Behold the Beautiful “Meat Star Platter!”

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I’m not exactly sure what year this ad ran, but it fits right in with my unheralded obsession with all Disgusting Food Images from the Past.  I especially enjoy the crazy flaming sterno in the middle of the star!  According to the copy, your guests are supposed to roast the little Vienna Sausages over the sterno!  Mmmm.. I can’t imagine how yummy that must taste.  Vienna Sausages + Sterno = Instant Glamour.

The other two cat food appetizers are Deviled Ham and Potted Food Meat Product spread on crackers.  Now, I’m no marketing genius, but couldn’t they have come up with a better name than “Potted Food Meat Product?”   You don’t see them calling Spam “Chopped-Pork-Shoulder-Meat-with-Ham-Meat-Added Product” now do you?

I’m sure they could sell more of it if they called it PoFo or something.  It’s still called that today, believe it or not.  And, even more disturbing is that there are not one, not two, but three different brands of Potted Food Meat Product.  Armour brand claims to be #1 in the Potted Food Meat Product category.  Why would you brag about this?  And, more importantly, who the hell is buying this stuff? Vienna Sausages, Deviled Ham – it’s all equally disgusting.

(I had a friend in college who loooooved Vienna Sausages and used to eat them can after can.  The only thing I could ever figure out is that he was stoned about 95% of the time, so maybe that had something to do with it.  To me, they look like little poached fingers in a can, so high or not, I can’t bring myself to try them.)

Oh, by the way, here is the ingredient list to Potted Food Meat Product:  Beef tripe, mechanically separated chicken, beef hearts, partially defatted cooked beef fatty tissue, meat broth, vinegar, salt, flavoring, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

IKEA and Verdana-gate

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Only a total nerd like me would find this utterly fascinating, but IKEA stepped into a small shitstorm this week with the release of their ubiquitous 2010 catalog by changing their signature typeface of Futura over to *gasp* – Verdana.  (For those of you who aren’t  typeface dorks, this is analogous in the design world to giving up your Christian Louboutins for a pair of Uggs.)

It’s more than just a font change – it’s an image change.  IKEA, for better or worse, is known for sleek and simple design philosophy and their choice of font for the past 50 years consciously and unconsciously reflected that.  (In fact, the company was so entwined with the font, that they had a proprietary version created for them – called Ikea Sans.)

Fast forward to now and IKEA decides to dump its customized Futura for the ungodly choice of Verdana.  Verdana, a Microsoft-created font, is probably what you see when you read 85% of web sites out there – as it should be as this is why it was created in the first place – to be read on your computer monitor.  It is not, however, a good typeface for print work, such as for oh, say – catalogs.  Considering the IKEA catalog prints more copies than the Bible or Harry Potter each year, this seems a bit of a bonehead move.  There is no elegance to this hideous font in print.

IKEA seems to be officially poo-pooing the contoversy, saying basically that no one outside the design industry cares about this issue.  But, you don’t have to be in the design industry to unconsciously infer that a font is ugly or a design isn’t working, and ultimately this will reflect on the brand.  It will be interesting to see if Verdana returns in 2011 – a number that looks great in Futura, by the way.

Oh, and Comic Sans is a fucking ugly-ass font that also happens to be from Microsoft. So ugly, in fact, that there is a group that wants to make it illegal to use.

Now THIS is a Display!

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I stopped by my local Binny’s Beverage Depot to order some Corsican beer that I fell in love with last year in France, and this is what greeted me!  It was literally like 20 feet tall!  What brilliant young Binny’s worker could imagine and then pull off such an amazing sight?  Perhaps someone accidently added an extra zero when filling out the last order for cases of Smirnoff?

Too bad Smirnoff tastes like coal water and gasoline.  (I did appreciate the interspersion of the best Bloody Mary mix in the world, Zing Zang.  A nice touch as far as they could reach.)

I’m Confused by this Taco Bell Invention

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I saw an ad for this monstrosity the other day, an I have to admit, I am a little perplexed by this creation.  Bacon, cheese and potato burrito with sour cream? So, it’s like a Potato Skin burrito?  Didn’t Potato Skins go away when the last Bennigan’s closed its doors?

Maybe I’m confused since 99% of the Taco Bell menu is the same five things in different shapes.  Meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, beans – I guess there’s only so many ways to deliver the same thing over and over.  Flat, round, hard, soft, grilled, baked, steamed, fried.  They finally ran out of ideas!  (You knew they were getting close when they were using ingredients to “glue” other ingredients together – like a few years ago when they used nacho cheese to glue a taco shell inside a gordita shell.)

I’ve read that Taco Bell’s biggest problem is “portability” – you can’t easily drive and shove a couple of soft tacos down your gullet like you can with a couple of cheeseburgers or McNuggets.  This means they are losing a lot of Lazy Ass Driver sales.  This new invention is no different – they would have been better off to just bring back the Potato Skin.  A 685 calorie potato skin.  Ugh.

Oh, here’s what it really looks like via Would I Buy it Again.

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