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    Introducing Diet Coke / You’re gonna drink it just for the taste of it

    What an entertainingly bonkers specimen of humanity Kim Jong-il is. It seems that he invented the hamburger, which is now providing nutrition to growing bodies at the DPRK’s universities:

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has introduced hamburgers to his reclusive, communist country in a campaign to provide “quality” food to university students, media reported Wednesday.

    The hamburgers were introduced in 2000 and dubbed “gogigyeopbbang,” Korean for “double bread with meat,” according to the June 29 edition of the North Korean state-run newspaper Minju Joson. The report was carried by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Wednesday.

    Although reports from the isolated country have in recent years mentioned the introduction of the American fast food classic, the latest announcement seems to credit the country’s leader for their advent.

    The news marks a curious development for North Korea, where U.S. consumerism is routinely reviled in the official media and people refer to the soft drink Coca Cola as the “cesspool water of American capitalism.”

    Maybe that explains the last decade of famine: The Great (formerly Dear) Leader was confiscating all the produce to use in his test kitchen. And that patched-together Korean name sounds for all the world like the Académie Française screeching for everyone to say “pret à manger” instead of “fast food.”

    Speaking of cesspool water that keeps you from crashing during project meetings at your people-exploiting capitalist workplace: Here in consumerist Japan, we’re part of the test market for a new Coke product called C2. It’s low-calorie but has some real sugar in it, presumably for the have-it-both-ways market. (It’s also being touted as low-carbohydrate.) My considered opinion, as someone who spent the better part of college knocking back a two-liter of Coke Classic per day without even thinking about it, is that it sucks.

    Well, okay, I guess it doesn’t taste that bad. But the combination of sugar and…Actually, I don’t know what artificial sweetener is used here. It could be cyclamate for all I know. Anyway…the combination of sugar with the fake stuff tastes vaguely molasses-y. Nothing wrong with molasses, but it’s not what I want my Coke reminding me of. Indeed, I disliked C2 so much that I thought of salvaging it by spiking it with Bacardi, as a semi-tribute to the climactic scene in Desperately Seeking Susan, in which Laurie Metcalf’s character orders rum and Tab. Then I remembered that I could safely pour half a can of Coke down the drain without sacrificing a significant portion of the day’s nutrients. I’m a wasteful bourgeois Westerner, after all.

    4 Responses to “Introducing Diet Coke / You’re gonna drink it just for the taste of it”

    1. Kris says:

      C2’s getting the full-scale rollout here, actually. It’s on subway ads and in summer movie theatres. (the ad I’ve seen is set to the Rolling Stones classic ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, and every time I see the ad, rather than wanting to drink some C2, I want to go get ‘Let It Bleed’ out and play it again.) I have yet to try it…I’m still reeling from the withdrawl of the Crystal drinks like (Crystal Pepsi – where did you gooo?)
      Oddly, McDonald’s newest burger is called the McGogigyeopbbang. I was thinking it sounded good….

    2. Sean says:

      You jest, but here there’s a seasonal offering at McDonald’s called the Pulgolgi Burger. This is a hamburger with Korean barbecue on top of it. After all, if the only protein you get is from the regular hamburger patty, your hair and fingernails might fall out.
      BTW, is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” the kind of tagline you want people to associate with a product? I mean, maybe if you’re pushing liability insurance, or something. But soft drinks?

    3. Kris says:

      At first I had a good laugh at your comment, but then I thought, you know, we have burgers like that here, they just look differently. For example, the Jack-in-the-Box, which I consider to be the most crack-laden of all the fast food chains (their oreo shake should be an illegal substance), has the ‘bacon ultimate cheeseburger’ which has something like two or three patties, three slices of cheese, and some bacon. Shamefully, I must admit to having eaten one. It was the first time I ever had a fast-food burger that I could actually taste the meat. It was like looking into, er, taking a bite of, the mouth of hell.
      29 grams of saturated fat and 1985mg of sodium! Yum.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      What you’re talking about follows the Principle of Complementary Proteins. Trust me–those of us who grew up around PA Dutch people know all about this. You can mix meat and cheese, or meat and eggs, or eggs and cheese, or livestock meat and fish/seafood…but you can’t mix two dishes based on the same protein that are seasoned or textured incompatibly. Beef patties and cheese and (I’m told, though I don’t eat pork–against the Levitical health laws, you know) bacon are perfectly admissible by that rule. It’s when you have two beef dishes that just were not meant to be combined that you have to demur.
      And isn’t Jack in the Box the one that has all those health scares…like, E. coli and stuff? Glad you lived to tell.