It’s the holidays. For some people that’s a great time, for others it just means they get to ask why they are stuck in the cold with relatives they don’t like. Whether you love or hate this time of year, you at least get the fun of holiday foods.
Holiday foods, you ask? As an addendum to the religious celebrations, we also get stuck with a very weird subset of foods designated as official winter holiday “flavors.” They include eggnog, gingerbread and candy cane. I don’t know who or why these “flavors” were chosen, but luckily you have me here to parse out what holiday treats are worth buying for your friend’s party or what’s lame and can get brought to the office party.
(I tried my best, but there weren’t very many Hanukkah or Kwanzaa foods that came in eggnog, gingerbread, or peppermint form. So this list is heavy on the Christmas stuff.)
The pre-feast bounty
Starbucks Gingerbread Latte- Horrible Call </br>A. Holy hell this takes like chemicals. </br>B. It’s almost $5 for a small. </br>C. It’s also 260 calories for 12 oz of liquid. Your call America.
Twix Santa Claus - Good Call </br>This is pretty much a big Twix in the shape of a Santa head. This is how most brands should take their holidays approach: change it up a little, name it a "holiday edition," call it a day. The crazier you get, the worse it usually tastes. Stick to the basics. Twix is good, why toss gingerbread into the mix?
Eggnog Cluster Pretzels - Bad Call </br>This is an unholy matrimony, eggnog and pretzels. German monk treat meets English egg drink. While friends now, these great nations have a rocky history, why bring up the bad times during the holidays? The eggnog “glaze” also sort of tastes like the lame Yankee Candle you’re probably going to buy for your Grandma for Christmas.
Candy Cane Hershey Kiss - Good Call </br>These mix chocolate and peppermint in a tiny perfect way. Realistically less is more when it comes to sweets and these sweets in particular look really cool. Who says no?
Candy Cane Oreo Mini - OK Call </br>Oreo going mini is good, but the flavor borders on getting crazy. They’re alright, but not better than original Oreos. I think Nabisco has gone a little overboard with Oreos, at the store they had triple doubles and birthday cake flavored. Triple double as in I see your double stuffed and raise you an obesity epidemic in America. Reel it in guys.
Candy Cane Peeps - Bad call </br>Speaking of obesity epidemics, candy cane peeps everybody! These were so sweet I actually shuddered a little when I ate them. These do not need to exist, except maybe to peep battle with in the microwave.
Gingerbread Kettle Corn - Bad Call </br>This is just kettle corn ruined by a frosting drizzle and gingerbread dust. I question the logic of taking what’s already a snack and drizzling it in frosting. This just made me want regular kettle corn, sans holiday flavors.
Gingerbread Cookies - Bland Call </br> Let’s take a moment here to consider Gingerbread. While great for making little houses, it’s a pretty boring cookie. It’s like that one Christmas where I looked under the tree to find a single dollar bill and a snow shovel. After unwrapping the shovel, my dad said ‘ It’s snowing, get to work.” Does anyone ever jump up to grab the first gingerbread cookie? Is this anyone’s favorite cookie? Isn’t it creepy that they are shaped like people? What other food is shaped like people?
Gingerbread Biscotti - OK Call </br>I rarely eat biscotti, but I’m always pretty happy when I do. It makes me feel fancy and sophisticated. Gingerbread makes me feel the opposite of sophisticated, so this biscotti put me back at square one.
Eggnog Cake - Good Call </br>Full disclosure: My mom made this cake. She makes them every year and they are delicious. In an attempt to remain objective, she was also a co-conspirator to the shovel present, so do with that what you will.
Eggnog - Bad Call </br>Eggnog doesn’t really taste bad, and add a little liquor and it’s an easy sell. But what is eggnog? Whipped eggs, cream and sugar. You’re drinking whipped eggs, which is kind of gross and not all that different from drinking mayonnaise. And eggnog is really really bad for you. In the long gone halcyon days of my youth, I would drink lots of eggnog during the holidays without a care in the world. Now that I am an adult sitting on my living room floor eating a meal of holiday themed items, the grim realities of life and calorie counts have set in. I can no longer justify chugging eggnog.
Coconut Eggnog - Horrible Call </br>Once in high school I had a crush on a girl who lived not too far from me. One day I asked if she wanted to hang out, and she said she was feeling sick and was just going stay home. In what I thought was a romantic gesture, I drove to her house and brought her soup and a candy cane (it was the holidays). Her dad answered the door and said that she was out with friends. I got a similar stomach punch when I tried this ‘nog. I appreciate the "Saved by the Bell"-esque abbreviation, but this was terrible. I’m sorry Vegan friends. Eggnog might be something you’ll have to give up forever without substitute.
Eggnog Ice Cream - OK Call </br>
It’s pretty much what you would expect. Cream and sugar is halfway to ice cream as is, why not make it cold and add whipped eggs?
Gingerbread Latte Creamer - Good Call
</br>At this point maybe I’m a little loopy of eggnog stuff, but this seems like it would be a good creamer in coffee. Probably shouldn’t drink it straight, but it’s the holidays!
Sam Adams Gingerbread Stout - Bad Call
</br>Stout is the type of beer that makes most sense as a vehicle for gingerbread. What doesn’t make sense is gingerbread beer. This beer was muddy and relatively flavorless, it didn’t even remind me of gingerbread. There was no need for this.
Harpoon UFO Gingerland - Bad Call
</br>Harpoon makes some of my favorite beers not sold in tall boys. This is not one of them. It only vaguely tasted like gingerbread, and is not really worth getting six of. Just buy regular beer for Christmas.