Into the Wild: My Three-Fold Love Affair, a New Year’s Retrospective

This year, I ended up staying home for New Year’s Eve. I didn’t even have any alcohol for probably the first time since I was in high school, many, many years ago. Part of it was the fact there was a windchill warning, with really low temps and significantly lower windchills. I hate being cold and it doesn’t make for fun walking. Also, I had some health issues going on and wasn’t feeling up to it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I did write out my affirmations for the year and a few goals. (I don’t believe in resolutions because why set yourself up for failure?) One of those goals was to finally do some more writing and reflecting on this blog. So that is part of the reason for sharing this post. But then I also rang in the New Year by watching one of my all-time favorite movies, Into the Wild. (Yes, you are going to find a few affiliate links in this, which can help me earn a few pennies to support this site, but in no way influence my thoughts and opinions.)

I do remember hearing the original story on MTV News back in 1992. As a coming of age teenager, I found it an intriguing one. And then I put it out of my mind until this movie came about. It looked like a good movie, and of course I wanted to check out something for which Eddie Vedder had done the entire soundtrack. I was immediately sucked into the story and have revisited it numerous times since the movie came out in 2007, especially during times of deep reflection. What better time than New Year’s Eve? Continue reading “Into the Wild: My Three-Fold Love Affair, a New Year’s Retrospective”

Taste Testing: Ore Ida Extra Crispy Crinkles

On the couple of days a week that I work out of the house all day, I often stop at the grocery store on my lunch break, in search of something new to try to eat. You never know what you may stumble upon or what may catch your eye. Today I saw Ore Ida Extra Crispy Crinkles, which are fries that you can make in the microwave. For $1.50ish, I figured why not?

I flashed back to my childhood. Fries were always highly coveted. My mother would occasionally pick up fast food for us and inevitably eat half of the fries before she got home. We always begged her to just get her own, but she always insisted that she didn’t want any. It made me crazy! But we tried not to make too much of a big deal out of it, because having fast food was actually a treat. If we complained too much, we wouldn’t be able to have it at all.

Sometimes she would even buy us fries that we could make at home. But the kind that you made in the oven were never quite crispy enough. And forget about the Ore Ida fries that you could buy for the microwave. Yes, we got them, because we just needed to fill that craving on occasion. And no matter what you did, they always came out horribly soggy. So I momentarily hesitated. But surely after 20+ years, they would have figured out how to make this work now, right?

Cooking Ore Ida Extra Crispy Crinkles

Behold the double-sided heating element thingie, or whatever you want to call it. The crispers are on both the top and the bottom of the box.

The instructions insist that you must make sure that you shove that top part down into the box, so that both sides of the crisper are touching the fries. That’s the only way to guarantee that they crisp up nicely. So okay, here’s my proof that I did it.

You cook them for four minutes and then let them sit for another minute to keep on crisping. I did just as instructed. I pulled them out, expectations high. And then I saw this. They looked wet. Soggy. Flashbacks to my childhood. And I felt sad.

Taste Testing Ore Ida Extra Crispy Crinkles

I took them into the office to try. And yes, they were sad, limp, soggy fries. They even tasted the same as when I was a kid, which isn’t saying much. I had no ketchup for dipping – and believe me, they needed it – but I still had a couple of extra Horsey sauces laying around from an Arby’s run my boss made a few weeks ago.

Horsey sauce on fries is something I’d never before tried, but I do recommend it. They certainly helped out these fries, so I am sure they would be fabulous on fries I actually thought tasted good.

So yes, Ore Ida Extra Crispy Crinkles still are not much better than they were approximately 20 or so years ago. Honestly, if these are supposed to be the extra crispy ones, I am scared of what regular ones would be like. Now, I do know that there is another version that they dub extra crispy. Perhaps something in the crinkles caused a problem. Maybe I actually did something wrong in the cooking process, though I did read the instructions carefully. Maybe I will try again one of these days. Stay tuned.

#Review of Bacon Pringles

bacon pringles review

I was out doing a little bit of shopping and somehow ended up in front of the potato chips, specifically the Pringles display. Someone smart at Walmart had it set up right next to the beer section, which was honestly what I was perusing. And then my eye was drawn to the word “Bacon.” What’s this? Bacon Pringles? Curiosity outweighed my ability to usually resist this treat, and I had to give them a try.

bacon pringles can in the grass

I did wait a little while, though. I felt compelled to give myself some time to find a day when I would be able to truly enjoy and savor every bite. After all, this was going to be a treat of sorts. So, line up a Saturday afternoon, where the sun is brightly shining. The temperature is in the low-to-mid 70’s. The neighborhood is miraculously quiet. And I am sitting outside in my makeshift third outdoor office, which is nothing more than an old blanket I can move around the yard, as needed. It was like a mini picnic for me, as I was able to enjoy snacks and small meals throughout the day as I wrote and read and crafted.

I opened the can with that Pringles pop and then had to set up the obligatory picture. Then, I was free to taste.

bacon pringles with chips

Those first few bites reminded me a lot of the barbecue flavored Pringles, only with a subtler taste. I thought maybe my tongue was playing tricks on me, so I went ahead and drank some water to cleanse the palate a bit and tried again. Something still reminded me of the BBQ flavor, though it wasn’t quite the same. And it definitely wasn’t a bacon flavor.

I decided to read through the ingredients. I already knew that the flavoring was supposed to be artificial, per the front of the can. (It’s hard to see in the pictures, but “Artificially Flavored” is printed in dark red just under “Bacon.”) All I could find was “natural flavors (including natural smoke flavor).” Well, I don’t think that bacon is quite one of the natural flavors, and I am curious about what those natural flavors actually are. I am also curious about why this is considered an exclusive flavor, when I know I have seen others with bacon flavoring.

And can we PLEASE get rid of MSG in products?

But I digress.

Conclusion? Well, while the taste does not immediately triggers thoughts of a beloved breakfast, Bacon Pringles are still tasty and snack-worthy. I feel like they would go well with beer, which is probably part of the reason they were displayed next to the beer cooler. In fact, I am craving one right now. They do have an enticing smell and also seem perfect for parties, as well as munching at home. And they do still make for a fine duckface picture, as all good Pringles should.

bacon pringles duckface