NSFM2012 - Day 23
Featured snack: Reese’s Crispy Crunchy bar
Rating: 13 Bart Simpson endorsements
I’ve always liked Butterfinger. For a long time, it was my go-to vending machine choice. The problem is that Butterfingers are so dense and one-dimensional that you kind of lose your taste for one by the time you are 3/4 of the way through it (they are also really big). Plus, Butterfinger’s claim to be “peanut-buttery” has always seemed a bit dubious to me - that crunchy almost toffee-like substance that makes up most of a Butterfinger is a lot of things (including completely delicious) but I’m not sure I would describe it as having the qualities of peanut butter. Anyway, we all know the king of candy peanut butter answers to the name Reese (and to his boss since 1963, Mr. Hershey).
What Reese’s has done with their new “Crispy Crunchy” bar is solve all of the (aforementioned) problems I didn’t even know I had with Butterfinger. The smaller, lighter, and more peanut-buttery bar uses actual peanuts in the chocolate coating in order to take away some of the burden from the filling. The filling is more nuanced too, with a thin layer of classic Reese’s peanut butter on top of the crunchy Butterfinger-like base of the bar. The result is not only gooier and not as likely to crumble in the wrapper as Butterfinger, but just an overall more satisfying and multi-dimensional snack.
Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are without the trail being nobly blazed by Butterfinger (and his predecessor, the Chick-o-Stick) so I don’t want to come across as ungrateful to a candy bar icon. Butterfinger got me through a lot of Freshman year High-School lunch periods as it will continue to do for generations and my hat is off to him. But, like any lunch room, there should be room at the table for the new kid.
NSFM2012 - Day 15
Featured snack: Little Debbie’s Nutty Bars
Rating: 26 grade school cafeterias
Like their biggest competitor Hostess, Little Debbie has been producing affordable, individually-wrapped cookies, cakes and pastries for sweet-toothed post-war Americans on the go for decades. And they’ve been doing it at a price point consistently lower than their candy competitors one aisle over. Unfortunately, to produce these shrink-wrapped wonders so that they can sit on the shelf for so long and so little cost, they have to rely rather heavily on things like hydrogenated oils, processed flours, and tons of weird preservatives.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Nutty Bars are an exception to this rule. A look at their nutritional information can be disconcerting, even to an unrepentant snack-addict like your humble narrator here.
I am going to sit here and tell you, however, that Nutty Bars are singular in relation to almost all of the other products in the Convenience Snack Cake universe within which they sit, whether they be Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, Swiss Rolls, Star Crunch, Ding Dongs, Mini Muffins, Sno-Balls, Fudge Brownies, Fruit Pies, Marshmallow Pies, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Donuts or Donettes in that they are not totally depressing and gross.
Nutty Bars manage to occupy a unique position in the world of mass marketed sweets in that their are neither candy bar, snack cake, or cookie and yet they look like the former, eat like the latter, and are marketed and sold like the middler; a perfect tripod of all the things that are good about what happens when you put sugar and flour and oil together. Their light, wafered elegance and perfect, paired proportion allows them to transcend the sticky, overly sweet and clearly (to the tongue and eyes) chemically preserved nature of their brethren. And damn it they are so good.
A lot has been said in the media lately about the possible ending of an American Snack Cake Icon. It won’t bother me at all to see the Twinkie go the way of the Pudding Pie but if anything ever happens to Nutty Bars, we’re going to have a real problem.
NSFM - Day 20
Featured snack: Ants on a Log
Rating: Ants on a motherf*cking log!
Review: Yes, you can combine the crisp crunch of fresh celery with the nutty goodness of your favorite peanut butter and have a very fine snack. But when you spend the effort to add that little row of raisins, a kind of mysterious magic kicks in and the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. Now you are eating ants. Ants, by God! And what of the PB? Sweet gooey sap, perhaps? It’s like you’ve suddenly become a snacking Robinson Crusoe, creating a nutritious delicacy from what you’ve been given by nature (or your slave Friday, or your Mom). Regardless, it’s the kind of empowerment one rarely gets from raisins.
I would hate for my objective rating system to be overcome by childhood nostalgia. Nevertheless, I am giving AOAL my highest rating ever: 1,000,000 ALF lunchboxes!