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Last Call: The deliciousness of unnecessary food mashups

Illustration for article titled Last Call: The deliciousness of unnecessary food mashups
Photo: Laurence Dutton (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

The news of French’s Mustard Beer earlier today got The Takeout staff thinking about all the other dual-branded mashup products that float through our inboxes on a given day, and whether these are products that anyone anywhere has actually asked for. For instance, maybe you enjoy a nice, hot cup of coffee in the morning alongside a nice, cold bowl of cereal with milk. If so, it can be assumed that you like the taste of each of these things, each delicious in its own distinct way. It does not mean you necessarily want the tastes, textures, and temperatures of these breakfast items to be mashed together in an unholy marketing union. But there are people betting big on the possibility that you might, and because of that, we now have this:

Illustration for article titled Last Call: The deliciousness of unnecessary food mashups
Photo: Dunkin’/Post
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Post and Dunkin’ have teamed up to create two new cereals inspired by Dunkin’ coffee drinks—Caramel Macchiato and Mocha Latte—and while we have a source who has already tasted this cereal and can attest to the fact that its flavor doesn’t resemble coffee at all, there’s still a lot about the marketing for this product that works. If I see this stuff in the cereal aisle, it’s certainly going to catch my eye with its bold, familiar colors and typeface. (Score one for built-in brand recognition.) Each box also features a mound of fluffy whipped cream, the most fun part of any Dunkin’ beverage. And this cereal even contains a little caffeine: about one-tenth of a cup of coffee, according to a press release. Now, though, I’m left wondering if breakfast scientists of the future might engineer a cereal that’s actually a dead ringer for brewed coffee, with enough caffeine that you wouldn’t have to pair your cereal with a cup at all. The efficiency sounds appealing, if nothing else.

But maybe you’re not a cereal person. Maybe you prefer to sink your teeth into softer, denser forms of breakfast sugar? If you live near the West Village in NYC, simply head over to The Doughnut Project this weekend to snag a super-limited-edition Watermelon Sugar HI-(CHEW) doughnut—that is, a doughnut featuring “a candy shell glaze infused with HI-CHEW™ Watermelon, which nods to the chewy texture HI-CHEW™ fanatics love and unveils a true-to-life fruit flavor with a slight puckering effect,” according to a press release.

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Illustration for article titled Last Call: The deliciousness of unnecessary food mashups
Photo: HI-CHEW

Again, nothing but respect to The Doughnut Project for undertaking what definitely sounds like a project: wedding the essence of ultra-puckery chewy candy and pillowy-soft fried pastry into a whole that remains appetizing. But even if it succeeds, surely we can all agree that not a single person asked for it? Can’t you think of a thousand doughnut flavors you’d rather sample first? Or is it only by stoking our sense of surprise that these brands can hope to uproot us from our sofas and head toward the nearest location to see what all the fuss is about? Just like a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly, the greatest snack innovations might lie in developing flavors outside the boundaries of what we can reasonably imagine, goading us to open our minds and take a bite. It’s what our parents did when we were kids, I suppose.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

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The most delicious unnecessary food mashup I’ve ever encountered was a baklava croissant. (Shout out to Bien Cuit Bakery, Brooklyn, NY; RIP the Grand Central Terminal Market outpost.) Sweet Holy Mother, it was about a million calories, and every one was good. There is no earthly reason to turn a delicious, nut-filled, syrup-drenched flaky pastry dessert into a delicious, nut-filled, syrup-basted flaky pastry dessert, but damn if it wasn’t better than the sum of its parts. The croissant was lovely, buttery and flaky in ways that phyllo just isn’t, and the filling was perfectly moist and nutty. The filling was sweetened and I do think the croissant had been basted with sugar syrup late in baking — the outer layer was sweet without being wet or sticky.