Sunday, August 30, 2015

Unfortunate Gastric Experiment: Hematogen, the Russian Cows Blood Bar

Astute readers may notice that there's been a short lapse in blog reviews this past week. This is because something unprecedented occurred-I ate something that turned me off of candy for a short spell. In the role of obsessivesweets, I pride myself as diving into any mysterious candy concoction with an open mind and welcoming palate. Sometimes I taste something that disagrees with my idea of delicious but that's all in the name of exploration and culinary adventure. This week, however, I finally tried something that stopped me in my tracks.

Tumuncular adversary, thy name is Hematogen. Mark and I were walking around Brighton Beach, Brooklyn and raiding candy aisles for Russian sweets. Many of these treats will be reviewed in upcoming weeks. One cheerfully wrapped bar was the consistency of a red-tinged soft tootsie roll and I guessed that it had a strong molasses base with a strange note of metal on top. The first bite was pretty tasty but that metal taste lingered really unpleasantly.

I wrote to my friend Masha asking for a translation of the packaging and received a surprising response. The bar is Hematogen, a nutrition bar consisting of difibrinated cow's blood, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Cow's blood? A blood candy bar? Suddenly the metallic taste and warm molasses base made sense. And my stomach turned. And I couldn't stop rerunning the feeling of the bar dissolving on my tongue. And my stomach turned again. And I simply couldn't face another candy bar for a little while.

Score (adventurous eating scale): 5
Score (psychological aftermath): 1


  1. Tumuncular? It's such a poetic word and appropriate to this experience. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? You ingested and digested COW'S BLOOD? NO! Gavalt.

  2. Firstly, this is not a candy, it's protein bar specially made for people who have anemia (very low hemaglobin). It made look like a candy to trick kids who need it, but do not want to eat it (after chemo therapy for example).