It recently came to my attention
that President Nixon before the
disgrace of Watergate and the phrase "I
am not a crook" made him a caricature
of political misconduct was one
prepared son-of-a-bitch. As the crew of
Apollo 11 blasted into the July sky with
the world awaiting their history-making
moon landing, Nixon and his flunkies prepared
a contingency speech for use in case Neil
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the
moon but weren't able to get off.
From the parts I've read
it's a touching, heartfelt speech. The
astronauts of Apollo 11 are lauded for
"laying down their lives in mankind's
most noble goal: the search for truth
Sitting here, staring at
the task laid out before me, I feel like
those brave souls who dared go where no
man had gone before. Somebody may want
to have a speech prepared in case I don't
- FACT: One out
of every four American children is obese.
- FACT: 40% of boys
6-12 can't touch their toes.
- FACT: American
children watch more than 24 hours of
tv per week.
- FACT: 87% of American
teenagers have tried to perform fellatio
Gotcha! Just wanted to see
if you were paying attention. I made up
the one about touching your toes.
Statistics don't lie, except,
of course, in the case of Larry Bowa vs.
Ozzie Smith. But when it comes to fat
kids, we're #1! Add in the undeniable
results of worldwide intelligence tests
and America's well on its way to producing
a nation of fat, stupid kids. Pretty soon,
the stereotypical "Fat Kid with Glasses"
given so little screen time in the sex
comedies of my youth will be the norm.
Come on kids, don't get left out
shoveling in those Twinkies, Milky Ways,
Yodels and Ding-Dongs NOW!
What's even more frightening
than a nation of kids who look like Flounder
from ANIMAL HOUSE roaming the streets
looking for snacks is the fact that there's
just too many damn people to blame for
this atrocity. Television studios create
those wildly colorful and entertaining
commercials, er, I mean cartoons that
suck 'em in every day after school. Hell,
why play ball and get some exercise when
you can watch great entertainment like
the 'Power Rangers' or 'Beetle Borgs.'
God, if this crap had been on when I was
a kid I'd probably be living my adolescent
dream of "tanned tennis pro who bangs
lonely housewives." Damn you 'Speed
But if we can't blame tv,
why not focus our icy glare on Mom, Dad
and the manufacturers that make it so
easy for our nation of adolescents to
live in the slovenly fashion they do.
When a Young Hungover Gourmet (soon to
be an animated series from DreamWorks)
was growing up, lunches were homemade
and homemade with love. Even when Mrs.
Sarlo, the real-life equivalent of Lunchlady
Doris, berated you for taking too many
napkins you knew she was only looking
out for your best interests.
What the hell's a kid to
think when he opens his 'Buffy the Vampire
Slayer' lunchbox only to find a frickin'
Oscar Meyer Lunchable staring back at
him with its cold, dead eyes? "Wow,
Mom cared enough to fill my lunchbag with
Potassium Sorbate, Thiamine Mononitrate
and Sodium Diacetate!" Is it likely
that kids are trading their Taco Bell
Beef Taco Lunchable for a similarly fun
to eat Waffles & Oscar Mayer Sausage
Lunchable? If there was any truth in advertising
Oscar Mayer would have to call these things
what they really are
Since I don't have any kids
of my own doctors think that years
of White Castles and Mountain Dew have
rendered me sterile I did what
any bored journalist staring down the
barrel at a deadline would do. I put on
a disguise and bought a handful of "ready-to-eat"
or "complete" meals and settled
in for a day of taste-testing. I may not
be an astronaut, but I think you'll agree
that I'm one brave soul.
Guys, better get that speech
most nutritionists insist that breakfast
is the most important meal of the day,
I came to the ultra-modern Hungover Gourmet
Test Kitchen well prepared. Just from
the looks of it, I somehow knew that the
Waffles & Oscar Mayer Sausage Lunchable
wasn't going to provide the proper base
for a day of Propylene Glycol Alginate
and Cellulose Gum. Especially when I noticed
that the package featured a "Waffle
Stick" with wide eyes and salivating
mouth looking at
other Waffle Sticks!
Ahhhhhh! Like the astronauts of Apollo
11, I was more than a little apprehensive.
The big "selling point"
of the Lunchable line is that they're
ready-to-eat right from the package. In
fact, the Shakespearian "Fun to Eat,
No Need to Heat" rhyming couplet
can be found on each and every package
of breakfast and lunch items in the line.
From waffles to pizza, tacos to burgers
a cold food bonanza when you're livin'
la vida Lunchable!
Still a bit skeptical, I
decided to break up the package of four
waffle sticks and two sausage patties,
heating one-half and eating the other
half the way Oscar Mayer intended
ice fucking cold. Cold, the waffle sticks
(can you tell how much I like writing
that?) have the consistency of the biodegradable
packaging peanuts that pad the contents
from your more ecologically sound catalog
retailers. Like those protective peanuts
the cold sticks are chewy like styrofoam,
but stale like that week-old banana bread
your grandmother in Massachusetts insists
Warmed up, the waffle sticks
lose any consistency they have and become
unholdable, uncutable and inedible. The
highlight of the package comes from the
silver dollar-sized sausage patties which
taste just like the ones McDonald's serves
with their pancake breakfast. It's up
to you to decide if that's a good thing
or a bad thing.
Fearing the worst when I
bought this stuff, I also grabbed a couple
boxes of Knauss Creamed Chipped Beef,
a compact little package that promised
a hot meal "anytime in 5 minutes."
You know, for those days when a salad
just won't do. I'll be the first to confess
that I love a good plate of Creamed Chipped
Beef and even have a secret pipeline into
the Knauss factory here in Pennsylvania
that gets me the succulent dried beef
available only to employees. (Who would
like to touch me?) This instant version
isn't as good as my homemade, as the "cream"
produces a thick, lumpy sauce with a strange,
not unpleasant smell and taste. The "pre-diced
beef" is chewy and kinda rubbery
and would probably pass for those "meat"
treats you give to Fido.
What I'm wondering is this
Chipped Beef is probably one of the easiest
breakfast dishes to make. Wouldn't a "just
add water" version of Eggs Benedict
have been more important?
Oscar Meyer Waffle Sticks
and Sausage: F
I wouldn't feed
this to my worst enemy.
Knauss Creamed Chipped
I've got an extra package,
and lord knows I'll eventually get desperate
enough to eat it.
Ah, lunch. Nothing warms
the heart like opening the fridge and
a vacuum-sealed package of
Taco Bell Beef Tacos Lunchables! If my
mom had been that passive aggressive I
would've run away from home long before
here's the truth. I love Taco Bell food.
Taco Bell food has gotten me through some
particularly nasty Saturday mornings,
if you know what I mean. Unfortunately,
the area surrounding the palatial THG
Headquarters features nearly every fast
food emporium known to man. Except for
So, deep in my heart of
hearts, I was hoping to love these Lunchables.
For those cold, lonely nights when nothing
will do except for the Bell. When a run
for the border is the only run I want
to make. And you know what? These things
aren't damn bad!
Now, before you start to
question my sanity and wonder where it
all went wrong, I have to offer the following
caveat: these things aren't damn bad as
long as you can heat them up. Cold, they
have the consistency of two-day-old stale
castoffs from a Taco Bell Grande Meal.
The "Taco Filling" is a nasty-looking
paste that resembles, well, I won't even
go there. The flour tortillas are thick
and chewy, with only the packet of mild
sauce making the experience semi-palatable.
But, heat these puppies
up following the explicit directions
on the back of the package, mind you
and they come deceptively close to a fave
TB menu item from yesteryear: The Mexi
Melt! Who knew that these delightful microwave
treats were as close as my grocer's freezer?!
Taco Bell Beef Taco Lunchables:
The Snacking Hour...
Having survived a pre-packaged
breakfast and lunch without hurling, I
figured it was time to treat myself to
a snack before making some real food for
dinner. And what's the thing for the zine
editor on the go? Why, Go-Gurt naturally,
the latest entry into the "fast food
for kids on the go" sweepstakes.
But, with so many kids shopping in the
Portly Dept. at Sears these days, where
are they on the go to?! Do they really
need a snack to get them from the tv to
the fridge and back?
Speaking of truth in advertising,
this Yoplait product certainly gets a
passing grade. Touted as "yogurt
in a tube" during their Saturday
morning cartoon ads, Go-Gurt is "yogurt
in a tube." Want to feel like an
astronaut but don't want to do all that
zero gravity bullshit? Then rip open a
pack of Go-Gurt and squeeze, squeeze,
squeeze! Frankly, I was a bit unsettled
by the sexual nature of it all, but that's
'cause I pulled it out of my mouth early
and got some up my nose.
[This article originally
appeared in CRIMEWAVE and ER