I add rambling and over-done captions to pictures that people take of their meals because I am desperate for human attention, even if it’s a cursory chuckle or a resigned ‘euch’.
As a result I have developed an unhealthy symbiotic relationship with social media in which I am a desperate louse crawling on the pubis of this very microblogging site, sucking up the life sustaining blood of sad food photos.
I also, on occasion, review food items which have appeared in my life without warning much like the mystery outbreak of cold sores which blighted the final weeks of so many of my schoolmates yet managed to pass me by completely being, of course, totally unrelated to the fact I wasn’t invited to any of that toothy bastard Darren’s infamous ‘conservatory of carnality’ parties.
But I digress. This isn’t about Darren and his overabundance of teeth, nor is it about the fact that my social life died at some point around the turn of the century. No, it’s about spicy chickpeas.
On The Pulse are an indie snack food producer that make edibles out of…pulses. You know, those horrible things that you need to soak for hours before cooking and that the human body has a great deal of digesting quietly and discretely.
But it’s also On The Pulse because they’re also exceedingly current and achingly hip and on message. Yes, there is duality of meaning being played with so it is indeed a most clever name.
Similar to Innocent, purveyors of smoothies and indigestible vegetable buckets, OTP like to use twee copy on their packaging because either they cynically think it makes them seem kooky like a Zooey Deschanel, or they’re genuine hardcore knitted cupcake enthusiasts who like to imagine they’re engaged in friendly dialogue with their food purchasables.
Any way you slice it it’s an annoyance but it could be easily forgiven if the product was a sexy flavour riot, not like the microwaveable tubs of silage currently being sold by Innocent to hapless goons who are panicked over the increase from 5 to 7 recommended portions of fruit and veg a day.
Unfortunately, OTP have managed to create not a flavour riot but, instead, an experience that’s closer to waterboarding for your tastebuds.
Because I’m not a proper food blogger I don’t get sent things for free to review. Nor do I blackmail restaurants into giving me free food, mainly because I find that dining out does little to help my social anxiety.
Anyhow, the point is that I pay for my snacks with my own hard earned money, and I hate to say it but ‘Hot Chicks Spicy Roasted Chickpeas’ are perhaps my most foolish waste of coin since buying a theremin that broke after two days from some spiv on eBay.
I don’t remember how much they cost, but it was a lot for what was ostensibly just a small packet of dried chickpeas.
In my defence I was fooled by the cool Mexican wrestling mask on the box. I’m a sucker for anything lucha libre related, and I love simple bold design. As such the only hero in this sad story is the chap who did the design, Benjamin Hayward.
The ingredients listed on the box indicate that they’ve used chipotle seasoning in the preparation of the snack. They also make the extravagant claim that the chickpeas are spicy. Neither seem particularly plausible to me. There is no heat from these little peas, nor is there any of the tell tale smokiness of chipotle.
Instead you get a momentary tang on the tongue, not dissimilar to licking a freshly shaved pencil. Then, nothing. Just the flavourless and unpleasant texture of a dry chickpea, soaking up all the moisture in your mouth and leaving an aftertaste of spoiled bird seed.
It’s as if the people at On The Pulse had simply picked out all the chickpeas from Aldi brand Bombay Mix, cleaned them of any spices which might elicit any a pleasurable reaction, and then repackaged them in a 45g bag with a smart looking luchador on the front.
I know I tend towards hyperbole, but believe me when I say that these chickpeas are a complete fucking travesty of taste.
I’m angered by almost everything about this snack. By the taste, by the twee copy, by the crap attempt to make them fashionably sexy (sexist?) by calling them ‘Hot Chicks’.
To put this snack into perspective I’d like you imagine that there’s a nuclear holocaust.
Mankind is forced to live in fallout shelters and exist off of tinned goods and specially harvested fungi.
Faced with the prospect of tucking into a pristine packet of ‘Hot Chicks Spicy Roasted Chickpeas’ it’s safe to say that I would rather eat the unwilling flesh of a living, breathing, loved one.