Kasugai Grape Gummy Candy

First off I apologize for the giant picture of the product. I hope at the very least it grabbed your attention. Secondly, in case you didn’t notice, this isn’t a drink. Thirdly, these are actually delicious.

Now I’m a big fan of grapes, so I know only too well the perils of grape flavoured things. Mainly that they’re made by people who have never even seen a grape let alone tasted one. As such I had reservations about this, but I was reassured by what I’m going to pretend is like a “grape charge bar” on the front of this product (like a video game). This is however not the best thing on the front, the best thing is the bit of accidental poetry which I will now post in full, simply to put our normal Western advertising to shame.

"Enjoy the softness of gentle breeze
that sweeps through the vineyard
spread vast on the hill in each soft
and juicy Kasugai Grape Gummy Candy”

After appreciating this piece of fine literature I decided it was finally time to get to the real test of any food product: how much of it I can eat at once how it tastes. As such I opened the bag and was overcome by what I can only describe as the gentle breeze that sweeps through the vineyard. This lead me into a false sense of security, making me think I could just eat them straight away, unfortunately I discovered that each one was individually wrapped and disguised as hotel soap. However unlike most individually wrapped things, I can actually open these without getting the stuff everywhere and having to use my teeth like an idiot. Anyways…

So I get it open and they’re shaped like tiny dark purple hearts for some reason. I don’t really understand why, maybe if I could read Japanese I’d understand. Probably not. Also these are the squishiest things I have ever put in my mouth. And I’ve put a lot of squishy things in my mouth if you know what I mean (if you do, let me know because I have no clue what I mean). So after some rigorous mastication you finally get hit by the flavour which actually does taste grapey. This makes it part of a rare group of gummy candies that don’t taste like shit.

All in all I’m actually quite a big fan of them and might start eating them regularly in order to look multicultural as fuck without having to eat pocky.

Pocari Sweat

I don’t know a lot about sports, but I know science when I see it. And “Ion Supply Drink” is about as scientific as you can get. That alone would have been enough to ensure that I would drink this, the fact that it has the word “sweat” in the title just made me want it all that more.

The first thing you notice about this drink is how it’s not carbonated (yet again, fuck you guys). The second thing you notice is how much thicker it is that you would expect, probably due to the extreme levels of ions that make it into a real life Japanese powerthirst. The third and final thing you notice is how it tastes exactly nothing like anything you’ve ever consumed before.

Once again my favorite thing is the can, both for it’s stylish yet minimalist blue/white approach and the fact it’s covered in Japanese which makes no sense to me. Fortunately there is also a small portion in English which informs me that it actually is a sports drink as it is a “drink which supplies water and electrolytes lost through perspiration”. I guess that also explains why it’s called Pocari Sweat. Kind of.
It then goes on to explain what makes Pocari Sweat the greatest of Japanese Sports drinks: the fact it is “quickly absorbed into the body tissues due to it’s fine osmolality”. I told you bro, science all up in this. This drink has some dayumn fine osmolality gurrl. I’d like to put this down to a random translation thing, but the fact is the back of this can has better English on it than anything I have ever written. The other great thing is what it’s recommended for: sports, physical labor or after a hot bath. Apparently taking a bath is a sport in Japan. Or physical labor. I don’t know which of those is more interesting.

Finally I come to something not included in the drink itself, but something I found in my research (I couldn’t tell if it was Japanese or Korean). The ad. Or in fact, all ads for it. The only thing I can take away from this is the universal constant: young attractive females in white tank tops can sell anything. And when that fails: Bollywood dancing.

Ben Shaws Dandelion and Burdock Classic

This one was fortunately more enjoyable than the coconut juice and still plant based (yay?)! The can was a little misleading as I was expecting this drink to be exciting and purple, instead it was this boring, brown colour which looked kinda like coke. None the less I felt like a right dapper gentleman drinking this fine British beverage from my trusty 100 ml beaker. The flavour itself was reminiscent of licorice, mouth wash and cough syrup all mixed together (3 things that I for some reason love. I know, I’m sick). It also left a faint after taste of grass, which I’m assuming is the dandelion and possibly burdock, although I had no idea what burdock was while drinking this. Turns out it’s a prickly thistlely thing and I seriously want to know who the fuck looked at it and thought “I bet this shit would be so cash to eat/drink”.

The can still remains the highlight of this drink as it let everyone know what a distinguished old timey gentleman I am, both from its lavender pinstripes, fancy curly font and “EST. 1871” at the top of it. Also I would like to point out that this is in fact Dandelion & Burdock Classic for extra class. The other great thing about this is the back on the can, not only does it have what I assume is a crown (because ya know, British) but also this one line: “Relive the good old days, visit us online at…” Because nothing relives the good old days like visiting websites, seriously who even does that anymore? In fact the entire back of this can is plastered in heart warming phrases like “days gone by”, “family favorites”, “the way life used to be”, “remember the good old days” and “old classics” …as opposed to those new classics or whatever.

The final mark of Victorian England nostalgia lies in the fact that in the nutritional information, instead of simply putting 0 next to protein and fat, They put “nil”. Probably because writing “We’re so fancy we don’t need protein and fat, instead we run off powdered wigs” wouldn’t fit.

All in all this drink seems to be something actually manufactured by the past in order to make us pay it more attention. Maybe if I drink enough of these I will actually gain the ability to time travel.

Ever wondered what flavors look like? Here you go!

Each one of these shows some chemical present in your every day food that contributes to the flavors you know and love seen through the microscope!

Top: capsaicin from chillis
Middle: glucose (sugar), catechin (present in teas) and honey
Bottom: some stuff from strawberries and lettuce!

Images

Mayonnaise

Not all the knowledge I have is useful. For example I can tell you that mayonnaise was invented 4 years before the sandwich (which was invented by the now hilariously named Earl of Sandwich) in 1756. I can also tell you the deep mysteries of mayonnaise function. At its simplest all mayonnaise is oil, vinegar (or lemon juice) and a little bit of egg. As you can imagine though vinegar and oil don’t get on very well and instead like to separate. So how do we go from two relatively disgusting separated compounds to the deliciousness that is mayonnaise? Mayonnaise exists as a colloid, which is simply a mixture of two things which don’t dissolve in each other and don’t separate out over time, in this case oil in vinegar. What stops them from otherwise separating is located in the egg yolk. The compound in question is known as lecithin which is pictured on the right, while on the left we have a scanning electron microscope image of frozen mayonnaise. Lecithin has two features of interest, firstly it’s a polar molecule and secondly it has a long carbon chain. This is useful because it means that the carbon chain can integrate and become embedded in the droplets of oil. The positive charges at the opposite end then repel each other and so prevent the oil droplets from coming together and coagulating. In this sense the lecithin behaves as an emulsifier.

Images: 1, 2

This bizarre looking blob is something many of us come across on a day to day basis. This is in fact a close up of a tomato seed showing the “bubble” the seeds are in. In actuality this bubble is made of small fibers, or hairs, called trichomes which secrete the goo that allows them to cling to clothing so very well. Interestingly enough this goo also gives tomatoes an insect repelling capability.

This bizarre looking blob is something many of us come across on a day to day basis. This is in fact a close up of a tomato seed showing the “bubble” the seeds are in. In actuality this bubble is made of small fibers, or hairs, called trichomes which secrete the goo that allows them to cling to clothing so very well. Interestingly enough this goo also gives tomatoes an insect repelling capability.

(Source: nsf.gov)

This critter is the Laotian Rock Rat or the kha-nyou as it is known natively. The cool thing about this wee guy is that it may be the only remaining member of it’s family that was thought to have died out 11 million years ago, at any rate it’s so distinct from any other rodent it’s been placed in it’s own family anyways. The other interesting thing is that this rare and endangered animal was first discovered in a Laotian food market. Yes, they eat these things.

This critter is the Laotian Rock Rat or the kha-nyou as it is known natively. The cool thing about this wee guy is that it may be the only remaining member of it’s family that was thought to have died out 11 million years ago, at any rate it’s so distinct from any other rodent it’s been placed in it’s own family anyways. The other interesting thing is that this rare and endangered animal was first discovered in a Laotian food market. Yes, they eat these things.

I crave banana milk.

Apparently it’s very popular in Korea and Japan despite the fact that Asians typically lack lactase which is used to digest milk proteins and thus makes them sick.

Bananas are also a rich source of tryptophan which is a precursor molecule to dopamine.

They also contain potassium which plays a crucial role in reducing muscle cramps.

Bread machines are the strongest symptom of an early onset mid life crisis. Just look at that thing, surrounded by delicious bread… NONE OF WHICH YOUR BREAD MACHINE WILL EVER MAKE. People buy bread machines under the false pretense that they will actually make something that resembles bread, not realizing the only thing they make is crushed dreams. My family bought a bread machine when I was a kid and I remember the excitement of putting in all the ingredients, turning it on, deciding how we wanted the bread and starting it. Then waiting in huge amounts of anticipation for the delicious bread we were soon to receive. However upon opening it up we discovered that some magical pixie had stolen our bread just before opening it and had replaced it with this dry hollowed out shell with a hole in it… along with some of the raw ingredients. We tried the bread machine about another 3 times before finally throwing it in some distant corner of the garage. Shortly afterwards my parents got divorced. Fuck you bread machines.

Bread machines are the strongest symptom of an early onset mid life crisis. Just look at that thing, surrounded by delicious bread… NONE OF WHICH YOUR BREAD MACHINE WILL EVER MAKE. People buy bread machines under the false pretense that they will actually make something that resembles bread, not realizing the only thing they make is crushed dreams. My family bought a bread machine when I was a kid and I remember the excitement of putting in all the ingredients, turning it on, deciding how we wanted the bread and starting it. Then waiting in huge amounts of anticipation for the delicious bread we were soon to receive. However upon opening it up we discovered that some magical pixie had stolen our bread just before opening it and had replaced it with this dry hollowed out shell with a hole in it… along with some of the raw ingredients. We tried the bread machine about another 3 times before finally throwing it in some distant corner of the garage. Shortly afterwards my parents got divorced. Fuck you bread machines.

Here is something to blow your mind.

You got popcorn around? Feel like making popcorn? Looking forward to popcorn? Whatever, next time you have popcorn. Look at it very carefully, you’ll start to realize something. All popcorn is identical (except for when it’s popped under really high heats and pressure). And it looks like this:

This is known as butterfly popcorn, but to me it just looks like an octopus.