Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tales of a Driveway Gourmand

As you all know, I like to eat. A lot. I'll eat pretty much anything, unless it's fish, because fish are nasty. Seriously. Despite living in water, which is an excellent solvent, fish are filthy creatures, cursed with a lack of limbs because God hated them so. It's totally true. Look it up. Did you know that fish pee and poop in that water, as well as make nasty fish love in there? Also true. Also verifiable in books. I don't care how healthy a salmon is, that thing is a rancid beast, capable of doing nothing more than infecting you with all manner of plagues and pestilence, when it isn't violently thrashing its way upstream to take place in some debased fish orgy.

I do enjoy a good plate of calamari though.

Where was I? Oh right, food. For some unknown reason, those cagey advertisers have started to put samples of food in with my Sunday paper. For some other unknown reason, I am compelled to eat these samples, despite the fact that they are found in puddles of the various forms of lawn based detritus that exist at the base of my driveway. I honestly don't know why I feel the need to eat whatever comes in the newspaper bag as I have never once been compelled to eat the actual newspaper. There must be some primal part of my brain that sees the food just laying there, and feels that eating that food will be the difference between survival and slow, wasting death.

With that in mind, I give you the first in an occasional series of articles I'm calling "Tales of a Driveway Gourmand" in which I review the food found at the base of my driveway, usually attached to a newspaper. I'm sure you're thrilled. A week away from posting and he comes back with a story of eating essentially garbage? Oy vey!

Item #1: Kellogg's™ All-Bran™ Fiber Drink Mix Pink Lemonade
Everyone knows that print is dead and that the only people reading the Sunday paper are old geezers and people like me who really enjoy reading the funnies. Kellogg's also knows this and figures that if old people can be counted on one thing, it's irregularity. I guess that's not a condemnation of old people, more of a comment on our general society as moving to the fast food nation we've become has made us nigh allergic to vegetables. Kellogg's only has your health, and the health of your colon at heart hence the All-Bran Fiber Drink mix, a powder you mix into water to give you a tall, refreshing glass of digestive aid. As drink mixes go, it's OK. It's got a vaguely chemical taste to it that causes you to have to really choke down those last few gulps, however if it's this or spending the weekend on the toilet trying to pass those Angry Whoppers you spent the week eating, I'd say go with this one. Looking at the list of ingredients, I have no idea what the hell is in this stuff that can give you 40% of your daily fiber needs, but I do know that you're not going to want to mistake this for the pink lemonade at your next garden party. Well, not without stocking up on toilet paper first. 2 Magic Driveways out of 5.

Item #2: Fiber One Chewy Bars Oats and Chocolate
Fiber One apparently has access to the same demographic information that Kellogg's has and has also chosen your perusal of Saturday's sports results as a means of injecting more fiber into your lifestyle. In the interest of all honesty, I should point out that I have a huge box of these very same bars in my pantry as we speak. It's a well known fact that as you get older your metabolism slows down, but what people aren't so quick to point out is that your ability to eat nothing but raw meat and then crap out a dumpster lessens as well. Plus, if you're looking to lower your cholesterol, taking in enough fiber is a good way to do it, or so my doctor told me many moons ago when my cholesterol was a wee bit too high. These bars are a good way to eat like crap on the weekend, when I'm forgoing my usual fiber rich cereal, and still maintain some semblance of digestive health. The tagline of the bars is "Cardboard, no. Delicious, yes." and while these bars certainly don't taste like cardboard, they require as much chewing as one would need were they to eat an entire cardboard box. Oats may be lots of things, but "melt in your mouth" smooth ain't one of them. That being said, they're not bad. There's enough chocolate there to make things interesting and they're pretty filling so not only do you get your fiber but you're probably less inclined to go eat something else. In the end, we all win. Well, except for those that have to share a bathroom with you. They certainly lose. 4 Magic Driveways out of 5.

Item #3: MultiGrain Cheerios
Isn't it odd how Cheerios can really stink up a pantry? I mean, have you ever opened up a box of Cheerios and taken a big whiff? Not pleasant. Yet, despite the odor, we give these things to kids like they're the last food on the planet. Supposedly it's because toddlers can pick them up easily and eat them, which could be said for rabbit droppings as well, with the only difference being that the droppings would probably smell better. I stopped eating Cheerios once I became responsible for my own cereal choices and decided that I could cut out the middle step of ladling on four cups of sugar to make the fucking things remotely palatable and just buy the real life equivalent of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs. The fine folks at Cheerios decided to mix things up by throwing in all sorts of multiple grains and the barest hint of sugar. The cereal was OK, but nothing I'd buy for myself. My daughter seems to like them, so I guess they're a big hit with kids who can't take less than half an hour to chew a noodle, but your results may vary. Hey, Cheerios people, perhaps the feeding aversion demographic is an untapped market for you. I can see the slogan now, "It's us or the feeding tube. MultiGrain Cheerios." You can attach your samples to the copies of Highlights delivered to the Gastroenterologist's office. 1.5 Magic Driveways out of 5.

Item #4: Gillette Men's Shampoo
Yeah, I know this isn't a food product, but that didn't stop me from almost eating it. Hey, when it's early and you haven't had your coffee and you're used to having food stuck to your paper, opening the bag up to find shampoo and what looks like pomade is enough to throw anyone for a loop. Personally, I always thought it was silly that women had so many different types of shampoo, but at the same time, my wife does a hell of a lot more to her hair every morning than I do. The fine folks at Gillette, not satisfied to be making Mach 19 razors that you can strap to your back and ride to work once you're done shaving with them, decided that men needed to have multiple shampoo options as well and came up with their own line of products designed to be no better than the hand soap you find in the rest stop bathroom. These kinds of products are wasted on me as I try to keep my hair barely longer than the hair on my face, and if it gets blown dry it's because I walked under a heat register while the furnace was going. I'm on to you Gillette. Save your fancy hair care products for all those Metrosexuals in New York City. Here in horse country, I wash my hair the old fashioned way with mud and pig's blood. The gravel is a wonderful exfoliate. I'll save the shampoo for the next time I'm traveling so that I don't get arrested by Homeland Security for carrying too much soap, but the pomade I threw right out. I'm sure I'll regret that decision should I get warped back to 1959 and have to ask my mom to the spring formal, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. 0 Magic Driveways out of 5.

That's it for now. Tune in next time for when I review the dead squirrel that wasn't a sample, but just happened to get hit by a car and land on my paper. Tangy, with a slight hint of vulcanized rubber.

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