For me, this is history in the making. I’ve never eaten a protein bar ever. I’ve heard about them, but they sounded dry and uninteresting, and when I got to the point in my life where I started reading food labels, those things were decidedly uninteresting in spades.
I just picked up this one yesterday. The brand is EPIC, and this is their BISON bacon-cranberry bar. Well, I could have chosen their bison bar with Habanero peppers in it, but wasn’t in the Habanero mood at the moment. They also had a beef choice and a turkey choice at the health food store I patronized.
On a splurge, I bought it. Though at first I mis-read the caption “100% Grass Fed Bison Used” to mean “100% Used Grass Fed Bison”, which has an entirely different connotation. Um.
I noted that the package had some flex to it. Ergo, not a hard bar. Good. Hate the sensation of ripping out my canines while eating something.
I read the ingredients: “Bison, uncured bacon – no nitrates/nitrites added* (pork, water, brown sugar, salt, vinegar, celery powder*, sea salt), dried cranberries, (cranberries, apple juice concentrate), lactic acid, celery powder*, sea salt.” Not perfect, but intriguing. Relatively short. No tree nuts (to which I’ve relatively recently discovered a serious food sensitivity that definitively spreads from pistachios to pine nuts. A shame, as I’d just at that time discovered I REALLY liked Trader Joe’s pre-shelled un-dyed pistachios, and I devoured way way too many on that occasion… so, NO tree nuts, please!). Sugar doesn’t dominate the ingredient list on this package, and there’s not that long line-up of usual nasty suspects.
* – Just so manufacturers can add nitrites/nitrates to foods one usually finds them in, and not say they did so, they add the celery powder. They all do that. In the fine print, they have to say they did that. Frankly, I’m not worried about occasional nitrites/nitrates in my food — I don’t subsist on bacon, much as I like it as an occasional treat. And I just simply assume that regular celery must contain nitrites and nitrates since its powder is so often used, and we all (most of us) still eat celery!
All right: pulling the lid off the cover — as it were:
Smells like bacon mixed with sausage.
Hmm. Not bad. It’s more dry-sausage-like than (what I’d imagine) bar-like would be. The seasonings work well. It is not bland and it is not overpowering. It is not greasy — I photographed the bar on a paper envelope for contrast, and there was absolutely no grease residue on the envelope after. As a note, there’s a little “fresh pac” absorbent packet inside the wrapping.
I LIKE this. I’ll get more. This particular bar said “USE BY 10-18-14-4”, and I’m not entirely clear on what this means. October 14th, 2018? October 18th, 2014? I suspect the latter. But the additional 4? Four AM? And, that specific on a deadline date four years (or half a year) off, even if the -4 means something else? (If someone could enlighten me here, I’d appreciate.)
If nothing else, this might be handy and nutritious enough to have hanging around for camping and hiking trips, for road trips where your other alternative is fast “food” (this is faster, and appears far better), for long-term power outages, or for your favorite Doomsday Prepper / Zombie Apocalypse scenario. Unfortunately they’re not cheap, but after having spent all these years without consuming protein bars, I’m not apt to be buying that many.
For further info, their website is epicbar.com. I have no connection with these folks, and I have no idea how these stack up taste-wise with other protein bars. But — I liked it. (Mikey would be proud!)
AND, IN THE NEWS:
Marinating pork steaks in black beer for four hours proves to decimate (by more than half) the production of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons upon grilling. These hydrocarbons occur in smoked or grilled meats, and are linked to cancers. I think I will be buying some dark/black stout this week.