Early 2015 is already proving to be a curious time for food aficionados, and it isn't like 2014 was boring, either. Last year ended with weird hot dogs, an avalanche of cronuts and fast-food restaurants squirting sriracha and maple syrup on almost everything. A month into the new year, we foodies are already puzzling over Starbucks rolling out a flat white (or at least bewildered by all the hype happening over it), Australia beating Americans at our own game with a 99-cheese pizza (our move now) and someone coming up with 3-D printed chocolate. Could the latest edible creations get any more ridiculous? Yes.
Here's a list of five more insane -- and sane -- new food products. Get all ready for and even better Trader Joe's cookie butter, a worse version of an already bad White Castle burger, and bacon-less bacon grease.
5) Sane: Drinkable peanut butter
Drinkable chocolate (thank you, ancient Mayans), drinkable ice cream (thank you, whoever in the 1800s invented milkshakes) -- and now, drinkable peanut butter, thanks to Peanut Hottie, makers of a new peanut butter flavored hot drink mix. This new-fangled, incredibly convenient convenience drink can be produced quickly with hot milk or water. Peanut butter fans everywhere can now have their sammies in a cup, which is not crazy at all. Another totally-not-insane wish is for hot cup of peanut butter and chocolate, which as it turns out, Peanut Hottie is already right the fuck on top of.
Yes, there is also Peanut Hottie's peanut butter & chocolate drink, probably one of the greatest edible inventions of our time -- right up there with sriracha, sourdough bread bowls and peppermint patties.
4) Sane: Ghost pepper wings at Popeye's
Popeye's is just better than KFC for a host of legitimate reasons, the latest being Popeye's new ghost pepper wings. Sure, adding wee snippits of ghost pepper to things is already a dying micro-trend, and yes, when chain restaurants do it they add barely any actual heat so as not to offend the delicate palates of pedestrian consumers, but by basic fast food standards, these new wings are pretty warm.
It wouldn't be a terrible idea for Popeye's to get the jump on KFC even more effectively by breading its fried chicken and shrimp with ghost pepper batter-stuff, since the spiciest thing KFC ever does is add boiled bacon nibbets to the boiled green beans.
3) Extra Sane: Trader Joe's cookie butter cheesecake
For those five or six people out there who aren't familiar with Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter (something that for once lives up to its hype), it's a sweet, gooey, calorie-laden paste made from ground-up cookies. As worshipful as most of the population is about TJ's signature item, the Trader Joe's magical food wizards have found a way to improve upon this product even though it needed no improving -- by putting it in cheesecake. The cookie butter cheesecake consists of a Speculoos crumb crust (good by itself), a particularly creamy and superb cheesecake middle (fine by itself), and a topping spread of cookie butter, which pretty much makes this dessert more delicious than all other desserts.
If there is another way for Trader Joe's to concoct a better dessert, I'm not sure what it would be, aside from maybe wrapping this new cheesecake up in a giant cookie. I hope this happens soon.
For more sane -- or not -- new products, keep reading.
2) Insane: Vegan sliders from White Castle
In an almost shocking case of providing customers something they didn't really request,
Wipe White Castle now offers vegan sliders. Yep. The famous sacks-of-tiny-greasy-meat-burgers palace is serving its sliders with optional vegetable patties by Dr. Praeger's made out of a parade of insane shit that has never before been seen inside a White Castle: carrots, zucchini, peas, broccoli and spinach. The new burgers are served with the choice of honey mustard, ranch or sweet Thai sauces, and are available for about a buck each, for a limited time only.
I feel sorry for the person who accidently gets a not-greasy white paper bag of these not-greasy new sliders, and is faced with the frightening, unwanted reality that White Castle now has vegetables other than grease-murdered onions.
1) Insane to the point of being sane: Magic vegan bacon grease
Speaking of grease -- and vegans, what is the one food that vegans probably miss the most? Answer: Bacon. So this guy named Chris saw that there was no bacon grease for vegans, and said, "This will not stand!" He fooled around with different mixtures of different things, and eventually came up with a perfect recipe for bacon grease with no bacon in it, employing coconut oil for texture and mouthfeel, torula yeast for meatiness, soy protein standing in for bacon bits, and a few other flavor enhancers like salt, pepper, onion, garlic, maple syrup and smoke flavoring.
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MVBG has such good reviews you'd think it was another Trader Joe's idea. Offering vegans the chance to have bacon-flavored greens, beans and tofu scramblers makes the guy named Chris something of a hero. Thank you kindly, guy named Chris. If you could now create a vegan ribeye steak that would be lovely.