Monday, March 30, 2015

Breaking Bad Binge

We're on a Breaking Bad binge. We tried to watch the program several times when it was regularly aired and it never succeeded in holding our attention. The world of meth dealers and dope addicts is so far removed from us, there was nothing we could relate to. Now using the binge view method, we're watching the central figure's character deteriorate, without interruption, in a moral tailspin of Shakespearian proportions. It's addictive. We're at the end of season 2.

We love the opening credits for the show with the elements Br for bromine and Ba for barium, highlighted - periodic table style. Here's a very clever poster with a unique BB periodic table incorporating the show's characters.

What does breaking bad mean?

'Show creator Vince Gilligan has said that he had thought it was a commonly used phrase when he decided to use it as a title, not knowing that the expression was a Southern regionalism from the area in Virginia from which he hails. It means “to raise hell,” he says, as in “I was out the other night at the bar…and I really broke bad.”' - Time magazine, 9/23/13

Food plays a larger part in this series than you might expect. Elements of the plot unfold over breakfast when the family of the principal character eat eggs or pancakes, fruit or cereal. The contrast between the character's secret life and his regular life - (pregnant wife, son, suburbs) helps build the dramatic tension. I wondered if anyone had put together a Breaking Bad cookbook and as expected, one was introduced last summer. There's also a parody book, "Baking Bad Cookbook" by Walter Wheat. The recipes are very funny. My favorite is Mr. Whites Tighty Wightie Bites.
The gingerbread men - Tighty Wightie Bites

Mr. White, in the flesh, so to speak. 

Recurring Pink Bear Bites

Show fans know what this is. I go jiggling along pulling my own strings from one thought to another. It's both the joy and curse of having no discipline whatsoever.
Warren Miller in New Yorker

During my 20 some years consulting to the California Egg Commission, "breaking bad" meant breaking the yolk of an egg when you crack it open.

It can be disastrous when you absolutely positively have to keep the yolk out of the white, as in preparing a souffle or meringue. Egg yolk contains enough fat to inhibit the incorporation of air into the whites. If I was still working in the industry I'd take a look at the egg separating devices on the market and re-introduce one with a name something like No More Breaking Bad. I did a Google search to see if anyone had taken this tack and couldn't find anything. But I did see some interesting new egg products.

The Gogol Mogol was invented by the Russian packaging design agency, Kian. Here's how it works:

Here's a new egg separator which acts like a pipette and sucks the yolk out of the egg. It's called the YOLKR.

My favorite egg separator of all time is the one give to me by Beth......

And if you have a back yard chicken coop, here's a few things to watch for near Easter...
  •  an egg laid by a white hen in a new nest on Easter day would cure pains in the head or stomach; if it was broken in a vineyard, it would protect the vineyard from hail; if it was broken in a field, it would protect the field from frost; whoever owned the egg would be able to see witches.
  •  an egg laid on Good Friday, thrown on the fire, would extinguish the fire.

We may complete the Breaking Bad marathon by the weekend when we'll crack the heck out of our eggs and make a nice quiche.

Asparagus and 2 cheese quiche with hashbrown crust - Epicurious, March 2015

We could use one of these mix-in-the-shell devices if we had one.
The Golden Goose - scrambles eggs in the shell
The Golden Goose is a hand-powered 'kitchen gadget' that magically scrambles an egg without breaking or penetrating the shell.
Here's how it works:
goose-by-yline product design

"You haven't entered any outside air or other gases into the mix of protein and fats, and it allows for this chemistry to happen that has culinary benefits, because depending on what temperature the egg is at and for what time period, you can achieve a range of different flavor profiles and even different colors," says the inventor, Geraint Krumpe of YLine product design.

Krumpe claims that a hard-boiled golden egg comes out tasting like savory custard. And if you simply scramble the egg in its shell and crack it into an iron skillet, it creates a tasty scrambled egg dish because you never whisked in any outside air. Plus, there's a little less dish washing.

This design project was funded on's the LINK

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Iron Kid Oceanside

This picture has been going around on the internet. Coney Island 1940 - when everyone went to the beach. Everyone and his dog. When I saw this I thought about how lucky we are to live so close to a very uncrowded beach, fairly easy to access.

As the temperature climbed yesterday, we decided to go to Oceanside for dinner.Whenever it gets really hot, we've fallen into the pleasant habit of driving over to the coast and enjoying the long walk down the pier to Ruby's restaurant perched at the end. It could be a Slovenian restaurant for all we care...we go for the walk and to enjoy all the pier activity.

Turned out yesterday to be the day of the Iron Kid competition. Kids 3 to 12 participate in two races, one a 1/4 mile and one a full mile. When we arrived, the mob of kids had just left the starting gate. 

 And here they came......

 And more of them. A girl was in the lead as far as the turn. I didn't see results published anywhere so I don't have the end of the story. 
 A little further down the pier, waiting for scraps, as they are always, were a few pelicans, looking majestic and nonchalant, until a nice juicy piece of fish head or tail is tossed their way. Then appetite supersedes dignity and there's a bit of a melee with lots of wings flapping.
 After dragging out the walk as long as possible, we arrived at the restaurant and were seated in the primo corner seat at Ruby's where you can watch the fisherman out of two windows.  Here's Richard and the menu...they've 86'ed our favorite sliders so we have to resort to the cheeseburger which is fine - nothing special though.
I ordered my burger with the garlic fries which were excellent. Greasy, salty and loaded with garlic. 
 On the way back down the pier to the car, the surfers were in action. Waiting, waiting for the perfect wave. 

 The light was waning and the whole scene was bathing in a kind of golden color. 

 We never noticed the sign declaring that Oceanside is "Tree City" until we were driving in this time. Perhaps it's new? From this angle looking back at the town, you can appreciate the palm trees. 
 And to contrast with the Coney Island beach photo, here's how the beach was looking at about 6:00 p.m. on a Friday, temperature in Fallbrook, over 90 degrees. Hardly what you'd call crowded. 
 We enjoyed watching this young family, Dad obviously a marine with high-and-tight hair, posing for a photo on the sand. Perfect evening for it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

People on food packaging

A friend of mine, launching a new food product line, has developed a logo with his picture (a sketch) on it. He asked what I thought. My first reaction was no way - for an assortment of reasons, not the least of which is that pictures on packages are too small usually to accurately resemble anyone. Second, the photos/sketches are often schmushed or creased or stained due to handling along the distribution lines. Third, I really don't want to know that much about the person that made my food; for instance, I don't like the bare-chested guy on the Hawiian potato chips. 

I walked through Albertson's and looked for the labels with people/faces on them. There are more than I remembered. 

Kentucky Kernel, an obvious rip-off of Colonel Sanders, is sort of funny, but personally I don't like funny with my food. Except in recipe books. 

Sylvia, Queen of Soul Food, intrigues me. After looking up her website and reading about her accomplishments, I'm so impressed I would try her products. In this case, the personalization did a great job.  

The generic female and to a lesser extent, male figures, on the Italian food, seem harmless and do evoke a feeling of family, hearth, warmth and sincerity. It seems to work to create a hand-made feeling. 

What possessed these people to use this logo and name? There is a story involved (I did look up the website) but I don't think it helps to sell the product. 

And the Bragg's, Paul and Patricia, N.D., Ph.D. have their photos on all their products and are supposed to add credulity, I guess, to their Liquid Aminos. The labels are crammed with information about how to buy other Bragg products. Right or wrong, based on the way the label looks (kind of pharmeceutical), I pass on by.

Rufus Teague's photo doesn't do anything for me, but I like the copy.

This type of packaging is supposed to be aimed for the millennial market. It looks to me like it should contain valium or Xanax. The faces are over-excited and agitated looking. After all, it's only soup. 

I like Wolfgang and worked with him on a couple of things. I don't think it enhances the image of soup to have his face and signature on the cans in this layout. The art director must have been ill the day they finalized the label. 
The "made-up" people, icons, whatever they are currently called are harmless but I don't think they do a whole lot to sell product, well...maybe Little Debbie does.

Reynaldo looks like a matador or??? I'm not sure why he adds anything to the quality perception of Tapioca Pudding. Rosarita or the Cholula lady might be more appropriate. 

 Guy Fieri has a devilish look about him. Do you think his face sells barbecue sauce?

Mr. Stubbs doesn't look so hot on these labels either. Why should I buy Bar-B-Q Sauce from a black cowboy?

Uncle Ben has stood the test of time. I don't care that it no longer makes sense to have a black butler on a rice box. It has been condemned as racist by many groups over the years. 

I suppose this is racist too. 

The Newman products are fun and I like the way his image is ethnicized for each package.
Emeril's imprimatur has value and for some reason he doesn't look bad on spaghetti sauce. The label is tasteful and his image was incorporated nicely -  not just slapped onto it like the Puck packages.  

 The Arnold Palmer tea gets my vote for the worst of the lot. 

I don't know who Aidell is...the sausage isn't bad, but I purchased it because of the varieties and the name and photo had nothing to do with my choice. 

After my small survey, I'm sticking with my advice - no likeness. Just a simple, but memorable logo which will work on small packages and large packages, cookbooks and online. Something you can stick with, no matter what. All photo logos are dated.

Lawry's has one of the best logos I've ever seen. Recently it was changed slightly to make it a 3D sort of effect, but the essence of it has endured for over 50 years. Saul Bass was the designer - most of his designs have lasted for decades. Check out his track record here.

Saul Bass design. 54 years +

Saul Bass design. 1953

Saul Bass design. 1993.

Girl Scouts. 1978.

As I scoured the shelves looking at labels I was surprised to find this Tabasco product. I worked on a prototype for this mayonnaise for the West Coast Group 25 years ago and I didn't realize it had mainstreamed. Over the years, the Tabasco family has fiddled a bit with the logo but not much - the essence of it is unchanged. 

A vintage TABASCO label....hasn't changed much. 

And saving the best for last....I guess the Francisco's couldn't decide who should be on the label so they included everyone!