On part two, we wrap up the judging by dissecting and discussing Sno Balls, Suzy-Q's, and Zingers. Who will win? Watch the award-eligible video at the end of the post to find out!
The Hostess headlines sent the masses into a panic, leading to a run on snack cakes at convenience stores. Wall Street speculators and plucky entrepreneurs took notice, and what followed was the creation of an unregulated black market, a smorgasbord free-for-all. Don't eat that Twinkie, you mad man! Might as well be eating a Honus Wagner!
It was a dark time that saw the unholy combination of arbitrage, credit default swaps, insider trading, hedge funds, and short sells: All of those bad things you read about and don't understand. They happened again. And this time the powers that be were messing with our precious.
Where's the bailout on this one, Washington? The people had spoken: Hostess was too big to fail. Someone may have heard, because Hostess and the unions are meeting with a mediator to try to settle their dispute. (And thus, the Twinkie bubble burst, leaving only carnage and tears in its wake.)
We at the Memphis Flyer, ever mindful of our civic duties, found upon our heads the helm of public trust, falling to us the great and terrible responsibility to mark this moment in American history.
How to do so in a sober and appropriate fashion? Taste test, nerds!
We did, however, come across six prime goodies for our experiment: Orange Cup Cakes, White Powder Donettes, Honey Bun, Sno Balls, Suzy Q's, and Chocolate Zingers. And, minus Twinkies, at least we had a control group, a golden mean with which to compare our results.
The judges assembled: Greg Akers, Anna Cox, Michael Finger, Louis Goggans, Hannah Sayle, Chris Shaw, and Bruce VanWyngarden
Snack cakes were judged on a 1-10 scale in the categories of presentation, color appeal, texture/tactile, taste, collectability, and overall. Collectability was defined as "hoard-worthiness and value on the black market." In other words, how highly would you rate the item if your life depended upon it in a post-apocalyptic world.
Without further ado, part one of the Great Hostess Taste Test.
As a native Memphian, I couldn't help but want to test Burger King's summer barbecue menu to see how it held up. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to it, the Memphis BBQ pulled pork sandwich was not on the menu, so I decided to drown my disappointment with a Bacon Sundae ($2.99).
I got a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomatoes, and for 50 cents, the fine people at Tops threw an ounce of their pulled pork on top. An ounce of pork isn't enough to drastically change the taste of the burger, even with BBQ sauce, but it is enough to act as one of the best toppings I've had on a burger.
Tops burgers range from $3.15 for a 1/4 lb hamburger to $4.95 for a 1/2 lb cheeseburger.
As the 5 o'clock hour approached last Friday, Coworker C was getting a little antsy to get home and prepare a batch of Cheladas — a tradition he keeps before each Tiger appearance in the NCAA tournament.
I had never heard of Chelada. A little googling brought up the words "beer" and "clam juice."
Spotted at Walgreen's: Jelly Belly sodas, 4 for $4. The flavors are sour cherry, lemon drop, and green apple.
Was chocolate gravy part of your childhood?
I have never had it or seen it, just read about it. Seems this thick sauce — cocoa powder, butter, sugar, flour — was a staple in some but not all Southern homes.
In any case, former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson is getting mileage out of the treat to promote the release of his book Teaching the Pig to Dance.
3:15 p.m., Saturday. Tom Lee Park.
Today was the first day that teams could start "loading in" for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
Well, "glamorous" isn't the word I would use to describe Memphis, be it the city or the hamburger from the new Glamburger line from the Cheesecake Factory, but to each his own.
The Memphis burger (pictured top left) is a beef patty topped with shredded pork, melted cheddar, cole slaw, pickles, and mayonnaise.
Other place-inspired Glamburgers: Sonoma Burger (herbed goat cheese, mushrooms, oven-roasted tomatoes, arugula, red onion, and mayonnaise) and Monterey Cheeseburger (avocado, melted jack cheese, arugula, red onion, and honey-mustard mayonnaise).
Yesterday I stopped by a Rite-Aid in East Memphis and happened upon a chest-high stack of these:
As I stood there gawking, an employee came by and said it was like the commercial. I said I was unfamiliar with the commercial and then we proceeded to press all the buttons we could reach. It was a cacophony of Filet-o-Fish.
On the back of this bag of Cedar's Spinach Wraps are "3 Steps to Wrapping Success!"
I want wrapping success, really I do, but that illustration ...
"Yes, we have quite a bit more ice cream in stock," says Michael Phillips, assistant manager of the Black Road store in East Memphis.
Phillips says a nice day like today might draw around 150 to 200 folks to his store. But on Free Cone Day, they're gearing up to serve between 3,500 to 4,000!
Find your nearest Ben & Jerry's here.
A trio of links today all about hot dogs.
Stacey Greenberg, a frequent contributor to the Flyer's food section, sent me this link from The Riverfront Times food blog Gutcheck titled "20 Unholy Recipes: Dishes So Awful We Had to Make Them."
Writer Robin Wheeler cooks up alarming recipes from old cookbooks. Pictured above is Jellied Bouillon with Frankfurters.
Spotted this drink-specials card at lunch today at the Blue Monkey downtown.
WTH?, I thought. Turns out, Caucasian is also known as a White Russian. And ... the Dude of The Big Lebowski uses the two names interchangeably.
... Not the Super Bowl, silly. This is the Guac Bowl, a freakishly imaginative guacamole contest held each year on game day by a group of friends in L.A.
Winner of this year's "Icarus Award" — "for the guac that soars closest to the sun, only to fall the farthest" — went to GWARcamole.