A few years back, I sent my food scientist husband a link to a Japanese kit that lets people make food using only powder.
Fascinated and adorable, he couldn’t stop talking about it, and the little tube of “sausage,” for weeks. (When not trying to make an army of carrot super mutants in his lab basement).
After flipping through some ads, he gave me the same doe eyes the dog tries when she wants a treat. He discovered that the powdered food kits made their way to the US and really wanted to try one.
Here, they’re called Yummy Nummies, because everything in America is covered in a layer of high fructose corn syrup. After scouring a few stores during the fourth of independence weekend, we finally found some at Target. We skipped past the dessert ones, because like an EZ bake oven of old, those might actually be palatable.
No, the one he had to try was the Best Ever Burger Maker™®© (the symbol for the fifth element).
This is what the company thinks it should look like:
And here’s the video of him making it while I provide my usually snarky commentary behind the camera:
If you don’t feel like watching the video, the Best Ever Burger Makerˆøˆ comes with a plastic casing molded into squares to do your mixing in, a handful of packets filled with the powders, and a tiny plate/knife/spoon to try and up the adorableness.
But there’s no magic in this thing, no wonder at making grown up food super tiny. Yummy Nummies is the dead raccoon floating in your fairy pond; the harsh reminder that the world killed your fantasy dreams in a murder/suicide pact. It’s so grimdark that you can barely see an inch past your nose, and that’s how you like it, raging against the ills of the world in your lair while prodding a plate of hard mashed potatoes formed in a fry shape.
You saw the fantasy, now meet the reality:
The fries, surprise surprise, tasted like potato buds nuked in the microwave for a few seconds. A bit of the edges hardened up enough to give it shape, but the middle is full on week old mashed potatoes from a haunted elementary school. You’d be better off dumping a handful of potato buds into your mouth and gnawing on those.
The burger tastes about 99.99% like dough. Despite smelling like the innards of a tauntaun, the burger patty tasted of nothing, the beany powder evaporating on the tongue. The “cheese” was powdered cheeze-its reconstituted with a bit of water and smeared across some wax paper. It wasn’t even cheesy enough to reach Cheeto levels, offering up barely a blip to the flavor palate.
The weirdest part on the burger wasn’t the reeking meat, the radioactive cheese, or the still-dough bun. It was the ketchup. Instead of that healthy tomato red, this ketchup was a deep crimson which refused to fully solubilize the powder. Maybe the chunks of powder were supposed to be in there, I have no idea. The dried blood condiment tasted less like ketchup and more like a weak barbecue sauce stored at the bottom of a spittoon.
But the true abomination of the meal was the one I figured they could easily get right. How hard is soda pop? Nigh on impossible, apparently. Despite having the familiar caramel cola color, that thing had top notes of lime and base ones of liquid hatred. If you dumped a box of baking soda on your tongue and washed it down with lime juice, it’d still be better than that thimble of soda.
Because I wasn’t about to let my husband have all the fun, I decided to make their Chix Mini Nuggets. (Chix sounds like the stripper name Camilla adopted after her final breakup with Gonzo. Look, we all knew you guys weren’t going to make it. You’re a chicken who can’t talk, he’s a whatever. Doom city.)
I think there might be a wee bit of false advertising going on in that marketing department. My Chix nuggets never once kicked out sparkles or looked like actual meat. The ingredients are mostly potato powder, which is what the “chicken” tasted like: garlic and onion spice to cover the fact you’re eating potato lumps pretending it’s chicken.
Like all things American, we imported something, dumbed and cheapened it down, then marketed it at kids. At the heafty price tag of $10 and $6 for those kits, you’re better off just letting your little Jaydens and Scadens play with a set of real knives. At least you’ll have a decent meal to eat while waiting in the emergency room.