Little-Known Santa No. 34


If you’ve been cruising the aisles of your local grocery store the last few days trying to stock up on all the drinks, foods and snacks you’ll need to keep all your visiting freeloading family members sated over the holidays, then you’ve certainly run into this fella and some of his many cousins (of the garlic and green onion and barbecue and cheddar and sour cream and jalapeño and cajun branches of the clan) once or twice.

However, if you want to enjoy a truly authentic Christmas this year, you might just want to give good ol’ Kris Pringle a pass. For as popular as he may seem, Little-Known Santa No. 34 is not quite half the yuletide snack he’s cracked up to be. In fact, he happens to be less than 50% processed potato paste, fleshed out instead with emulsifiers, oils, wheat flour, and artificial colors and flavors, before being fried and salted. (And, if you’d like to retain your appetite, or your naiveté, you don’t really want to witness his sizzling descent, riding alongside his clones in one of oodles of identical saddled-shaped metal sandwiches, into a bubbling vat of recycled cooking oils! Amazing what a company will do to save packaging by cramming product like so many poker chips into a tube!)

But, then again, if you’re like most of the rest of us, you may not mind a hearty dose of sham along with your Christmas ham. Because Kris Pringle is certainly not alone in the fake-food feast-a-rama out there.

Why not start assembling your big holiday meal by picking up one of those oh-so-trendy low-cal vegetarian I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-butterball to-furkeys? Before cooking, cram the big bird-shaped blob o’ goo with that mixture of paprika, dried onion particles, processed bean curd, sage powder, reclaimed pencil shavings, and synthetic craisins sold in the big black and white sacks as generic ‘stuffing’ at your local discount market.

Be sure to buy the economy size sack of maybe-potato flakes. Boil them to the consistency of wallpaper paste, then add substantial quantities of whipped margarine, salt substitute, and Tuscan vanilla non-dairy creamer. Beat into frothy mounds of almost-tasty whitish stuff. And don’t forget the gravy — ‘home-made’ from powdered packets of preservative, monosodium glutamate, anti-caking agents, brown colorant, and bone meal, spiked with the merest whisper of ground poultry feathers for that genuine turkeyish taste.

Round out your holiday feast with a casserole of real green beans — that’s right, I said REAL, since this is only the second time of the year (the other being Thanksgiving) that anybody ever sells any green beans — swimming in a sauce of reconstituted mushroom paste, curdled milk, plus eleven other cheap food by-products, and topped with some shredded rubber bands of onion-tinged fried breading.

Fire up the decaf sanka. And for dessert, serve up a gelatinous glop of synthetically sweetened confectioner’s cranberry mush, with traces of real fruit flavor (derived from white grape stems and puréed banana stalks), topped with a whipped topping made from cooking oils. You don’t have to worry about how dessert meets the palate, since nobody really eats the stuff anyway, but merely pushes it around the floral china a bit to be polite.

Yum! Let’s eat!

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