Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bean My Valentine

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day when people's thoughts naturally turn to romance. And beans. After all, what could be more romantic than beans? Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart!

In previous posts, I’ve lamented the fact that premiums – items you could get by sending in labels, box tops, UPC codes, etc. – seem to be much less common now than in the past. So I was especially surprised and delighted to receive a special Valentine’s Day treat from my sister Maria of Curly-Wurly: a plush anthropomorphic Chick Pea (aka Garbanzo Bean):

Chi Chi Chick Pea, as her tag says, is a mail-away premium from Hanover, a Pennsylvania-based food company. One merely has to send in the UPC codes from eight 15.5 ounce (or larger) cans of beans. Or for just 16 UPCs you can also get Chick's friend, Kid Bean:

I have to admit I noticed this offer in the grocery store, and I almost bought eight cans of beans, but I just couldn't do it. I'm just not a big fan of garbanzo beans and that's almost eight pounds of beans. But my sister, who claims to actually like chick peas, valiantly consumed the required amount and sent in the UPCs for me. Now if that's not sisterly love, then I don't know what is!

Continuing with the romantic bean theme, here is a T-shirt from Del Monte featuring a can of green beans down on bended knee as if to propose and exclaiming "Where You Bean All My Life!":

While technically he just has arms and legs, but no eyes, I think he still counts as anthropomorphic food. This is a children's T-shirt I've had since the 70s. I remember that my grandfather, who owned a small grocery store, got it and another one with a "Human Bean" image from Del Monte. I clearly wore this a lot, as the many stains can attest...

For those of you not enjoying the Valentine’s Day bean theme and prefer something more traditional, here are some adorable scratch-n-sniff cards (also a gift from my sister) featuring cute chocolates and chocolate-covered strawberries and cherries with eyes:

The cards themselves:

These cards do have a wonderfully potent chocolate-strawberry smell!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Cupcake Spot

I recently had the good fortune to escape the frozen North and travel to "The Sunshine City," St. Petersburg, Florida. Beyond the beautiful weather and lovely scenery, the trip also provided me with the opportunity to see new food with eyes! Exploring the downtown area, I was excited to see this fellow beckoning me to The Cupcake Spot:

The inviting storefront:

Of course, I couldn't just take pictures outside, so we went in and got some yummy chocolate cupcakes. The young lady who was working there explained that their mascot is named Cuppy. Here's a close-up of Cuppy:

And they had cute round business cards with Cuppy's image:


Be sure to check out The Cupcake Spot if you are in St. Petersburg or Tampa. If you can't visit in person, at least go to their website and click on "Watch Cuppy Dance" for a calorie-free treat!

Amazingly, Cuppy was not my only food with eyes encounter while in Florida. We took the train from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale and to tide us over on the 4 hour trip we got some hamburgers from the dining car. Imagine my excitement to find that the handful of ketchup packets my husband grabbed for us contained this gem - an adorable French fry painting a Heinz ketchup bottle in front of the Eiffel Tower:

Of course, I couldn't part with the empty packet and painstakingly squeezed out every last drop and packed it carefully for the trip back home. Only when I looked at it carefully before scanning did I realize the artwork was created by an 11th grade student from New Jersey. It turns out that Heinz has been sponsoring an art contest for the last few years - the Heinz Ketchup Creativity Contest! Check out the Winners' Gallery to see other great designs, although I think this one is the best. Apparently the 2009 contest will be open for on-line voting in March. Prizes include $1000 and best of all, the design will be printed on 19.5 million ketchup packets!