midwest, but not the West, screw it, we’ll name the region after the rocks inhabiting its space” Rocky Mountain Region, which is located near the South West, and therefore, apparently affected by it; I’ve assimilated to local customs, and much more driven to eat anything supported by a Tortilla and/or covered in green chile, as is the tradition is the region.

or possibly 2,

2) Being out of bread, but having tortillas in the house.

It’s really anyone’s guess at this point which theory will prevail.

Regardless, I ate one. And I wish I would have sooner. I think we’ve all eventually reached the “screw it, I just want this food that remains in the fridge to enter my food-eating hole as fast as humanely possible” point in our early winters. After Thanksgiving, primarily. When there’s… You get it.

Necessity being the mother of invention, (to be fair, theory 1 is part of the reason theory 2 happened) I scoured the kitchen for the best way of getting rid of the last bits of Thanksgiving leftovers; the dark meat, the semi-crusted-from-being-in-the-fridge-too-long stuffing, you know, the tupperware that’s already mocking you a continual 3 days after you stuffed yourself about how many calories you ate.

And you can’t throw that stuff away. That’s admitting defeat. That’s your inner 4 year old whose mother always told to be concerned with children in Africa. That’s wasteful. That’s something reasonable, sane people do. All leftovers must be consumed.

Even if it means extending the half-life of a dish of sweet potatoes to to a double digit days, all because you couldn’t bring yourself to forcibly finish the stuff, but unable to throw it away. Because. Hey, maybe my wife wanted that last bite…

Anyway, having reached the point of no return, and committing to the finishing project, I scooped the last bit of sweet potato in my mouth while opening up the remaining dishes and assessing the situation:

3 small pieces of dark meat, check.
1.5 tablespoons of mashed potato? You betcha.
Quarter cup of gravy? Damn right.

Tortilla from the fridge, put turkey on, smear taters over, dump gravy upon, salt, pepper, close, nuke.

… and of course, it was awesome. It had no choice in the matter. It was DESTINY.

But was there room for improvement? It’s not like the Thanksgiving Leftover Situation occurs that often. That magic, distinct combination of food, that sure-you-may-have-the-same-thing-at-Christmas-but-it’s-not-the-SAME mix of food only happens once annually.

This is important. I only have 361 days to plan for the next one.

I was initially lamenting a lack of stuffing, but it’s borderline too starchy as it sits now, between the tortilla and the potatoes. GBC (Green Bean Casserole for you newbs) would have made the entire thing too gravy-ish between the mushroom soup and well, the aforementioned gravy. I pretty much abhor Cranberry sauce, (notsomuch in taste, but moreso in principal) so that’s out for me.

Of course, after assuming for a second I had just made a ground-breaking discovery, I googled it, and the 4th hit (here) had someone who posted a thing about it 2 years ago, using jalepeƱo Asadero cheese (the creamy sauce-type stuff) in addition to my ingredients. That’d definitely make it more burrito-y, but really that’s not what we’re going for here. I’d think any softer, more buttery cheese (not necessarily sauce, due to gravy concerns) like provel or something would be bombastic, if not completely unnecessary.

I’d post pics, but since I went into the project with trepidation, I didn’t really have the forethought to take a picture. Go to the link above (or if you’re lazy, here) and see pictures of what they looked like.

Taste: You know very well what it tastes like. You just ate it 3-7 days prior, but now it’s more congealed. And in a tortilla.

Texture: Well.. Mush. With bits of turkey.

JK Score: 10/10 Things that are better than Thanksgiving food? None.

That’s actually science.

PB&J Candwich (6 months old)

A man, a can, a plan, a crappy sandwich!

What’s up, science? We can put a man on the moon, we can stream pterodactyl porn across a series of copper wires and glass tubes to my phone in my pocket, anywhere in the world (Seriously, that type of film exists. Don’t ask me how I know.), we can spray freaking skin cells onto a burn patient with a freaking squirt gun, and have them heal insanely fast, but a long-lasting, tasty, easy to transport in pneumatic tube peanut butter and jelly sandwich has somehow managed to constantly slip through the grips of science’s diabolical hands.

Oh, wait. You mean a canned PB&J with a one year shelf life exists?

Hold on... Quick, AND tasty?! Sign me up!

This is what we’ve been waiting for, folks. Years of research, development, blood, sweat, and tears have all led up to this moment. Do you know how many people had to die in a centrifuge to make this possible?

Actually, five. Also, I don’t really know what centrifuges had to do with the creation of this, but that’s why we have grants, people.

But those deaths were NOT in vain. Behold!

The same could be said for shiny pebbles, but they didn't have the marketing budget.

It fulfills every mission set forth by the Canned PBJ Mandate of 2009. I bought these (yes, plural, no, I don’t know why. I have 3 left, if anyone is interested) in May or June of 2011, making these samples currently about 6 months old, but still a solid 6+ months from their expiration (or maturation) date of June 20-freaking-12.

I CAN HAZ PREZERVATIV?

If Billy Mays wasn’t in hiding (don’t think for a second he’s actually dead, that’s what the government wants you to think), he’d be happy to scream about the final incredible aspect… Wait for it…

I mean really, it's not a surprise anymore, but I guess it's the thought that counts.

BOOM! Candy Surprise. In your FACE flu vaccine!

So, we pop this mythical beast open, and with a quite unnerving gush of air, dump out the contents (vid at the bottom)… A sealed bun-type piece of bread that’s riding solo, and not even sliced, a plastic knife, a packet of squeeze peanut butter, a packet of squeeze jelly, a piece of cherry Laffy Taffy (which was worse for the wear than the sandwich materials), and a desiccant pack for science/freshness.

To be completely honest, I was sort of let down by science at this point. I was hoping in the however-many-years science has been sciencing, I’d at least have a pre-made nasty sandwich, and not have to build it myself. I mean, why time-capsulize everything seperately, when you KNOW that people in the future (or now) are going to be remarkably lazy? I mean, sure, it’d most likely make the bread a nasty mess, but you have to think of the children. The lazy, lazy children. I mean, you’re handing over some poor soul a CANNED SANDWICH. Let’s set the expectations realistically here.

Anyway, as you can see in the ever-so-professionally produced video below, I roughly assembled, and consumed said canned goodness.

Taste: I wish I could explain what I was eating. The bread was very obviously… well, it wasn’t bread. At least not in the normal sense of how you’d think bread would taste or feel in your mouth. Really sweet, really, well, obviously preserved.

Texture: The jelly was partially separated, and the peanut butter was technically peanut butter, but was barely spreadable, like it really just wanted to stay in tube form. Can you blame it? The bread was remarkably crumbly and firm, and again, just overall odd.

JK Score: 3/10 Not inedible, if I was in a bomb shelter, I’d totally eat it if need be, but I sure as hell am not going to pneumatically tube one of these to anyone I liked, when i could just, you know, make them a flipping PB&J.

Of course, that candy surprise was 6+ months old, and couldn’t even come out of the wrapper in one piece. It gave me a sad.

Moving picture futuristic amazement:

Canned Bacon (Tactical Bacon)

You know, I’m no marketing genius, but give me an item like canned bacon, and I’d be all like, “Dude.”

Then I’d come up with something pretty damn amazing and catchy. Like..

Wait for it…

BaCAN. Cuz… It’s bacon. In a can. Bay-can.

The ad copy practically writes itself.

“Now, you can enjoy the farm-fresh taste of… like.. bacon… Anywhere, on the go… As long as you have a can opener. Introducing BaCAN, the… stuff… that’s… well, it’s fucking bacon… in a can. Get ya some! UNGOWA! Snap into a Slim Jim!”

Though, I think there may be a non-compete with the Slim Jim people. Maybe instead of Macho Man, we could get the Iron Sheik. He’s not really doing much these days, except… well, going insane.

So there’s that.

Oh! Carrot Top. He loves bacon. No… Wait. Not Carrot Top. Jim Gaffigan. I always get those confused. Jim Gaffigan, now that dude loves bacon.

So here’s the pitch. Jim Gaffigan fights Carrot Top and The Iron Sheik in a cage match. Winner take bacon. In a can. BaCAN.

Yah? Yah?

Shit.

Day job maintained.

Anyway, so yah. I have some freaking canned bacon on my desk here, courtesy of my good friends at http://www.thinkgeek.com. (Full Disclosure: they’re not actually my friends, and I had to pay for the bacon in a can, so it wasn’t really courtesy of them, they just sold it to me. Just sayin’.)

Here’s the can…

BaCAN!!!

BaCAN!!!

Here’s the wittyness on the backside… (Band name?)

Funny, my hands are still wet...

Funny, my hands are still wet...

Oh! The government said it’s OK to eat as well! Bonus!

Uncle Sam wants YOU... To... Eat... This?

Uncle Sam wants YOU... To... Eat... This?

So… Yah.

Then the unveiling… At which point, well… Just watch.

A few greasy, awkward moments later…

And here’s the final product in all it’s bacony glory…

Regrets...  I've had a few...

Mistakes... I've made a few...

And then I ate it. Because, obviously. Shit.

Texture: For all the grease found in/on the can, the bacon itself was suprisingly not-super-greasy. Not like good, thick-cut stuff either, really had the consistency of maybe day-old half-warm microwave bacon. Which is to say, not completely horrid, but not amazing either. Definitely on the chewy side. Way chewy.

Taste: It tastes like… Bacon. Mostly. Little bit heavy on the artificial smoke flavor, and somewhat saltier than most bacon I’ve had (all of it). I do keep finding myself snacking on a piece here and there while I finish this entry, so it must not be too bad… but again, that’s one of the intrinsic qualities of bacon; the addictiveness. Also, I’m kinda hungry right now. So I’m sure that’s not helping.

JK Score: 4/10 That’s a hard call. If I’m judging it strictly against other canned items I’ve had in my life, it’s… well, it’s freakin’ bacon, so it gets points based on merit alone. If I’m judging it against actual food? It’s not great. It’s not horrible, make-me-vom either, which I’m honestly pretty damn suprised at given the can opening. So, you know, I’d definitely take it hiking/camping/Apocolypsing. But I’d rather nuke up some crappy microwave bacon for my own personal use any day of the week.

Update: I had to go back and knock it down to 4/10, because 20 minutes, a beer and a cig later, I still have the FaCon (fake bacon!) flavor in my mouth. And it sucks.

Ok, now to de-grease my camera/hands/desk/apartment.

Q&A with JK, Volume I (LMNOP)

It would be really awesome to start this entry out with “We at TJE get multiple thousands of emails daily, inquiring about different aspects of the site and the culinary community on the whole.”

I don’t, though.

I really get little to no mail. It’s sad, kinda.

So in lieu of the traditional Q&A, where people ask me questions, and I actually answer them, I’m just going to dig through my site statistics, dig up Google search phrases that ultimately directed people to my site, and then answer the question they were asking originally, because most searches that land here have little to do with the original search.

Search Phrase:
“difference between the breakfast and the mcskillet”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: McSkillet Burrito Review
The Real Answer: Really, there is no difference at all. At least not 15 years in the future, where I’m writing this section of this post from. McDonald’s has completely taken over the entire breakfast food industry, forcing all cereal, fruit, cold pizza, and bagel manufacturers completely out of business, via violent, and often bloody, coups. So really there is no difference between The McSkillet and The Breakfast, because The McSkillet is The Breakfast(TM). If anyone tells you different, they’re either lying, or will be dead within 2 days.

Search Phrase: “pudding pile”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: Chocolate Mix Skittles Review
The Real Answer: At 10:30 Saturday night come to the corner of 32nd and Green with $240. Knock on the 2nd door on your left, labeled “DOOR”. I didn’t label it, it was already like that. Really not sure why. Anyway, knock on the door. The password is “Mick Jagger” when the guy asks. There, you will find your pudding pile. For an example, click play below.

Search Phrase: “can i feed my dog shrimp chips”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: To the most unholy crap ever. Review.
The Real Answer: What the hell is wrong with you, man? I mean, are you just trying to piss off your dog? Do you want him to pee under your desk and poop on your keyboard while you sleep? Because he knows you got the idea from the internet. Or China. But your dog can’t go to China, because he doesn’t have a passport. And even if he did, he doesn’t know when you’re going back to China, much less where you’re going. Unless you leave an itinerary out. So I guess the answer is technically “yes”, just keep your computer locked up and don’t let your dog know where you’re going. Ever. Because odds are he’ll poop there. Your dog DO NOT WANT shrimp chips. Trust me.

Search Phrase: “how to tell what kind of person by what candy bar they eat”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: Probably to the main page, where there’s a variant of this.
The Real Answer: This one’s easy. If they’re eating a candy bar that’s made of blood, puppies, baby souls, and has John Tesh on the wrapper, they’re most likely a bad person. Otherwise they’re cool. Unless it’s some dumb Soy-pseudo-food candy bar. Then they’re most likely a hippie.

Search Phrase: “what’s the shelf life of dinty moore and similar canned good”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: Grant’s Canned Haggis
The Real Answer: Dinty Moore doesn’t actually have a shelf life, per say, it’s more of a shelf half-life, like plutonium. The shelf half-life of most Dinty Moore products is in the 22 year range, meaning that your children can enjoy that beef stew after binge drinking some night in the future, but it will only be half as awesome. Fortunately, they’ll be plowed, so they won’t be able to taste it. They’ll also puke in your trash can and not tell you.

Search Phrase: “caramel bad for the human body”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: Actually, back to the Choco-Skittles again it looks like.
The Real Answer: Obviously, taken internally, it’s perfectly safe, even at high concentrations. Just ask Kirstie Alley. If applied topically, though, it’s a different story. This is actually how George Wendt died. “But George Wendt isn’t dead”, you may say. Well, this section of my post is written from the future again, so suck it. Trust me, you don’t want the details on this one, either. Very sad, very gross. Lots of screaming, and seagulls. Horrid.

Search Phrase: “does saki ika go bad”
Where Google Probably Sent Them: Back to the unholy bowels of the squid post.
The Real Answer: Trick question. Saki Ika never actually goes good.

Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire

… I really wish I could fit more words into the name of this product. I’m not sure if interjecting anything witty would really help with the comedic value of what we have here, though. So, I’m gonna leave well enough alone, and proudly present to you:

Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire


20071211-chickenring1

Boom, shacka-lacka.

Seriously. These exist. At Walgreen’s. Which is handy, because you have ready access to all sorts of remedies for whatever may ail you after consuming these bad boys.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around what in the bloody hell Dwight Yoakam has to do with crappy processed chicken products. Kenny Rogers, a much better country singer, tried the whole chicken thing, and in a much better form, and failed horribly. Why Dwight can’t learn from Kenny, we’ll never know. There’s apparently a whole line of nasty chicken-type products he’s schlepping, including Chicken Fries, and other Chicken Things-that-were-never-meant-to-be-formed-from-chicken-parts available for your purchase and consumption.

My only solid theory thusfar is that Dwight Yoakam majorly pissed off Kenny Rogers at some point in the past few years. Kenny, being the cool-headed gambler he is, didn’t let it known at the time that he was pissed. He held that anger deep inside, and stayed friends with Dwight, awaiting the perfect time to exact his revenge. One day, Kenny and Dwight were hanging out at the Old Country Singers Club, and Dwight asked for investment advice. Kenny, without missing a beat, screamed that the future was in chicken, and vowed up and down that he was just too soon into the market, and what the world really needed was someone to bring frozen-chicken-in-odd-forms to market in mass quantities, and as fast as possible. Kenny is vindictive like that. He won’t throw a punch, he’ll just tell you sell chicken and bleed your accounts dry.

The moral here, of course, is that you should never listen to Kenny Rogers.

So, we pop open the box of Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire (btw, I’m never going to condense that name cuz it’s completely badass and I feel that if someone took the time to fit it all on a box, the least I can do is fully acknowledge the entire name whenever I choose to bring it up), and are presented with about 12 or so units of Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire.

20071211-chickenring2

On the box, they suggest microwaving in sets of 4, for 1:30. They actually suggest using an oven as a preferred method to maintain crispness or some such nonsense. I figure that whoever is buying Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire isn’t going to be the type of person who knows how to operate an oven, much less have the time to use it. With that in mind, we’re nuking these bastards.

I’ve gotta say, they’re horrible. Just completely nasty. Not to mention, Dwight Yoakam is apparently a hot wuss, because there was absolutely nothing “afire” about these Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire. What I had in my mouth was more like Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Flavored Crappy Mushy Batter Rings A-Bland. I even tried to drown them in my emergency chicken flavor kit: Franks’ Red Hot Sauce and Ranch. No help. Just complete shit, all around, with no hope of salvation.

Kenny Rogers – 1, Dwight Yoakam – 0. Seriously. Don’t piss off Kenny Rogers.

Texture: In nuked form, it was like chewing on a moist ring of wet meat.

Flavor: Really, nothing. Nothing at all. Except HORRIBLE WET CHICKEN IN CRAP-BATTER.

JK Score: 0/10 In all seriousness, these things are flippin’ nasty. I can’t even find a good thing to say about Dwight Yoakam’s Chicken Lickin’s Chicken Rings Afire, except that the name itself is fun to rattle off.

Go-Tarts! Frosted Chocolate Chip with Chocolatey Filling

As I was on my way out the door yesterday, I had this really cool internal dialogue with myself. The part of “Me” was played by someone doing a horribly over-the-top cockney accent, and occasionally slipping into a bad imitation of Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean, and the part of “Replying-to-myself” was played by a drunk Scotsman. It went something like this.

“Caw, gub-na! Oy shoooow is ‘ungry!”
“Rrrarriken ‘ewed wanna earrt?”
“Well lub, oy’d most rilly like some of ’em American ‘op Tart lovely pastries an such, but OY! They’s just toooooo large ‘or me British ‘ands, and ever most unwieldy while trying to pilot my ever-so-large boat, savvy?”
“GO ABERDEEN!!!! ‘Ut braot these’m, ewe trot wanka?”
“Avast! Kellogg’s Popt-Tarts Go-Tarts! Frosted Chocolate Chip with Chocolatey Filling!”
“Rrraharrrgggst un ewe ROIGHT!”

20071204-gotarts

The walk to the car from the door consequently wound up taking about 5 hours, mostly because I had to drink a lot of beer to effectively play the part of the drunk Scot, then sober up enough to find my other accent, then get drunk again every time there was a character change. By that point, I was way too far gone to drive, so I gave up and went back into the house to ponder the existence of these tiny Pop-Tart variants.

Let me get to the point here. POP TARTS ARE NOT BIG. I shit you not, I just measured the true metric by which all toaster pastries should be compared. Of course I speak of the legenedary Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart, the cornerstone of life. My measurements came out to 4.5 inches in height, and 3.125 inches across. This ultra-portable Go-Tart came in at 4.5 inches in height, and 1.5 inches across.

Meaning: it’s ONE AND A HALF INCHES MORE NARROW THAN A FLIPPING FULL-SIZE, BEEFY, AWESOME POP-TART.

20071204-tartsizes

So, my question is, who really needs a more portable Pop-Tart? Who sat there and said, “Dammit, I can’t carry a Pop-Tart! That’s just too big! I need something 1.5 inches more narrow, but otherwise the same size!” Why are you destroying my childhood and all that holy?

DON’T SCREW WITH POP-TARTS.

… Anyway, let’s get to the food. I opened up the most portable pasty in the creation of ever, only to find a busted crap-mess of crumbs and stuff. See, this is what happens when you mess with the perfect design. You lose all structural stability.

< %image(20071204-bustedtart.jpg|320|256|The humanity!!)%>

Texture: The outer crust is definitely Pop-Tart flavored, but it’s much thicker, sweeter, and more chewy than normal. Kinda weird. Definitely has more of an energy-bar feel to it than a Pop-Tart. I’m crying at this point.

Flavor: The filling is undeniably Pop-Tart chocolate/fudge family. Other than that, it’s crap.

JK Score: 1/10 I’m sorry, my score partially reflects how pissed I am at Kellogg’s. But really, these suck. They don’t taste much like a Pop-Tart, and by screwing with the ancient design, they’ve lost all structural rigidity, netting a food that’s actually less portable by it’s self-destructive and crumbly nature. For shame, Kellogg’s. For shame.

DON’T SCREW WITH POP-TARTS!!!!!