🌶️ “Second of all...this is literal inedible gross-ass shit.”
September 28, 2019 8:54 AM   Subscribe

The Great Subway Jalapeño Scandal [YouTube] “In a now-archived post on the r/Subway subreddit, someone asked where he could buy the jalapeños that the chain uses on its sandwiches. "The jalapeños are always the best part of the sub for me, and I absolutely need to know what brand they are or how I can get them," he wrote. [...] But according to comic and YouTuber Gus Johnson, the jalapeños are literally the worst, and he's bitten into so many mid-sub pepper stems that he made an entire video about it. In this Dateline-quality investigation into what he calls "The Great Subway Jalapeño Scandal," Johnson visits four Subway restaurants in the Los Angeles area—via A BIRD SCOOTER, no less—and buys 20 footlong subs that are all topped with jalapeños.” [via: Vice News]
posted by Fizz (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mrs. Renfro is here for you. No stems, pickled crunchy, a Tex-Mex tradition for decades. The best thing is they are actually hot; somehow even jalapeños in the US have been bred for mildness.
posted by Nelson at 9:06 AM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


"For all you folks at home who think I'm overreacting, first of all, I am," Johnson says. "Second of all, this is what I'm talking about though.”
This is me complaining about how the McDonald’s near my house only fills the French fry containers half-way.
posted by sallybrown at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


I like what Gus Johnson I've seen but I feel this reflex to keep him at arm's length because I don't trust that Reddit darling YouTubers aren't going to turn out awful. That's not really anything about Gus in particular but it's just happened too many times.

He is 100% right about Subway jalapenos, though (except that they're not sliced in house), and commercially packed banana peppers are going the same way!

Honestly I feel like I've been seeing a decline in produce quality and handling across the board in supermarkets and chain restaurant supply, if you buy a prepackaged salad mix you might as well throw it directly into the garbage because there will be slimy decomposing leaves in there somewhere getting their gunk all over the rest of it, far ahead of the best by date. Which is yet another reason to not by prepackaged, but even stuff like onions having rotten layers more frequently, cilantro being bundled too tightly and wet and rotting the inner leaves, and potatoes having more and worse damage seems much more common nowadays, across a wide variety of stores and regardless of geography.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:20 AM on September 28, 2019 [45 favorites]


My question about jalapeños is why are they practically the size of banana peppers now? Every time I go to the market to get a few, I’m greeted by these monsters, almost twice the size they were just ten years ago. What’s next? Tomatillos the size of basketballs?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:32 AM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I like what Gus Johnson I've seen but I feel this reflex to keep him at arm's length because I don't trust that Reddit darling YouTubers aren't going to turn out awful.

Well the pre-video ad when I watched it was definitely something about "Stop Pelosi" so you're probably not wrong.

Honestly I feel like I've been seeing a decline in produce quality and handling across the board

I can't remember the last time I could find a decent head of garlic.
posted by misskaz at 9:45 AM on September 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


One reason garlic sucks in the US is the same reason apples suck; long storage. The garlic you're buying may well be a year old. I know I read a long article about Christopher Ranch (one of the biggest garlic producers) and how they manage this but I can't find it.

Another problem with garlic is that commercially you only see softneck garlic, which is much milder in flavor. Hardneck is tastier.
posted by Nelson at 9:50 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


Funny because "literal inedible gross-ass shit" is how a lot of us feel about Subway in general
posted by noxperpetua at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I could find a decent head of garlic.

Garlic drives me nuts. My local market seems to only stock these bulbs that look like they have nice, large cloves. But, when you take them apart, you find those cloves are actually a bunch of teeny-tiny baby cloves that are a huuuuuge time-wasting pain to process.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2019 [18 favorites]


In order to get around the exact problem of tasteless garlic from the store this past fall I excitedly ordered beautiful varieties of seed garlic from farms in Oregon and built a brand new bed so I could have nice varieties of flavorful garlic.

....only to have goddamn squirrels dig them all up and eat them all. Enjoy your 60 dollars' worth of garlic, jerks.
posted by Karaage at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2019 [43 favorites]


Just to get in on the brand piling-on, my summation of Chipotle is that it is the Subway of “Mexican” food.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 10:26 AM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


A few jalapeños really make the sandwiches better. My favorite pizza place in high school had a sub with banana peppers that I loved. The ability to add what is basically a side salad to my sandwich, and some lively peppers, makes Subway a reasonable option. I don't eat dairy, so no cheese on my meatball sub, but a bunch of spinach and some peppers is pretty good. I feel similarly about Chipotle.
posted by theora55 at 10:30 AM on September 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Honestly I feel like I've been seeing a decline in produce quality and handling across the board in supermarkets

Huh. I thought this was just a side effect of my move from south to north. Onions have extra thick and sometimes mushy layers, celery is full of dirt, prepared salads or salad greens always seem to have rotten leaves in them.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:55 AM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the systematic persecution and terrorizing of America's agricultural labor force is contributing to any of this.
posted by Karaage at 12:23 PM on September 28, 2019 [59 favorites]


When garlic was in season locally earlier this year I bought a couple dozen bulbs, shucked all the cloves and froze them.

Local garlic is tastier than imported garlic (often China, sometimes Mexico, the only California garlic I see is in the organic section) anyway and now I have at least half a year’s supply already shucked. Freezing affects the texture, yes, but not the flavor; since (in my kitchen at least) garlic is nearly always chopped or minced, that’s not actually a problem.
posted by ardgedee at 12:23 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


....only to have goddamn squirrels dig them all up and eat them all. Enjoy your 60 dollars' worth of garlic, jerks.

On the plus side, if you trap the squirrels, they will be pre-seasoned.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:43 PM on September 28, 2019 [57 favorites]


I've been seeing a decline at Whole Foods, but not so much at other supermarkets. I live in Philadelphia.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:59 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


I bought a couple dozen bulbs ... at least half a year’s supply

That much would barely last me two months.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:11 PM on September 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


I slow-cooked lentils with an entire head of garlic in there yesterday. It was so good. I only regret that I was forced to share it with the kids.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2019 [7 favorites]


somehow even jalapeños in the US have been bred for mildness.

Alternatively, the growers ignored this advice. Last batch we grew might as well have been bell peppers. Every year is different.

Garlic, yes, well - doesn't take much to get them growing ad infinitum. Squirrels hereabouts either don't like it or haven't found out about it.
posted by BWA at 1:35 PM on September 28, 2019


Re: Subway. When we’re on the road, Subway is always our go-to for lunch. It’s relatively dependable, non-greasy, not-deep-fried fare. And, I can get an all veggie on flatbread that isn’t gonna lay in my gut for the next three hours of driving. And, yeah, I get the jalapeños on it.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:18 PM on September 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


The thing I consistently see with garlic is brown spots around the perimeter on the outer cloves, I think it's something to do with handling. That and yeah, those tiny tiny cloves once you get past the outer ones.

I figure it's all just cutting corners to make more money, lower quality produce with rougher handling that sits too long and too wet in storage and stays on the shelf longer in the store, everyone along the way squeezing out the last few cents per unit. Overall it's a great way to train consumers to seek out higher quality locally grown produce, which is certainly not the intention! Seriously, we're pumping insane amounts of pesticides onto produce and wrecking our insect populations, dumping nitrogen into every river, and for what? Still have crappy produce.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:45 PM on September 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


This expose merits more thorough statistical analysis of the stem-to-pepper ratio.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:06 PM on September 28, 2019


I have noticed a decline in produce quality across the board. Any non-local garlic I've had in the past 8 months has been decidedly musty smelling. Apples and pears have been inedibly rotten on the interior. Onions have had more mushy layers than previously. Jalapeños, though, have always seemed very variable in their heat levels, at least in New Jersey.
posted by mollweide at 5:33 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Dude needs a tripod.
posted by lkc at 5:35 PM on September 28, 2019


Gotta say I agree, produce seems to be getting worse, most super market garlic is from China and it’s probably not their best stuff + the shipping. Usually we buy a big ass braid of garlic in the fall from local producers, keep it dry and we’re good for a while, it has bigger cloves and is so much tastier.

I’m still mad that subway doesn’t do the triangle cut + pre-packaged meats packets. It used to be so quick, now I have to watch the employee count salamis.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 6:03 PM on September 28, 2019


I actually really like Subway, now that I have learned that the lettuce is the gross bit and should be eschewed. It's not just that the lettuce is gross (although it is) but as far as I can tell there is just a psychological Amount Of Subway that needs to happen when filling a sandwich, and by rejecting the bulky, wilty, tasteless lettuce immediately, the sandwich will have more of everything better than lettuce, i.e. literally anything.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:11 PM on September 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I really don't expect much for a below $10 sandwich; and a consistent favorite line laugh is joking about the stems and roughage in their vegetables. What do people expect for a three or five minute at most sandwich? Coupon it out; all except their premium stuff is $5.99 for a 12".

Want a porterhouse? Go to a steakhouse. Don't go fast food and expect what you don't pay for.
posted by buzzman at 8:01 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Agreed about the lettuce. Swap in spinach instead and it'll both taste better and be better or you.
posted by wanderingmind at 10:05 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


If you can - and I know it's not available/feasible/affordable for everyone - getting produce from a CSA is really the way to go. Pretty much all of our produce is good. I might wish for less cabbage and more peas, but such is life.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:19 PM on September 28, 2019


somehow even jalapeños in the US have been bred for mildness.

I consider this a feature rather than a bug.

With all the bumptious posturing over who can eat the hottest peppers, it's nice to have a mild option for sandwiches that doesn't dominate the flavor mix.
posted by fairmettle at 11:32 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]




Those are no more stems than the top slice of a tomato is a stem.

There, I said it.
posted by joeyh at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2019


Want a porterhouse? Go to a steakhouse. Don't go fast food and expect what you don't pay for.
You forgot “now get off my lawn, you hippies.”

If discussing the crappiness of fast food in a thread that’s about the crappiness of fast food is off the table, what is the new topic?
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 8:43 AM on September 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


With all the bumptious posturing over who can eat the hottest peppers, it's nice to have a mild option for sandwiches

Sure! There's lots of mild peppers. Bell peppers, if you want entirely spice-free. Banana peppers or pepperoncini or cherry peppers if you want a little bit of heat. (Or paprika or shishito, if you can get something a little more exotic). Strips of anaheims work well too for a fairly mild pepper, and New Mexico green chile can be an amazing sandwich topping. Jalapeños are good too, but they are the hot option. They are supposed to be hot. I don't understand why folks would try to make a jalapeño taste like something it's not.
posted by Nelson at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


Karaage: […] I excitedly ordered beautiful varieties of seed garlic from farms in Oregon […] only to have goddamn squirrels dig them all up and eat them all. Enjoy your 60 dollars' worth of garlic, jerks.


When I've planted garlic in the fall, I've put the seed cloves in the dirt, covered them with a layer of fallen leaves for insulation, and then laid chicken wire over that with a few stakes to hold it down. The chicken wire keeps the leaves in place, as well as blocking those pesky squirrels. In the spring, take off the wire and give the leaves a little fluffing to loosen them up, then clear the leaves away once the garlic sprouts are sticking up and the danger of snow has passed.
posted by JiBB at 9:39 AM on September 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


wistfully paging through the garlic seed catalogue, karaage tries hard to ignore the pile of chewed up hot peppers at his feet
posted by Karaage at 3:15 PM on September 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Sure! There's lots of mild peppers. Bell peppers, if you want entirely spice-free.

I like the Subway sweet peppers. I said it, and I'm not ashamed of it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:22 PM on September 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


We didn't really differentiate between serranos and jalapeños when I was a kid - some people's gardens just had smaller, hotter chiles. It wasn't until I moved to CA that I saw them marketed as distinct peppers. A few years later the Big Jim varietal popped up (it's marketed as a heritage seed, but giant and mild and now ubiqitous), and I cannot describe my disappointment at buying a giant chile that was basically a fucking bell pepper.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:10 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Honestly I feel like I've been seeing a decline in produce quality and handling across the board in supermarkets

Sorry to be that guy, but I think we could be likely due to one more effect from the Trump presidency.
https://qz.com/1312336/trumps-proposal-to-take-food-safety-regulation-away-from-the-fda-is-both-a-great-idea-and-a-terrible-idea/
posted by gregjunior at 9:16 AM on September 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


A few years later the Big Jim varietal popped up (it's marketed as a heritage seed, but giant and mild and now ubiqitous), and I cannot describe my disappointment at buying a giant chile that was basically a fucking bell pepper.

Is this common everywhere? I noticed that my normal grocery store jalapenos have doubled in size and become almost tasteless over the past eight years or so. They used to be three inches long or less, had some good heat, and actually tasted like jalapeno. Now they are six-inch mild behemoths that taste more or less like a bell pepper. I end up buying serrano even though the flavor isn't usually what I'm looking for. That or wait for the farmer's market.
posted by FakeFreyja at 9:58 AM on September 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


They used to be three inches long or less, had some good heat, and actually tasted like jalapeno.

I still see those in my (fairly typical, I thought) local chain grocery store. Maybe some stores are mislabeling other pepper types as jalapeno? Maybe their providers have some cross-pollination going on, as mentioned upthread?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:17 AM on September 30, 2019


Banana peppers or pepperoncini or cherry peppers if you want a little bit of heat. (Or paprika or shishito, if you can get something a little more exotic). Strips of anaheims work well too for a fairly mild pepper, and New Mexico green chile can be an amazing sandwich topping.

My local Subway restaurants do not offer these options.
posted by fairmettle at 3:52 AM on October 4, 2019


Teehee yes I guess that got derailed.

Nevertheless, yes, jalapeños got milder and larger over the last 30 years, at least in the US.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:10 PM on October 4, 2019


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