What was let out of Snack Jail this weekend as part of Snackreligious' One Year Anniversary Amnesty Blowout? What was still edible? What couldn't be consumed, no matter how hard I tried? Read on, find out, and celebrate one year of blogging with me.
I love an Andes mint. Chocolate and mint: tee-riff! They're a snack that freezes well, but I ate this lone mint at room temperature. I think this must be a leftover Christmas stocking item, as otherwise I can't explain why I wouldn't have more of these guys. Unless I ate the rest of the bag in an Andes-mint-induced haze. Because I do think they're delicious.
[Note: Best before last October.]
Matt C. brought this bag of jelly beans to us after his trip to South Africa (as part of Clowns Without Borders!) several years ago.
South African snack photo by eyesontheroad (permission to distribute given under Creative Commons license)
The gift here is all in the packaging: Dan and I went to high school in Manhattan, Kansas ("The Little Apple") and now live in NYC, just outside Manhattan ("The Big Apple"). And this bag of Kraft South Africa jellybeans advertises, "The unreal world of Manhattan Candyland." The character, "Slick Snake," who is "a mighty ssssugar-breathing dragon" is pretty cool, too.
In fact, I don't really like jelly beans, so I didn't think often about eating these. But I can't just keep them in my apartment forever, like a sentimental pack rat, can I? A pack rat's gotta eat.
Once it was opened, the contents of the bag smelled sweet and sour, like Pixy Stix dust. This seemed promising. The beans came out looking a little odd, but that could be due to their age. The orange ones were especially cloudy/spotty looking, as if something larval could be growing inside.
Chewing and tasting them was a little unpleasant, but I blame my timing. Sticky and slightly hard, they clung to the tops and bottoms of my teeth. Green tasted medicinal; pink was like sweet pink lemonade; red had a cinnamon tendency at first, but became a little nasty as I chewed; cloudy orange was perhaps (expired) orange drink; yellow had no sourness, but did have some semblance of lemon flavor; black were typical licorice, which is not my cup of tea.
I'm clearly not the right person to judge jelly beans, and these are obviously past their sell-by date. However, I didn't find them entirely off-putting, and someone who loves jelly beans would probably like an (unexpired) assortment of these. I still love the package, and I want to believe its sssstory, so I will share with you with these inspired words from the back of the bag:
"Sssslick Snake is calling you to Candy Land in the unreal world of Manhattan. This mighty ssssugar-breathing dragon wraps himself around his ssssuper treasure of crunchy jelly beans and uses his powerful tail to crack them open releasing the sssssoftest, chewiest, juiciest, most delicious centre in all the land. Come share these ssstunningly colourful fruit filled marvels with him. Join Slick and his friends in the unreal world of Manhattan."
Nice, right? Can I just mention there is also an illustration of a cow, who says, "Cow-moo-nicate with us!" before sharing the company's address and phone number in South Africa?
Remember a few seconds ago, when I noted that I don't really like jelly beans? There are exceptions, but I never buy them for myself. I'm not sure where this Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor Mix (cross-branded with Cold Stone Creamery) came from, but I was game to try it, if only to liberate these beans from Snack Jail.
The contents of the bag smelled like a chocolate medley, and the flavors identified on the back were Chocolate Devotion, Our Strawberry Blonde, Birthday Cake Remix, Apple Pie A La Cold Stone, and Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip.
These beans did not look old or mottled. They were slick, speckled, and clean-looking. The chocolate beans had a fudgey flavor, but for me the texture of a jelly bean is unnatural in chocolate. Strawberry was quite strong and sweet, overpowerful and therefore seeming artificial. Birthday cake really captured its given flavor. I felt like the beans were melting into icing globs in my mouth. I judged these the most successful of the lot. Apple Pie was too heavy on the "Apple Pie Spice," and so tasted as artifical as Strawberry. Finally, there was quite a bit more mint than chocolate in the "Mint Mint etc." jelly beans. I liked this flavor more near the end of chewing than when I first bit into it. It mellowed into a mint-cocoa melange.
I'm still not a jelly bean fancier, but these weren't too bad. I'd eat the chocolate and birthday cake flavors again, but in general I'd choose SweeTart or Starburst Sour jelly beans over these.
I'm pretty sure both of these items were gathered as in-flight snacks, but I don't actually remember receiving the peanuts. The nuts inside the bag are teeny-tiny, which seems like something an airline would do to me. Peanuts are good, if less-than-thrilling, and these were fine -- a little too salty, but fine. The most exciting thing about them was that, unlike some of snacks mentioned here, these were not even close to expired.
I do remember receiving Delta "Gourmet Center" Biscoff cookies during a painful flight to the Southwest (made painful by Delta, who tried several times to thwart my actually making it to my vacation destination). Thank goodness we saved one of the cookie packets (two cookies per packet), so that I could relive that annoying experience.
The cookies, actually, though they look boring, are pretty good. They taste like extra-thick and firm cinnamon graham crackers and probably suit a bland palate or queasy stomach as well as a flavor-hunter like myself. They do taste like they're just this side of burnt, and they look dark, but that may be by design. I may have a bone to pick with Delta, but I have no beef with Biscoff.
I could not eat these. Not a one. Because, despite the fact that I had stored these peppermints with their "Do Not Eat" silica packets (the bag I was given had been opened and was ripping down the side), by the time I got around to giving them a day pass from Snack Jail they had all stuck together in a giant, peppermint lump. No one should go from jail to the trash pile, but these are snacks, not people, so I made an exception.
These are the Laffy Taffies from Kevin's Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. I think they were 20 tickets each and paid for with my skee-ball winnings. Two of them rightfully belonged to Dan as a reward for going to the dentist, but I had one of the sour apples for myself.
Speaking of dentists, sticky/taffy candies make me nervous, but this taffy wasn't that sticky. Neither did it taste as good as I remembered. There were definitely artificial notes to the taste, with a faint background of nail salon, overpowering any green apple tartness. Laffy Taffy is too slick and processed for my taste. The "sour" in this sour apple was more pretense than actuality.
And now for the heartfelt stuff (not that I don't feel strongly about the snacking):
Thank you! Thank you, 29 Blogger "Followers!" Thank you, 48 Google RSS Reader subscribers! Thank you, people following with readers I can't track! Thank you, drop-ins, returning visitors, people who comment, and lurkers! Thank you, international guests, real life friends, strangers, knitting cronies, Facebook wanderers, GoodReads colleagues, coworkers, and family members! Thank you for making my first year of blogging so sweet. This has been a real treat.
By the way, there are still plenty of incarcerated goodies, so expect more of these Blowout posts in the near future.
I raise a White Russian (my current toasting beverage of choice) to all of you, and to another year of Snackreligious.