Food Fright, Part 22

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 8:32 am

This installment of Food Fright comes courtesy of my lovely wife, who picked this item up for me at the 99 Ranch Market in Renton whilst out on an errand:

She thought they might be a good candidate for a Food Fright. Can’t say I was inclined to disagree….

This is another of those Asian concoctions that make for such good sport among food wags here in the West. We get to jeer at the packaging, prose (directly under the logo on the front of the box are emblazoned the words, “Natural * Regimen * Leisure Time * Refreshment”) and product positioning of items never really intended for consumption by us round-eyes, all the while failing to remember that we’re the ones who came up with things like an 8,000 calorie burger and Hostess Sno Balls.

The name “Pasture Cake” seems to stem from the presence in the confection of a substance known as “pasture powder”. It took a bit of digging to figure out that pasture powder is most likely a mixture of one or more edible grasses, processed into a powder reputed to have health-stimulating benefits: cholesterol reduction, elimination of free radicals and promotion of cardiovascular health. The Asians have always been able to teach us barbarians a thing or two on the subject of functional foods. I was delighted to discover that the name came from a specific ingredient or constituent, and was not just an odd translation from the product’s language of origin or a misguided attempt at a more Western-friendly moniker. Were the latter the case, I would take it upon myself to deem the effort a complete failure: the term “Pasture Cake” is entirely too reminiscent of the American English idiom, “meadow muffin”. 😯

Like many Eastern treats, it is lightly sweetened (making it totally unsuited for the—ahem—bulk of the American market), with a relatively modest 115 calories per pager-sized serving. The outer texture is very soft and a little crumbly (too crumbly, really; thank goodness for iSkins), with a sort of melt-in-your-mouth feel that I attribute to the presence of milk powder and butter amongst the ingredients. The inside is a little gummy, with a slight flavor of melon and something else, an undertone of “green” that I suspect is old Mr. Pasture Powder making his presence known. The center does not, thank my lucky stars, consist of the gelid Cyalume-green ectoplasm that the picture on the box would suggest. I was quite hesitant with my first bite, openly terrified that the sensation would be not unlike nomming on a long-haul trucker’s used hankie.

The overall experience of the Pasture Cake is not unpleasant by any means; just sort of bland and a little odd. If a Fig Newton had connubial relations with a Cotlet, and their offspring went on to knock up a green-melon-flavored Gummi Bear, I imagine that the runt of that litter would probably look and taste rather like a Pasture Cake. The sensation is nothing I would pursue with any zeal (unlike, say, Pocky or TIng Ting Jahe), but sufficiently inoffensive to ensure that the eight-ounce package Margaret brought home won’t go to waste. I can feel my radicals becoming less free already….

So I guess, since there’s nothing particularly frightening or outrageous about Pasture Cakes, the term “Food Fright” doesn’t really apply in this instance. Too bad, ’cause I already took the time to superimpose the logo on the picture; no going back now.

All portions of this site are © Andrew Lenzer, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.