We covered some major territory in Part 1 of the Big Red Cake Taste Test. But here at League HQ, we understand that science needs to be double-checked, and so we've signed up our better half to help calibrate the testing of tastes.
Jamie is a far pickier eater than myself. She will decide well before she's seen, smelled or tasted a food that it is going to be "gross". This is an ongoing battle in our house and has been waged relentlessly since Clinton's first term.*
But she will do taste tests. I cannot imagine why, but she will. Or steal a drink of my beer if I mention that I liked it. She is a beer stealer.
She was the one who found the cake at HEB, but it was texted with a message like "barf!", to which I responded "BRING ME THE CAKE". And, so, here is Part 2 of The Big Red Taste Test, where Jamie goes ahead and gives something new a shot.
So, we moved to Arizona in 2002. And in 2003 I went to cook up some barbecue, and as part of that equation, I headed to the soda aisle. It's a bit old school, but it's kind of a Texas tradition to drink Big Red Soda with your BBQ. To my shock, they didn't have it. That would be grounds for dismissal in Texas - we always have Big Red in any soda selection of quality.
I started looking around at convenience stores and other groceries, then finally asked my co-workers, and none of them knew what I was talking about. Apparently Big Red is pretty regional.
So: Big Red is a "red cream soda". You can shorten that to "cream soda" and assume it's been colored red. It has nothing to do with Big Red the cinammon-flavored chewing gum, so get that our of your head right now. If you've had A&W Cream Soda or Dr. Brown's... something like that. Only... redder.
I don't really drink sugar soda or any soda other than soda water these days (love me some Topo Chico), but every once in a while I still sneak a Big Red. You don't need much... it's pure sugar.
HEB is a Texas-based grocery chain, and every once in a while they like to just mess with people and their weird Texas obsessiveness. And that's how, I think, we ended up with a Big Red Soda Cake.
In the 1990's, Austin was home to the Celis Brewery. I don't think their distribution reached far outside of Central Texas, but they were much beloved here in The City with the Violet Crown. Prior to the arrival of Celis, local favorites were more or less Shiner Bock and, while we had Lone Star, it was sort of reserved for "we're cooking burgers and it's 100 degrees out and no one cares" drinking.
I wasn't much of a beer snob (I still definitely am not), but I knows what I likes. And I was a fan of Celis, particularly Celis White. Also, Celis Pale Rider, but we're not here to talk about that one today. If you read the picture above you'll note that Celis was brewed in the Belgian style. I didn't know much about that then or now, but in our poor college and post college days, it was a bit of a premium beer that folks agreed upon, and if someone brought it over, it was like a sign of respect.
Eventually, as happened with many fine beers of the 90's, the brand was purchased by a larger company, they attempted wider geographic distribution but it didn't take. So, instead of just giving it back and letting us live our lives, they shut it down. Why? Why do that? Just let us have the beer.
Anyway, flashforward to 2016 and it became clear Celis was coming back. The family had re-obtained all the legal necessaries, they got a brewery going again, and last week when I was walking through HEB (the Texas-based grocery store chain that is to Texas what Publix is to our friends in The Sunshine State) and one of those PR folks was handing out samples. I mean, I didn't need a sample if I properly remembered the '90's, but it was a happy exchange and I walked away with a six-pack of Celis White, what I consider (and I assume they do, too) the flagship of Celis.
This week was bananas. I could have just popped a beer, but JimD, also a product of 90's Austin, suggested an old-school Taste Test (this was something we did from time to time at the League of Melbotis blog). So, here we are.
Lucy, underage, will not be participating in this nonsense
Well, Leaguers, it's been a long, long time. A lot of moronic food has come and gone over the years, but nothing has really piqued my curiosity. Yeah, even the waffle breakfast taco did nothing for me. It was incredibly stupid, but somehow it lacked that je nes sais quoi.
But today I saw an ad for something worthy of my Taste Testing talents. And so, I felt the need to dust off the taste buds and go to work for you, The People.
Just when I think I'm out...
Yeah. @#$%ing "Cap'n Crunch Delights". No @#$%ing idea. I was literally on the elliptical figuring out what we should do for dinner and said to Jamie "grab me some of those Cap'n Crunch things at the Bell." She tried to stop me, but I wasn't thinking of me. I was thinking of you, The People.
So, to review, Cap'n Crunch is a breakfast cereal famous for three things: