Tuesday, March 13, 2012

overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out

A few months from now, Caramel Apple Milky Ways are coming out. We've gotten used to that - at any given time, there's a limited edition flavor of some candy, soda, or potato chip, something that wasn't there at the last bank holiday, won't be there at the next. It's not quite as rapidfire as it was before the financial collapse, when new flavors were coming out so fast some of them had ended production - whether because of a planned limited run (Pina Colada Almond Joy bars) or because a ridiculously conceived and stupidly marketed product failed to find its imaginary niche (Coke Blak) - by the time some markets got them.

There have always been the occasional hiccups of innovation - Nacho plodded along for years before the superior Cool Ranch finally realized the potential of the Dorito; 7-Up Gold, Pepsi AM, and Crystal Pepsi hit regional markets in the 80s and early 90s; etc - but this century has been kind of nuts about it. I've always dated the start of the flurry to around 10 years ago - 2002, when Coke introduced Vanilla Coke and Dr Pepper introduced the second flavor in company history: Red Fusion, not so coincidentally the name of my original cooking blog. Dr Pepper went over 120 years without introducing a new flavor and then introduced five new flavors in the same decade - that's the kind of flurry we're talking about here.

Even before that - before barbecue-flavored Cheetos and Cheeto-flavored barbecues, before cupcake-flavored Magic Shell, before Top Chef - I used to use "chocolate-covered beef jerky" as my go-to example of a flavor combination that was possible but prima facie ridiculous, the mappable but unreachable, a sort of confectionery Ultima Thule. It was my "monkeys might fly out of my butt."

Now Kathy sends me this photo (I have no idea if she bought the chocolate bar, or how it tastes):


The monkeys have written MacBeth, look upon my works ye mighty, Alexander wept, etc.

It's kind of a shame I'm not done thinking about cooking, because this would be a tidy final post.

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