June 9, 2009


Pretzel companies love to brag about their great traditions on the back of their packages; often citing the dedication with which their founder hand twisted them and such. That would be relevant if you were trying to sell me a bag of hand-twisted, slow baked, 1900s style pretzels. What I have is a sack of tiny, cold, factory-mold prefabricated thingies flavored only by salt, designed to be eaten fifty at a time. The only tradition in the game here is my own tradition of gluttony. Even when I do see a big pretzel, it is still most likely a thing from a machine that has not earned the right to be shaped like an ampersand. I would settle for a circle if that meant you’d charge me less than five dollars for it.

What’s more wholesome than a big jar of salt? How about one that had been spilled and gathered up prior to usage? I would not trust desert-dwelling men without hats to handle these ingredients. Only to dance safely, and only if they want to.

Pretzels just think they’re better than every other snack, even though about a third of the way through the bag I always want to die. With popcorn, chex mix, p’tater chips, chocolate bars, and all the rest, I never want to die until after I’ve already eaten it all. Which means pretzels last longer, and I get sick more times on a single purchase. Very efficient. Something to keep in mind in a slow economy. So I suppose they are better. But they don’t need to get attitude about it.

Coca Cola is even older than a lot of pretzel brands and there’s no proud boasting printed on containers of that. Because it’s just dumb soda (and because it was originally sold as medicinal wine made with cocaine by a morphine addict with no business sense who suffered from Henniganism).


You don’t pick up a bag of cheetos (I hope) and see on the back something like

The grand Cheetos® brand tradition dates back to 187X when our proud, humble founder Cheslinski Chitowski travelled from Bolshevik Mexico to the United States to fulfill his dream of opening his very own Cheeto stand in Michigan, where he used the old world cheeto method of hand mixing yellow 06 and monoglopxide mccarbonuke to make the original orange dust which he lovingly hand sprinkled over every individual hand misshapen cheeto skeleton. He declared his creation Chitowski’s Astonishing Curd Flavored Corn Wellness Supplement and sold them out of his humble horse drawn van. This dedication to craft, quality, and orange led Chitowski to coin the term “cheetostitude,” the feeling of joy and gradual loss of fine motor skills one gets eating properly prepared cheetos. By the 1930s cheetostitude had become nothing less than a national identity and is credited with ending the great depression, abolishing silent film and bringing Superman from Krypton. An outsider in his time, Chitowski never lived to profit from his work, and went to his death believing it was not easy being cheesy. And yet his message of peace, hard work and safe, reserved quantities of cheesiness lives on to this day in the Dangerously Cheesy modern Cheetos® brand Cheese and Bacon Balls snacks product.

Nobody would take it seriously. THIS is what is printed on the back of a bag of cheetos:


and I forgot what my point was. If there’s anything that’s dangerously cheesy it’s the people writing the labels.



2 Responses
  1. 1
    6:58 am, June 13, 2009

    A flying ear salesman sez:

    I’m not sure I can really begrudge the pretzel manufacturers for trying to imagine themselves part of a proud, pretzley tradition–such a desire for basic dignity is a very human and understandable urge, even when–nay, especially when–it’s not entirely merited. Far more jeer-worthy are those products which attempt to appear X-treme, or, worst of all, “naughty”, as is the case with many types of chocolate. The latter also seems to be particularly fond of the term “decadent”, apparently not realising its common root with the word “decay” — perhaps not the best term to associate with something one wishes to encourage people to eat. A similar phenomenon can be observed in a local university which apparently thought it a fine idea to name its food mart “Entropy”, though I dare say this was more for purposes of X-tremity than of “naughti”ness.

  2. 2
    12:42 pm, June 13, 2009

    Finkeldey Fabrax sez:

    But everybody knows the x-treme business is stupid. If I don’t take the pretzel cartel to task, who will? I must admit, though, that seeing Big X applied to bibles is a new, baffling low (even though it appears to have been published ten years ago and is not new at all). I wish I’d known about that when I was complaining about the other specific-age target bibles, or whatever my problem was that week. I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it, because half the reviews for just that amazon listing are sarcastic or merely negative, but I would have realized what treaded territory I was in and not wasted so much energy fussing about it.
    Sinful decadence in desserts is also quite strange, and I happen to find the word “decadent” amusing regardless of whether I know where it comes from, but I haven’t offended many deities with my choices of empty calories lately. As you might guess, the site entry was inspired by several bags of pretzel-type products I happened to encounter in near chronological proximity. I keep them around because I like to put them in soup.

    Just to clarify, I like to put the bags in my soup. That is all.

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