Mix it Up: Condiment Blending

cuke-n-eggs
So much about this ad-hoc desk snack with a basic hot sauce blend is so right!

Postmodernism is woven deep throughout the trendster ethos, and this certainly holds true for squeezable food adornments! The hawtness of this up-and-comer is currently exemplified by a seismically ironic and disquieting resonance in countless social media posts (mostly the result of insidious paid social amplification) about the dawning of the age of Mayochup. Yes, not satisfied to have separate containers for both their creamy egg white-based spread and the venerable tomato-based staple; American consumers are excited to have them unified in a single dispensing apparatus!

Is this further evidence of the epidemic laziness and sloth of our culture? We say NAY! This is may very well be the height of squeezable science. Falling eerily in line with the Gilderman Hypothesis, anything having to do with condiments themselves is undeniably and exceedingly trend worthy. Short of re-creating the tasty Roman condiment made of smashed up fish guts and salt called Garum, blending whatever is at hand is a quick and satisfyingly colorful way of becoming a hyper-trendy foodinista.

There is so much about this to relish. Not only is Mayochup an exciting new branded product for trendsters to trumpet to each other, it also makes the huge problem of “condi-crowding” a thing of the past. As table sizes diminish and the plethora of crowd-funded artisan sauces, spreads, and chutneys become a dizzying blur of potentially sticky situations, the available space at the dining surface becomes premium.

goober
PB & J – The only REAL way!

No discussion of blended condiments is worth its pink Himalayan salt (pre-mixed with course ground white pepper of course) without recognizing the unquestioned leader in the mixed-spread space, J.W. Smucker’s Goober! The wise food sages behind this not only realized that kids are the ultimate exploitable consumers and that breakfast-making parents are attracted to anything which can save any speck of valuable prep-time. They also realized that at the heart of many profit driving trends (and also at the heart of Zen Buddhist philosophy), is anything inherently based on engaging with the dichotomy of opposites, such as selling peanut butter and jelly in the same jar.  Yin-yang YUM!

HOW2HAWT:

Step one is to completely erase the word mayonnaise or mayo from your vocabulary. Simple, single purpose, spreads are now dead to you. So do a mental “find and replace” and paste in “aioli sauce” in any instances of the word “mayonnaise.”  Most of your hipster friends will already be well aware of what aioli sauce is (basically mayonnaise with a splash or two of something else), but chances are nobody at work will, the bunch of losers.

Another basic … never reach for “Frenches” mustard again.  You want giant, loud and proud mustard seeds suspended throughout a brownish-hued viscous reclaimed canning jar (never use a plastic squeeze bottle, you monster).  Hopefully, you still have a horseradish root in the back of your freezer from last year’s organic edible landscape.  Grind some of that into the jar and make sure everyone sees you as your eyes begin swelling shut from the fumes.  Now THAT’s mustard!  Badass.

Hot sauces.  We could probably write an entire treatise on the subject and likely eventually will so stay tuned.  For today, some foundational heuristics … Mitch in the mailroom likes to brag about how he can down an entire 8 oz bottle of 9-million Scoville unit extract sauce along with his Taco Bell Gordita.  Mitch in the mailroom is an asshole.  Get hot sauces that are “hot” but actually have good flavor.  Here’s a good example.  If you think you’re going to impress Thora the quirky and loveable barista by gnawing on a Carolina Reaper while waiting for your pistachio-rose latte you are dead wrong, like your taste buds.

Enough with the basics. Now, it is the time once again to channel your inner Bob Ross. Remember back when the local plein air painter needed to make some cash, and you immediately signed up for his “Paint like Bob Ross” classes. You’re about to put your skills to good, and tasty, results.

Grab your (as of yet unused) Bob Ross brand palette.  Replace the dabs of phthalo blue or burnt umber with any of the plethora of hot sauces, pickled relishes and verdant salsas which dominate the fridge you share with your flatmates. Be liberal with your choices, too many blobs of condiments here is not enough! Now, with a fist full utensils and the same plein air easel that you used to paint miniature canvases at the ice caves, stride into the food co-op during the free-range paleo-vegan chili cook-off benefit that you lost last year. They’ll remember you from the frozen chili you made because you proudly called it “chilly.”

As you set up the easel begin with the Ross quotes.  Claim “talent is a pursued interest” while laying down a brisk whisking of scotch bonnet marmalade as a base. As those around get splattered with specks of burning flavor, continue with “there’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend!” If you paid attention while at the painting class, you’ll soon have a vague and impressionist seascape built out of yummy sauces. Make sure to paint some happy little ducks using actual duck sauce and blend out the school of pollock, swimming underwater, with fish-n-chips vinegar. The ironic poignancy of these details will not be lost on the security guards when they attempt to shut you down. As you are being dragged off the premises, gleefully licking your canvas, stare at the chili team from the local food shelf and assert, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Stepping Up: Far Parking

far-parking
The view from a prime far-parked vehicle, now get sauntering!

For your whole life, you have been programmed to “find a good parking spot.”  There’s one right there!  That guy is leaving!  You can fit in there! Counterfeit a handicap plate! You spend extra time (and gas) trolling through endless “open spot deserts” slowly crawling behind other shoppers, following them creepily in the hopes of their departure. You attempt to balance the contradictory feelings of the guilt of not exercising and the determination that you deserve to be at the front of the line. Well don’t fret, you can have it all!  Strap on your exercise tracker and get ready for the brave new world of FAR-PARKING! Imagine the peeling clamor of joy that will erupt from your passengers the next time you effortlessly glide past perfectly good “rock star” spots right in front of the door to the mega mart du jour and claim the perfect spot, as far away in the parking lot as possible. There is sooo much meta-irony here that you are probably going to explode in a hipster conflagration. Relish in the knowledge that you are, in one simple act, skewering both the petrochemical industrial complex AND the health-ista anti-carbonists. This is gold.

HOW2HAWT:
Allow me to paint a little picture of this hawt gem of an idea … Theo, Matilda, and Miles are all loaded up in your green Subaru wagon.  You are jamming to Theo’s Spotify channel (mostly death country, with the occasional Alanis tune just to be ironic), and you are on your way to the LARP/ pinball arcade in Matilda’s friend Archie’s basement.  When a grinding and sullen low key death country ballad by Goth Brooks comes on it will be the perfect time to wax about the dire obesity epidemic in America.  After munching on some freshly sprouted chickpeas from your dashboard chia (another article, another time), you proclaim “I just think that we need to help ourselves more by walking more.” They’ll attempt to point out the fact that you own a car. Just turn and glare at them, they deserve it. They asked YOU to drive THEM … 5 blocks. Their guilt and self-doubt is now complete and they are at your far-parking mercy. This is the perfect time to #trendblend this with another trend we advocate, “only-lefting.” Remember you aren’t trying to make a right by only turning left, you are trying to park as far away from your destination as possible, so add a block with each left turn.  Maintain their stunned silence and complicity by going into a diatribe about the Fibonacci sequence. You may even pique their interest in math enough to get them chanting “1 , 1 , 2 , 3 , 5 , 8 , 13 , 21 , 34 , 55 , 89 , 144 , …” along with you before they realize you have taken them in a graceful and ever-increasing spiral of distance away from where they actually want to be. Now it’s time to walk. Ideally, you’ve actually parked FURTHER away from your destination than you originally started. If they complain, glare at them and reference Thoreau’s thoughts on hiking versus “sauntering.” No self-respecting hipster can question ANY REFERENCE TO THOREAU!  But, to show your benevolence, you can always SUPERHAWT this by grabbing a bus or some ride-away-free-bikes to get to your friend’s house knowing full well that you’ve far-parked this one real good, and that’s HAWT.

The Low Hanging Fruits: Hyper Local Eating

tomatoes
Are you ready to join the “farm to mouth” movement? These tomatoes are.

With Spring here and Summer coming on, we’ll all soon be swimming in fresh produce. For quite a while now, sourcing your food from as close to home has been HAWT! Farm to table restaurants and CSAs are all the rage. But with the scarcity of immigrant labor to pick the rows and rows of fabulous greens and the rest of the US too busy blogging and harvesting insights from social media analytics to do any farming of consequence, how are we going to be able to eat all those verdant vegetables? Not to worry! We have your back … while you’re on your back. The answer is to eat food as it drops off the plant, #HyperLocal!

We know that you, like us, are crippled by soul rending guilt everytime you un-pod some heritage kale imagining the deadly flashes of steel as it was culled before its time. Act now and you can put an end to the horrendous vegi-torture and chlorophyll curdling leaf screaming as a squash is separated from its stalk against its will. No more exerting your mammalian privilege as you force a strawberry from it’s vine, you are one with the plant, your are eating Hyper Local.

How2Hawt: Unless you have zen priest level patience (which is sizzling HAWT btw) you’ll need uber awareness of ripping times.  Go to the nearest farmer’s market and begin to gather intel. Disguise yourself and an itinerant banjo player named “Wandering Johnny.”  Start with conversations about bees and move to when your target vegetable will be at peak ripeness. The goal here is to be as close to the source of your food as possible when it’s ready to be eaten.  Once you know that something is going to be harvested the next day, wait for closing time at the market and follow a farmer home at a discreet distance.  As darkness falls, you can spring into action. Slowly creep into the field and, laying below your selected tomato plant, lay there mouth open in rapt anticipation for the fruit to fall. Now, this is where your commitment to #hyperlocal eating has to drive your persistence. Remember, how extreme your commitment, the more bragging rights you have.

Think back to when Theo showed up at the Juicery, brushing fresh loam from his peg leg jeans, with a mouth full of acorns? He seemed sooo cool, so engaged, so full of squirrel like radiant oneness. So, no stem shaking, don’t even blow on the tomato as you await that glorious moment when it determines the time is right to fall into your open maw of it’s own free will.  Imagine the expressions of awe and reverence you’ll get when you, pushing the beaded curtain aside, enter the Juicery with a coconut tightly gripped between your bloodied lips. They know what you went through to catch that thing as it plummeted 30 feet onto your patient, waiting face.  This is purely a vegan quest so hand pick out any bugs that enter your mouth before you accidentally consume them. Root crops can present an existential issue as you can only truly eat them when they pop themselves up out of the ground. Most carrots and potatoes tenaciously cling to life like an octogenarian fighter pilot. Honor their process by sticking to above ground fruits. An aquatic variant is to free dive in a kelp patch smiling like the Cheshire cat, allowing random bits of seaweed to layer themselves across your teeth. Above all, you are caring for your food, eating it on its terms and that’s HAWT!