IIn an era that celebrates global free trade, there are still times when we are grateful that not everything is available everywhere. One of those times is now, Christmas 2022. And as that means trying as I might — which, to be fair, isn’t too difficult — I haven’t been able to savor for myself the unusual cultural artifact that is Spam-flavored Christmas candy. Or, to use the proper name, SPAM® Figgy Pudding, “with notes of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with flavors of fig and orange,” and, I suppose, a tease of desperation. Apparently “you’ll get a taste of true holiday comfort that will keep you moving all season long.” Are you absolutely sure of that?
We are not meant to knock what we haven’t tried. Personally, however, I would put Christmas-flavored candy in the same category as a foot fetish or a conservative vote. I know that happens. I know this is how some people get their fun. But I have nothing to do with it, thank you very much. While festive spam may not be readily available here, there are plenty of other macabre edible festive ornaments that we also couldn’t possibly try. Yes, it’s time to round up what I call when new product development goes bad. Pity the sane food pros who completely lost their minds in March, when they were ordered to invent yet another batch of post-Christmas products. Some of these things have been around for a few Christmases but they are like a fungal infection and as welcome as they are, they keep coming back.
Let’s hear it from the Tesco Finest team who thought Christmas candy flavored potato chips were a good idea. Listed among the ingredients is sugar. This is never a good thing in a crisp. I enjoyed the meager two-star review because there was no “Christmas candy flavour”. I would have given it five stars for that alone. Sainsbury’s answer to the obvious stupid question is figs in potato chips. Made with real fig juice powder. Why not pair it with the Chuckling Cheese Company’s Christmas Pudding Flavor Cheese? or don’t.
Of course, the true spirit of Christmas lies in the noble pig in a blanket. Just perfect without any pork. This year, Asda has a limited edition Pig in Blankets flavored with chicken nuggets, which obviously didn’t touch a pig’s head. Even better, you can get pigs in blankets flavored with pesto, which is perfectly suitable for vegans. As is the turkey and vegetable stuffing relish from Food Market, available from Aldi.
What we have here is the subtle transformation of what were once just bland dishes sometimes associated with Christmas into full edible connotations. You thought it was all about donkeys and wise men? Bah! The true spirit of Christmas is captured in the act of wrapping chipolata in bacon or, failing that, coming up with flavor combinations that approximate the joys of the various holidays. That’s how we get to Mackie’s offer of Scottish dessert ice cream and curry chips with a “festive flavor” on Boxing Day. Maki may seem a little out of the ordinary. Never fear, because Tesco has you covered in curry-coated peanuts this Boxing Day.
But something is missing here, right: the Christmas atmosphere. Sadly, it looks like Aldi pulled out the Christmas meat candles last year. These are stinky turkey candles and stuffing or, of course, pigs in blankets. Fortunately, some of them are available on eBay. Or, for an authentic Christmas scent, grab Waitrose’s heavy cream basic. With the smell of “spice”. I am sure that this is what the baby Jesus wanted. But then I’m a Jewish atheist, so what the hell do I know?