22nd May 2007

Gallery of Pocky

Men's Pocky

How many kinds of Pocky do you think there is? 5 or 6? Try more like fifteen. No, wait, scratch that. Try more like ninety-four. With flavors like Choco-Banana Pocky, Sweet Potato Pocky, and even the mysterious Fortune-telling Grape Pocky, Jelly Bellies don’t have shit on Pocky. Check them all out at the Gallery of Pocky. [Via Deus Ex Machina]

posted in Food | 2 Comments

2nd May 2007

Ben & Jerry’s Steals the Banana Splits Logo?

JYC EXCLUSIVE: Yesterday Humu and I were strolling down the frozen dessert aisle of Whole Foods when we both spotted a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor: Banana Split. We noticed immediately how the logo on the ice cream container was a spot-on copy of the Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits band logo, minus the last S in the word “Splits”. Just compare the Banana Split package to the cover of the Banana Splits album I have:

Banana Splits logo
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on the left; Album from the 1960s band Banana Splits on the right

Here’s a closeup of both logos:

Banana Splits logo closeup

Since Ben & Jerry’s are (A) known for exploiting the nostalgia of the 60s to sell ice cream, and (B) unforgiving in their endless barrage of shameless product tie-ins, I wouldn’t put it past them to license the classic bubble-gum band to shill for them. I’m sure the Splits would do it.

I picked up the carton and scanned the entire package to see if there was any credit or trademark assignment to Hanna-Barbera, who signed the Banana Splits supergroup to their label and gave them a show back in the 1970s. I did find a copyright notice for the cow illustration that appears on the back of the carton, but I found nothing to indicate that Ben and Jerry’s had licensed the Banana Splits logo.

Is is possible that Ben & Jerry’s is the most recent company to pull a Todd Goldman and appropriate someone else’s art to pass off as their own? I contacted Ben & Jerry’s to find out more, but I have not heard back from them yet. So I decided to go straight to the source and talk to the Banana Splits themselves.

Not The First Time

Bingo from the Banana Splits

I got in touch Bingo, the enigmatic second-banana of the Banana Splits (although most music scholars agree he was the “John Lennon” of the group), for his comments. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was unaware of the situation. Like most bands from the 70s, the Splits signed over all of their rights to their record label in exchange for fame and fortune, and lost control of their image.

“We have no say any more, and Hanna-Barbera doesn’t really care about us. They cater to your every whim if you can make them some coin, but once the money stops coming in, they forget about you! It’s like you’re off the bus” Bingo commented. “And so they just let golden opportunities like this slip past them. This is not the first time it has happened. We’ve been trying for years to get royalties from Bob Marley’s estate, who lifted the chorus melody of Buffalo Soldier directly from our theme song. But Hanna-Barbera just hasn’t bothered. They don’t realize the gold mine they’re sitting on” Bingo lamented. He then hit me in the face with a pie.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the jury is still out on this one, so stick with us here at JYC for full scoop (har har) as this story unfolds. If I see that Ben & Jerry’s is planning a Sour Grape flavor, you will be the first to know.

Note: All images in this post were lifted from various places on the Internet without permission or credit

posted in Animation, Design, Food, Television | 7 Comments

24th April 2007

Eggo my Legos

I just had a yummy treat that I personally invented over 25 years ago (along with probably tens of thousands of other pajama-clad sugared-up kids): lego-shaped Eggo waffles.

Lego-shaped Eggo waffles

The waffle bricks didn’t really have the precise engineering of real Legos, so they really didn’t interlock at all, and in my toaster I could only cook two sheets of Legos at a time. So I decided to keep the Legos together and use two waffles to build a rectangular Eichler-style ranch home. How did it come out? Delicious! Check out the Lego Eggo website this morning!

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13th April 2007

We’ve Got Crab Legs! Sea Galley!

I’m so excited about this, I might not be able to sleep tonight:

1980s Sea Galley television commercial

When I was a tyke growing up in Seattle, Sea Galley was the height of fine dining, as far as I was concerned. On our birthdays, my brother Bob & I got to choose any restaurant in the entire city for our special birthday dinner. The answer was always Sea Galley, much to my parents’ chagrin.

In my eight-year-old eyes, Sea Galley was fancy. It had enclosed booths, and nets, and nautical bric-a-brac everywhere. It was dark, and mysterious, and it felt like you were being led through a maze when you were led to your table. And there was a salad bar. It was the first place in town to have a salad bar (as far as I knew), and it felt extravagant. The salad bar had baby corn. Baby corn! We’d never seen baby corn before, it was so dainty and adult. And they let you have all the baby corn you wanted! It didn’t even count as part of your meal! What a magical place!

The kids’ menu was shaped like something — I don’t remember what exactly, probably a diver’s helmet — and it included a list of non-alcoholic tropical beverages with crusty, sea-dog sounding names. As far as I’m concerned, Sea Galley is at least 70% responsible for my love of tiki bars, even though it was nautical, and completely tikiless. Since my love of tiki bars is a fairly massive part of my life, I still have a lot of reverence for Sea Galley.

There are two places I’ve been in my adulthood that look a bit like Sea Galley, and they’re both in Los Angeles (it’s no coincidence that I adore L.A.): Bahooka in Rosemead, and the Warehouse in Marina del Rey. But I see them with adult eyes, and while I love them, the mystique is not quite there. There is only one restaurant that still gives me the same sense of childlike awe: the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve searched high & low to find my adult Sea Galley, and the Mai-Kai is it, no doubt.

Right about when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, Sea Galley started a new advertising campaign, advertising their crab legs.

Dancing crab chefs at Sea Galley, from Sanderson Studios
Dancing crab chefs at Sea Galley, from Sanderson Studios

We’ve got crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got snow-snow-snow,
Dungeness, too!

Get your crab legs!
Sea Galley!
Get your crab legs!
Sea Galley!
We’ve got crab legs!
So come get… your… crab leeeeeeeegs… TONIGHT!

This compelling bit of lyrical artistry was sung by a trio of half-chef, half-crustacean people, who literally had crab legs. And they danced. And they REALLY wanted you to eat their crab legs. I remember it being a pretty big deal — they did a whole series of commercials, and I remember all of us kids lining up Rockette-style in the schoolyard and singing “we’ve got crab legs!” complete with high kicks. I think there is an entire generation of Seattle children who cannot see crab legs without singing the song, at least under their breath. I know I can’t.

By the end of the ’80s, Red Lobster rolled into town, and ruined everything. By that time, I had finally moved on from Sea Galley, so I don’t know what kind of shape the restaurants were in towards the end. It’s probably best that I never saw what became of my beloved Sea Galley.

Hanford has heard all about the glories of Sea Galley, and has heard me sing “We’ve got crab legs!” enough times that he now sings it unprovoked himself. Can you imagine my joy at actually finding the commercial on YouTube today? Probably not. Unfortunately, the quality isn’t very good, but you can still sort of make out some of the nets & other nautical decor. Bebeya, thanks for making my day.

posted in Food, Television | 36 Comments

11th April 2007

Where’d the MFing Cheese Go?

I don’t know!

In 2002, the band Ween was approached to write a jingle for one of Pizza Hut’s Desperate Product Reconfigurations of the Month, the Insider pizza. The Insider pizza was the one where they put a layer of cheese inside the pizza’s crust. Never has a new pizza design so captured the imagination of the nation, with the possible exception of the P’zone.

Pizza Hut wanted to hire an edgy band come up with an edgy jingle for their very edgy new product, hence Ween. Ween came up with a funk-infused ditty, “Where’d the Cheese Go?” Click play to hear it:

Where’d the Cheese Go?

“Where’d the Cheese Go?” video, by Oblong Pictures

Pizza Hut didn’t like it, or any of the other attempts that Ween made at giving them what they wanted. They wrote, they re-wrote, and finally, tired of it all, they wrote “Where’d the Motherfuckin’ Cheese Go At?”

Where’d the Mutherfuckin’ Cheese Go At?

In case the title doesn’t make it obvious, that one’s NSFW, unless you’ve got headphones handy. And thus, Ween’s association with Pizza Hut ended before it even really started, probably to the delight of all.

posted in Food, Music | 5 Comments

9th April 2007

Haw Flakes — Haw in Convenient Disc Form

Sometimes, your gamble in the candy aisle of a Chinese market pays off… sometimes it doesn’t. Not everybody loves haw flakes, but I’m a fan.

Mmmm... haw
Mmmm… haw
Contains haw, sugar, water and dye. But mostly haw.
Contains haw, sugar,
water and red dye.
But mostly haw.

What are haw flakes, you ask? Why, they’re flakes. Made out of haw. Just like it says on the package. They may look like firecrackers, but they’re a delightful candy treat. Each roll has a couple dozen super-thin wafers of hawiness. They look like monochrome Necco wafers, and taste and feel somewhat like a desiccated Fruit Roll-Up. I think they are delicious, but a few people have said they “taste like ass.” Most people seem to like them, though. Even if you don’t go for the taste, the packaging is so colorful and fun, they’re hard to resist. Unless you’re just really disappointed that they aren’t really firecrackers.

Haw flakes, in the buff
Haw flakes, in the buff

They are dirt cheap — possibly literally. I used to work for a dirt company, and dirt can get pretty pricey. As I said, each roll comes with a couple dozen wafers, and ten of those rolls come in a pack. I bought a bag of about a half-dozen packs for just a couple bucks. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 flakes. I don’t understand how that is possible, what with all the elaborate packaging involved, and the shipping halfway across the globe. I would love to see pictures of a haw flake factory, they’re probably lots of fun to watch in action.

I brought some with me to Forbidden Island last week (that’s our favorite bar, we tend to be there on Wednesdays), and they were a big hit. I might try crumbling some up into some Schnapps of some sort, and call it Hawschl├Ąger.

posted in Design, Food | 10 Comments

7th April 2007

Baker’s Coconut Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake

I’ve found my other book of Cut-Up Cakes!

Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake instructions
Easter Bunny Cut-Up Cake instructions

This book is from 1973, and it isn’t nearly as cool as my 1959 booklet of Cut-Up Cakes, from a design point of view — but it has more cakes in it, including this great, full body Easter Bunny cake. Marie was asking for this — I hope it does the trick!

Another Bunny Cut-Up Cake
Another Bunny Cut-Up Cake

Here’s another, simpler Easter Bunny, from the same book.

posted in Crafts, Food | 53 Comments

6th April 2007

Lose Weight Fast, the Mackerel Way

A Weight Watchers recipe card from 1974
A Weight Watchers recipe card from 1974

Wendy McClure found a collection of Weight Watchers recipe cards in her parents’ basement a few years back — no one in the family would admit to having purchased them, and she got to keep them. Photos of midcentury food are always a spectacle, but it’s her addition of MST3K-like commentary that really makes it something else. Not that the recipe cards need much help being ridiculous, with names like Snappy Mackerel Casserole, Fluffy Mackerel Pudding, and the relatively straight-forward Mackerelly. Weight Watchers was really pushing the mackerel.

I first saw these when they were posted on Tiki Central a few years ago; Tiki Wahine brought the thread up again the other day with a new link (the old one had died). Now Wendy McClure has a book out of these culinary masterpieces, The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan. I actually kind of want to make the Frankfurter Spectacular.

posted in Food, Midcentury | 2 Comments

3rd April 2007

Holy Crap, It’s MEAT CAKE!

Oh wow, do I want to do this:

Oh so pretty meat cake, by David Seah
Oh so pretty meat cake, by David Seah
Inside the meat cake, by David Seah
Inside the meat cake, by David Seah

This lovely little confection looks sweet as can be… but it’s MEAT! That’s not cake, it’s meatloaf, and that’s not frosting, it’s mashed potatoes. Genius! The meat cake pictured here is by David Seah, but the originator of the meat cake craze is Black Widow Bakery. David’s has a stuffing filling (it’s a turkey meatloaf, made for Thanksgiving), and Black Widow’s has gravy filling and a rendering of a T-bone steak in ketchup on top. Both sites have helpful step-by-step instructions on how to make your very own meat cake. The Black Widow site has a whole gallery of other people’s meat cakes. Thanks to Tiki Avengers for the heads-up!

posted in Crafts, Food | 7 Comments

1st April 2007

Vintage Easter Art

Easter is coming! There’s a lot of great art out there …

PAAS Easter Egg Coloring kit

[Via A Sampler Of Things]

posted in Art, Food, Midcentury | 1 Comment