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Outing Myself

Adam Jusko

Hi, I’m Adam Jusko. You might consider me a guest blogger to CrunchFood if it wasn’t for the fact that I wrote the whole thing. I had a few more posts in me, but I got such a kick out of my Crunch:Food Conference post, anything more seemed anticlimactic.

I am the Founder & CEO of Bessed, a human-powered search engine built on WordPress. Bessed is starting to get a little traction, but we have a long way to go. So if you’re a VC that enjoyed CrunchFood and have a few million dollars burning a hole in your pocket, e-mail me at adam@bessed.com and I’ll tell you what we’d do with that money. Also feel free to e-mail even if you’re not a VC; I get lonely.

Thanks to the real Michael Arrington for taking my posts good-naturedly and for getting the ball rolling with this post. Despite some of the comments other bloggers made about CrunchFood, I had no desire to skewer Arrington. I don’t know him, and his writing doesn’t especially make me like or not like him. I just thought the idea of him analyzing food in a Web 2.0 way was funny, so I threw it out there. I’m glad so many other people enjoyed it as well.

Thanks for reading.

Update: If you’re coming to this blog for the first time, scroll down to the bottom and read the posts in sequential order. I think that would be much more entertaining. 

Michael Arrington

Sometimes it’s tough to be me. Sure, the money’s good, the naked adulation is exhilarating, the ability to control the destiny of thousands of food executives with some random typing on my keyboard is virtually all-consuming. But am I really happy? Is being able to ruin the career of some dork at Oscar Mayer by refusing to cover the latest launch of Lunchables all there is?

I don’t think so. And so I’m closing CrunchFood, and all the rest of the “Crunches” for that matter. I’m even abandoning the scheduled launch of our physical fitness site, CrunchCrunch. I’ll keep TechCrunch going for a short while; I can’t get Duncan Riley to stop posting—he’s got like 55 more posts in the hopper, so I owe that to him. But then it’s over.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the people who covered the launch of CrunchFood and also to apologize for its quick demise. Being a quasi-journalist myself, I know how angry it makes me when the subject of a story makes me look like a patsy. So, thanks to Jim Ledbetter at Fortune, Owen Thomas at Valleywag, Kara Swisher at All Things D, Brian Gardiner at Wired, Andy Baio at Waxy.org, John Murrell at Good Morning Silicon Valley, Tom Cole, Allison Mooney at PSFK and all you others who sent some of your visitors our way. Also, thanks to everyone that commented, especially the guy pushing his turkey farm in Ann Arbor.

And of course, thanks to me, Michael Arrington, for mentioning this site in CrunchNotes earlier this week.  Without me, the rest of you probably never would have even seen this blog, and I think I’ve been a damn good sport about the whole thing.

Come back next week and I’ll tell you my real identity before signing off for good. Until then, I offer you the last four titles of CrunchFood posts that I’m just too disillusioned to bother writing:

Generics: Me-Too Foods That No One Likes

Is Corn Really More Popular Than Cake? CornScore Says Yes. CornScore is Useless

Does Champagne Signal A Bubble?

Don’t Bother Me with Facts. This Is A Blog

Michael Arrington

I am very excited to announce a new conference, called the Crunch:Food 2.0 Conference. This is a joint venture between us (CrunchFood) and Jason Calacanis, who is also partnering with us on next month’s TechCrunch20 Conference. Crunch:Food 2.0 will have a little different format, perhaps more along the lines of what you’re used to at a conference, with a keynote each day, several panels of top food experts, breakout sessions, and plenty of networking (i.e., parties).

First, the name. I was unsure about the colon in between Crunch and Food, but Jason had an explanation that sort of made sense at the time, but he talks so fast and with such authority that I really just get too intimidated to question him too hard, and so… Crunch:Food 2.0. It might be too much punctuation, but we’re going with it.

We’re still nailing down the details, but the conference will take place in early spring of 2008 in New Orleans, and we’re thinking of using the theme “New Orleans is Cookin’” (I asked Jason why there was no “g” on the end of “cookin” but he just said to leave the marketing to him.) We’ve got some great ideas for sessions and panels. This is rough, but get a load of these ideas:

How to Keep Your Reduction Sauce from Totally Disappearing

Popsicles: Living Up To The Hype!

Panel: Why is regular cheesecake so good and chocolate cheesecake so bad?

Yogurt Smells Like Crap (And Tastes Like It, Too)

Caramelized Onions: Ruining Otherwise Perfectly Good Meals

Surviving Without Vegetables

Panel: Has Goat Cheese Jumped the Shark?

Jason thinks we need a few more positive-sounding sessions. He says he’s all about positivity. Like I said, these are just rough ideas, nothing’s set in stone.

We also have some great speakers and cook-off judges (did I mention the cook-offs?) lined up, including:

Meat Loaf – A natural for this event, Mr. Loaf (as the WSJ would call him) is a singer/actor with a love for food and good times. In addition to having one of the best-selling albums of all time with Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf was in the awesome movie Fight Club, sporting boobs no less, which it takes a guy secure in his manhood to pull off.

Giada De Laurentiis – Host of Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada is a very attractive celebrity chef. (We almost screwed up and got the Naked Chef, but realized just in time that it was a dude.)

Tara Lipinski – Winner of the figure skating gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics at the tender age of 15, Tara Lipinski is now old enough to hit on. She is an actress, having made a bunch of small appearances in TV shows and movies, including Vanilla Sky, which is the closest thing to food-related we could think of to make her seem relevant for the event.  Don’t worry; we’ll announce other people that make more sense before the conference.

Bobby Brown – Former New Edition band member and successful solo artist (“My Prerogative”), Bobby Brown basically called us up when he got tipped off to the conference and said that he knows more about food than Hammer does about tech so we should invite him along or he would rip our motherf%&$@ing nuts off. Like I said, we’re just roughing things out, we’ll get other people, too, like maybe the Frugal Gourmet. (Update: The Frugal Gourmet is dead, my bad. No offense intended to anyone.)

Jason has also been burning up the phones lining up entertainment, and I don’t mean to brag but my man j. is hooked up.  Check this out:

The Mountain Dew Code Red party on the last night of the conference will feature The Foo Fighters, but Jason got Dave Grohl drunk and talked him into agreeing to call them The Food Fighters for that one night. I love it.

On that same tip, we’re bringing in something especially for the teen eaters out there (this means you Y Combinator!) : the complete cast of High School Musical, who will perform for our event as High School Cafeteria. Even that heartthrob Zac de la Rocha Efron is going to be there.

(Funny story: We almost had Fergie but when Calacanis suggested she change the lyrics to her hit song “My Humps” to “My Hummus”, she backed out.)

And there’s going to be lots more.

One of the sore spots about TC20 has been the criticism we’ve received over having MC Hammer there, even though I think we’ve justified that even more than should be necessary. Hammer has every right to be angry at how he’s been treated. (Please Hammer don’t hurt’em.)

Anyway, I want you to know that Jason and I took this into consideration when the opportunity to have Bobby Brown at the event came up. (We would’ve thought about this for Tara Lipinski, too, except she’s a girl and she’s hot.)  I could waste a lot of time justifying this, but instead I’ll just let you read this IM I had with Jason today, because I think it shows our hearts are in the right place…

M: dude, what would you say if I told you we could get meat loaf and bobby brown both at crunchfood20?

J: I’d say I’d do anything for love but i won’t do that

M: huh?

J: its a meat loaf song

M: oh. good one.

J: mahalo

M: can you cut it out with the mahalo shit every other sentence?

J: e kala mai

M: what the hell does that mean?

J: sorry

M: all right, anyway, my only concern is that we could get flak for bobby brown. after the hammer thing i want it to look like were not just pulling out all our old hiphop heroes or something.

J: f that, m! we can do what we want! we are m.a. and j.c.! anyone gives us flak like you say we just turn it around on em. theyre just jealous they couldn’t even get goddam bell biv davoe for their events know what im sayin? if any of these haters was in our position, theyd be pulling out every dam hero they could get there hands on. morrissey’d be at every f’ing conference if they were in control so dont let it get to you mike.

M: i guess your right

J: hell yes im right. Now I gotta fly. scobles been buggin me all day about whether he did a good enough job on the videos. later gator.

So, there you go. We’re trying to do right by you. See you next spring in N’awlins!

Michael Arrington

Coffee’s a wonderful thing. It brings people together. Rich or poor, black or white, smart or stupid, straight or gay, homed or homeless, it doesn’t matter when it comes to talking about the special feelings we all share about coffee.

Coffee can be so much fun. When I first started drinking coffee, very few people even knew what coffee was. No one was talking about lattés or flavored syrups. You had it black or maybe with a little milk and you liked it. Even when it started gaining some popularity, I could still have the couple of hundred people that had heard of coffee in my living room for an informal tasting.

Somewhere in there the money started rolling in, and coffee was everywhere. Now I can’t even go to my barber without being offered some watered-down cappuccino, not to mention Starbucks practically force-feeding $5 cups on unsuspecting consumers every 100 feet along the sidewalk.

It’s sad. New and interesting foods are being introduced every day, hungry people are eating them up, and coffee sucks.

I don’t know what it is, but the same thing happened with Cheerios. In their pure form, Cheerios were perfection. Edible, but not so good that they’d ever go mainstream. Then Cheerios got combined with all sorts of flavors that made no sense—honey nuts, fruities, yogurt, Team Cheerios (?!)—but people got excited anyway. Soon everyone wanted to create their own Cheerios alternative, and it was no longer about the cereal but about beating the other guy/girl, and thinly veiling your jealousy and hostility when someone would strike gold by going out on a limb with a winner like Dora the Explorer cereal.

And now it’s happening all over again with coffee. No one cares about the beans anymore. Or about the caffeine content. It’s all about concocting the most outlandish mixture of coffee and candy or coffee and spices or coffee and pasta for God’s sake and then begging pathetically for coverage in CrunchFood or one of the second-tier food blogs.

It may be time to give up coffee for a while and watch the implosion from the sidelines. Maybe switch completely to Kool-Aid. In a few years, things will be beautiful again, and I can invite a couple of thousand people into my new, bigger living room where we can focus, once again, on the Sanka.

Michael Arrington

The minute chicken kicked beef to the curb for dominant market share in the DAF (dead animal food) category, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the imitators would come looking for their slice of the pie. Today comes word of Turkey, a rare animal whose name (and flesh) may soon be on your lips and tongue.

While it would be easy to dismiss Turkey as just another me-too meat, it does offer some features worth taking a longer look at. I talked with Turkey president Abdullah Gul today for 26 minutes, and he walked me through some of these innovative features, including the ability to quickly and easily switch between light and dark meat and a special preparation he described as “smoked turkey” that was frankly mouthwatering.

But the killer feature for me with Turkey is the “easter egg” inside—what Gul described as the “wishbone,” a V-shaped bone deep within the bird’s carcass. Pull it out, dry it off and then two people do a tug-of-war with it. The bone inevitably breaks unevenly, leaving one user with the big end and one with the small end. The winner is the person with the bigger end, who then gets to make a wish. I took on Gul in a wishbone battle. Surprisingly, I lost. Gul made his wish (“world peace and more dead turkeys”) and I left with my tail between my legs.

I initially thought of Turkey as a poor-man’s chicken, just like ever other poultry clone. But I’m going to keep my eye on it, and maybe my mouth as well. You should, too.

Michael Arrington

Forget chocolate and peanut butter as the killer combination.  It’s no surprise that these two great tastes that taste great together would become stale over time.  But what is surprising is the new platform on which all the hottest foods promise to be built on: lemons.

For years lemons have struggled to make headway in a sea of larger competitors—oranges, cumquats and of course watermelons have dominated the space.  Lemons haven’t helped themselves by pairing up with inferior foods such as Jello and meringue pie. But today lemons e-mailed me with what they say is the ultimate partnership (and I agree): lemons and limes.

It’s an unlikely combination, two fruits so close on the genus and species tree, so to speak, tasting so good together. Already lemons say they have lined up multiple distribution deals with top beverage companies, so don’t be surprised if 2008 becomes the year of “limon” (a nickname I just coined) in the alt.bev industry.

Lemons CEO Evan Dando let me have a taste of a few of the new drinks featuring the lemon-lime combination, including one code-named “the Uncola” and they are, hands down, the most delicious flavors ever to pass through my lips.

Lemons are finally having their day in the sun. Good for them.

Update: I own several lemon and lime orchards, so this post is a clear conflict of interest. Having come clean to this conflict, I hope you will now be fooled into believing that I would have written this post even if I didn’t stand to profit handsomely from your embrace of lemons and limes.

Michael Arrington

Fruits are nothing new. Over the last few years, countless varieties have been launched… strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cantaloupe, grapes—I could go on. But all of these fruits have been very Food 1.0, requiring washing, peeling, cutting, and other helper applications. I like fruit on my cereal, but, wow, does it have to be so difficult?

Well, my sources just moments ago filled me on a new fruit, the banana, that has all the killer features other fruits have been lacking, and which I’ve been calling for for some time now.

Bananas require no special gizmos to get down to business. Just peel back the conveniently hard nub at the top and get instant access to the tasty fruit inside.

This might get very popular very fast.

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