Dunkaroos are Back?

Remember Dunkaroos from the 1990s? The purple packet with cookies (or Biscuits if you’re from London) and some cake frosting for dipping. Plus, there had that fun cartoon kangaroo mascot with an accent. Of course, every 90s kid remembers Dunkaroos whether you enjoyed them or not.

1994 Dunkaroo commercial

A few years ago, I heard Dunkaroos were back. There were rumors that they had made a comeback at wholesale grocery stores (Costco and BJs and Sam’s Club). You had to be a member of an exclusive club to get a box of Dunkaroos. I’m not sure if they were ever even there or if this was some sort of lie the grown-up 90s kids were spreading.

Yesterday, at Winn Dixie I did encounter one box of (NEW) Dunkaroos. New style, new look, new everything. The problem was they were on top of some random boxes in the middle of the frozen food section. They weren’t yet set up on display.

No one was around so I grabbed the box and tossed it into my cart. I later noticed a hand-written code on the box. I also noticed that this was a display box, meant to sell each packet separately (I noticed this when I got home). So I wondered, Wait, how much did I pay for this display box? And, when I checked the receipt I was relieved to find out that I had paid nothing for them. Unless they were under some super secret code.

I scanned my receipt multiple times and found no sort of Dunkaroos or Kangaroo secret code. The cashier hooked it up, probably because she sees me each week. I saw her attempt to scan the box, but she acted like everything was good and tossed them into a bag.

New Dunkaroo Review

These new Dunkaroos are not the Dunkaroos I remember from middle school. The only thing that remained the same is the Betty Crocker cake frosting for dipping, even though this was a funfetti-style frosting. I remember having chocolate or vanilla frosting (maybe a cookies and cream one later on).

These new cookies are too thin and small. I even broke some when dipping them in the frosting. They’re like the Jesus cookies you receive at church kind of thin. If you make a product that comes with a dipping sauce, part of the R&D budget should go into making it so your product doesn’t break and get left behind in the dipping substance.

New “extra thin” cookies (biscuits or crackers)

They don’t taste the same either. The cookies don’t have the same flavor, but that could also be due to them being too thin. Also, in the 20+ years since we’ve last seen Dunkaroos I’m sure FDA standards have changed. Maybe there was some strange ingredient in the old Dunkaroos cookies that’s no longer usable — something to make them extra addicting to kids. I also remember different cookie shapes (including a kangaroo, a kangaroo limb and head). Now, they all just look like cheap kangaroo coins.

I’m not saying these are bad, they just aren’t the same. Also, if you want to enjoy dipping cookies in cake frosting I have a better idea for you.

Step 1 – Buy your favorite cake frosting:
Chocolate, Vanilla, Butter Cream, Funfetti, Birthday Cake…

Step 2 – Buy your favorite cookies, biscuits and sweet treats:
Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Biscoff, Nilla Wafers, Teddy Grahams…

Step 3 – Go home, put on a movie and start dipping all of your cookies
and treats in the cake frosting.

I dipped some Biscoff Plane cookies in my Kangaroo frosting.

Congratulations you’ve just made your own (better version) of Dunkaroos in 2021.
You’re welcome…

Food + Math = Delicious

There are many times in the kitchen where I am forced to use Math. Math is an important skill to have. Sure, I use it in my everyday job (Accounting) sometimes, but most of that Math is done with calculators, Excel and tax programs.

When it comes to cooking I use math a whole lot. Recipes are made up of Math, and many of them are mostly made for not enough or too many people. It’s important to know how to double, half and sometimes go even further than that. What if a recipe calls for three full eggs, but you want a smaller version featuring only one or two eggs. Then it’s not about halving stuff, it’s about going into fractions (⅓ or ⅔).

I sometimes make sauces and spice mixes, but want a larger batch. So, instead of using teaspoons and tablespoons I break the recipe down to parts and use that instead. This way I can use my number system to create a large or any size batch I want.

I’ve even written down some of these breakdowns into my cookbooks. This is my breakdown of Danny Trejo’s Gringo Taco Seasoning mix.

Baking is all about math too. I have learned that baking is more of a science while grilling is more of a guessing game. Even though many baking recipes are recorded in cups, tablespoons and teaspoons, you will always get a much better bake weighing your ingredients with a scale. Grams/ounces is the way to go when making cakes, breads, cookies and any other baked goods.

I made the most Math-heavy recipe in my life the other day, and it’s not what you’d expect. This was like an algebra problem, or trigonometry (although I’m pretty great at math, I don’t know the labels of all the different types of math anymore).

Frozen Food Triple-Dipper: Frank’s RedHot Bites, Totino’s Pizza Rolls + FarmRich Mozzarella Sticks

The meal was a Frozen Food Triple-dipper. I wanted to find a way to have some chicken, something cheesy and some pizza all at once! In college, my roommates and I would throw multiple frozen items onto a pan and throw it in the oven at an average baking temperature until it smelled and looked kind of done. Of course, cooking times are also very important when it comes to frozen snacks.

What I did the other day was break it down by first finding that average temperature. Lucky for me the temperature range was from 425-450 degrees, so not that different. I also used the toaster oven which usually gets too hot so I left it at 425 degrees.

Cooking Times and Temps

Frank’s RedHot Bites
Time: 14 – 16 min
Temp: 450 degrees

Totino’s Pizza Rolls
Time: 10 – 12 min
Temp: 425 degrees

Cheese Sticks
Time: 8 – 9 min
Temp: 450 degrees

I started off baking my Frank’s RedHot Original Boneless Chicken Bites for just 4 minutes on their own. Next, I added in my Totino’s Pizza Rolls for another 4 minutes (now 8 minutes on the Frank’s). Finally, I flipped those two over and tossed in my FarmRich Mozzarella Sticks (aka Cheese Sticks) for the last 8 minutes (that’s a total of 16 for Frank’s and 12 for the Pizza Rolls).

Everything came out just perfect. Even Paul Hollywood (The Great British Baking Show) would agree.


When preparing my items I did find some Tequeños in the freezer but those had a 350 degree bake and an extra long baking time. It would have thrown off my whole system so I decided to leave them out.

There is one last thing I will leave you with. Frozen foods should never be made in the microwave, when you have the luxury of using an oven or toaster oven. Yes, it may take 4x as long to cook, but it’s well worth the wait. So, start preheating your oven now and grab a snack while you wait.

I was yesterday years old when…

There are many items and products that we consume in our every day lives, without ever really thinking much about them. How was this created? Who created this? Where did the name come from?

Some products are named using multiple words which together make up that products identity, but on their own they may mean something completely different. In some cases there may even be a hidden meaning or a pun behind the name. So much goes into naming and branding nowadays. And most consumers don’t pay much attention to it, at all.

It’s not that you’re dumb and missed something. You just probably never thought about it. Just as we’ve all said things like, “Give me a Kleenex,” instead of a tissue, because Kleenex is the brand we associate with tissues. So much so that some of us think tissues are actually called Kleenex. Or, for the older folks you may have said, “Make me a Xerox of this,” another brand used in place of the phrase “photo copy.” Or Band Aid vs bandage.

Because these names are so commonly used in our vernacular we don’t stop to think about what they mean. Now, Chips Ahoy! is not something anyone says daily, unless they are actually specifically talking about enjoying some delicious Chips Ahoy! cookies.

The other night, while eating Chips Ahoy! cookie(s) (I won’t disclose the exact number, because I’m never sure how many cookies I’ve eaten in any given day or moment in time), I had an epiphany. While staring at the logo I thought of the name. I know Ahoy! is something associated with captains and boats and pirates and whatnot. So I started thinking what that had to do with cookies.

Then I began thinking about the word chips, yes for chocolate chips or whatever chips they put in each cookie. But why did they use chips and not cookie or biscuit or anything else. Then I realized that it was a play on Ships, Ships Ahoy! that’s what captains or pirates would say.

I went a bit further and did some research and all I learned from the internet is that the name Chips Ahoy! must have come from one of two places. Either it came from a Charles Dickens story from the 1800s or it came from a Donal Duck cartoon in the 1950s.

After figuring this whole thing out I kind of felt like an idiot, but I know that at least one person will read this and realize that they too are an idiot like me. So, to that one person, “You are no idiot, you are just as smart as I am.” And, you are welcome.

I will also spend the rest of this week analyzing the name of any food I eat.

Here are some fun Chips Ahoy! ads to enjoy while you think about how you’re going to get some Chips Ahoy! cookies next time you go to the grocery store (or Instacart some groceries).

1980s Chips Ahoy! commercial starring Blossom’s older brother, Joey Lawrence… Whoa!
And here’s something a bit more recent…

Enjoy your cookies!

THE SECRET OREO AGREEMENT

oreos bckgrndFL title

OREOs are known as “Milk’s favorite cookie,” but what, in fact, does that statement even mean? What does it prove? Nothing. Did all of the milks get together in one place and vote for their favorite cookie? Is this just the cow’s milk population or were all the new vegan and strange mylks (with a “y”) involved in this process? Should the cows have a say in this? There would be no milk without the cows, plus cows have brains and milk has no brains.

Of course, I know that the phrase “Milk’s favorite cookie” was coined by some “clever” copywriter from whatever agency worked for Nabisco at the time. I love OREOs, I’m just saying that their slogan is stupid. Milk doesn’t care what you put in it. Do you think milk has a preference for which cereal floats around in it? It doesn’t, but if it did, it would most likely be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

CTC Milk

I don’t think that anyone was really bored of the Classic and Double Stuf OREOs, but it is exciting that they have tried so many new (some good and some not so good) flavors. I’ve always been happy with a Classic or Double Stuf OREO, but I started trying out their new flavors recently, just because they are usually on sale. 

During the quarantine alone, I’ve tried Tiramisu, Peanut Butter Pie, Toasted Marshmallow and a few others that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve seen the Cherry Cola and Peeps along with many flavors that I didn’t think were necessary. There’s only one thing that I haven’t seen from OREO, and it’s the most obvious combo of all — The Reverse OREO.

Sure, there’s the Golden OREO, which is just switching out the classic chocolate wafers for golden vanilla ones. We’ve also seen the classic chocolate wafers with chocolate creme. But why is it we haven’t seen Golden Vanilla cookies with Chocolate creme? I’ll tell you why (or at least why I think we haven’t seen it).

It’s those damn Keebler elves. The Keebler Elf mafia got together with the Nabisco (NAtional BIScuit COmpany) family for a secret meeting, in their tiny secret tree boardroom, many moons ago to make sure that consumers would never see the “Reverse OREO” on shelves anywhere. If there ever was, that would ruin the sales of My second favorite cookies The E.L. Fudge Elfwich cookies (second favorite after OREOs, of course). Because an E.L. Fudge Elfwich cookie is just a “Reverse Oreo” in the shape of an elf with some witty writing on it’s backside.

el fudge cookies

I just hope this agreement expires soon so that I can see the “Reverse OREO” in my lifetime. There was a time where E.L. Fudge Elfwich cookies came in reverse, with chocolate wafers and some OREO-type creme filling. The Keebler Elves could do that because they run the cookie world. They’re hidden away in their tiny tree offices where no one will ever find them.

Well, now this must end, because I have to go find myself some E.L. Fudge Elfwich cookies and/or OREOs to eat. So, please enjoy this fun video of the OREO project I was a part of with some cool friends in my time at the Ad School.
(Thanks Justin, Matt and Wan)

 

*No actual research was done for this article. 

**If the “Reverse OREO” aka Golden OREOs with Chocolate Creme has ever existed for even a small point in time I have never seen them, and I won’t believe you unless you actually bring me some to eat.

2019 was a Good Year

Banana ArtFL title

2019 was a good year. I visited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge twice, and once more at the beginning of this year. I saw some cool movies (Knives Out, Frozen 2, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). Disney+ came out, giving me access to so many old and new Disney movies, series and tons of other stuff. I was a part of many, many improv shows every weekend. I even got my first money for acting in a “talk show” ($5 cash. Thanks, Elaine!).

With Wednesday rehearsals and shows most Thursdays through Saturdays I had many late nights. This has affected my eating habits. I shifted breakfast from the early morning (8 or 9 am) to sometime between 10 am and noon. Lunch moved to sometime between 2 and 4 pm. With a snack thrown in the mix on running and work out days, ending the day with a very late dinner (11 pm or later). 

With this shifting schedule and trying to be on-time to rehearsals and shows I discovered a new faster technique to have a snack… 

…It all started with one banana

One day, I was running a bit late for rehearsal, since I was feeling particularly lazy that day I didn’t go for a run until almost 6 pm (I’ll normally run closer to 5 pm to give me enough time). I got back and had to take a lightning quick shower, but I needed some sort of fuel to make sure I wouldn’t pass out. I grabbed a banana and ate it in the shower, taking out two tasks with one banana.


I’ve also learned that car bananas are fun, because you get to throw the peel out the window and live in the world of Mario Kart for a few seconds. I don’t think it’s bad for the environment. Someone will eat it, right?

This started my 2019 trend. What else can I eat in the shower? Here are some other things I ate in the shower last year: Microwaveable Protein Muffin, Energy Bars (Rx, Lara, Clif) and Cold Brew. I’m sure there are other things that I can’t think of (like Dum Dums). But these were all the successful shower snacks I can think of.

This whole thing really started in college, but instead of eating in the shower I would sometimes have a drink in the shower, while getting ready to go out. Shower beers are always good (Have you ever had a beer in a pool, while laying on a float? It feels like your life is a Corona commercial). Also, a shower Cider. Anything cold really. A hot tea in the shower may not be as relaxing, but an iced coffee works, too.

I’ve also thought of some things I would never want to eat in the shower: oatmeal, hot soup, salad, a sandwich, yogurt (unless it’s Go-Gurt, but who eats Go-Gurt anymore?)… 

What other new things can I try in the shower in 2020? What’s the strangest thing you’ve eaten in the shower, or in another strange place? Comment below.

 

What other new lessons will I learn in 2020? Tune in to find out…