Today’s post is about shifts in marketing: which brands continue to produce Halloween-themed goods/advertising and which don’t. Also doughnuts.
Mister Donut decided to go with fall-themed cronuts this year: crushed chestnut whip, apple-custard pie, and cherry-cream pie. Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme Japan went full-out Halloween with “Krispy Skremes,” and they are not messing around:
Alice on Super Happy Awesome just posted a review of the McDonald’s Halloween burgers:
Pocky’s been doing Halloween-themed packaging for a few years but I hadn’t written about it because the product was the same. This year, Pocky has Halloween packaging for the normal chocolate and strawberry flavors:
But also a Kumamon(the mascot of Kumamoto prefecture)-themed “sweet pumpkin” flavor that I found out about via @inheritingexile’s Instagram.
It’s that time again!
As I’ve written before, Halloween has exploded into the Japanese food scene. Ten years ago, there were–as to be expected–barely any Halloween specials or goods. An increasingly large cultural shift toward Halloween as popular (children’s) holiday began sometime around 2010. While some of the shift was motivated by consumer demand, the ramped up marketing has increased awareness and consumer demand, leading other businesses to make their own Halloween specials to keep up with the popularity of the holiday.
These posts are not to promote these products or companies but are meant to highlight the relationship between increasing popular awareness about Halloween (via English-language education and American expats and immigrants) and the increasing market saturation of Halloween as a means of selling seasonal and limited-time goods. I am not compensated for these posts; nor am I endorsing the products.
Not living in Japan anymore means I rely on my readers, social media, and other bloggers to help me cover Halloween. Inheriting Exile was kind enough to tip me off about KFC and Pocky’s new campaigns. (Some of her recipes are in the Japan-friendly recipe section!)
“Kentucky Halloween” (KFC)
More muffins! These fig-almond muffins are perfect for autumn. If you’re looking for a break from all the cinnamon and pumpkin products, try one of these!
It’s only now, right at the end of berry season here in the Pacific Northwest, that I’ve gotten this recipe to where I want it. For some reason, The Joy of Cooking‘s whole-wheat-muffin base recipe only called for 2 tablespoons of butter when the non-whole-wheat recipe calls for 4-8. Trust me, you need that “extra” butter.
Japan notes: Muffins are lovely to make in a moven/oven range. Blueberries tend to be in season in June-July, and culinary lavender can be purchased in Japan, though where you get it may depend on where you live. I found some at Ikeda Herb Center in Nagano and Nunobiki Herb Garden (English, 日本語) in Kobe, and a friend gave me some from Meidi-ya in Kyoto. If you don’t live near a place that grows lavender, you might try a gourmet grocery or import store, or online. Lavender meant for cooking may be referred to as dried lavender (kansô rabendâ, 乾燥ラベンダー ) or culinary lavender (ryôriyô no rabendâ, 料理用のラベンダー ).
In a case of “same problem, different brewer,” Pig Minds has released a “panty dropper” complete with a sexist label:
OH WOW SUCH CLEVER
Image: the lower half of a woman wearing a skirt. Her feet are turned in to produce a canting, little girl stance like the cover of Lolita, and a pair of panties is around her ankles. The text on her skirt reads “PD Blueberry Ale California Style.” Image by Pig Minds Brewing.
[sarcasm] I mean, what do you expect, with a name like “Pig Minds”?!1 They’re so edgy and you just know it’s going to push the boundaries, so lighten up, ugh! [/sarcasm]
Do we really have to do this song and dance every year in craft brewing until certain craft brewers and their piss-poor graphic design/marketing teams understand that objectifying women isn’t an effective way to market; never mind the fact that it’s sexist, trite, and completely out of touch with reality, or behaving like a human?
Congrats, Pig Mind. Your sexism is exceedingly DULL.
Source unknown (GIS does not turn up with creator)
So, since this is about a month old, here are a bunch of links to check out:
White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf
Beacon Press, Boston. 2012
I read or acquired a number of books last year on food/social history that I meant to review and didn’t because of the move. Let’s start with White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf, which not only does what it says on the tin amazingly well but also covers the rise of shokupan (食パン) in Japan–as part of SCAP’s “democratization” efforts during the Occupation.
From the introduction:
In writing this book, I set out to uncover the social dreams (and nightmares) played out in battles over industrial white bread. I wanted to understand how one food could inspire so much affection and so much animosity; how something so ordinary could come to symbolize both the apex of modern progress and the specter of physical decay, the promise of a better future to come and America’s fall from small-town agrarian virtue. And I wanted to know how those battles over bread shaped America and its fraught relationship with food. (Kindle Locations 41-45).
…Sadly, this turned out to be the difficult story of how, time and time again, well-meaning efforts to change the country through its bread ended up reinforcing forms of race, class, and gender exclusion— even when they also achieved much-needed improvements in America’s food system. (Kindle Locations 67-69)
Plenty of food bloggers redo their own recipes after a couple years, but has anyone redone one after two months? I was making a double-batch of Rosemary-Orange Ricotta Muffins for Saturday-morning Fannibal (rewatching with an old friend). I didn’t have my oranges yield enough juice, so I substituted soy milk for half of the orange juice; used full-fat ricotta instead of the skim kind (hooray, reading the labels) and stumbled onto the fluffiest muffins ever.
I’ve been waiting so long to try these!