Tag: beverage (page 2 of 2)

The Ranch Dressing Soda Review You Never Wanted: Lester’s Fixins

Well, know I know there is a limit to my love of ranch dressing.

Everyone knows I like ranch dressing. I’ve often proclaimed the virtue of homemade ranch, also known as “good ranch” vs. the yucky shelf stable stuff. Ranch isn’t the greatest condiment ever, but I do think it’s a very, very good thing.

I always knew I liked ranch, but North Iowa deepened this fondness. In North Iowa, every restaurant seemed to serve ranch with fried food. Dinner outings with friends involved requests for sides of ranch and our table was usually littered with little dishes of the dressing by the end of a meal.

My friend @amycrea recently tweeted me a photo of a bottle of Lester’s Fixins Ranch Dressing soda that she found at Jim’s Apple Farm, home of Minnesota’s largest candy store located in Jordan, MN. The soda sounded repulsive and fascinating and I just had to try it. Read Amy’s Heavy Table article about Jim’s Apple Farm here.

I easily located Lester’s Fixens sodas at a store in the Delmar Loop called Rocket Fizz. There are Rocket Fizz franchises in many states around the country. Lester and his sweeter counterpart, Melba, are the fictional figureheads of two soda lines created by the Rocket Fizz company. While Lester offers freaky sodas in bacon, buffalo wing, and sweet corn, Melba sticks to flavors that come in pie like strawberries & cream, lemon meringue, and apple pie.

Rocket Fizz offers a wide variety of retro candies and sodas in every flavor imaginable. Some of the unusual sodas that caught my eye include a Ghost Busters Ectoplasm energy drink, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, and Astropop-flavored line. Most bottles of soda cost $2.19 each. I added Lester’s Pumpkin Pie Soda to chase away the ranch flavor and reach that credit card minimum. I’m not sure how Lester and Melba divvied up the pie flavors but pumpkin is Lester’s territory.

Lester

First things first, let’s try the ranch soda.

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The ranch soda has an off-white hue. At first sniff, the soda smelled inoffensively ranchy, but the second whiff knocked my head back with its metallic, buttermilk sour, onion-garlic powder scent.

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My first and only sip tasted like the smell of powdered ranch dressing mix combined with simple syrup and a strong buttermilk note. I stifled a gag and reached for my glass of water. This soda tastes worse than Ron Burgundy’s tears; It tastes like his back sweat. Someone asked me what alcoholic beverage or liqueur I’d recommend mixing with ranch dressing soda and rubbing alcohol was the only substance that came to mind. You’re a sick man, Lester.

Moving on to Pumpkin Pie Soda. Just look at that color. It’s totally Hi-C.

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I smelled pumpkin spice, but tasted more of a root beer-sarsaparilla flavor. It’s not something I’d go back for, but totally drinkable. Ranch dressing, yes. Ranch soda, no.

Not that you needed me to tell you that or anything.

Still 2

Cheers.

Trying Grandmother Jane’s Mysterious “Fruit Appetizer”

This is the sixth installment in my series in which I cook all eleven recipes I found my grandmothers had submitted to their old church cookbooks. Previous recipes include Salad with Cashew NutsHam & Sour Cream CasseroleOld Fashioned Cauliflower SlawApricot Jello Salad, and Ship Wreck casserole (the one my mom hated). 

For Fat Tuesday, we went sweet. Way sweet.

I forgot to add Grandmother Jane’s “Fruit Appetizer” to my list of retro recipes I still had to prepare. I found it at right moment considering I was just lamenting about wanting to sip a beverage from Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis, MN. More specifically, the type they require a credit card deposit for and serve in a wild tiki glass. Mmmm. . . yup.

How does grandmother’s “Fruit Appetizer” relate to a tiki drink? I can’t speak for all fruit appetizers, but Grandmother Jane’s resembles a granita more so than a traditional appetizer. It does not contain mayonnaise, cream cheese, or melted ice cream, just an ungodly amount of sugar.

I was very curious about what the end product would look and taste like.

Fruit Appetizer Recipe

Like many other recipes in this old church cookbook, it’s written vaguely in paragraph form. I was unclear about the first step so I just boiled the sugar and water until it was thicker.

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Then I added the fresh fruit juices to the sugar syrup along with four cups of ginger ale. I mixed the ingredients together, poured them into a large baking dish, and set it in the freezer. Every hour or so, I whisked the mixture to break up the large frozen pieces and it resembled a slushy or granita.

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Of course it tasted delicious because it’s made from soda pop, sugar, and fresh citrus juices. Next time, I won’t add extra ginger ale to each glass upon serving because it melts the slushy and compounds on the sticky sweetness.

My addition of rum helped immensely, though I’m not sure if Grandmother Jane would approve. All of the fresh fruit juices just scream for rum and it helps to cut the sweetness. Alcohol or no alcohol, the fruit appetizer tastes pleasant and would make an interesting dessert or party punch. I prepared Jake a test glass and he finished it immediately.

I’d recommend preparing this for a family celebration or party, unless you don’t mind having a giant pan of “fruit appetizer” taking up a whole shelf of your freezer. If it keeps snowing, though, this might not seem so inconvenient.

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