This is why the terrorists hate us

Looming danger It’s a well known fact that I am a slave to novelty candy. Put some refined sugar into a new shape, or mix it with chemicals and make it behave slightly differently than yesterday’s refined sugar (gel, powder, fluff, plasma, etc) and I will be all over that.

So the other week, when I wandered by Wallgreens to pick up some stuff, spotting The Mallow Burger was a dream come true. I’ve had mini-gummi hot dogs, and I’ve had mini-gummi pizzas. But a genuine Marshmallow Hamburger, as big as an honest to goodness White Castle Slider? Bring it on, man. Bring. It. On.

A closeupManufactured by the folks at Kandy Kastle, Inc., the Mallow Burger and its side of Mallow Fries exist in a bizarre alternate food universe. Their packages are festooned with proud “No Cholesterol!” and “Fat Free!” taglines, as if discriminating dieters might scrutinize the nutritional properties of a hamburger made entirely of marshmallow. Perhaps they’ll market Marshmallow Caesar Salads next?

But enough chatter. The real question non everyone’s mind is simple. How does a Marshmallow Meal taste? I tore open both packages and laid them out as attractively as I could. Everything looked good – as good as Mallow can under the circumstances. Most startling was the heft of the burger. It felt like an actual mini-hamburger, not a fluffy simulacrum. The fries come packaged with ‘Sour Kandy Ketchup.’ I’ll pause and let that sink in for a moment.

Bon Apetit A closeup

I’ll put it as simply as I can: whoever came up with the idea for the Kandy Ketchup should be hunted down in the streets and kicked unconscious. The viscous red gel, slathered liberally on the fries, was one of the most dissonant culinary experiences of my life. God help me, I will never repeat it. The fries themselves, curiously, were almost flavorless.

After all that, the experience of the burger itself was startlingly pleasant. It doesn’t actually taste much like marshmallow: the texture is all right, but the flavor is more ‘fluffy gummi’ than anything else. The hard candy sesame seeds on the bun are an interesting touch, and there are smallish hard-candy slices inside the burger on the patty itself. Are they meant to approximate pickles? Onions? Only the mad scientists at Kandy Kastle know for sure. The textures gave the experience a startlingly nuanced quality: I felt like I was eating something that had actually been subjected to planning, rather than injection-molded into a vaguely burger-ish shape.

Not too bad...

After a couple of bites, remorse set in. I realized, “Wait. I’m eating a marshmallow burger – and I’m starting to feel sick.” At that moment, I hit the inexplicable one-inch chunk of solid sugar at the center of the burger. After wrestling with the burger, I managed to snap it in half with an unsettling ‘crack!’, but the magic was gone. Either poor quality control or monstrously poor design had embedded half a roll of sugar-quarters at the center of my magical Mallow Burger, and nothing I did was going to make that change.

The final outcomeI resigned myself to the inevitable and dropped the remains of the burger in Abby’s cat food bowl. She sniffed cautiously at it, and ran away. Perhaps soon, when the The Mallow Dog debuts, we’ll see the potential of Mallow Foods realized.

Photos of me helpfully taken by Catherine. Cross-posted on…

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