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[ Currently Eating: Burnt Toast ]

Food Makes Me Poll - Cheap Eats

Another year, another poll. Ever eat food dropped on ground? Please answer at top. See you later.

What. You were expecting a long and drawn out discussion of the winner of our previous poll: “Food Makes Me Feel…”?

[Editor's Note: Today's post and discussion analysis will be brought to you entirely inside of this editor's note. Why do people attach these stupid, italicized things to posts anyhow (he asked himself rhetorically)? Well, I know why I do. Since my memory is slowly fading away like so many 37 year old twinkies, I often forget to talk about important things in the main body of the post. And it takes too much of that fading brain power to rewrite the post to include that all-important tidbit. So I just tack it on at the end.

Plus, writing an editor's note makes me feel like this is one of those food blogs worth a million dollars that Boogle will eventually get around to buying. And when that happens, I really CAN retire on that island where Lost was shot. And so on.

Anyhow, we had 284 respondents to the "Food Makes Me Feel..." poll. One hundred twenty eight of those were probably duplicate responses made by Smart, Smart, Smart folks who get around the IP check by visiting all the libraries in their area and stuffing the ballot box.

I actually had a fourth answer in the poll originally, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was! Another twinkie bites the dust. Well, the reason I don't remember it is probably because no one picked it, so I ended up deleting it after awhile. I think it was one of those "Too Smart For My Own Good" answers - maybe it was the word "logy".

Damn, the Simpsons were good for something after all.

The remaining answers were "Happy", "Fat" and "Dangerous". It's no surprise that "Happy" won with over 70% of the responses, since the type of people who read this blog definitely fall in the glass half full category. I mean Jeebus Weinerchrist, there's no way you could possibly get through this type of elliptical, incoherent rambling unless food really made you happy enough that you didn't blow a mind gasket. Or want to come after me with a 2 by 4.

By the way, in case you did not know: Happiness is a Warm Flan. You heard it here first.

The second answer, "Fat", was meant to prey upon everyone's new year resolutions that are never, ever kept. And indeed, twenty one percent of folks picked this answer. Indeed. I am thinking right now, that rather than get myself into serious trouble by trying to make any weight jokes, I should just shut up about this answer.

The third answer, "Dangerous", was inspired by those Dos Equines commercials. Excuse me, I didn't mean two horses. But yeah, I was thinking about that most interesting, dangerous godfather in the world who has awkward moments just to feel what it was like. Thinking about this answer made me wonder: are there actually clandestine Food Agents roaming the world, posing as mild-mannered advertising consultants, and attempting to infiltrate major corporations to obtain the secret formulas to their products?

(Tfeuhg8kuwhgjw wkg pugh1h Coke's Secret Ingredient is Happiness te398f lrtjgewb o8h)

No, I wouldn't know anything about that.]

[ Currently Eating: Genetically Modified Market Produce ]

BK Wins Poll

Dear Burger King,

I did not make the rules. But you lost in our latest poll of Worst Fast Food Commercials. You were caught like a deer in the headlights, hmm… funny that the screengrab I made above is actually from one of your commercials. Almost too perfect.

And so on, sincerely, Me.

This actually did come as a bit of a surprise. Oh, I have no love for the hoity-toity bank robber bandit masquerading as Burger King’s mascot. But there are worse fast food commercials.

Like Carl’s Jr.

When I think of Carl’s Jr. commercials, an bitter bile of unhappy Happy Star meals from the 80s crawls back up my throat. Ugh. How far they have fallen off my pedestal of Great Childhood Memories. I could go on for a long time about how bad my impression of CJs has become because of the commercials. I find them to be confusing, misogynistic, boring, misleading, racially insulting, idiotic and stupid – pandering only to the absolute lowest common denominator life form on the planet.

[Editor's Important Aside: Hello. By reading the above statement, i.e. training your eyeballs thusly on the above sentence, you are agreeing that in fact that this website is merely poking fun, or fun-like sharp spears, at certain food companies, and you waive your rights under the Fast Food Constitution to do anything about it, or make use of useless law degrees, or butter your toast with a spoon, or pet any resulting iguanas. You agree that I've been declared legally insane, blind, deaf and balding. Thank you, and thanks for having a sense of humor (although, it would be nice if you could put that into your commercials).]

Burger King

But let’s return (reluctantly) to Burger King. The results came in at BK 37%, McD 29%, CJs 21% and JITB 13% out of 1208 votes. I only really agree with the results of Jack In The Box. Some might think, what difference is there between a guy who puts on a fake king head, and a guy who puts on a fake antenna ball? It seems to me that Jack is sorta cool and Mostly Harmless, while the King is a creepy, mute, mentally challenged, booger, I mean burger, monster.

[Editor's Important Aside: BK, please refer to the above aside, thank you.]

The Jack in the Box commercials really grew on me. And since I am one of the few people who actually enjoy their meat paste tacos, I don’t feel the need to complain too much. Except that their new logo sorta sucks, especially when I try to say “Jack In the Balpha” and people look at me like, What?

I seriously thought that Burger King would’ve been voted as the 2nd best after JITB. I thought that McDonald’s might’ve been about tied with Burger King, but maybe slightly worse. I didn’t expect that many folks to hate the McD commercials – to me, they seem sort of innocuous. What is it that people don’t like in their commercials – the crappy sappy jingles? Or the creepy clown?

I think I’ve identified the major problem with CJs commercials. I watch a lot of hockey, and for some reason (their target audience, of course) they find it amusing to play the same, stupid commercial after every break. In the course of a game, I might see the same CJs commercial 25 times. It’s super annoying, made more so by the fact that the commercials are so horrible in all respects.

Incidentally, if I see the stupid Panda Express commercial one more time, I’m going to barf. I also hate commercials that have any sort of phone ringing, alarm clock, dog barking, or any loud noise that is expressly meant to make you look up from whatever you’re doing while the commercials are on.

(Incidentally Part 2, why is there no “Volume Jump” on TVs? I don’t want to mute the commercial because then I won’t know when the program is back. I want to lower the volume by an exact amount each and every time a commercial comes on instead of having to hold the volume button down. Oh, it makes me madder than a mad hatter…)

I suspect this is the whole point of commercials. Play them enough times so that they’ll burrow into our grey matter. But have they done enough market testing on this? Do other people NOT get annoyed by seeing the same bad commercial 25 times during one program. I’m not sure marketing budgets for commercials should be focused on making a good commercial. You can get any halfwit to make a good Blair Witch type commercial for you a la YouTube.

I think fast food companies should focus more on not annoying the crap out of TV viewers by playing the same commercial over and over. Even a guy who thinks guacamole is made by putting a whole avocado into a blender is going to get annoyed after awhile. Stop it, stop it, just stop it already.

I rest my case and my typing fingers.

[Editor's Note: I've been guilty of leaving a poll up for months and months to inflate the numbers. But anyway, there is a new poll up at the top of page. I have no idea what it means, but please answer it.]

[Editor's Note 2: I almost forgot - I somehow made it to FIVE years of posting on this blog. Happy 5 year blogiversary to me.]

[ Currently Eating: Yummy Things ]

Chili in a Pot - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Fun, fun, fun ’til your daddy takes the chili away.

I’m talking about the latest poll results, if I was your daddy, and you were the pimple faced teenager with the fast chili driving to the beach. Sorry, I had to take away your chili fun – the poll was just up for too long.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the progressive Texans and others out there for giving beans a chance. That’s all we’re saying, “Give Beans a Chance”. The real chili poll winner was: Beef AND Beans. I was pretty surprised at the response, if we are led to believe those constantly vigilant Chili Cooks that the Food Network loves to feature giving beans a bad name.

Poll on Chili - Cheap Eats at BloglanderYes, a full 44% of 996 respondents voted in favor of chili with both beef and beans. Huh. It appears that we CAN all get along.

In addition, 30% of respondents voted for chili with “whatever you want” in it. I fall into this camp – for me, chili has become a sort of slumgullion fusion stew of any type of meat plus appropriate spices and onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans and garbanzo beans. I’ll stuff that chili up to the gills with goodies and let it hang out for a few days in the refrig. I’ll do the canned stuff once in awhile as well, but usually for reviews only.

Only 20% of repsondents were die hard Chili Meat-heads. I seriously thought this would go higher. Oh, and 6% picked “Yeee-Hah” which is another word for “The Response I Usually Throw In Just For Fun.”

OK, now it is time to get sad. Or mad. Or glad? The latest poll has to do with which company’s Fast Food Commercials you really hate. It’s not possible to list ALL the companies, of course. So go ahead and comment on this post if you feel really strongly about a company. For me, there’s one company’s commercials that I ABSOLUTELY CATEGORICALLY loathe – but I’ll save that post for a rant which I’ve been promising for over a year now.

As for which fast food company in the poll that I LIKE – well, it’s gotta be Jack In the Balpha. Uh, well it appears that after they recently changed their logo, I can’t say that anymore without you looking at me like I’m crazy. What’s that? You say I was already crazy?

Shut up and go eat your chili beans…

12/19/08 | New Poll: Chili

[ Currently Eating: Cran Oatmeal ]

As I sit here typing this, it’s 50 degrees in my room. Yep, winter has come to Southern Cal. My parents were stuck in Vegas (oh noes, how boring) because the roads into Los Angeles were closed due to SNOW. Now if it would only snow in the city, I’d be very happy.

Cheap Eats is going to be taking a little holiday break until the new year. Two reasons – we’re going on vacation, and I need to rest up the ever-present, un-healable, irreversible SHOULDER-BACK issue. This thing has not been healed by a long shot. Will probably get some needles stuck in it at some time again.

Anyhow, before I went into hibernation I decided to at least change out the poll to give people something to talk about. Our last poll – ugh, I don’t even want to talk about it. The new poll is about Chili (since it’s so “chilly” outside, haha). I know there’s some strong opinions about it out there. I make it quite often. Myself, I like beans in it. But I’d be interested to see what everyone thinks. Texans – no need to vote twice… I already know how you feel =)

Happy holidays everyone!

10/21/08 | Coupon Poll Results

[ Currently Eating: Kashi Cookie ]

OK, OK yes it is time for a new poll. In my blog drafts, I have one labeled “DO A NEW DANG POLL ALREADY!” so I wouldn’t forget. It just keeps slipping my mind.

Coupon Clipping Poll - Cheap Eats at BloglanderSo here are the results for the “Coupon Clipping” poll. I just want to say that it’s gratifying to see major news outlets posting more about coupon clipping. I had our poll running way before the current economic downturn.

I think the results were pretty much in line with what I expected. A gradual increase between “Always” to “Frequently” to “Sometimes” as far as how often most people use food coupons. I think it just takes a certain type of person to do it always – I guess it helps if you’re the “shopper” in the family, and you cook quite a bit.

I guess I fall into the category of folks who won this particular poll. I occasionally clip coupons out of the mailers that come in – but I don’t keep a book of coupons like some folks. I do use a “grocery card” when possible.

However, I guess I was a little surprised at how many people NEVER clip coupons. I thought especially with the current economic climate that there wouldn’t be as many. I think perhaps if I had started the poll now, maybe the results might be a little different…

Anyhow, there is a new poll up. This one, I have actually been thinking of writing about for three years. I originally thought it was maybe too “controversial”. First off, I need to stay that I personally DO NOT condone any stealing of any kind. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.

The poll question is: Have you ever stolen food? I have actually received from 5-6 emails from folks over the past 4 years, about them having to resort to stealing food in order to survive. I’ve never re-printed the emails – I just didn’t want to get involved with talking about the issue. I have to say that I felt really bad about what these people were forced to do. And it sort of shocked me that these were all people living in the U.S.

I think there are a lot of “gray” areas when it comes to that. I mean, if you walk in to an El Pollo Loco and go up to the salsa bar, fill up several containers, and leave – I guess that seems like stealing to me. However, if you buy a 99 cent side salad and then fill up 25 containers of salsa – is that technically “stealing”? If I jump into the dumpster at the Big Lots and pick out packaged food items past the date they’ve thrown away, is that technically “stealing”? I have heard (ex) friends justify stealing candy from the 7-11 saying that it’s not hurting anyone except the greedy corporations. I respectfully disagreed with them and tried not to hang out with them any more…

I dunno – I’m sort of conflicted about this whole thing. There have actually been featured stories lately about people from the Depression who had to steal chickens in order to survive (the articles are somewhat romanticized if you ask me). I hesitated to post about the topic because I know there are going to be some pretty strong opinions out there. After all, didn’t they used to cut off your hand in certain countries if you were caught stealing?

In any case, I decided to make a poll of it first – just to see what people’s experience with it was. I realize that the poll doesn’t really address the question of “what exactly is stealing?” and skirts the whole moral issue of stealing in order to survive. But I can’t really do a complicated poll, so this will have to do for now.

[ Currently Eating: A Hot Dog ]

Rice is Nice on Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Rice is Nice! Yes, I know I haven’t changed out the Cheap Eats food poll in nearly a year. I just kept putting it off in favor of reviewing things like cans of vienna sausage. You know how it goes.

Rice is Nice on Cheap Eats at BloglanderI guess I wasn’t too surprised that Rice came in first place in our poll on food staples. A full third of respondents (759 voters) picked rice as their favorite food staple. It’s definitely one of the most versatile dry goods to have stocked in the cupboard. We have at least 3 different kinds at all times – it’s usually sticky rice, plain white rice, and then jasmine or some other sort of mix.

What’s sort of funny is all the hub-bub that’s been going on fairly recently (probably before I even put the poll up) with the price on bags of rice skyrocketing. I know at certain stores (Sam’s Club, etc) they were limiting the number of bags per customer for awhile. I never would’ve thought that could happen. When NPR started to devote coverage to the price of rice not being nice (haha), I certainly started to pay attention.

As for the other staples, I was surprised at how high Potatoes came in. I personally love potatoes, but I thought they would come in last. 660 respondents (about 29%) cast their vote for the humble potato. Bread came in third with 470 votes (about 21%) and Beans brought up the rear (hmm.. beans DO tend to make curtain call appearances near my rear) with 374 votes (about 16%).

All of these staples are great for Cheap Eaters. I tend to have nearly all of them around at all times – with the exception of bread because it doesn’t last as long as the others do, especially with how humid it is in the summertime. For beans, I have both canned and dry. Potatoes I nearly always have as fresh – I try to store them in a cool dark place to extend the shelflife.

OK – the new poll is up to the right. This one has to do with clipping those pesky, time-expiring but essential supermarket coupons. To Coupon or not to Coupon – that is the poll question…

[ Currently Eating: Salmon, Ravioli ]

Cheap Eats - Cooking Your Own Dinner PollWell lookie what we have here… I’m actually talking about The Cheap Eats Poll. Take a guess when was the last time this was changed out. That’s right – more than ONE YEAR ago. As such, the poll has had time to garner a huge number of votes (3095). Well, that’s huge for my site anyhow.

Several people had asked when I was going to change this darn thing out, and I just kept putting it off over and over again until it became almost a joke. But today, I decided to take a short break from food reviews to force myself to do it.

I have to say I’m pretty surprised with the results. According to the poll, today’s cooks are much more resourceful than I had thought. There’s hope for us after all. Maybe.

I had thought there was no way that the majority of people who answered would have cooked more than 2-3 times a week. Instead, nearly half the people (46%, 1429 votes) actually said that they cook dinner EVERY DAY. This is an astounding number to me, when you consider how busy modern workers today are and how easy it is to just pick up food on the way home. Sure, if this was the 60s I wouldn’t be surprised.

I have to admit myself that we fall into the category of only cooking dinner 2-3 times a week – there were 1211 other people who also responded this way, which is about 39%. If you add up the two categories, you come out with 85% of the people responding to the poll cooking dinner more two or more times a week. That’s awesome. Of course, you might also say that the people who visit my site, being the saavy Cheap Eaters that they are, would be more likely to cook their own food. I think there might be some truth to that.

In any case, it’s great: I keep saying it, but cooking your own meals instead of eating out is probably one of the greatest ways to save money on the food budget. If I get around to the Manifesto (and you know I won’t) then that’s probably rule #2 or 3.

The “once-a-week” chefs came out around 9% (265 votes). Hey, cooking once a week is better than none at all. Only six percent (190 votes) said they eat out all the time. I seriously thought there would be many more votes for those two categories.

At this point, I have to mention something nearly as important as cooking your own food: just because you don’t cook it yourself doesn’t mean that it’s eating out. My advice: creatively leech off of mom’s (or dad’s) home cooking all you can. That is, if you and the folks get along and they live relatively close. Hey, if you feel guilty about it, do the dishes! Or contribute to the cost of the food bill.

Ok, so there is another poll up now. I didn’t have much time to think about the theme for this one, so it’s pretty simple… what’s your favorite cheap eats food staple? I can’t promise that this one won’t be up for a long time like the other one was, but I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t stay up for a year at least!



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