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April, 2008:

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.

Snickers Adventure Bar

…In a world where the candy industry has grown stagnant…

Oh, sorry. Emphasis.

…In a world… Where the candy industry… Has grown stagnant…


…In a world where the candy industry has grown stagnant… Where movie tie-ins and special edition treat introductions had slowed down to a mere annoyance…


Of course, I’m talking about the limited edition Adventures of Indiana Jones Snickers Adventure Bar.

I mean, what else could it possibly be? You think Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana cups are gonna save the world?

Oh hell no.

You gots to have some ass-kicking Snickers. Indiana Jones ass-kicking Snickers, to be specific. Something hardcore enough to call itself an ADVENTURE BAR. Something with “a cliffhanger kick of exotic spice and a hint of sweet coconut flavor.”

Wait. All this hard-ass-ery over “exotic spice” and coconut? (Yes, hard-ass-ery is a word. If you disagree, I’ll sic the Adventure Bar on your ass.)

I somehow doubt Chuck Norris would approve.

Upon dissection, you get…

A Snickers bar. Nothing awesome, adventurous or otherwise cool.

Upon eating, you get…

Texture: …A fuggin Snickers bar.

Taste: I was really hoping for something to just jump out of the confines of the chocolately shell and kick my taste buds in the ass. But, it’s a Snickers bar. With coconut flavor. And the exotic spices? Chai, and little vanilla. It works though. But it’s not anywhere as near as awesome as I’d like.

JK Score: 8/10 The Snickers is fundamentally awesome, and this is a nice twist on the concept, but the Chai is so present, you’ll get sick of it about halfway through. Go for the Minis if you have the option.

Special K Snack Bites

Calorie Wars
Episode I: The Snack Bags

It is a period of snack war. Food
companies, striking from hidden
corporate headquarters have won their first victory
against the evil Diet Empire
During the battle, food companies managed
to steal secret plans to the Diet Empire’s
ultimate weapon, the DON’T EAT SO MANY CALORIES….

You’ll just have to picture that scrolling by on a dark background very slowly. It worked a lot better in my mind before I started typing it all out.

Anyway, I’m semi-officially back on the diet wagon again, thanks to my wife losing a metric crap-tonne of weight and making me look bad. My biggest issue is that I have a desk job, and I’m constantly snacking at my desk it seems. So, in an attempt to ween myself off of that, I turned to the 100-calorie packs of, well, everything. I’m pretty sure I could find a 100-calorie pack of lard if I tried hard enough.

In my quests for a 100-calorie pack of something crunchy today, I ran across what’s going to amount to the beginning of the end: the next evolution of xxx calorie packs. Yep, we’re down to 90. TAKE THAT, YOU FATASS 100 CALORIE-EATING BASTARDS!

I dunno. Clearly, it’s all downhill from here. Eventually, we’ll be buying 0-calorie packs of all of our favorite “bad” foods, which will consist of a bag that smells like cookies or whatever. It’s gonna be great. I can’t wait.

Actually, what I really can’t wait for is the inevitable coming of negative calorie packs. Like, you’ll have to run around the block before you can open an empty bag that says Chips Ahoy on it. And there’s nothing in there, just mockery. And maybe sweat. Or maybe the soul of Richard Simmons.

Because by that point in the future, I’m sure that Richard Simmons will be dead, and they will have figured out a way to mass produce Richard Simmons Soul, package it, and distribute it. In Chips Ahoy bags. Really, the only technological hurdle will be controlling it. You can’t have Richard Simmons Souls all out there running amok and motivating people. The net result would be some sort of headband-wearing jumping-jack annoyingly-upbeat zombie army. With whitefros. Granted, it would be a potentially unstoppable force, and some clever dude could probably find a good use for it, and possibly dominate a small area of land (not the world, of course). But, really, for the general populous, it would just be annoying, and create a sweatband-shortage epidemic not seen since the release of Flashdance.

Which, I guess could be pretty bad as well. We all remember having to queue up in the mid-eighties for our sweatband rations. No one wants to go through that again.

Oh, I totally bought some food.

Special K Snack Bites. I grabbed strawberry, because really, as any person who grew up on Frankenberry can tell you, it’s the best of all artificial flavors.

20080407-ksnackbitesbag (Custom)

Then, once you get in you’re greeted with what is actually a decent amount of snacking-ready food product. I have absolutely no idea how these are constructed, nor do I want to, but there’s some sort of VERY pink base with a smattering of crunchy on it.
20080407-ksnackbitespiece (Custom)

They’re pretty thin, kinda like chips.

Texture: Crunchy. Duh. Whatever that base is, it’s like a crisp cereal thing goin on, then you got your pseudo-granola granules (Band Name) that add some crunchy-ocity, and get stuck in your teeth.

Taste: Crunch Berries. Easy. Maybe just a tad less sweet and more tart. With some granola after-taste. It’s weird. Lucky for me, I freaking love Crunch Berries, so I’m all over this garbage.

JK Score: 9/10 Only rated so high because of my love of Crunch Berries. Seriously. If you’re not down with the CB, you’ll hate these. They had other flavors, but in my experience, the Chocolate from Special K is kinda wonky. Stick with what works.

Of course, my biggest issue now is not eating multiple packets. Dammit.

Chocolate Covered Giant Ants

Not since 1957’s Beginning of the End (Which, by the way, starts out in my hometowns) have giant insects ever looked so threatening… and… tasty?

I dunno. If you’re afraid of chocolate, these guys might induce a fair amount of terror. They’re HUUUUUUUGEE!!! (In relation to other ants I’ve seen, which were neither chocolate-covered, nor purportedly giant).

20080403-TJE 002 [tje]

Luckily, we don’t have to worry about these giant insects running rampant across Ludlow and Paxton, IL and making their way up to Chicago to terrorize an entire metropolitan populous. I mean, if you’re the kind that like to worry about impossible, but potentially tasty tragedies, I guess you can worry about it, but you really shouldn’t. We’re coming up on summer in the Midwest, which means they’d just melt once they got outside anyway.

I’d like to make a note for those playing at home; I’m not intentionally trying to follow directly in the footsteps of The Onion’s AV Club. Seriously. I had these bastards on order for about 3 days when their taste test came out. Plus, their insects weren’t chocolate-covered, so I feel kinda vindicated there. Plus, they were Crickets on top of it all. Completely different. Screw you.

If nothing else, I’m also a big pansy too. I was at, a boutique-ish UK f’ed up food store getting something else (amaze in the mystery), and figured I’d pad my order with something from the insect category. These seemed to be the most pedestrian item, and were voted “least likely to contain a scorpion”. Seriously. They even counted Florida and Michigan during the vote.

As I tend to do with most things that are chocolate-covered in nature, (and really, there should be more things that fall into this category) I busted out the trusty knife of wonder (read: butter knife) and cut one of the ant-filled bastards up just to verify the ant…y…ness of said chocolate-covered ants:

20080403-TJE 005 [tje]

… Wow. That’s a whole lot of ant. As you can see above, there’s really a lot of ant in there, and not as much chocolate as I’d… Hoped. Also, in doing the dissection, I realized just how crunchy ants are. “Very” is the correct amount. Crap.

Oh, and the product shot, the one that makes you go “damn, I needs me some ants”.

20080403-edible [tje]

Texture: Wow. Just as crunchy as I’d hoped. (Right). The outer choco-layer is actually pretty nice, melts quickly, and then you take that first big, crunchy bite. Kinda plow through the exoskeleton, into the kinda-smooshy abdomen, then the other end of the exoskeleton. And as a bonus, that exoskeleton flakes off and gets stuck in your teeth, so you have a treat for later! Yay!

This video is about as close as I can get to really expressing the texture. Turn up your sound at the halfway point.

Taste: That chocolate outside isn’t bad at all. It’s pretty nice. The ant itself? Oddly, it’s very meaty, but very bitter/salty. It’s definitely weird, and not like anything I’ve ever had before. All the flavor is down in the abdomen, the head is just all crunchy exoskeleton. Wow. That was interesting. I feel very worldly. They’re Columbian ants, shipped to, and sold from London. Gur. Flavor is still there.

JK Score: 0/10 Don’t eat ants. I know bugs are supposedly full of protein and all that good stuff. If I was stranded in the Columbian jungle, I’d obviously resort to eating these. Really, they weren’t gut-wrenching, just VERY strong, and very “different”. Granted, I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting when I put a giant-ass ant in my mouth, but what I got was definitely not on the list of things I could expect. That texture didn’t help at all either. 10 minutes later, I’ve still got that taste in my mouth, and I’m still picking ant-shell out of my teeth. Maybe if I got over the stigma of eating bugs, it’d be different, but as it stands, this is definitely something I’d have to get used to before I really appreciated it.