Among the many free magazine subscriptions that I acquired when I started poking around for what people will give me for nothing in America was "Us" magazine. Of the freebies that I got, this is the one which I generally regret the most. For one thing, I didn't realize that it was a weekly and I have to toss out more issues than I ever imagined. For another, it's making me sad. It's not that I don't recognize most of the celebrities - though I don't - it's the way in which the material is clearly presented to make people with sad and empty lives feel like their lives are just like those of celebrities and that makes me sad, but that is a point I've mentioned before so I won't belabor it here.
At any rate, the issue that arrived today endeavored to educate the populace on why Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband (whose name I forget and really don't care enough to look up - I think he sings for some British band like Oasis or whatnot*) have decided to "consciously uncouple". I noted that Gwyneth only feeds her kids kelp and the finest Oxygen molecules that Harrod's has to offer, and it made me think that perhaps I should live a healthier snack lifestyle.
Though I don't have access to much in the way of kelp, I have been seeing a line of "Ocean Snacks" at the local Grocery Outlet Bargain Market. I figured that, while my blogging income doesn't allow me to live a GOOPy lifestyle, it does allow me to purchase nearly expired discount seaweed products from Korea. They may actually be from North Korea, for all I know, and that might mean they're radioactive or contain Kim Jong Il's ashes or something, but they only cost 99 cents for so I can't really complain.
There are three packages with little plastic trays inhabited by the wispiest of seaweed paper. I had this stuff in Japan on occasion, but it was never as thin as this and the truth is that I like it much better this way. Eating it in Japan, whether it was wrapped around a rice ball or just eating it as a sheet, was a lot tougher when it was thicker. This seaweed paper is like onion skin writing paper, only, tastier. Each sheet is a little crispy, has the grassy notes you'd expect from seaweed, and has a little spicy red pepper kick at the end. It starts to melt a little on your tongue, but it doesn't suck all of the moisture out of your mouth. It's really a pretty good experience, especially for being something which gets washed up on the beach along with dead sea life.
In addition to trying this as a straight-on snack, I also made my first onigiri with the intention of wrapping this around it. Unfortunately, my onigiri was a "jumbo" and two sheets of this stuff couldn't wrap around it's enormous girth. It did stick very nicely to the rice, but it wasn't potent enough to add much except a small grassy note to the experience. The pepper got lost in the blandness of the sticky rice, but these aren't designed to wrap onigiri so I'm not blaming the manufacturer. I just need to make less pregnant-looking rice balls next time.
I've heard that seaweed consumption creates rather vile breath and was sure to only eat this when my husband wasn't going to be around and snogging was not a possibility. That is the only drawback to eating these. Well, there's that and the fact that 20 of the 30 calories that a pack contains are fat calories. I don't know how they manage that, but I'm guessing this is deep-fried seaweed or something. With those stats, I'm not sure that Gwyneth would approve, but I do.
*I kid. I know he sings for Cold Play, but since I don't know what either band sounds like and that they're both British bands, I figure they are essentially interchangeable to my febrile mind.