Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's no doubt that as a nation, we're getting fattier and lazier, almost by the second. (I would probably see my belly growing right now, if I could be bothered to look down at it.) We want our fattening foods, and we want them delivered immediately, with none of that dreadful mixing of ingredients, or slogging through various powders and liquids. Plus, who the hell knows what's in a pancake to begin with? In this go-go world, few people—besides grandmas—have the time, inclination, skills, or energy to actually cook something from scratch. This ain't the Stone Age, sister.
So here comes Batter Blaster, the next in a line of inventions seemingly aimed at our very worst instincts, the ones that say "I already have spray-on butter and the cheese that oozes out of a can… This sounds great!" Batter Blaster is pancake/waffle batter in a big ol' whipped-cream-style can, complete with nozzle. (And yes, before you make jokes about the possible sexual connotations of its name, understand that we already made them all. And even worse ones than you could think of. Tasha, it should be noted, needed these jokes explained to her.)
Batter Blaster Original (there are no other flavors yet) comes in an 18-ounce can, which claims to produce 28 four-inch pancakes. Its ingredient list is all-organic, with the only scary one being "propellant." It's the brainchild of a San Francisco businessman who's already sold a small mountain of the stuff, mostly in high-end grocery stores. Regis and Kelly even beat us to the punch in trying it. Here they are:
And here's what it looked like when we cooked it up in the labs, on the official A.V. Club hotplate:
We thought we might need something to wash it down with, and we had some Blenheim Ginger Ale in the fridge, which was purchased at the behest of a reader named Kristin. We honestly thought the ginger ale might be too boring to taste-test on its own, but we were wrong. Kristin e-mailed, "Be warned—do not inhale as you raise the bottle to your lips or you'll be hacking like a tubercular chain smoker on the peak of Denali." What a combination we were about to experience here at Taste Test Labs!
Here's one of our brave new interns trying out the ginger ale:
Taste: I'll get this out of the way immediately: Batter Blaster pancakes taste like pancakes. Decent pancakes. The knee-jerk Americans-are-stupid reaction doesn't really hold, because this is actually a way more convenient method of delivering pancake-y goodness to the masses. Definitely not as good as mom's homemade buttermilk pancakes, but just as good as that powdery mix, and a lot quicker and easier to clean up. Sigh. We are lazy.
Cooking these pancakes definitely requires some non-stick spray, even if you have a non-stick pan. They were chunky and not terribly fluffy, which may have been the fault of the chef (me) rather than the cakes. The first one we made was pretty much perfect, but subsequent ones weren't as well-rounded. We tried a couple with Bacon Salt (see last week's Taste Test) mixed in, which was pretty terrible by all accounts. A couple of brave souls, including business-development dude Dave Chang (of course), tried some of the raw batter sprayed directly into their mouths (yes, we made that joke, too), and reported that it didn't taste as good as regular pancake batter. Dave spit it out.
But overall, Batter Blaster makes decent pancakes.
Blenheim, on the other hand, makes some seriously fucked-up ginger ale. Kristin was right: Just holding the cup up to your nose will knock you back a little. I drank some about an hour ago, and then I thought, "It couldn't have been as powerful as I thought." So I just drank some more, and it burned the fuck out of my throat. Apparently there's a big cult built around this stuff (check out blenheimshrine.com), but I can't imagine wanting to drink a whole bottle of this stuff. Zodiac Motherfucker, you need to find yourself a bottle. The hot version of this stuff puts Death Rain to shame. Imagine washing down a bag of those chips with a bottle of this while listening to Reign In Blood.
— "That actually looks completely normal."
— "Tastes like a pancake you make at home."
— "It's not like a delicious diner pancake, though."
— "It's a pretty frickin' tasty pancake!"
— "These are just fine. They don't taste any different from what you'd get at a reasonable diner. I was expecting them to be fluffier, or sweeter, or more delicate, or disgustingly foamy or something, but they're just standard pancakes."
— "Raw, it just tastes like… I've eaten raw pancakes before. It tastes like this."
— [With bacon salt.] "I can really smell the bacon." "Oh… It stinks!"
— "Now I'm thinking that bacon salt was a mistake, because it sticks with you. I'm going to be tasting it with dinner."
— [A pancake with syrup cooked in, made way too big.] "Totally delicious. It's so mushy." "It's legit!" "It's warm batter, but with a crispy layer on top." "It's like a pancake for a geriatric."
— "The raw batter tastes like flour, sugar, oil, and some funky chemicals. Also noticed some carbonation in the mix. That must be where all the rise in the batter comes from."
— "The cooked pancake is actually pretty good. I didn't notice any chemical taste, and it seemed to cook up just fine, assuming you have a competent chef on hand. Sorry, Josh."
Blenheim Ginger Ale
— "Holy cow! That's no joke."
— "It doesn't hurt going in, but when it hits the back of your throat, get ready!"
— "A wafting layer of really spicy ginger."
— "It kinda tickles. It tastes really carbonated."
— "It just tastes like raw ginger."
— "Ah! Holy shit!"
— "Now I got Bacon Salt and spicy ginger ale in my mouth!"
— "I kind of love it, in a masochistic kind of way."
— "Oh… It just tastes like Thai Coke."
— "Oh man, I don't why I took a sniff of it first. It's going to blow my mind!"
— "That's going to be a sinus explosion!"
— "It's burning in the back of my throat. It's almost like eating a hot wing—you need something liquid-y to wash down the ginger ale."
— "Weird! It isn't like eating a spicy food, where your tongue or your lips burn. It's more like wasabi, where there's just this pain as it shoots up the back of your sinuses."
— "It doesn't even register as hot, there's just the physical sensation of a fork scraping up the back of my sinuses. Weird."
— "That's got some kick to it! I like it, but I don't think I could finish the whole bottle without watering it down with something. Something like vodka." [Editor's note: Genevieve wasn't in the office today.]
— "The combination of the sharp ginger flavor and the carbonation definitely makes an impression. It's like there's a party in my mouth and they've all come with miniature torches and pitchforks."
Where to get them: