Hostess Fruit Pie and S'mores

posted 3 Sep 2012, 06:26 by David Rickmann

Thanks to my Americaphile friend Barry I've acquired Hostess Fruit Pies and the makings of S'mores.
I think it is telling that when googling for Hostess Fruit Pies to find some background information, the first link was to another Omnivore 100 eater. Surely no one eats these things for pleasure. I'm willing to admit it may have suffered a little from the transatlantic luggage based import, making it a little more crumbly than intended, but flavourwise this things was truly awful.  
I was eating an apple pie (The most American of pies) and upon a very close reading of the ingredients I can tell you that it does indeed contain diced apples "(Sulfite treated). I couldn't really taste much apple. What I could taste was High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Dextrose and Sweet Dairy Whey. This was the sweetest flavoured thing I've ever eaten. The astonishing sweetness made it incredibly difficult to finish and sent me running to the bar straight afterwards to find the bitterest pint of bitter that they sold.
Of course, it being apple pie it was of course a "cinnamon" apple pie and there was plenty of that, or rather there was plenty of a very basic cinnamon flavour which I strongly suspect was Cassia rather than cinnamon. Cassia is a similar plant and has much the same flavour as true Cinnamon (and in fact in the US is usually referred to as Cinnamon) but is stronger, cheaper and less subtle. Cassia also has a significant amount of the blood-thinning phytochemical coumarin which has led Germany to ban its importation. 

I think in order to enjoy a  Hostess fruit pie you would need to have some sort of nostalgic connection with them, or an inability to taste sugar.

S'mores are a traditional American campfire treat made by sandwiching a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers (a type of uninspiring biscuit) and cooking them over a fire.
As luck would have it I was off to a camping based Nerd Festival right after Barry got back from the US so I took along my graham crackers, my hershey bar and my marshmallows and cooked up some s'mores.

The most obvious thing about s'mores is that they are really awkward to cook. You need tongs, or some way to hold the whole thing together, and even then bits keep falling into the fire. After all that effort, I admit the result is nicer than a plain roasted marshmallow, but it's not as relaxing.
Further research has revealed that I was kinda doing it wrong, and you need to melt the marshmallow then stick the bits to it. Still seems a lot of trouble to go to.



posted 29 Jun 2012, 03:37 by David Rickmann

A very quick note about Poutine.

Poutine is a Canadian speciality composed of Fries, Cheese Curds and Gravy. Not living in Canada this was a little hard to obtain. 
I found some in a Canadian pub near Covent garden, "The Maple Leaf". The problem was that they made their poutine with Cheddar instead of curds.
I think that might be a half a point.

I did however tweet about eating poutine for lunch. And was retweeted by Poutine Bot! (@Poutine_Bot) who retweets any mention of the word poutine.
You should eat poutine, it's kinda nice. Though I would like to try more authentic Poutine if I can.


posted 4 Apr 2012, 07:26 by David Rickmann   [ updated 4 Apr 2012, 07:26 ]

An extra, out of nowhere surprise point gained today when my colleague Hal returned from Japan bearing Umeboshi!
An oddly salty, sweet confection with a hit of sour. 

Why mess about with just one flavour when you can jam them all in together.
It took a bit of getting used to, but was really rather pleasant.


posted 23 Feb 2012, 05:38 by David Rickmann

Today for lunch I got Pho from Pho. It's pretty great. It comes in a brown bag where you have this giant cup of soup and then seperately containers holding noodles, meatballs, beansprouts and fried onion, coriander, mint, lime and chilli. When you arrive at your desk you unpack it all, get a bit confused and then google for instructions to your meal.

I recommend Pho. Mmm.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee

posted 23 Feb 2012, 03:33 by David Rickmann   [ updated 12 Jul 2012, 07:20 ]

It's always helpful to know an expert in the field when trying to accomplish something, so when it came to sourcing Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee I turned to the expert in the field of coffee geekery Lisa Pollack

In return to my simple query, "Where can I get a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee" Lisa came back with a litany of reasons why, if I was looking for the best coffee, Blue mountain was not it. She told me that it was in a category of gimmicky, oversold coffees which came with a price premium based on the name, and not the quality and that and well prepared cup in the city would be horribly overpriced. She then recommended to me a series of other coffees.

When I explained that it was to satisfy an arbitrary Internet Meme list, she admitted that she had some in her private stash, which I could have.
So, we met for lunch, and I acquired coffee beans and a direct insight into some of the more obscure and detailed nuances of international high finance (Lisa is nothing if not a born communicator in the world of finance). With a warning not to expect too much and also to add slightly more than I would otherwise use I headed home.

So, Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, yeah, it's fine. A little less bitter than my usual morning coffee choice, but by no means mind blowing. 

The Omnivores 100

posted 11 Feb 2012, 15:15 by David Rickmann   [ updated 12 Feb 2012, 12:33 ]

The Omivores 100 from:

I've advanced from 46 to 48 today.

Here is the current list:

Ugglebarnby Walking Map

posted 6 Apr 2010, 04:59 by David Rickmann

So, we went for a walk. 
Here is where we went.

5 Years 290 Days To Go!

posted 4 Jan 2010, 02:17 by David Rickmann


It is 5 Years and 290 Days until hoverboards are definitely available to the general public.

This assumes that Griff, all of his gang and the two girls in courthouse square all bought their hoverboards on the morning of October 21st.

This is unlikely for a few reasons:


  • There are several manufacturers of hoverboards, i.e. Mattel and No-Tech. It is unlikely that multiple manufacturers would have solved agreed licence issues on the day of release.
  • Mattel produce a hoverboard scooter for children, if this were cutting edge technology it would be an expensive niche product.
  • There are several refinements to the design, the pitbull Jet propelled version, the Mattel Scooter. Based on previous commercial releases we would expect to see an initial release of a basic model with enhancements following.
  • The proficiency of the users. Griff’s Gang all seem to be highly skilled hoverboard riders. This proficiency would have taken a while.
  • Familiarity. None of the townsfolk react with any surprise at the existence of hoverboards, which they would do if they were newly released. Even with a hype campaign beforehand I think there would be more surprise at hovering boards.



Therefore I think it’s safe to say that by October 21st 2015 hoverboards are a cheap and commonly available item. Therefore the absolute earliest they can have been released to the public would be about six months previous, perhaps April 2015?


It is 5 Years and 87 Days until then!


Day 30: Oysters

posted 17 Nov 2009, 03:17 by David Rickmann

First Posted:  Tuesday, 07 October 2008 at 19:37

Day 30, Animal 30 and dinner at the very fancy Gaucho's in Canary Wharf.

Animal 30 was Oysters served on ice with a selection of flavoury things to go on them.
Given my dislike of sea food I was not expecting to enjoy Oysters. They are well seafoodey as well as gooey and shell dwelling. None of these boded well.

Oysters are the first animal which has been eaten alive, also unless any proper biologists know different I think it is also the only animal that can change sex. It also the only animal which allows discounted travel on the London Underground.

First impression of oystes is that they look incredibly disgusting. They were served in a tray of ice as 6 half shells covered with barnacles. It looked a bit like being served some kind of marine detritus rather than a fancy and expensive food. 
The thing is though, I actually kinda liked them. It probably helps that when eaten they don't really touch the tastebuds at all, so you only get a salty sensation followed by a hit of whatever flavour you put on them. I would say that Oysters are definitely my favourite shellfish so far, and are probably competing with Tuna Steak for the title of best seafood. 

Neither of these compare to the very delicious steak which was served afterwards, making cow the unoffical Bonus Animal 31.
Cow is still a very delicious animal but there are so many competing alternatives. If you are having a cheese burger it makes a lot more sense to eat Kangaoo or Ostrich, In fact I think it would be a fantastic idea to replace all mince beef products with one of these alternatives. I would put money on the fact that most people won't spot any difference at all, and they are healthier, less wasteful to produce and more environmentally friendly. On the other hand I've yet to have a steak as delicious as a cow steak and I'm not sure it could be replaced. This may be because the cuts of animal that I had in steak form weren't great quality, or it may be that I have no idea how best to cook them (or most probably both of these reasons) or it might be that cow is the most delicious animal to eat in steak form.

So in summary, 30 days, 30 substantially different animals eaten with some to spare.
There's still novel animals to eat and there are still variations on a theme i.e. goose etc. and of course there are millions of fish. But someone else can go and eat them.

Day 29: Camel

posted 17 Nov 2009, 03:15 by David Rickmann

First Posted: Tuesday, 30 September 2008 at 07:41

Camels are great big beasts that live in the desert.
They are really good at living in the desert, they can store a form of super concentrated water/fat in their hump (1g of hump fat yields a bunch of energy and more than 1g of water), their blood cells are different shapes meaning it can work whilst saturated with water and whilst dehydrated. A camels interior body temperature can go from 34C to 41C before they even begin to think about sweating. A camels coat reflects sunlinght keeping them cool, their noses trap moisture so that breathing out doesn't dehydrate them and they have big feet so they don't sink into the sand. Also Camel feaces are dry enough to use as firelighters and their urine is as thick as syrup. All in all camels are pretty keen on the desert.

Camels, being mammals, produce milk and this has been used by desert tribes for a variety of purposes. In order to make butter camel milk has to be soured first, and camel butter and yoghurt has a slight greenish tinge to it. It is possible to make it into cheese but not easy, so very few people bother. In Ethiopia Camel milk is considered an aphrodisiac.

I ate a lovely camel steak for day 29. Camel meat tastes a bit like low quality beef, but the most striking thing is that when cooked it reeked of TCP antiseptic. I have no idea why this might be but my kitchen still smells of it. There isn't any great reason to eat camel over beef, unless you happen to live in a desert.

Camel beauty contests are regularly held in desert countries but recently Clerics in Saudi Arabia have called for them to be banned because it makes god sad. I'm not sure why though.

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