all pumpktoberfest long, we're featuring guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers. this week's guest post comes from junk food guy, a snack food junkie like myself who's amazing at weaving together snacking & storytelling. his post about being in NYC on 9/11 is one of the better things i've read all year long.
hello there, readers of eat!drink!snack! it's your friendly neighborhood junk food guy, here to contribute to this year's pumpktoberfest. when eat!drink!snack! asked me guest blog, i was ecstatic! my first task - finding a pumpkin flavored junk food. i researched online, talked to my friends, and discovered a slew of pumpkin-flavored junk foods, from pumpkin pie pop-tarts to pumpkin spice donuts from krispy kreme. "piece of cake," i thought, "this post will write itself."
one problem: i couldn't find any in real life! grocery stores, walmarts, targets - NO one had these pumpkin treats i was looking for! even the pumpkin spice donuts - the guy at krispy kreme stared at me like i had three heads. WTF. plenty of halloween-inspired spooky snacks (lame) but no pumpkin being sold. i was feeling a little worried, i have to be honest. i had this whole list of pumpkin-themed snacks, and every time i went out i'd stroll down every aisle to see if any of these items were in stock...nope.
then, one day...victory (thanks to the girl with the junk food radar, adi):
tastykakes IMMEDIATELY reminded me of my high school years. when i was in high school, my friends used to steal tastykakes from the school cafeteria. no joke. they would literally sneak in through the back door of the kitchen and steal armfuls of wrapped brownies and cakes. ridiculous. it also reminded me of a high school anecdote which i'd like to share with you now, as i review this tasty treat.
the snack: so, when i finally found these, i went a little overboard and bought the last four the grocery store had in stock. i couldn't help it! after two weeks of no luck, i almost knocked over a display trying to grab these pies, looking around to make sure no other customers were coming. because if they were, they would've gotten a pop in the mouth, lemme tell ya.
the story: back in 1996, i was a senior in high school. stop snickering. and in december of 1996, the movie scream was released in theaters, and it was game changer for me. you see, up until that point, i had become numb to horror movies. freddy, jason? sure they freaked me out a little, but i had more important things to worry about, like touching boobs and getting out of my tiny town. no time to be scared of fictional leprechauns when i had AP exams coming up! (stop. snickering.)
the snack: the money shot. tastykake is a philly-based company, specializing in cakes, krimpets, pies, honey buns, donuts, and other things which will make your belt tight. "baked fresh daily!" the package exclaims, which is weird considering they are then loaded with preservatives, boxed and shipped countrywide. so...yeah, sure, baked fresh daily.
the story: scream was a game changer for me because it was one of the first horror movies i had seen which dealt with kids my age - high school - and normal murders NOT committed by deranged lunatics (in the traditional sense, at least) or demonic villains, but (spoiler alert) just effed up kids. um...just like the kids i went to high school with. i thought scream sounded like a blueprint for something that could happen in my own town and i was terrified!
the snack: pumpkin baked pies. yummy yummy. pumpkin is one of my fall four major food groups but, weirdly, i didn't like pumpkin pie until much later in life. thought it was too mushy. glad i wised up.
the story: additionally, scream poked fun at its own genre, attempting to break all previous horror movie stereotypes. this freaked me out even further - i couldn't even rely on my own mental safeguards when it came to horror movies. masked killers with knives were popping out from nowhere, all in broad daylight and with the lights on. good lord. i remember distinctly being a senior in high school, wide-eyed and scared sh*tless the days following my viewing of scream. i had several of those "covers pulled up to cover everything but the eyes" nights where i'm sure i eventually just passed out from exhaustion - and then proceeded to dream about masked killers. GREAT.
the snack: 300 calories per container????? jesus - to be clear, these pies were the shape and size of an ipod. 300 calories? i mean, i was looking for an excuse to buy more sweatpants...so these are perfect.
the story: anyways, i was over at a buddy's house once, and we were just figuring out this whole america online thing (YES, I WAS AROUND FOR THE START OF THE INTERNET TOO, SUE ME! where's my ensure!? get me a horn for my ear!) anyways, my buddy was showing me and two other friends this thing called "instant message." i had no idea what this even was, conceptually. so we decided to message a group of girls from our class who happened to be online at the same time. but instead of flirting, we just decided to eff with them. yep, classy.
the snack: TA-DA! how...tiny. i was so excited about these pies that i half-expected there to be more pomp and circumstance when i opened the box. i dunno...lights, whistles, a golden ticket? zippy. i do appreciate the baking vent marks though. makes it feel authentic. sort of.
the story: we knew they had seen the movie scream also, so my buddy asked, "what are you wearing?" "why?" they responded. "because I want to know who i'm looking at," my buddy replied, following the script of the movie. yeah, even now as I recount the story - that was a dick move on our parts. CREEPY!!!
the snack: awh, how cute, a little tray for my little pie. i'm sure that's not a waste of packaging at all!
the story: after a couple minutes of radio silence, the girls replied, "that's not funny. you're not looking at us!" "sure we are," my buddy replied. "oh yeah, so what am i wearing then?" "you have that light sweater on, and [----] has on that t-shirt she likes." more radio silence.
the snack: ok, so...this is what happened when i tried to take the pie out of the tray. i took my finger and lightly try to pry the pie out...and the entire TOP came off! i felt like i was looking at the inside of an animal all of a sudden, and i think i shrieked a little. JUST A LITTLE. whatever, like it's never happened to you...
the story: finally, they messaged back: "that's NOT FUNNY. you're such assholes." "then why do you look so scared?" my buddy replied. they signed off. eeep.
the snack: MMMMM pumpkin-y. little sprinkles of cinnamon - looks decent.
the story: we sat there for a while, unsure of what had happened. no one could call in or out, of course, because we were using dial-up modems. thus, we weren't able to call the girls and continue the farce; this was also during the time before cellphones. (ok, just zip it.)
the snack: i had to. I HAD TO. to the touch, this pumpkin pie filling was a little more watery or loose than i'm used to in traditional pumpkin pies but when i licked the filling off my finger - tasty, indeed. sort of like pumpkin pudding. time for a bite!
the story: the next day when we got to school, we were met with the silent treatment from the group of girls. smug looks on their faces, everything. refusal to speak to any of us. now as high school boys who were TRYING to get with any and ALL members of the female persuasion, this was not a good thing. so the group of us did the first thing that came to us: we apologized.
the snack: the crust was nice and flaky and had a neutral sweet dough flavor. nothing to write home about and to be frank it tasted like it was loaded with butter/crisco/margarine. still, i'm kind of glad it didn't have too much sugar in it to detract from the pumpkin taste. the crust, however, was NOT stable at all.
the story: yeah, we caved like a house of cards. they demanded to know who was there, and we gave ourselves up. we gave each other up. we pointed the finger at each other, seeing another finger pointed right back at us. that night, parents were called by other parents, and we all got reamed out. ugh, what a disaster.
the snack: see? i tried moving my hand just a LITTLE and the entire exoskeleton of crust started to fall apart!
the story: now, looking back, and knowing what we know today about online bullying, i get it. but back then? i was like, "WE WERE JUST JOKING WHY ARE YOU SO MAD GAAAAAWD".
the snack: the filling - as i stated before, a little looser, not as solid as i'm used to in a pumpkin pie filling. but good pumpkin flavor - creamy and sweet, with a good helping of cinnamon to push that spice quotient up.
the story: strangely enough, that experience shook the fear of the movie scream out of me. i don't know why. after getting in trouble, i was less worried about a hooded masked killer coming out of my closet. now i had a new fear: BEING IGNORED BY FEMALES. oh who am i kidding - i still have that fear.
the snack: combined, the crust and the filling worked well - due to instability of the junk food's structure, this was one of those things you just end up jamming the entire thing into your mouth in order to avoid mess, which is a method i employ often. but all in all, not a bad pie for 29% of my daily saturated fat in three bites. i wondered if they would taste better coming out of a toaster oven - and i have three more pies to test this theory out! but yes, tastykake - nice job.
the story: it was strange to me that scream was listed as a comedy on my on-demand last month. comedy? i decided to watch the first half of it - while the jump outs and suspenseful moments make my blood race just as they did almost 15 years ago, the label "comedy" was actually pretty appropriate. for the most part, the movie is highly satirical and pretty funny...even if the actions don't play out so well in real life.
so there you have it, eat!drink!snack! fans! hope you enjoyed my guest blog post. if you have any comments for me, visit my website at junkfoodguy.com, tell me what you think in the comments below or hit me on twitter @junkfoodguy or on my facebook page.
sincerely, junk food guy
the junk food guy is just a normal guy from upstate new york who happens to like, no, LOVE junk food. he's not big, small, overweight, or ripped. he currently resides in the nation's capital where he is, sigh, a lawyer. his favorite months are october and march, and he has a special affinity for gingerbread and frank's red hot sauce. junkfoodguy.com is a daily junk food blog that provides daily reviews of your favorite snacks and treats.