Thursday, May 24, 2012

“Food Finder”

c. 2012 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Those with gourmet appetites have lots of alternatives along the northcoast. There are restaurants and culinary shops of all kinds to please every taste. But for people on a budget, the search for alternative foods can be more challenging.

Here in the Icehouse, a quest for off-the-wall eats typically means going to stores that specialize in discount merchandise. There, among sets of lawn furniture, cheap tools and assorted glassware, items not typically seen in our supermarkets can be found.

Truck stops can also provide an otherworldly culinary experience. They frequently offer products rarely seen on regular store shelves.

While not the sort of activity one could expect to boost social standing, the result can often be full cupboards, at a reasonable price.

What follows is a random list of purchases from a recent food-finding adventure:

Rudolph’s – OnYums Onion Flavored Rings (Rudolph Foods Co., Inc., Lima, OH) A full-bodied treat, nearly bursting out of the bag with originality. Not just another potato or corn chip.

Rosarita Whole Pinto Beans – Premium Seasoned (ConAgra Foods, Omaha, NE) A staple item of southwestern cuisine, presented in vinegar, onion and garlic. Perfect as a side dish with tacos or enchiladas.

PASCO Curry Express – Makhani Sauce; Rogan Josh (Pasco Spices & Herbs, United Kingdom) Two Indian delights loaded with lots of flavor. I combined these concoctions with Vidalia onion, water chestnuts, and slices of chicken breast. The result was very delicious.

Totino’s Pizza Chips – Pepperoni Flavor (General Mills Sales Inc., Minneapolis, MN) A multigrain snack inspired by their famous Pizza Rolls. An attempt to expand market share with a bit of cross-brand, food engineering. They were interesting, but not quite what one would expect. A culinary creation that missed the bullseye, while still providing a diversion from typical grocery fare.

Gebhardt – Menudo Spice Mix (ConAgra Foods, Omaha, NE) A perfect addition for Tex-Mex dishes of any kind. Made with chili peppers, onion, and garlic.

GOYA – Hot Vienna Sausages (Goya Foods Inc., Secaucus, NJ) A spicy twist on the well-worn recipe. These canned snack bites include a dash of red pepper and garlic. Great when pan-fried with eggs.

Wolf Brand Chili – With Beans (ConAgra Foods, Dallas, TX) A premiere prepared version of this spicy, southwestern dish. Guarded by Kaiser Bill since 1895. Destined to end up over a plate of thin spaghetti, topped with sharp cheddar cheese.

Zapp’s – Mesquite Bar-b-que Chips (Zapp’s Potato Chips, Gramercy, LA) Prepared in peanut oil like Dayton’s delectable ‘Mike-sell’s’ chips. A kettle-cooked snack, guaranteed to compliment any adult beverage.

La Buena Cocina – Medium Salsa (Desert Rose Foods, Phoenix, AZ) A Mexican-style concoction that includes diced carrot, green chili and garlic in a tomato base. Thinner in consistency than Pace or Chi Chi’s. Almost like a picante sauce.

Spice Islands – Chinese Five Spice (Spice Islands Trading Co., San Francisco, CA) Great for preparing many popular Oriental dishes, like stir-fried rice and vegetables. An expensive brand when found in regular stores.

Ranch Style Beans (ConAgra Foods, Dallas, TX) Made with a delicious blend of spices “that create our unique, bold flavor synonymous with authentic southwestern cookin’… since 1935.” The sort of side dish I like with grilled meats.

Fresh Foods – Wasabi Peas (Big Lots, Columbus, OH) Crunchy and spicy. Full of the potent taste-rush that this kind of snack is known to provide. And at a price that is insanely low.

GOYA – Sweet Potato Chips (Goya Foods Inc., Secaucus, NJ) A detour from the typical sliced spud. Satisfyingly mellow and full-bodied.

Marie Callender’s – Southwestern Cornbread Mix (Marie Callender’s Gourmet Products Division, San Jose, CA) A zesty interpretation of Pan de Maiz, with malted barley flour, peppers, onion, garlic, rosemary and parsley.

Stuckey’s – Maple Pecan Syrup (Vita Specialty Foods, Inwood, WV) A thick, sugary creation recommended for everything from waffles to cornbread, including oatmeal and popcorn balls. Inspired by W. S. Stuckey and his pecan treats.

Old Wisconsin – Hardwood-Smoked Snack Sticks (Old Wisconsin Food Products Co., Inc., Sheboygan, WI) A trucker favorite in the large, 24 ounce, display-size canister. Made from beef, spices, and a hint of turkey. Perfect for curing hunger while going over-the-road.

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Blogger Maz Nonno said...

I second the pasco curry sauces...very original tasting curry from the uk! the only one I have found so far!!

8:04 PM  

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