Description. Fashion editors of late have advocated adding a “pop of” neon to outfits. C&C’s watermelon-flavored soda is both neon and pop, and the product is so intensely hued that we can only recommend its use as an accessory, or emergency light source during extreme weather events, as whatever is responsible for its succulent hue is surely damaging to internal organs — particularly those of the children who likely constitute the bulk of the drink’s demographic. Pre-pubescents gravitate to hyper-sweet ersatzery such as this like kittens to a driveway puddle of antifreeze, and while we hesitate to intrude upon the parenting process, we feel a duty to note that it is much healthier to serve minors a slice of actual watermelon.
Or, for that matter, to trebuchet a 15-pounder at the child’s head at point-blank range. Concussions fade; nephritic acid scarring is forever.
report filed by Dr. D.T. Cole
Description. Someone at Southern California grocer Ralph’s knows that barriers don’t break themselves down. When rice cakes first made their jump from hippie health stores to supermarkets, they got jazzed up with a light dusting of cheese or cinnamon. Ralph’s top food scientists looked at the healthy rice-cake landscape and buried it under a flood of berry sweetness. The addition of what is basically a candy coating to the humble rice cake takes it out of competition with hippie snacks and puts it in the ring with candified treats such as pink-elephant popcorn.
Packaging/Branding. The first thing you’ll notice about the bag is the color and texture of the rice cakes. It’s very purple and very pink, the kind of colors that laugh at nature. The next thing you’ll notice is that they look like hamburger patties. Bon appétit!
Considering a career in the alimentary-research field? Think twice, for you will spend many a greyish-green hour whomping room-temperature cream of mushroom onto sidewalks, to compare its similarity to vomit with that of tapioca; grinding off-brand cheese puffs in a pestle until you develop RSI; and horrifying first dates and prospective in-laws by comparing the top note of a lobster cracker to bacterial vaginosis.
But if you can get through a worthy tome like The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch by Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis without requiring an Alka-Seltzer or a meditation break, you just might have a future in this business.
TGACB is a tirelessly researched, gorgeously illustrated, and astonishingly straight-faced encyclopedic history of the cold-cereal industry. Readers will learn that SpongeBob and Hannah Montana have their own cereals, for instance, and that General Mills VP John Holahan invented the tiny versions of marshmallows we find in breakfast cereals — known within the industry as “marbits” — by cutting up a Brach’s circus peanut. (He subsequently eluded justice.) It’s also an invaluable window into the metric tonnes of horseshit the naïve American consumer would put up with in decades gone by.
The B.A.R.F. has compiled a (Cheeri-)overview of the lowlights, both the cereals themselves and a few of the more egregious forgotten mascots. We highly recommend experiencing the book for yourselves, however.
“Girl Cootie Crunch” didn’t survive the first draft, evidently.
Without the equally off-putting mascot, “Bixby Beaver,” Crunchy Loggs might have avoided the association with turds in the punchbowl. Alas.
Fiesta Fruity Pebbles with Confetti Sprinkles
As a result of a parental sugar-cereal embargo that continues to this day, Dr. Bunting spent most of the ’80s craving the most diabetically sugar-laden breakfast foods on the market, but this would have been a Pixy Stik too far even for her.
Description. A standard Pringle masquerading as a case of rosacea, the pizza-flavored Pringle sports an awkwardly randomized coating of what looks like ketchup-chip powder. It is hard to believe that any process could make a Pringle seem more synthetic, as the “chip” is already an artifice-in-processed-food standard-bearer, reconstituted from powdered potatoes into a perfect palate arch, then over-packaged into a space-agey tube. But the tacky stippling of pizzoid flavor dust succeeds.
Description. Apparently, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich is a titanic effort to construct. How else to explain the proliferation of products meant to cut one’s build time? (The hideous brand names — Goober; Koogle — defy any attempt at rationalization.)
Thus, the PB ‘n J Sandwich Cracker, featuring all the carcinogenic preservatives of the Toast-Chee et al., but none of the illusion of freshness or good taste. Unattractive, stale, and employing the cheapest fake-grape formulation available, the PB ‘n J Sandwich Cracker is an insult to snacking, and to the rules of punctuation.
Packaging/Branding. It is telling that the words “artificially flavored” are rendered nearly the size of the customary noxious branding troll and his ill-fitting footwear at the bottom of the cracker sleeve. It is also telling, if hardly surprising, that Keebler fails to understand the correct punctuation of a contraction, posting only one apostrophe before the “n” (the word “and,” shortened on both sides, requires two apostrophes, one on each side).
Description. Made by the Atkinson Candy Company (the Chick-O-Stick people), the RCB promises “PURE coconut for pure enjoyment!” What it delivers is rather more modest: the bar is hardly an entire rainbow, but a two-color top-of-a-tube-sock layout in glittery Strawberry Shortcake pink and off-white.
Packaging/Branding. A dissonant pairing of a gay-friendly rainbow and the sports-jersey style of font usually called something like “Gridiron” or “Rockne.”
Flavor Profile. The usual disclaimers for a coco-centric snack apply, but coconut lovers will find little to appeal to them, either. The white stripe is unobjectionable, although the texture — a densely Sour-Patch-esque gel cake with a hint of crunch — doesn’t match the taste profile. But the pink sections have an unpleasant pectin-y sourness; apparently, the idea is to replicate a berry of some sort. The…dingleberry, perhaps. Whatever the intent, the result is bilious and off-putting.
Habitat. Pride parades; pairs skate; tiki-themed office retreats.
Field Notes. Another effective route to a high BMI: the RCB contains 45% of the RDA of sat fats.
Revulsion Scale: 6
Description. A burnt-orange tube, dusted with pollen intended to evoke coconut, the Chick-O-Stick has nothing to do with chicken, although the color is reminiscent of buffalo-wing sauce.
The cross-sectioned Stick, a shiny moon-rock-y affair that resembles a ’70s-sci-fi set-design element, has nothing to do with anything found in nature — except possibly feces (the manner in which the peanut flecks are disported…enough said, we trust).
Packaging/Branding. The font and package shapes recall mid-century diner culture. Meanwhile, the company logo’s star and the product name’s label share the same nuclear-meltdown orange as the Stick, and the transparent cellophane makes no attempt to hide or even lessen the visual impact of the homely snack within — a zen attitude our testers almost admire.