Like other cooking-obsessed people, I’m easily lured by certain kinds of marketing. When I’m home by myself and have a bite of lunch I sometimes sit in the living room and watch a little TV. If the shopping channels happen to be hawking food-related stuff I’ll tune in. Over the past couple of years I have been tempted to order a few things that looked good to me, namely David’s crumb cakes, Kim & Scott’s pretzels and Mrs. Prindable’s apples. The crumb cakes have to do with my love of New York-style crumb cake, with its 3 to 1 topping-to-cake ratio, and my 1980’s obsession with David’s ice cream, which Steven and I would have at the David’s shop on Broadway near Astor Place. The early to mid-80’s were the glory days of high-end retail cookies as well as my relationship with Steven. He lived in the East Village and I in Astoria, and we spent our evenings after dinner walking around lower Manhattan, often stopping for a snack we could carry with us. I don’t know why the stuffed pretzels appealed to me – maybe it’s another New York City thing. Mrs. Prindable’s apples, however, always inspired lust in my heart when they were sliced by the host. I told myself I would order some of them for the hell of it one day. Fully aware that many things on TV look better than they are, that I would have to order in volume, and that the shipping and handling costs would be an outrage, I took the plunge. First off, I purchased a 3 pound David’s crumb cake assortment from HSN for just under $30, including shipping, which included three squares each of regular, apple and triple chocolate in a festive box with tissue paper. The shipment was prompt and everything arrived in one piece. To make a long story short, the regular version was by far the best, the apple and chocolate being too sweet for me. That’s not to say they were not also good, but it’s been three weeks now and we still have a couple cuts of apple and chocolate hanging around. Next, I visited the QVC site and placed an order for 16 individual-size Mrs. Prindable’s “candy bar assortment” apples for $47, inclusive of shipping. Granny Smith apples are dipped in an excellent soft caramel and then rolled in candy bar material. They come individually wrapped and are shipped in a big box lined with foam. All apples arrived in pristine condition, and I received 4 each of candy-coated milk chocolate (think M&Ms), dark chocolate coconut, white chocolate peanut butter cup and milk chocolate crunch (think Nestlé’s Crunch). Unfortunately, all but the dark chocolate coconut are barely edible unless you are a 5 year-old, in my opinion, the candy coatings being sickeningly sweet. Too bad, because the apples are great — nice and tart — and the soft caramel is good. Maybe the knock-off candy bar coating is made from poor quality chocolate, who knows, but whatever it is, you have been warned. The dark chocolate coconut is very good, though, and does not suffer from the above-mentioned issues. Next time I may order the nut variety. I mean, what can you do to a plain nut? Also from QVC came a 16-piece set of mozzarella-stuffed pretzels from Kim & Scott’s for $47 , including shipping. Oh, man, these are good. You are dealing with a high-quality hand-rolled pretzel with nothing but good, solid, ingredients involved. Then they add stuffing, which, in this case, is like a cross between mozzarella and cream cheese. This would be my only gripe – that the mozzarella is processed. However, this is minor, as these pretzels are fab. They are packed individually in an attractive wrapper that shows the product to full potential. The other bonus here is that they are heated directly in the wrapper, which makes them super-convenient. Take my advice and avoid the microwave, though, for the best result. These were so popular at my house that I was not able to find one in the freezer to photograph for the website a week after they came in.
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