Today’s magic word for Just Jot It January is brought to us by Prajatka at An Armchair Perfectionist, and it is TANGIBLE. It means, among other things, “capable of being touched or felt; having real substance.” Its antonym, obviously enough, is “intangible.”
It’s not a word I use often, but it’s kind of like the word “tangerine,” an orange citrus fruit that might be a type of Mandarin orange. So you can have a tangible tangerine. Or, a tangible tangelo, which is a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit.
So, tangerines and tangelos are tangible.
One of my favorite Chinese dishes is chen pi beef. It’s beef cooked with, among oher things, peppers (those dried, dark red ones that are very hot) and chunks of dried tangerine peel. It’s a Szechuan dish, also called tangerine beef. Really good, and really hot (spicy). I guess flavors like hot, sweet, sour, and bitter are tangible as well.
“Tangerine” is a song by Victor Schertzinger with lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer. Here’s Frank Sinatra singing it.
There used to be a diet snack called Figurines, created by the Pillsbury Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their early commercials featured the song with words written by an ad man. I can’t find the commercial, but the lyrics, courtesy of YouTube user pianoplaylist, went like this:
do a lady proud,
They’re the diet lunch that you can crunch out loud,
crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch!
They’re the most exciting kind of diet lunch,
My shape belongs to Figurines!
The first time I heard it, I laughed so hard I almost lost bladder control. Maybe it was the lady in the commercial, who was dressed like a lounge singer, singing “crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch!”
The “spokesman” for Pillsbury is a small animated character called Poppin’ Fresh, a/k/a the Pillsbury Doughboy. Here he is in a 1982 commercial for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.
The name Poppin’ Fresh no doubt refers to the way they deliver their biscuits and crescent rolls, under pressure in a cardboard tube. In the early commercials someone would pop open the tube and the little guy would come springing out of the tube and talk to the camera about whatever tube he jumped out of. At the end of the commercial someone would poke him in the stomach and he’d giggle, like in the example above.
I don’t know about you, but popping open those cardboard tubes is a bit of an unsettling experience, if you do it they way they tell you on the tube (press a spoon against the seam until it pops open). I usually whack the tube against the edge of a counter. Otherwise, it’s like a baby with a Jack-in-the-box, which has to be the meanest toy you can give a small child.
Poppin’ Fresh was developed by an advertising agency in Chicago. Mary’s high school journalism class went to the agency and met the guy who designed the character.
There used to be a chain of restaurants called Poppin’ Fresh Pies. They served hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads, and other hot dishes, and (of course!) pie. They also had a bakery onsite that sold whole pies. Grandma Holton used to order pies for Thanksgiving from them, and have us pick them up, because she was coming to our house anyway. They changed the name to Baker’s Square after a while, but they still had the same pies. They’re now owned by the same company that owns O’Charley’s restaurants, and they sell the pies at O’Charley’s as well. In fact, Wednesday is Free Pie Day, where you can get a free slice with a meal. We have an O’Charley’s about a mile from home, and go to lunch there on Free Pie Wednesday.
Pillsbury also made a drink mix back in the Sixties and Seventies called Funny Face, to compete with Kool-Aid. Here’s an early commercial.
They took a lot of heat for the names of two of the drink mixes, so Injun Orange became Jolly Olly Orange and Chinese Cherry became Choo-Choo Cherry. They also took heat for their use of cyclamates to sweeten the drinks, because they were shown to cause cancer in rats if you gave them megadoses.
They added some more flavors, but never tangerine. Or tangelo. But all were tangible.