My beautiful wife was off volunteering at the library (she's beautiful inside AND out!), so I had some time to kill before meeting her in Long Island City for brunch. (I didn't have to put that detail about LIC OR brunch in there, but details help paint a word picture, which I hear is appreciated by readers. You are welcome.)
Wandering around, aimlessly, after having my haircut by my old Italian barber (more useless details!), I ambled into CVS looking for buy-one-get-one-free packs of batteries (one always need batteries). Then it hit me: THIS was where my buddy had spotted those Peek Frean look-alikes!
I thought they'd be hard to find, but they were the first item along the middle shelf (details!) on the first aisle I chose to walk down. This was easy!
Then things got complicated:
Three different varieties? Panicking and not wanting to make the wrong choice, I reached out to my friend, the Peek Frean expert:
When he didn't write back immediately (and who would write back to a madman like me, without weighing their words very, very carefully, lest it "set him off"?) I had to make a game-time decision. I picked up the Raspberry one, paid, and left ... only to receive THIS on my way home:
Right? Doesn't Raspberry feel more "imported"? Where are these berries from, originally, anyway?
SCIENCE SIDESTEP (let's learn!)
So, according to always-accurate wikipedia:
The first garden strawberry was grown in France
Many of the most important modern commercial red raspberry cultivars derive from hybrids between R. idaeus and R. strigosus.
Uh. So ... ok. I still think raspberry is more accurate. I'm probably wrong and this entire post will, by the laws of the internet, be labeled inaccurate and I'll be asked to "die in a fire". These are the risks that hard-hitting journalists, like myself, face every day.
And now, for the first time, I will give a taste-test. I shall wait for you to pick yourself up off the floor (where you fell in shock, after reading about me eating something). I'm not sure who's life has less meaning, if this is exciting to both of us....
|I didn't have raspberries to recreate the picture on the box, so I used grape tomatoes.|
Since I've never really reviewed food before, I'm going to make it easy on myself and break it down into the five senses. Spoilers: I'm a ghost. (Sixth Sense humor! In 2013!)
They are greasy. After I set up that amazing shot, above, my hands felt all slick. Though, since they are cookies, I guess it's a "buttery" feeling? Umami.
They certainly look like Peek Freans ... but in a generic, not-as-much-attention-to-detail way. Like someone was given a text description of the cookies and told to recreate them. Maybe this is how apprentice cookie makers learn? Copying the masters until they have the needed skills. Cookie Pieta. Of course, all my recollections of Peek Freans cookies are from pictures on boxes, now. I doubt I was being this hyper-critical about the fine detail work as I was stuffing them in my fat kid-face. Disingenuous.
They smell like most cookies do. Buttery and sugary. These do have a slight raspberry scent, too. Do I remember what real Peek Freans smell like? Not one bit!
Nailed it. These sound exactly like Peek Freans do, when they are sitting in their plastic racks.
Hmmm. These taste almost nothing like Peek Freans. The CVS ones are way more crumblier and have a grainier taste. The originals were tough and hard, the way a good cop should be. One that plays by his own rules. "Detective Frean is a good cop, but he needs to get that attitude in check!" *cough* I remember that the originals would SNAP when you bit into them. These just fall apart. You know, in that way that cookies have where you then have to put your cupped hand below your mouth and, for some reason, awkwardly lean forward and stretch your neck? That way.
In fact, the cookie portion of these knock-off is more like the shortbread than cookie. Since the box clearly says they are shortbread cookies, I should not have been surprised, but I am. That also explains the greasy feeling, too, as that is shortbread's M.O.
The cream inside is also super-creamy. Way more so than I remember it being. It's more like frosting. And the "fruit-plug" isn't as tough as I remember them being, either, which is a shame. Still, the "fruit" is still delicious and the best part of the cookie, it's just not nostalgia-delicious.
Overall, I'm not over the moon about these. They just don't taste right, to me. They taste like imposters. Like cheap knock offs! (Which they are, so I don't know why I'm surprised. Maybe I just like surprises? (I don't.))
Good thing I have an entire box of them to not eat! (Aw, who am I kidding? I'll probably eat all of them, because I get bored and boredom is your body's way of saying it's hungry!)