Skip to content

Fear and Loathing: Snack Food Greatness

March 23, 2011

Traditional snack foods aren’t generally my cup of tea. If I’m going to eat in between meals I would prefer to have a second breakfast or a second lunch. Granted, my meals are generally smaller than the average bear’s. But when I eat, I do like to sit down and enjoy my food.

That’s not to say I don’t snack.

Like anyone else, sometimes I get busy and skip a meal. It’s tragic, I know. And those are the times I need a handful of something to munch. Generally I go for nuts. They are satisfying and not filled with a laundry list of questionable ingredients. Other times I will go for a piece of fruit. Since discovering Burn Notice, I now keep yogurt on hand as well.

But when I was in D.C. last time, my old friend La introduced me to something as horrifying as it is delicious. And since she brought this infernal product into my life, I must confess that I’ve become addicted. I don’t know whether to curse her or thank her.

First, I think it’s important to remind you all that I abhor the use of artificial flavors. For the record, I’m not too keen on natural flavors either, which can be practically identical to artificial flavors but are just extracted using outdated technology. The thing is that food should taste like food. The only reason flavoring agents need to be used is that foodstuffs are so heavily processed that they don’t taste like anything anymore. And frankly I don’t find that to be appetizing in the slightest.

Well, this new treasured bag of snack time nirvana has the words, “ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED” in all caps on the front of the package. And you know what? I’m undeterred.

When Snyder’s of Hanover says their pretzel pieces are, “BURSTING WITH FLAVOR!” they are not joking. Biting into one of the Hot Buffalo Wing flavored pieces recreated the juiciness and mouth filling fattiness of biting into an actual wing covered with butter.

How is that even possible?

Well, they don’t skimp on fat. There are 7g of fat in a 28g serving and almost a half of that is saturated. Yay palm oil! Plus because the pretzels are broken before the flavoring agents are applied, the surface area to interior ratio is huge. Plus the flavored powder really sticks much better to the exposed interior surfaces of a pretzel than it would to its smoother and shinier outer shell.

There is also a not insignificant amount of food science at work. Mouth-fillingly delicious food science.

Apparently creating umami (aka a mouth-filling sensation of deliciousness) isn’t that hard. If you add disodium inosinate and guanylate to monosodium glutamate, you’ve got it.

If I didn’t love Buffalo wings, these would be much less appealing.

But I totally feel like a junkie when I eat them. Mostly I’m trying to recapture the thrilling sensation of the first bite I had in D.C. However, it has been elusive. Still, these are crazy delicious, and I keep saying that I’m going to stop bringing them into the house.

Even though I go grocery shopping with a list, and there were no snack foods on the sheet, my cart somehow found its way to the pretzel aisle. My hand reached out for the bag. I picked it up. Then I put it back. Something must have gone terribly wrong because when I was checking out, there was that bag of pretzel pieces.

I’m looking down at it right now. And it’s looking back up at me. Thankfully it’s closed, and I have no intention of opening the bag. But all the same, I feel comforted that it’s here.

I think that means I’ve got a problem.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob W. permalink
    March 23, 2011 11:19 am

    For your own safety, I implore you not to mix them with Snyder’s ranch-flavored pretzel pieces, as I once did at a party when a bowl of each was sitting side-by-side.

    Not even my nutritionist knows the depths to which I sunk during that dark, delicious time in my life.

  2. Kerosena permalink
    March 23, 2011 12:26 pm

    I used to looove the honey mustard and onion flavor, until I was blindly eating from the package one day and accidentally chomped a pretzel-sized clod of seasoning powder. It was so intensely salty and flavor-y that the memory has kept me from anything other than plain, unflavored pretzels for the past year or so. It was pretty bad.

  3. March 23, 2011 3:46 pm

    I also went through a phase with the honey mustard and onion ones. Awhile back, though, I developed a weird intolerance for MSG, so sometimes when I eat that stuff on an empty stomach I have to lie flat on my back for 12 hours til the room stops spinning and my spine stops buzzing into my face. Needless to say, this has forced me to become a lot more selective about my food choices.

  4. jess g permalink
    March 23, 2011 4:04 pm

    Garlic Bread Pretzel Pieces. nomnomnomnom

  5. March 24, 2011 8:46 am

    My husband’s nephew* is obsessed with Snyder’s of Hanover. I’m tempted to send this link to him.

    My weakness is the white cheddar smartfood popcorn. I find myself venturing to the shop at my office buying the $.99 bags in the afternoon.

    *I guess that makes him my nephew, huh? I’m still getting used to this; I was an only child and long ago accepted the fact that I would never be an aunt, and when I got married I also got five nieces and nephews. It’s awesome, but strange for me. :)

  6. March 24, 2011 10:56 am

    I would bathe in every flavor of these if it was socially acceptable.

  7. March 24, 2011 2:06 pm

    I adore Snyder’s jalapeño pretzels so much that I allow myself to buy a bag only every three or four months. My occasional indulgence has thus far kept them from a becoming weekly purchase.

  8. March 24, 2011 11:45 pm

    mmmmm, the pumpernickel onion version…..

  9. Mmm permalink
    July 13, 2015 6:59 pm

    I forgot about these. I love the Buffalo, Jalapeño and Honey mustard varieties. I haven’t tried the other flavors but I’m certain they are equally fantastic. Like many others stated on this post I forbid myself from buying a full sized bag and resort to the occasional single serving pack found at convenience stores. I just don’t read the nutritional data on the back since discovering one small packet has more then one serving.

  10. April 28, 2016 10:28 am

    That said, I’ve had overall damaging impressions of PhDs having the ability
    to get jobs after graduating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: