Check out counter: miscellaneous impulse buys

an alternative to M&Ms: chocolate covered sunflower seeds, originally uploaded by c(h)ristine.


I have had my fair share of impulse purchases, especially when it comes to food items. (“What…is THAT?!”–and off it goes into my cart). This has led to some wonderful discoveries: harissa, many different chocolates and cheeses, and orange blossom water come to mind. I’m sure there are more but they have become so much a part of my pantry that I’ve forgotten when they were incorporated into my staples.

One item I discovered this week was chocolate candy covered sunflower seeds at Trader Joe’s:

chocolate covered sunflower seeds

These candies are a combination of the familiar and the new. Kind of like M&Ms except that instead of peanuts, you are eating sunflower seeds! The taste of sunflower seeds are so distinct and different from peanuts but very yummy. And the small size of these candies are so charming! You’re eating them by the handful instead of one by one.

Hrm. I just got an idea: maybe they would go well in cookies? I’ll have to try that out.

But then there are the impulse buys that I would rather forget. Like this package of dried dragon fruit:

dried dragon fruit

Not yummy. Tastes like paper with only the faintest hint of how delicious this fruit really is when uh…fully hydrated. As Melanie, one of our fellow food bloggers on Muffin Top remarked after peering at it (and witnessing my grimacing face), “Some things aren’t meant to be dried.” You said it, sister!

dragonfruit cross section

See how much more appealing this fruit is when fresh? It tastes like kiwi and the seeds provide an intriguing texture (like kiwi). Seeing as how rare dragon fruit is in the United States, I was hoping to capture some of that yumminess in dried fruit form. No dice.

Then…there is just the really perplexing:

why does japanese curry have cheese and peanut butter in it?

I bought this package of “House Vermont Curry,” a variation on Japanese curry because its tagline is “with a touch of apple and honey.” Hey, I am known to put a handful of sugar into stews and curries, so the apple and honey did not seem odd to me at all; in fact, it was attractive to me. And the did not taste odd either. It was just fine.

But then I looked at the ingredients list while waiting for the curry to simmer. Turmeric, oil, sugar, salt…fruit paste (okay, yah apple and honey)…CHEESE (?!)….PEANUT BUTTER (?!!?)

Um. Why does Japanese curry have cheese and peanut butter in it?

5 responses to “Check out counter: miscellaneous impulse buys

  1. Um. It doesn’t. That is CRAAAAAZY!

  2. just so odd, isn’t it? i grew up eating japanese curry and make it fairly often. no other japanese curry out there, i think, contains peanut butter and cheese. i wonder what function these ingredients serve.

  3. I saw this at Tokyo Fish today. I know that some of the Mapo tofu dishes have apple paste, but peanut butter and cheese (gouda!)??? WTF???!!

  4. I can’t answer your question either, but seeing “House Vermont Curry” immediately set up an ear worm in my head: the jingle from “hausu ba-monto ka-re-e” (my terrible transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation of House Vermont Curry), an ad that was ubiquitous on our TV in Tokyo in the 60s . Do you think the cheese and peanut butter are an attempt to make an “American” (ie: Vermont???) curry? How deeply weird…

  5. For years I was looking for a good persian raisin cookies. I used your recipe, it was great,even better than the ones in the stores. thank you

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