Review: Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans & SORRY: I Don’t Like Competitive Cooking Shows
Hey there Junk Food Nation. It’s Monday, and my throat is still a little hoarse from cheering on the ol sweepy sweep of the Toronto Raptors by the Washington Wizards. Still, I have enough voice to discuss a serious issue to me: the over-proliferation of competitive cooking shows. You know the ones I’m talking about: Chopped. Top Chef. Next Iron Chef. Food Truck Race. The Taste. The Baste. The Flavor Carnival Playoffs. Ok, I made those last two up…but I know that half of you weren’t sure.
I feel a bit of a hypocrite because, despite some lumps, I am a huge fan of Top Chef, the ultimate foodie nerd competition cooking show. Say names like Mike Isabella and Bryan Voltaggio and you’ll see cartoon hearts in my eyes. I’m not sure if I can explain why I like Top Chef any better than other shows. Maybe it’s because I get invested in the characters and look forward to eating in their restaurants? I’m sure that’s part of it – before Top Chef, I had no idea what a James Beard Award was. Now? I see the name “James Beard” and I start to pee myself a little bit.
But these other cooking shows??? I’ve tried. I really have – but I just don’t care. Food Network is just a pit of despair when it comes to food shows; it’s so clear they are just trying to come up with ANYTHING to fill the 24 hours of network programming a day to avoid those classic color bars that signaled when the day was over. All-Star Academy? I fell asleep through episode 2. Worst Cooks in America? I mean, it’s sort of cool to learn some tricks of the trade for myself, but if I wanted to watch bad cooks attempt to cook, I could head to my local diner. Despite Guy Fieri being a maniac, Diners Drive-Ins and Dives is still a show that I could have on the background for hours because who doesn’t love to see how the little joint in Iowa makes its seafood meatloaf? And Food Network knows it – that’s why on a Friday night DDD runs from 7pm to 3am. I’m not joking about this. EIGHT HOURS STRAIGHT OF GUY, COMIN’ AT YA.
But back to my original beef: competitive cooking shows. My friend Rob put it best once: the problem is I, as the viewer, can’t taste the food myself. And there’s some merit to this – with American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, at least YOU can see the talent and enjoy the performances. But on cooking shows, you’re left to making comments like, “OMG THAT LOOKS JUICY” or “OOOO DID YOU SEE HOW HE THREW THAT SALT??? BAM, MF-ers.” So. Lame.
Here are some of the shows I REALLY just do not enjoy:
Chopped: Ok, I know some of you want to fight me on this. Get in line, please. Chopped stinks. Yeah I know – how is this any different than Top Chef? Because the concept of limited ingredients isn’t beaten to death on the show. Originally, the idea of Chopped was interesting, but eventually, I fell into the same feeling as I did with Iron Chef – I CAN’T get excited about ingredients. I just can’t. Especially because on Chopped, the ingredients aren’t even that wacky! At least once in a while on the old Japanese Iron Chef you get, like, a bull penis or something to cook with. On Chopped? Often times the “crazy” ingredient is “gummy bears” or “soda!” I watched some random episode where the cooks were *SHOCKED* they had to used canned tomato sauce for a dish. OH NO, NOT CANNED TOMATO SAUCE!!! HOW WILL YOU EVER COPE WITH LIFE? It’s forced drama with a stupid clock, and I don’t ever want to eat what has been made. Pass.
Cutthroat Kitchen: UGH. And here’s the thing – I actually REALLY LIKE Alton Brown. Good Eats, his show where he teaches the science behind how to cook things – brilliant. Highly educational. INFORMATIVE. But him hosting a game show where competitors have to cook with one hand or can only cut their vegetables with a used heroin syringe? How is this good television? This falls into the same range as watching the Skills Competition during NBA All-Star Weekend. (Translation: This is not good television).
Guys Grocery Games: OH GOD MAKE IT STOP. Food Network exec: “I have an idea…let’s put a cooking show INSIDE a grocery store! And have Guy host it, calling it ‘Triple-G!’” Other exec: “GREENLIGHT THAT SH*T.” Awful. The worst. Who are these contestants???? Isn’t that the guy who burnt my waffle at the hotel the other day? STEVE??? IS THAT YOU?
Awkward Cupcake Battle: I don’t know the name of the show I’m talking about, but I keep seeing commercials about teams making cupcakes in some sort of face off. Seriously? Baking drama? I saw one promo where a woman was panicking, “I don’t know if I can whisk the eggs fast enough!!!!” WHOA! I’m going to write you a prescription for: wine. Lots of it. It’s cupcakes, not a detonator.
Kids Making Desserts TO THE DEATH: Another show I have no idea what the name of it is; all I know if that this cooking competition involves little kids making cupcakes and other baked goods head to head. Why?? “I don’t know if I can whisk the eggs fast enough AND I HAVE ACNE.” Don’t these kids have school? What is happening here.
Anyways, cooking show competitions are not going away, but I’m here to say that they are, for the most part, awful. Of course, I am the same person who watched some random video game competition until 12:15am last night, so what do I know?
Tell me your thoughts on cooking competitions below, please. Let’s fight about this.
Today’s junk food: Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans!!
We discussed these Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans over on the Nosh Show, and I finally found them at my local TJ Maxx. I reviewed Jelly Belly’s Beer Jelly Beans here…and gave them a so-so review. They tasted like sweet yeast. Champagne is sweet to begin with, so I’m hoping for a better result. Pretty bag – I like the attempt at a champagne bottle aesthetic.
Champagne is one of those things that gives me a headache RIGHT AWAY. I could down a bottle of brown liquor and not feel as bad as I do after a couple of glasses of champagne. Who knows why – maybe I’m just drinking cheap champagne.
Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans are alcohol free. Well that’s no fun.
When I smelled these Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans, I smelled a lot of the plastic of the bag, but also caught a tiny faint hint of grape. Sort of like smelling flat old champagne. The beans looked cool though – like the beer one, they were shiny and had the right look: light yellow/white, glass-like, lots of cool pearl-like texturing inside. These were definitely pretty, as jelly beans go.
Popping them into my mouth, I chewed… and I thought these Jelly Belly Bubbly Champagne Jelly Beans were pretty good! The Junk Food Gal didn’t like them, but if I thought they were decent. The flavor I got was definitely of a light grape flavor, mixed with the distinct flavor of a stale wine…like a champagne that had gone flat. The Junk food Gal agreed and that’s why she didn’t like them. For me, however, I look at it like Jelly Belly came as close to champagne flavor as they could. I.e., if the flavor I was tasting was fizzy, then I think it might taste like a dry champagne. Without the fizz, the flavor I was expecting was there – flat, slightly grape-y champagne wine taste.
Were they my favorite Jelly Belly flavor in the world? No. But as alcohol-flavor-attempts go, I think Jelly Belly did pretty well with this. I found myself eating them absent-mindedly, so clearly there was something I enjoyed! The novelty is the bigger part of this candy, clearly, but I also give JB’s execution a thumbs up. If anyone else out there has had them, I’d love to know what you thought.
PURCHASED AT: TJ Maxx, Germantown, MD
Junk Food Guy