Thoughts on Life

Supermarket Aisle King #004: Bitchin Sweet Sauce

My heart is beating only moderately fast after 16 taste caramel-centered tests
by Leandra Medine Cohen
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I am not a fan of self-deception — it is the ultimate betrayal. I have seen (experienced) precisely how it interacts with self-sabotage, convincing you slowly and surely over time, while you reside like a frog at the bottom of a beaker full of warm water getting hotter and hotter until it reaches boiling point, that the water is not boiling -- that it’s just in your head. 

Logo by Ana Tellez

We know how it ends for the frog, right? And while I am not about to embark upon a diatribe extracting the merits of foie gras consumption, I am going to bend one of the hard and fast rules I set for myself late into last summer.

Self-deception is in fact the ultimate betrayal, but when you are deceiving yourself into believing that you are eating, say, a churro dipped in caramel sauce when actually, you’re having like, a puff made from cassava or some depressing grain-free pretzel rod that is limper than an $5 umbrella pole dipped in Bitchin’s bitchin sweet sauce, you are betraying no one but the receptors in your brain that ask you for another hit of dopamine, waiting eagerly for your Achilles heel to come in like a lamb and never leave.

I went back to the vanguard of whole foods (that is, Whole Foods) at the end of last week to get some basic perishables like eggs, radish, veggie sticks, jarred tuna marinated in jalapeno oil, and almond butter-filled pretzel nubs when I happened upon Bitchin’s sweet sauce in the refrigerated section right by checkout on the ground floor of the aforementioned vanguard of whole foods.

I always wonder why they are so hell-bent on stocking that fridge with drinks. I mean, I get it. I’m sure they’ve done tons of research on what makes the most sense to keep close to checkout or like, what most people are likely to spend money on, what they might decide they need on their way out, etc., but I commend the Whole Foods on 88th street for having taken the selfless risk of delighting their patrons in a full wall of non-essential dips on their way out.

There are like, 16 varieties of hummus (though if I’m honest, very few of them are worth fucking with; the exception to which might be Abraham’s olive and herb “hummos”), at least 5 of tzatziki (have never purchased tzatziki, never chosen to consume it when dining out either), some versions of babaganoush (though you know where I stand on The Baba), even more of some salsa and this one brand, Bitchin’ Sauce, which I discovered last summer as a perfectly adequate substitute to that dramatically involved lentil dip I used to make at home.

Bitchin’ Sauce is full of fuel: almonds and nutritional yeast, to be exact. The flavor profiles are not complicated: chipotle, red pepper, green onion, pesto, cilantro, and on. It is tangy, and refreshing, and filling if not highly specified in taste and therefore best to enjoy in low dose quantities. (Don’t buy them all on your first go! I did this once.)

It is also very healthy. 

And there are three sweet flavors that I know of -- this like, apple pie, a chocolate fudge that tastes just like slipping your feet into a pair of Hermes shoes (indulgent and luxurious in an almost sacrilege way)

and the last is salted caramel. The salted caramel may well be the dip to end all others. And the packaging is cool. Like, imagine if Phoebe Philo were plugged into the social media thirst trap.

Three shades of khaki, an enchanting and gimmicky design.

It reminds me of a late twenty-something-someone who is out dancing at an underground place where people dance. She is wearing a ribbed cotton tank top with rhinestone embellishment on the spaghetti straps and you can see her nipples through the shirt. She is not at all bogged down by lore that would make her believe they are completely offensive. She seems really to love them. Her nipples, I mean.

Her jeans are mid-rise, light wash and her sandals, 3.5 inches tall on a stiletto heel are strappy and uncomfortable looking even though she looks to have no problem dancing beneath in them. 

You want to be friends with her -- she seems fun! And so nice! -- but you’re also kind of intimidated by how unapologetically free she seems to be inside of herself, even more, that she looks so fucking good in her stupid (awesome) tank top and nipples and uncomfortable shoes. It’s kind of like holding a mirror up to yourself, exposing all your own ugliness then realizing that you can’t blame anyone but yourself for it because the ugliness is totally a feigned illusion -- a mere reflection of the gaps between how you feel about yourself and how you want to feel about yourself.


That’s how the container makes me feel!!!

The good news is, there is salted caramel sauce inside. And it’s …healthy! “Healthy.”

Also, it tastes pretty good with just about anything -- I’m talking celery, carrots, I’ve even tried it with a cucumber. I like to dip in a rice roll when I want something starchy and think the most illicit pairing I’ve encountered so far, laddering up to a grand total of exactly 9 grams of sugar includes smearing the sauce between two cookies that I buy from this Jewish market on 81st street called Tomer’s.

There’s this made-in-my-own kitchen brand stocked there called Grandma Sallie’s. Her labels are like, literally the tags you buy at Duane Reade — it makes me love her so much. She makes these cookies, which are actually clusters of crushed nuts and dark chocolate chips with vanilla extract and maybe some egg whites, I’m not sure, I have to revisit the packaging.

Here, let’s do it together.

So anyway, I spread the spread on one side of the cookie, fold (crack) it (the cookie) in half so it becomes a sandwich, and then I sit back and observe as my hand travels towards my mouth until finally, the cookie reaches the orifice and I take a bite, chew and chew while my tastebuds become the very twenty-something-someone dancer described above. It’s like, she’s not wearing rhinestones, but she does have a knack for choc chips and that is validating enough to let her let her hair down.

You know?


Truly, I didn’t see this coming, but thanks for taking the journey with me.

In delivering unto myself a good excuse to circumvent a propensity towards, I don’t know, peanut butter cups hidden and crushed graham crackers hidden deep within chocolate ice cream that is covered in fluff or drenched in something as gooey as caramel sauce (malt balls for dessert!) so as to similarly circumvent the kind of profound sugar spike that always results in a comedown, I have found myself


admiration for

a woman in a tank top,

nipples out.

In love

but not in lust

or maybe in lust!



and her dancing shoes.

A perfect metaphor


my tastebuds.

And therefore, too, my me.

It ain’t a dispatch without some flowers, so here you have them.

Enjoy your aperitif tonight, OK?

Yours truly,

Matilda Shonglassenboorgereinmanship