Vote for Your Favorite Fake Fruit

Breakfast Starters Classic Scramble

By: Morningstar Farms

I Paid: $3.99 for an 11-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4stars


Marketing: 4stars

Morningstar Farms, maker of ersatz this and vegetarian that, presents the consumer with an appealing yet somewhat suspect notion: a frozen bag of veggies and meatless “sausage” that can be combined with eggs in order to make a delicious scrambled mass of breakfast stuff.

The Classic Scramble breakfast vegetables are potatoes, red and green bell peppers, and onions. You’re supposed to heat the mix in a nonstick skillet for about 10 minutes, and then shove it to the side so that four eggs (not included) can be scrambled in the other part of the pan. Then you combine.

The result is an excessively mild but essentially decent jumble of eggs and veggies that makes up for its relatively bland flavor by being extremely nongreasy and light; half the mix (including eggs) is only 340 calories. The potatoes are firm and somewhat flavorful, even if the sausage, peppers, and onions slack off a bit, and the whole scrambled mess can be very easily punched up by the addition of a quality hot sauce such as Frank’s.

Reasonably affordable and wicked easy to prepare, the Classic Scramble could be a game-changer for many household breakfast routines, even on weekdays. It’s one thing to spend 25 to 30 minutes chopping up three or four veggies plus a protein and then combining them with scrambled eggs to create breakfast. It’s another entirely to spend a mere 15 minutes, including prep and cleanup, to achieve a similar end, in a healthy and economical manner.

The Classic Scramble is pretty good as is; a little tweaking on the seasoning end, and it could become a true classic.

Supernova, Revolution, and Voltage Sodas

By: Mountain Dew

I Paid: $1 for a 20-ounce bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3stars


Marketing: 4stars

Angry about vote-fixing in Ohio and Florida? Convinced that a combination of special interests and apathetic voters means the end of democracy as we know it? Have no fear: Mountain Dew wants to make sure that your vote really counts this year, by introducing Dewmocracy.com.

It’s a website where anyone, regardless of race, age, gender, or citizenship status, can weigh in and vote on one of the three new flavors of Dew, to determine which will stick around for the long haul.

Quoting the bottles, exactly, here are the contenders:

• Supernova—Dew With a Blast of Strawberry Melon Flavor and Ginseng
• Revolution—Dew Infused with Wild Berry Flavor and Ginseng
• Voltage—Dew Charged With Raspberry Citrus Flavor and Ginseng

Spot any trend here? Dew + Action Verb (or the word with) + Made-Up Fruit + Ginseng.

The surprise is that these sodas are far less awful than you’d think. Although they’re disappointingly similar, they all boast a relatively clean flavor—this is relative to Mountain Dew, mind you—with an emphasis on crisp carbonation. Supernova is almost like a fruit-tinted Canada Dry with a faint strawberry aftertaste, and it lacks Mountain Dew’s signature “gummy bears dissolved in battery acid” flourish. Revolution’s flavor is too mild, almost a generic “fructose.” If you didn’t know better, you might think it was an energy drink. Voltage has some real fake-berry oomph, tasting like an echo of Tahitian Treat or Hawaiian Punch. It’s probably the weakest of the bunch.

Naturally, if you go to Dewmocracy.com, the interactive map indicates that Voltage is leading its opponents in almost every state, and looks on course for a landslide victory of historic proportions. Way to go, America.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.