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Friday, July 16, 2004

The 'Mixed Party Bag'

Many of my readers outside of Israel have expressed 'concern' that I seem to only juxtapose the good things about life in Israel against the ‘less good’ things available in the rest of the world. Well Today's entry is a short rant about an Israeli phenomenon that I could definitely have done without!

Wednesday I went to the store to pick up some snacks to keep in my office. I like pistachio nuts. A lot. So I picked up what I thought were a couple of bags of these yummy nuts

However, when I got back to my office I discovered that one of the bags of pistachios was actually a “party bag of mixed roasted nuts.” I hadn’t read the label closely and had noticed only the pistachios… but upon closer inspection, there were also plenty of almonds and peanuts mixed in with the pistachios.

No problem, you say?

Well what if the pistachios had the shells on… and the almonds and peanuts had the shells off? That changes things a little, no?

Now imagine trying to eat these mixed nuts while working (e.g. without looking). I could usually tell by feel, which were the pistachios, and would proceed to shell them and pop them into my mouth without too much distraction from my work. But every so often I would pop what I thought was a peanut or almond into my mouth only to feel/hear the soul (and tooth) shattering sensation of splintering pistachio shell!

You’re probably thinking that I threw out the bag after the first or second time it happened, right? Or perhaps I poured the bag out and sorted the nuts into less lethal categories?

Heh, yeah, right.

You must have me confused with some logical species of omnivore… That’s right, I just continued to play dental roulette until the bag was empty.

Now that my sore teeth and bleeding gums have started to recover, I’ve started to wonder about the Israeli marketing genius who thought it would be a good idea to package shelled and unshelled nuts into the same ‘party bag’?

Oh, to be a fly on the conference room wall as he pitched the concept for this 'Mixed Party Bag'. It probably sounded something like this:

OK... Picture a dimly lit cocktail party with soft music playing… well-dressed people mingling, and bowls of our ‘party mix’ on all the tables.
As some oh-so-suave lounge lizard walks over to make his big move on the mysterious brunette who has been loitering by the punch bowl all night, he passes one of the bowls... scoops up a manly handful... and nonchalantly tosses back a few of the nuts, and bites down.
When he finally stops wimpering and recovers enough of his poise to smile at the girl (who had been expectantly watching his approach), the random, bloody remnants of his shattered teeth give him the ghastly appearance of a jack-o-lantern!
Cue the onscreen 'Premier Club Mixed Party Bag' logo!
[Looking around expectantly] So, what do you think?!

To be honest, what I really want is to meet this evil marketing genius, just to see if he has any of his own teeth left.

If he does, I might just offer to fix that for him!

Posted by David Bogner on July 16, 2004 | Permalink


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That reminds me of a unique Iraeli food I remember seeing. Brownies topped with gum. I think it may have been an accident. The chef probably mistook the gum for m&m-like chocolates. But I'm pretty sure I remember also seeing them a second time.

Ever hear of that? Try eating a brownie and only swallowing the non-gum parts.

Posted by: velvel | Jul 16, 2004 8:21:01 AM

Swallowing gum?

As many long-time treppenwitz readers know, this is one of my better know skill-sets (one which drives my wife absolutely insane). But gum with brownies???

blech! That's just wrong.

Posted by: David | Jul 16, 2004 8:29:25 AM

You have successfully outed yourself as 101% Ashkenaz, congratulations ;)

The tongue of a true and genuine Mizrahi/Sfaradi is [genetically] trained to distinguish shelled nuts and seeds from those without even at dark[have a look under the seats at the local cinema]...

*supresses a mean grin and gives the scientific look*

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 16, 2004 11:36:50 AM

p.b. wanna bet the chef du Party Mix is a Mizrahi? Let me think up a price...hm.....a jumbo bag of Party Mix?

Posted by: mademoiselle a. | Jul 16, 2004 11:39:41 AM

One look at me in a pair of shorts (or a peek at my kid's pale skin) and you wouldn't need to search my writing for hints to my Ashkenaz heritage.

Funny though, that I had never before considered a bag of nuts to be such a litmus test. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 16, 2004 3:50:27 PM

ok David,

Posted by: Faye | Jul 16, 2004 10:11:44 PM

Well, I'm not a nut eater, but I'd be willing to bet that the marketing genius who created your mixed nuts is related to the person who creates the local TV schedules, sticking Argentinean and/or Israeli soap operas directly between English-language sitcoms, or suddenly taking a show from one channel and moving it to another channel at a completely different (and usually inconvenient) time, so you can never find it again. Don't even get me started on the first person who suggested putting olives on pizza...

Posted by: ly_ly | Jul 17, 2004 8:29:19 PM

I second Faye. OW!

Olives on pizza? Kaparah! But feta and eggplant? (All of a sudden I'm hungry.)

To further the food theme, I've never liked what passes for brownies in Israel. Give me Boston Brownies any time. (And now I'm REALLY hungry!)

Posted by: jen | Jul 18, 2004 10:51:01 AM

OK... new rule here at treppenwitz:

If you mention a food (other than something normally consumed in its natural form), you need to share the recipe with the rest of us!

Boston brownies??? Inquiring minds want to know more!

Posted by: David | Jul 18, 2004 10:57:12 AM

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