31 Days of Halloween: Pass (on) the Cheese, Please

I'm a meat man. When I list my favorite foods, animals top the list: burgers, chicken wings, hot dogs. Really, if it's made with chicken, I'm interested. Beef and pork is certainly welcome too!

Yes, I do love corn, peas, and carrots. Broccoli is tasty, and white Japanese radishes are a tasty snack. But rarely do I have a meal without a piece of meat. I just haven't found something appealing enough. Sure, breakfast might be a bowl of cereal or a stack of pancakes, but usually it's a tuna, ham, or egg sandwich.

So a meat snack has gotta end up in this food post marathon. Beef jerky is available here, and given the cost in the US it's not much more expensive here. But it looks like these little sticks of meat are much more popular. That's probably due to their size and packaging - they're quick snacks with a wrapper that also holds the rest of the snack until the last bite, keeping hands off the food.

Below is a longer-sized version of pencil calpas. It's a little thicker than a pencil, and a bit shorter. There are short versions (about 2 inches long) that sell for about 8-10 cents each. Also available is cheese, both in the longer length seen below and shorter lengths to go along with the sausage.

Calpas is a Russian-style sausage, usually lightly juicy with lots of pepper or other spices to give it a bunch of flavor. There are larger versions found in convenience stores and supermarkets. One online poster mentioned that some of them are covered in a second plastic skin, so be aware of that.
The smaller calpas snacks like the one above are decent, though the larger sticks are better for adults. The cheese has never been that good. You can see the dates of expiration or sell-by dates - they aren't meant to last a long time - but even fresh the cheese tastes a little dry and like other Japanese cheeses doesn't have much flavor.

The tiny meat sticks are great if you're craving some meat flavor but want just something small to cut that craving. But avoid the cheese. Or give them to kids at Halloween...

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