Snacks & Candy

Little Store, Big Flavor

Book review: Mini-Mart a la Carte

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Fair or not, images of burnt coffee and heat-lamp hot dogs have made many consumers reluctant to take convenience store food seriously, and as reported recently in CSP Daily News, some chain are attempting to go upscale with their foodservice offerings. But for some consumers, traditional mini-mart food is just fine as it is, thank you very much.

Two such consumers, Christopher Rouser and Victoria Traig, have enshrined their love of low-brow c-store cuisine into a cookbook, Mini-Mart a la Carte (Chronicle Books, San Francisco, $14.95; [image-nocss] photographs by Kate Kunath).

The publisher describes it as a hilarious guide to simple and scrumptious cooking using just those ingredients found on the shelves of the corner store. Many can be prepared entirely in store. It added, Victoria Traig, co-author of Judaikitsch, and her intrepid, taste-testing boyfriend, have scoured their local stop-and-shop, crafting culinary delights from the treasures found there. Canned meat to squeezable cheese, relish packets to frozen slushees, the ingredients in these tantalizing recipes amount to much, much more than just the sum of their parts.

Some notable recipes:

Poop on a Pringle (ingredients include bean dip, Vienna sausages and Pringles). The Trojan Horse (SPAM and Velveeta). Sardines Rockefeller (sardines, canned spinach, Pringles, Bacos, Tabasco sauce) SPAM Wellington (SPAM, Bisquick, eggs, deviled ham spread, steak sauce). Chef Boyardee Blitzkrieg (canned pasta and hot dogs). The Mickey Rourke (mickey's malr liquor, strawberry soda). Sugar Shingles (Hershey bars, crackers, butter, sugar). The Dirtbag (Cool Whip and hot cocoa packets). Twinkie Surprise (Twinkies, straw, choice of fillings such as chocolate sauce, cherry Slurpee).

The book is peppered with c-store trivia and etiquette tips, and features The Mini-Mart Food Pyramid (from the bottom: processed meats; salty snacks and sweets; beverages and canned foods; and fresh produce).

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