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"Pimp My Ride" was originally an American show on MTV where a team of pimpers would take a viewer's clapped out old banger and restore and customize it into a unique new being. The show now has a UK version out, and the concept is growing.
PimpMySnack is not about cars - it's a wonderful interpretation of the theme, and uses sweet and savoury snack foods instead of motor vehicles. On the site the meaning of 'pimp' has also evolved a bit - though it can sometimes mean 'to jazz up and make really special', it can also mean 'to supersize', and supersize they do, to great effect.
Let's start at the beginning. The website ("created on a whim on 3rd April 2006") is a forum where the motto is 'bigger is better'. It is a recipe site with a difference, with all the recipes here being for how to make gigantic versions of well-known snacks, such as Mars bars and Jaffacakes and Polos. And when I saw gigantic, I mean GIGANTIC. Imagine, if you will, a chocolate button 300 times the size of a normal one, a single After Eight mint that requires 400g of chocolate and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate that weighs in at almost 1500g, and you start to get the picture.
Each item is listed on the site with ingredients details (including an estimated price if you were to make it), a recipe (thankfully no calorie counts) and, most crucially, half a dozen or so good quality colour photos. Can't see why that's important? Well, on a site where the aim is to take a product and make a giant replica of it, looks are vital. I could tell you that I just made a waffle bigger than my dinner table, but would you believe me? Not if you're sensible, you wouldn't, you'd want proof, and that's what the pics are all about. As any snack-fiend will know, something can look quite different once a bite's been taken. Often the outside conceals any fillings so well you wouldn't know, at first glance, what's inside, and so a true replica should match all the way through. To prove they've achieved this, the mixers show cross-sections of their creations too - and though they might not be identical, it's amazing how similar a Mars Bar or Lion replica can look even when you make them yourself and opt for an increase in size by 20 or 30 times.
I think the beauty of the site is that it's so homemade, just like the products. The photos show you people's own kitchens, tell you which supermarkets they shop at, what their taste in décor is, things like that. The descriptions which accompany the recipes are straightforward enough for you to try this at home if you wish, but invariably come out in a humourous accent. You only have to look at one of the recipes where, having run out of chocolate bars, the chefs steal their kids' Easter eggs to see this. Cue a shot of a child faking some tears (I hope!) as the eggs go into the melting pot. The thing that shines through most is that the people writing and creating on the site really do love their chocolates and sweets - more than a few recipes include comments such as "make sure you don't eat too much of the mixture at this stage or you'll end up on a mad dash to the shop like I did". And dontcha just know that would happen if you were doing it, too? Trust me, I've been there, done that, eaten the cake mix…and ended up having to pass-off a shop-bought beauty as my own when time runs out.
Although you have the tools to recreate any of the experiments featured on the site, thanks to the detailed ingredients lists and step by step recipes, not all the results would be edible. Some have proved to be, and this is documented with the final picture, but others are much more for show than anything else. And what a show it is! As someone whose talents lie far away from the fields of art and home economics, I'm overawed at some of the more quirky products they've copied, like the jammie dodgers and the curlywurlies. If you didn't know better, you might mistake the photos for something from a special event or world-record attempt, for which a giant replica has been professionally made.
The recipes are contributed by various different people, and are credited to them so you can see who has concocted what. Because of this the 'voice' of the recipes can differ, as can the level of humour injected, and the standard of the English and style of writing, but all seem to be sent in (or perhaps edited) by people whose writing would be welcomed warmly onto this site. They're chatty, lively and honest - and come across as having a real passion for their newly discovered hobby.
This is a site to look at and laugh at above all else. Although there are areas beyond the 'Pimpin' projects' and the 'Simple pimps' in which the recipes lie, they are not extensively developed and include really just a simple chat forum, and info on possible branded merchandise that might be up for sale soon. The contact and history pages are equally brief, meaning I can't tell you much more about the site beyond my assumption that someone was a bit bored a few weeks ago and started looking through their kitchen cupboards with some dangerous 'what if..?' thoughts in their head. That's not the say the site is lacking in any way. As a forum to showcase the creators' talents it works magnificently. The colour scheme is sleek and un-offensive. The site is easy to navigate, and adverts are kept to a minimum, neatly tucked away from the main features. If I could change one thing about the site it would be the way they order items. Currently they are put up in date order, rather than alphabetically, so you have to pay attention if there's a particular one you're looking for when you scroll down. Other than that, I think it's a funky, cool, innovative idea, and I hope it keeps on going for some time. And if there's anyone from the site reading this, how about upping your tastes to the like of Lindt? A monster Lindor truffle? I'd be in a chocolate-filled Zoë heaven!