Monday, October 16, 2017

Kotas Reviews Bacon Spam

There is a long and storied tradition among the Kotases involving the consumption of tinned meat. From that glorious sausage from Vienna to the humble corned beef hash, meat from a can has been a staple member of the pantry for a long time. No matter how awful for us it really is. So, I guess we're gonna review Spam flavors now. Welcome to Spam...Week? Partial Week? Something! Today, ladies and gentlemen, we review Bacon Spam.

Bacon is everywhere these days.
So, I kinda love Spam. First introduced in 1937 by the Hormel company, this pork, ham (isn't that redundant?), potato starch, and sodium nitrate classic was popularized around the world during World War II, when it became a staple of United States Army rations. It has gone on to become a culinary staple in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, and is an ingredient in the fusion food Spam Musubi. My culinary journey with Spam starts with my father frying up slices to serve as a lunch fashioned from "whatever the hell we had in the cupboard". Since then, I acquired a taste for the super salty, vaguely unidentifiable pork meat from a distinct can, and would generally keep some in my pantry for use on "days when I didn't feel like eating well, but still didn't want to go out." The only two varieties I knew of were "Spam" and "Spam Lite" (a misnomer if ever there was one, because ah jeez, look at that ingredient list). Still, I suppose the modern requirement for "many flavors" infests everything. Hence today's subject, Bacon Spam. 

The can itself is incredibly distinct, though this particular one has the easy open pull tab, rather than the old fashioned "key" model that used to be the only way to get Spam. The only distinguishing feature between this and an ordinary can of Spam is the "ribbon" design with the world "Bacon" on it. Sure, bacon flavored everything is "all the rage", though at this point it's probably overdone. Unlike Spam, which you CAN eat without preparation. Let's crack open this sucker!

Shown fried, because I'm not a savage.
Well, it smells distinctly of Spam (yes, it's a unique scent), very pork-ish with a hint of something chemical. It doesn't really smell any different from regular Spam though. It slices fine, and the color is exactly like normal Spam. Frying it releases several delicious scents, but still it is very much the same as non-Bacon Spam. Perhaps a bit smokier, but it's hard to tell. So, how does it taste?

Do you like Spam? Then you will like this. It might have a touch more "smoke" flavor than normal Spam, but really? If you served it to me without the label, I would never know it wasn't normal Spam. That said, it's pretty tasty, if you like pork. Because this is incredibly pork flavored. It was originally designed as a way to sell more pork shoulder, so...mission accomplished? Anyway, it's Spam. You know what you are getting.

On the FACE Rating System, this gets 2 Smiley Faces. I enjoy the hell out of Spam, and this is basically "Slightly Different Spam", so I like it. Would I pick it over regular Spam? Probably not, given it's basically the same thing with a different label. It costs the same though, which gives it a leg up on some other "limited edition" flavor nonsense I've seen in the past. If you like Spam, you will like this. If you don't like Spam, don't bother.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Kotas Reviews Hydrox Cookies

Legacy is an important thing for a lot of folk. Most people want to be remembered fondly when they are gone, either by millions of others, or even just a few family. What we do in the present is how we will be viewed in the future, and we hope that view is a good one. Some products reach this level of cult status: Coca-Cola with cane sugar, the Encharito (for reasons no one can explain to me) and even a limited time promotional dipping sauce. Even more legendary are products that everyone thinks are rip offs, but actually came first. Today, we look at one of those, the humble Hydrox Cookie.

Further adding to our Peak Nostalgia crisis.
I think it is pretty obvious by now that I fucking love Oreos. When I was growing up, I always saw Hydrox as Just Another Shitty Generic version of my beloved Oreos, that could never possibly be as good. I never got a chance to put that to the test, as my parents never purchased them, and by the time I was old enough to buy them myself, why would I bother with what I considered to be an inferior product? So, what the hell is a Hydrox anyway?

According to one of my favorite websites, the Hydrox cookie was originally brought to market in 1908 by the Sunshine Biscuits company, 4 years before the introduction of Oreo. The trend in marketing at the time was "purity", so the creators tried to come up with a name that would inspire thoughts of purity. Turns out apparently "purity" equals "hydrogen and oxygen". So, these are really Water Cookies! Isn't that special? These cookies have a small cult following that is as obsessive about their perceived superiority to the Hydrox to the Oreo. This led to Leaf Brands not only taking over the trademark from Kellogg, but going to great lengths to get the original recipe and in 2015, restart production. And here we are.

Let's see what we've got here.

Well, that was anticlimactic.
I can tell you this, the scent is a much richer Chocolate than that of Oreos. The vanilla creme is incredibly sticky, so the "twist off test" is a miserable failure. The creme itself is incredibly sweet, almost painfully sweet and not very vanilla, which makes sense given the chocolate of the cookie is SUPER strong. Oddly, the marketing claims the creme is LESS sweet, which I find hard to believe. Together they taste fairly decent, but the cookie is very durable on top of its intense flavor, which makes these kind of hard to actually eat. You'll put in some work to munch these suckers down. It is hard to describe these in reference to Oreos, but the word "Unrefined" is what I would use. It is a stronger, more intense flavoring, but the cookie is incredibly crunchy and the creme is very sticky and their flavors do not blend together smoothly. These are pretty good cookies, but they are basically a "decent generic" rather than a unique and special flavor all their own. Special shout out though to those who love to dip their Oreos in milk. These bastards will soak it all up and come out swinging with a nice crunch. In fact, I will declare that these are the superior dunking cookie. The milk softens the cookie (and adds some needed mitigation of the intense chocolate flavor), but because the cookie starts off so tough, you still get a nice satisfying crunch when you eat it.

On the FACE Rating System, these get 1 Smiley Face. They are tasty, but only in so far as they are "pretty good if you don't have Oreos". I am sure there are those out there that find these to be the superior cookie, but this is not the cookie for me and my delicate palate. They cost the same as Oreos, so slotting them in for a try shouldn't be too difficult. Maybe you will find your new favorite cookie, especially if you only eat them with milk. I'll stick to my usurper cookies, thank you very much.