Pork rind debacle landed a nice gig as a food taster

By Vicki Hyatt | Jul 27, 2016

A recent column I wrote about finding a pork rind covered with hog hair did not fetch a lucrative settlement with the manufacturer as did the story we featured several months ago on a foreign object found in a can of soup.

That's likely because I didn't even try to get compensation — I was just delighted to have such an interesting topic for a column!

Shortly after the column appeared, however, I got an email from Alexandria Brazie, a public relations manager for a small, southern gourmet food manufacturer. She told me about the "higher end" pork rinds the company was making that are lower in sodium and fat, made with higher quality ingredients and come in an array of flavors. She then asked if I would like to sample the flavors "to have a better experience than the ones you sampled in your article."

I was all about that. As I mentioned previously, those of us with diabetes need to find alternate, acceptable food items, and I was looking for something both crunchy and flavorful. Pork rinds did it for me.

Several weeks later, I got a letter from an unfamiliar company, and inside were three coupons for Graeter's ice cream, along with a note from Alexandria saying she couldn't wait to hear my opinion of the company's traditional and low-glycemic ice creams. Wow, what a bonanza.

For those trying to better manage blood glucose levels, carbohydrates with a glycemic index value of 55 or less are better metabolized and healthier choices for those with diabetes. I was all about this food-tasting assignment.

The only store locally that carries Graeter’s is Ingles and unfortunately, I couldn't find the low-glycemic option, so to not let the coupons go to waste I just picked three of the available flavors — mint chocolate chip; bourbon pecan chocolate chip and black cherry chocolate chip. I found that whatever the flavor offered by Graeter's, it includes chocolate chips.

My plan was to just take a spoonful so get a good idea of how to explain it and then give the rest away. I first tasted the mint variety and was impressed by the size of the chunks of chocolate in it. Not only was the ice cream minty, but the chocolate chips tasted like mint, too. I put the lid on it and set it aside to take to my daughter-in-law, who is nursing twin 9-month olds and needs the extra calories.

Next I tasted the black cherry. It was out of this world. The pieces of cherry were large and flavorful, and the chocolate chunks were as large as in the mint chocolate chip. I have another daughter-in-law I'll give that pint to, but unfortunately I don't see her very often, so I may just have to have a few more bites before that one leaves the house.

The last taste was of the bourbon, pecan and chocolate chip. I was saving this for last because I thought it would be the easiest to stop eating. Boy was I wrong. The flavor combination was surprising — and explosive. There were huge pieces of pecans, and in keeping with the other varieties of Graeter's, the sample had large pieces of chocolate. It was the faint hint of a bourbon taste that put this variety over the top. I'm definitely not giving this pint away, and I might not even share it with anyone.

The very next day, a package arrived with four bags of gourmet pork rinds — pineapple habarnero, Korean kimchi barbecue, salt and cracked pepper and spicy dill manufactured by Southern Recipe Small Batch.

It was just before lunch, and I immediately began sampling the spicy dill. It was delicious — plus it put me back on the low, low carb diet!