• Product Reviews

    I have seen the future. It’s not great.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Sushi Popper.

    Let me begin by saying: I am not a snobby sushi jerk. I am no stranger to the lure of supermarket sushi. But this? Previously frozen sushi in what is essentially a Push Pop tube?

    Maybe it was just these specific tubes (which were being handed out at Japan Day this past Sunday) that were disappointing. Despite instructions on their site saying the tubes need 1-2 hours at room temperature to defrost, the people manning the table were handing them out almost entirely still frozen and telling people give it a minute or two before eating it. After waiting in line for at least 30 minutes, waiting even longer to eat was not paramount.

    The rice, mushy and salty, defrosted before what was rolled up in it, leaving me with chunks of frozen cucumber to contend with — which was probably for the best. I can’t imagine cucumber, being about 95% water, would defrost especially well. The frozen chunks of avocado and crab in the California rolls did not taste much better.

    But more than that, even if this had been kind of good sushi, do we really need sushi on-the-go? Is the world really crying out for the junk-foodification of sushi? Hands-free sushi to be found “at local stores as well as school cafeterias, campuses, in drive-thru’s [sic], airports, on airplanes, beach resorts, and more”? Can we really not spare the ten minutes it takes to scarf sushi sitting at a table, chopsticks optional?

    If this is your sushi revolution, I think I’ll stay home.

  • Product Reviews

    Brave New Food: Karums

    Karums orange

    When I was a kid, we lived in a very suburban town. There weren’t really any small shops to walk to and goddamn if the ice cream truck didn’t know exactly when my family was sitting down to dinner to come through my neighborhood — an event which only happened a couple times each summer anyway — and we were almost never allowed to leave the dinner table to go buy something.

    Now, as an adult, on any given day that’s above 70 degrees, I have virtually no ability to pass by an ice cream truck or deli without buying something sweet and frozen. (And this year, I’m even tracking just how many things I buy on Daytum.)

    Which brings me to the photo above. I was in Food Palace (the little store selling Russian and Eastern European things like jam and cookies) when I spotted a freezer chest full of little blocks of K?rums for 99¢ each. I picked an orange one and some kind of peanut/hazelnut one.

    I was a bit taken aback by the price because they’re quite small blocks — about half the size of a deck of cards. As my husband, kid, and I all walked home, we tried to figure out what they tasted like, exactly. The coating was obviously chocolate, but inside? It was creamier and richer than ice cream. A bit like custard, but not eggy. Eventually, in the mass of other languages on the wrapper, I spotted a description and ingredient list in English: