Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Perfect Candy

While there is no doubt that I am a food lover, I am partial to all things sweet. That being said, one of my favorite candies of all time is the Cadbury Mini Egg. Today I had the good fortune of finding a post-Easter 75% off sale -- 8.5oz bags for $0.75!!! I bought enough for me and extras to bring to the office.

What makes the Mini Egg so special? A great place to start, is by comparing it to the extremely popular M&M. In my opinion, there is no contest.

Let's start with the shell. M&M's have a colorful, shiny shell that, as you know, melts in your mouth, not in your hand. On the other hand, the Mini Egg, has a rougher, thinner shell. The immediate advantage this provides is flavor. Rough exterior implies more surface area. That means more of the sugary coating for your tongue to taste. Additionally, because it's thin, the shell will melt in your mouth faster than the shell of M&M's. In fact, more often than not, the Mini Eggs already have a slight crack along which the egg will split when you start eating it.

The other difference between Mini Eggs and M&M's is the chocolate. IMO, the creamier the better when it comes to chocolate. While the chocolate in M&M's is decent (definitely better than Hershey's), it doesn't compare to Cadbury's. It's creamy and quickly melts in your mouth. Due to this fact, unlike M&M's, you don't have to let them melt in your mouth for a long time to get full enjoyment from them. With M&M's, I generally will let a few of them sit in my mouth for about a minute to let the chocolate start to melt before I chew them. With Mini Eggs, on the other hand, I will chew them immediately and still feel like I'm fully enjoying them.

Future postings may include other 'perfect' candies. On my list, you will find: Kit Kat, Twix, Ginger Altoids and Wintergreen Life Savers.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pizza - The View From the Fold

He Said a lot of great things about pizza (see post below), I second the "decent slice" USA geography (growing up on NY pizza), and the overall aspect of structural integrity, i.e. when to pick up the fork and knive. However, I disagree with the Folding comment. Yes, it's true that when you fold a pizza, you get the crust - but it's not unlike the format of a twinkie, the outside is pretty good but you know that there's a treat on the inside. A saucy reward all bundled up!

Of course you do know that you just can't fold a slice of pizza and eat it, it has to be done at a special angle. This is more crucial when eating a pizza with meat products on it (for the grease). As any pizza eater knows, novice or otherwise, you will have this vivid red-orange grease running down your wrists and off your elbow. You need to angle the pizza so that the grease channel forms right down the center of your pizza, and drips out the cracked fold of your crust over your perfectly placed absorbent plate.

The best part is when you get to the crust, the center portion is grease-dampened (mmm) from the channel action while the edges retain their soft-ish slightly crispy texture. I'm a 100% end of the meal crust-eater, in fact, as a child I would save all the pizza crust to the end, and lay in front of the TV eating crust and watching The Love Boat.

If you want good pizza in Boston, get any Pizzeria Regina slice. Otherwise, drive to New York or NJ (where the New Yorkers live with their families). If you're overseas, go to the island of Capri in Italy, step off the ferry and walk about 40 feet to the little cafe in the center of the port. By far, the best freshest indescribable slice of my life. - Dawn

Pizza - What Better Place To Start

Pizza - What Better Place To Start
In theory, the actual act of eating a slice of pizza should be a fairly straight-forward operation. But, as with other foods that are so clearly a staple in our everyday diets, everyone has his own opinions. This entry outlines my 'school of thought' for eating pizza.

The Benchmark
First off, I should state that as a Boston native, I have no right to claim myself a pizza expert. Don't get me wrong, you can get a decent slice in Boston, it's just not NY or Chicago. This brings me to an interesting point when dealing with foods that are staples. Like your mom's red sauce, the version of a food that you eat growing up becomes the benchmark against which you judge all other versions of that food as an adult.

For example, I grew up on [insert name of town] House Of Pizza joints across the south shore of Boston. These pizza shops specialized in thick, chewy crusts, very oily cheese, and tart tomato sauce - see: Greek Pizza. Along with pizza, these shops (often Greek owned) also carried a wide array of subs including chicken cutlet, meatball, and steak and cheese. Note that all were available with shredded iceberg lettuce and would always be listed on a black board over the counter with removable plastic letters. (Imagine if this was your benchmark! Zante's).

As with everything, I have some particular rules I follow to get the best experience eating my pizza.

Structural Integrity
Pizza was made to be eaten by hand, not with a knife and fork. That being said, occasionally, you will have a slice of pizza that is impossible to eat by hand without folding (see Folding below). This is usually the result of either excessive toppings, or a soggy crust. In this case, I like to use a fork and knife to eat the first few inches of the slice, and then eat the rest by hand.

Folding pizza is a bad idea. Sure it makes sense from a functional perspective, but if you want to enjoy your pizza, don't fold it. An often overlooked component of eating is how you put food in your mouth. Given that taste buds are found on your tongue and palette, you want the tastiest part of the food to touch those surfaces when you put it in your mouth. When you fold pizza, you're surrounding the cheese, sauce, and toppings with the bread. When you first put it in your mouth, all you taste is the bready crust. I therefore prefer pinching to folding. Pinching refers to simply bending the slice at the crust just enough to provide the structural support needed to hold it.

Delayed Gratification
There are definitely different schools of thought with regard to saving the best bite for last vs. eating the best bite first. With saving the best bite for last, you have the advantage of ending on a great bite that will stay with you until you eat something else, but you run the risk of getting too full to enjoy it. Given that I rarely say no to something because I'm too full, I usually opt for the saving the best bite for last. In my opinion, when eating pizza, the best bite is no more than 40% crust, and contains a sampling of toppings. Given that the crust is the widest part of the slice, this can sometimes be a challenge. I therefore will take bites out of the crust from the sides as much as possible while preserving the structural integrity of the pizza.

Hopefully you've enjoyed this window into my gastronomic OCD. This is what happens in life when your only hobby is eating.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Fun Food Fight is Born

Welcome to our neurosis... if you're visiting this blog there's a chance you really dig food in some way, whether it be the dangerously OCD-level fan or more normal 'passing interest' peeps that enjoy a good food debate. This blog hopes to share some of our collective thoughts, either the 'He Said She Said' kind of discussion, or just observations from our couches (complete with crumbs). The idea spilled forth from lunch conversations at FableVision, the creative media studio where we work ( and collaborate on exciting animation, design, and web projects. So please, bookmark this page and join us - we'd love to hear what you have to say!