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CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Jerky Day/Father’s Day is around the corner

What are you doing June 12? It’s National Jerky Day. Two makers, Prevail and Old Trapper, have sent me samples to promote their wares as both something Dad would enjoy for Father’s Day and road trip food for those adventures we are all planning.

Jerky used to have a rough reputation. Adventure. Woods. Beards. Tough slivers getting stuck in your teeth. Flash forward. Are you thinking lemongrass and umami? No? Then try Prevail, that a couple with food allergy and creativity in their background fashion from 100 percent grass-fed and grass finished beef. Does your jerky naturally sweeten with coconut sugar to make it Paleo-certified, gluten-free and Celiac Certified?

No? Prevail is really good, and the soft texture is a joy to eat with matcha, cardamom and cherry wood smoke flavors. I’m craving these little tears of flavor right now. I also love their slogan: “Never Settle Always Prevail.”

Old Trapper has new beef sticks that are skinny little tubes of very flavorful meat with a jalapeno variety giving a little “extra.” Slip these into lunch bags and backpacks. I keep moving bags of these around so that the dad in my house won’t enjoy them all without me. While they they’re going for a rugged image, the taste of these would enhance a fine cocktail/appetizer presentation. Imagine them as swizzle sticks in a Bloody Mary.

Soften up

While Boston-based Eastern Standard Provisions Co. pursues baking the best soft pretzel on the planet, I can’t imagine how much more over the top they could go with wheelhouse, topknot, turnbuckle, slidepiece and pretzel bites configurations that feature a Bavarian-style crust with a light brioche texture inside. Oh, I know. Once you get these soft delights to enjoy now or freeze for later, you aren’t advised to rip them out of the plastic and pop into your mouth (like I did at first). You’re supposed to heat them for a few minutes, top them with butter and sprinkle on one of their salt flavors, like the tempting black truffle or everything mixtures. Do you have patience for 3 to 5 minutes? Please, try to hold out. This is the comfort food you’ve been craving. Makers think life is too short not to make every bite count. That’s not crazy talk. It’s doable.

Good Dee’s Still Sweet

Pretty is a plus in a pancake, and mine usually leave a lot to be desired. I was pleasantly surprised to create lovely cakes from both my first and second attempts that I didn’t even need to tell my husband was low carb. First-generation Middle Eastern Immigrant Deana Karim is the Dee in Good Dee who wants us to give in to guilt-free cravings with her mixes free of gluten, sugar, grain and soy. She’s come through the weight struggle and offers almond flour pancake mix and chocolate brownie mix made with sunflower seeds. I did a good job with the fudge version of those, if I may say. GoodDees.com has more on her products including Pinky’s Up and Yellow Gold sprinkles and Just Add Water Cream Cheese Frosting Mix. The New York City-based founder had been giving back during this health crisis so that’s how I learned about the line. If you’ve been baking, try baking very healthy with Good Dee’s Still Sweet. I also tried her Maple Syrup sweetened with allulose, which I looked up and it’s getting quite the buzz, so, you learn something every day. I enjoyed the flavor.

YUNO has natural nootropic, and that’s another word I learned this week. Launched as botanical wellness drinks, or “BioTactical” drinks, they’re designed to improve intelligence, memory and focus. Did those little shots from attractive shiny pouches do what the big words on the labels said? Well, after getting adjusted to the taste (I’m thinking prune cocktails) I’ll just say I felt like Energy, Focus and Uplift on the different days I drank them. I accomplished the goals I’d set for those days. You can mix the shots into smoothies but I’m a belt-it kind of woman. I was first attracted to Zen described in this fashion:

YUNO Zen: Relax in those stressful moments with a boost of serotonin to the gut! Get that zen, happy feeling and even improve your satiety and digestion all with this unique formula.

But listen to this one:

YUNO Focus: Reduce brain-fog and aid analytical and strategic thinking with superfoods that encourage a healthy oxygen level in your bloodstream.

These are not like the energy shots you find in gas stations. I trust them much more. The ingredients are natural and sound amazing alone. They are quite potent when you combine things like yerba mate, shitake mushrooms, Irish moss, lemon peel and more into one flavor. www.yuno.nyc is launching on Indiegogo.

Some Sounds

Are you considering this a staycation? Find peace where you can get it, or rock out if you like, with PAWW headphones, which I’m considering just about the first ones I have been able to work with ease. With conference calls, we’ve all had to learn a little more tech during quarantine. Bluetooth, a built in microphone, eight hours of play time and a connect to Siri or Google Assist has been on my head in SilkSound Wireless Lifestyle Headphones that are designed like a headband. Mine has a tortoiseshell look also helps ease the gone-without-a-haircut look. I’ve kept it on Pandora glam rock and Ramones as my escapism. What I would have given to have this quality of sound in the ‘80s.

Pop Cap

This handsome product is so easy to use, I did it wrong the first time. It looks like a stainless steel model of the top of a longneck beer or soda bottle. You simply place it over the top of an actual bottle and press down. You’ll soon have an open bottle and the intact cap, left perfect for crafting, magnetized to the shiny and handsome Pop Cap. This may be a guy thing, but I like it, too. I tried too hard the first time. It turns out, the technique is so smooth that it takes little to no effort to pop that cap.

Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie willing to try all sorts of concoctions to share with readers. Reach her at darraghcastillo@icloud.com.