Originally published on Zug.com (now Media Shower) on March 8, 2013
Despite sharing a hairstyle with Rihanna, I am in fact a 30-year-old adult male, knocking on the doors of year 31.
As such, I need to start eating better. The days of taking an extra-large dump and losing five pounds are fast slipping away, and I could easily wake up tomorrow and require assistance just to sit up.
Luckily for me, there are tons of healthy food choices. Unluckily for me, they’re all fairly atrocious and fear-inducing. I enjoy potatoes and carrots as much as the next rabbit, but some of these goofy things look like primitive tools. And my svelte, girlish figure depends on eating them?
Well, if this was to be my future, I decided to see if I couldn’t make it a wee bit more fun. I remember Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend put out a book awhile back where she taught us how to slip junk food into healthy stuff so kids would eat them. My advance apologies to all friends and family members whose birthdays I had to forgot so my brain could retain this information.
Her idea was decent, but didn’t go far enough, so I decided to take over. I picked out six of those weird, exotic vegetables that grocery stores technically sell but you regularly skip past on your way to the Cheez-Its aisle. Paired up with a favorite junk food of mine, could I make these abominations taste like real food? Or would it all end up in a real toilet, real fast?
This is what my trip to the store yielded — aside from weird looks from the cashier who had to be wondering if my pantry suffered from split-personality disorder.
This is kale. It looks like lettuce, but it sure ain’t lettuce; it’s a strong, hard, leafy cabbage-type-thing that isn’t fun to chew at all. If you stick this thing in your turkey sandwich, the turkey will come back to life, start furiously gobbling, peck you to death, and then run away gobbling some more.
So maybe they’ll work in pancakes? Even if they don’t, I at least have the perfect name: PANKALES. As in, “Son, if you don’t clean your room, your breakfast will be nothing bur pankales for a week!” Also as in, “I sure hope they let me patent pankales and make millions of dollars off this horrible idea.”
Next up, we have broccoli sprouts: teeny, yet unbelievably pungent, baby broccoli buds on a stick that are somehow stronger than full-grown broccoli. I ate one tiny little sprout and couldn’t get the taste of extra-bitter broccoli off my tongue. I combined that with:
Fudgy brownies! Ever wanted to make yourself a delicious batch of pot brownies, but were too scared of that whole cop thing to do it? Then try Broccoli Brownies! They might not get you high, but at least they’ll be green.
Moving on, we have celery root, which tastes exactly how you would imagine. The celery taste is strong with this one, but it became much more fun to eat once I started pretending it was not a vegetable, but rather a very well-preserved shrunken head patty. Mixed with:
Melted marshmallows! Yes, I was about to dip this thing into a sea of marshmallow, fondue-style, and hope it somehow cancelled out the taste of the least-interesting vegetable in your beef stew.
Going down the line, we have a Yuca root — some potato-type-thing with a candle wick on top. This is for anyone who decides to forgo cake in favor of the healthiest and most horrifying birthday ever.
My goal was to eat these veggies nice and raw, but Yuca must be cooked. Why? Well, it’s kinda poisonous when you don’t. I don’t love you people nearly enough to risk death so you can have five extra seconds of lulz before clicking to the porn you have fired up.
So I boiled it, and stuck of it some inside:
Double-stuff Oreos. Family Size to boot! Luckily, my family wants nothing to do with me, so I can stuff these things with cyanide potato to my heart’s desire.
Moving on, we have jicama, which looks like a UFO and tastes like boredom. It’s described as an apple mixed with a water chestnut. You know what a water chestnut tastes like? Nothing, that’s what! So a jicama is basically like eating a bland, watered-down apple. On the plus side, it can be cut into a disc, upon which I spread:
Nutella! Did one of the most flavorful, wonderful spreads in history save one of the most flavorless veggies in history? Would I be talking about it if it did?
Finally, we have horseradish root, which literally looks like a tree root that I pulled from the ground ten seconds ago. Also, eating it hurts. Like, it REALLY hurts. It’s tart and sharp, even moreso than horseradish sauce, and it’s basically like eating really spicy mustard that’s sat in the fridge for two years and is now insanely hard to chew. You can certainly eat it raw, but only if you need to punish yourself like the Albino in Da Vinci Code but don’t have a Cat O’ Nine Tails at the ready for convenient flagellation.
Maybe red velvet ice cream would improve it? My thinking was that it would be like every RPG ever, where ice magic easily defeats the evil fire-breathing demon of the underworld. Yes, I formulated theories for this fucking project. My science teachers would be so proud.
Broccoli Sprout Brownies
Is your stomach growling yet? This is the pre-mixed batter, complete with sprouts. I used a cup of them, as that was the recommended serving size and I didn’t want to cheat myself out of optimum nutrition.
Also, I learned that dumping a cup of broccoli into your batter makes said batter a hell of a lot harder to stir. It was damn near impossible to get all the mix wet and blended, but I persevered, because I am Strong Man.
This is the finished product. It looks like my brownie fell on the floor and got hair all over it. Inside of it, as well. That must’ve been one dirty-ass floor.
And, as you might have guessed, this was absolutely disgusting. The first bite was shockingly not awful, but it turned out I didn’t get much sprout. So I went back for seconds, and ye Gods did it suck. The broccoli flavor was overwhelming, mixed horribly with the chocolate, and I damn near puked everything up within seconds. Failure #1 of many.
Time to test out my future cash cow, if the US Patent Office allows it.
Well, the leaves made the batter thicker and easier to cook with, which is good because these water-only mixes are usually thin as, well, water, and thus a pain in the rump to keep together. Usually I add milk, sugar, and vanilla flavoring to my pancakes because I’m a rebel like that, but not this time. I’m making pankales, for fuck’s sake — I’d prefer not to waste milk and sugar on these things.
And here’s the finished product. It was actually very hard to cut into, as the kale was still raw as shit. This is clearly not how to cook kale. Perhaps I should’ve sauteed it in oil and garlic first. Then again, if I were known for making good decisions, I wouldn’t be doing this at all.
Yeah, pankales are … no good. The kale might’ve actually dried up the batter, as these things don’t usually feel like chewing pre-dried paste. So not only did the pancakes suck, but the kale was STILL hard to chew. I still might patent the idea though, as there are plenty of stupid people who won’t read my words of warning and will insist on trying it themselves. Their mistakes shall fatten my wallet.
Marshmallow Celery Root Fondue
That little white bulb next to the bowl of melted marshmallows? That’s the shrunken head from earlier. Admittedly, it looks a hell of a lot more edible after you skin it.
Here it is with marshmallow spread all over, after several failed attempts at doing so. As it turns out, melted marshmallows solidify REAL fast, so my plan to use the bathroom and then dip the root into the melted mixture was a bad one. Yes children, I HAD A BAD IDEA. Shocking, I know.
At this point, I was basically eating Stretch Armstrong’s body. The celery taste was still way too potent, and was not helped one iota by the marshmallow goodness. The shitty taste, however, took second place to my inability to eat this thing without looking like a total idiot.
Next time, I’m dipping my celery root in melted chocolate. It’ll be easier to work with, plus the celery root will be replaced with fresh strawberries. You know, for variety.
Oreos With Yuca Filling
As mentioned earlier, I had to boil this thing so I wouldn’t die. Cutting it up was beyond difficult though, because Yuca is hard as a rock. I’d have had better luck cutting down a tree, using the exact same kitchen knife. Thank God I’m not eating this raw, or I’d be the youngest toothless corpse on the block.
Unbelievably, even when boiled and soft, sticking Yuca in the Oreo still breaks the cookie. I suppose I could have removed the cream filling, but that would defeat the purpose of an Oreo and therefore the entire experiment. My Nobel Prize for Chemistry rides on this; no shortcuts for me!
I then concluded that Mr. Nobel and his damn medals can suck it. This was NOT worth the hassle. It actually took a few seconds for the awful to set in, as the Oreo taste was dominant in the beginning. But the flavor clash kicked in very shortly thereafter and it wasn’t good at all. I no longer tasted cream, but rather the ungodly taste of maybe-kinda-sorta-potato smushed together with chocolate. Maybe actual potato would taste better inside an Oreo? Somebody who isn’t me should get on that and find out.
Jicama With Nutella
As you can see, Jicama with Nutella spread isn’t threatening at all. In fact, it kinda looked like a cookie.
But it sure as fuck didn’t taste like a cookie. The bland water-apple crunch didn’t mesh at all with chocolatey hazelnutty goodness. If anything, it tasted like somebody dropped a glass of water into my brand-new jar of Nutella and that’s just about the most depressing scenario imaginable that doesn’t involve starving children. Though I’m fairly certain that, if you gave a starving child a bowl of watered-down Nutella, they’d still say, “thanks, but no thanks.”
And now for the Main Event of the evening:
Horseradish Root Smotherd In Ice Cream
I knew full well that biting into this glorified stick was gonna suck, so I decided to have some fun beforehand. Since I live in an apartment and can’t have a dog, I resorted to annoying my cat with something he couldn’t reach. And not being able to pointlessly bat at something is, to a cat, a fate worse than death.
Before biting into the now-skinned-and-cleaned root, I stopped to pray to every God imaginable — Yahweh, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Eric Clapton, Mick Foley, Xenu — that the ice cream would cancel out the searing heat of horseradish root, allowing me to eat without tearing up like Beliebers did when they found out Justin had a bad birthday.
Scooping the ice cream onto the root was rather difficult. Every time I tried to keep it in place, the other side would come flying up like it didn’t want to be there. I can’t say I blame it.
Yeah, this was pure pain. I usually hate quoting memes, but the ice cream, it does nothing! I barely tasted its velvety redness, as it immediately gave way to the same searing heat I dealt with earlier. If either Ben or Jerry read this, I profusely apologize for wasting your precious product like this and plan to buy much more as penance, this time without horseradish mucking up the party.
Look at the lower-left corner of the screen. See those drips? That’s ice cream. I had just put it on the root, and it was already melting. In case you didn’t believe me about the heat.
So what have I learned? Well, Mrs. Seinfeld is a liar, for one — delicious junk does not make healthy crap better. I also learned that, just because I write a silly pun it doesn’t mean I should literally give it life.
Finally, I learned that writing my own cookbook is absolutely in my future. “Puke-Inducing Dinner-Desserts” would be the ultimate April Fools Day present for the budding chef in your family. Where’s my agent?