Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


Korean Cheetos

Cheetos are a thing I miss when I think about them. The cheesiness, the cheesy powder, the cheesed-out cheetah. There are no things I don’t like about classic, regular Cheetos. Except maybe that I can’t find them anywhere in Europe. (There are other flavors, but I want the original one.)

I came upon these at a Korean market I go to and couldn’t figure out what flavor they were until I asked the checkout girl. “They’re BBQ, see the BBQ?” she said, indicating the little grilled steak logo to the left of Chester (who’s kicking a football and not riding a skateboard — boo!).

“Sure, whatever,” I said and took them home.

The black arrow indicates the flavor.

The black arrow indicates the flavor.


They taste surprisingly like sweet BBQ. Like, creepily similar to actual BBQ. But they taste nothing like cheese. Final judgement: would eat again, but not an acceptable Cheetos substitute.

They look like this.

They look like this.


London Loot 2: It Came From Under the Thames!

A Cadbury sampler that looked like this recently made its way into my hands all the way from London.

Cadbury Snowman sampler

I was really excited because all of these chocolates have featured in at least one British story I’ve read, like The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole or the “Bridget Jones” books and I’ve always been mildly curious about what fictional characters fixate on. (General tip: Don’t read the most recent Bridget Jones — it’s dreadful.)

Anyway, with the exception of Easter-time Cadbury Creme Eggs, Cadbury hasn’t really made any impact on the US candy market and, after taking a bite of each of these things, I know why. America already has one crappy chocolate brand (Hershey’s) so they don’t need to import another one.

Crunchie: tastes like a Whopper (the malt ball, not the burger) but long instead of round. Decent but significantly loud.

Dairy Milk: very thin, totally boring regular milk chocolate bar. Comparable to Hershey’s in every (bad) way.

Caramel: the caramel itself was nice and appropriately gooey, but this Cadbury chocolate is just not worthy.

Crunchie: it certainly was. The chocolate surrounds a substance that looks like hard bath foam and tastes even less good.

Flake: this seems like a mistake invention like Teflon or Post-its. Unlike either of those two things, this needn’t exist.

Fudge: this almost gets a pass because I generally don’t like fudge.

Chocolate Buttons: nothing to recommend.

the noidIn conclusion: I don’t know what they’re all on about. Awarded this site’s lowest ranking, The Noid.

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If you blog it, it will come

Remember when I was disappointed by bacon-flavored peanuts? Well, my continued faith in the concept was rewarded by the arrival of these Bacon Peanut Brittles in my recent American loot haul.

Just like the first time, this wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. For starters, the package says “brittle” which usually looks like this


but this stuff looks like this:

bacon peanut 3

So, more like FiddleFaddle or Poppycock (both of which I like because peanuts + caramel is always a winning combination) minus the popcorn and + bacon (BOOM! PIG!).

The ingredients are annoyingly vague (“spices”? Seriously?) but I can say that the final product was surprisingly spicy after an initial hint of sweetness. Generally, pretty good, though a tough snack to snack on since they don’t really go with anything and leave your fingers sticky and salty.

This being said, I had no problem polishing off an entire bag but that’s because I am a total glutton.


Word Mystery: snack / grignoter / picotear

Every Wednesday, I explore the linguistic origins of one word in different languages I speak.

The best paht? This is a StopNShop in New England.

God bless America.

Readers of expat blogs or visitors to expat grocery stores might think that all immigrants crave is their native junk food since most of both of those types of spaces are dedicated to memorializing food that contains more chemicals than actual food. Being guilty of both writing about crap that I long for and frequenting stores that sell the wares I want, I’d say that a big part of the appeal of such things is their specificity, how they mean something or represent something specific to the people who eat them.

Generally speaking, I don’t think I snack very much. In Europe, I’ve had a hard time finding things that I actually like to munch on. It took me four years to find a decent Cheetos substitute in Spain and I left the following year. In France, a decent dry roasted peanut has continued to elude me.

But I do hanker for something sweet or something salty now and again. The difference is that instead of indulging in a candy bar, I’ll go to the bakery and get something fresh and delicious and I’ll eat that instead of indulging in typical American snacking behavior (like eating a whole bag of chips or a pint of ice cream).

EN → snack — a small amount of food eaten between meals. ORIGIN Middle English “snap, bite” from Middle Dutch snac(k), from snacken [to bite], variant of snappen.

ES → picar / picoteartomar una ligera porción de un alimento. [Eat a small portion of a food.] ORIGIN From pico describing the beak of a bird, suggesting the way in which a bird eats.

FR → grignoterManger (qqch.) par petites bouchées. [Eat little bites of something.] ORIGIN From grigner [gnash teeth], circa 1170 from Dutch grînen [grimace : an ugly, twisted expression on a person’s face].

The winner today has to be Dutch, right? I mean, two totally different languages adopted words from it for the same thing.

My Brain Says

→ “The Suicide” episode of SEINFELD features a manipulation-by-favorite snack when Jerry gets Newman to promise not to tell on him, all for the price of one Drake’s Coffee Cake.The show regularly featured specific name-brand snacks (Junior Mints, Snickers bar, etc.) which wasn’t really common at the time.

→  If you like junk food, beautiful pictures of junk food or someone who tells involved stories about their youth and then illustrates them with junk food, you should check out Food Junk.


Healing through snacking

I can’t bake. As a skill, it combines two of the things I’m bad at (math and science). For the past few years, I’ve also literally not been able to bake since I haven’t lived in a place with an oven. Both of these facts posed significant obstacles when I was looking around for ways to cheer myself up and kept reading about how people were making cookies or cakes after being shaken up by the Boston bombings. I still wanted to do something for myself, so I fell back on my default position: make some variation on peanut butter cups.

Choc pb pretzel 1

Chocolate covered pretzels with peanut butter (for dipping) was the result. Added bonus: they take very little time to prepare and are quickly ready to eat.

Le cul’s Sweet Carolines (they’re “so good, so good“)

  1. Melt baker’s chocolate in the microwave. (I lined the bowl with wax/parchment paper to lessen mess-factor.)
  2. Dip, dredge or drizzle chocolate on pretzels. Place on wax/parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle with good salt. (None of that table salt business.)
  4. Place in freezer until chocolate has hardened to your taste.
  5. Slather with peanut butter.
  6. Smile quietly while licking fingers (bowl licking optional).

Choc pb pretzel 2 Choc pb pretzel 3