Sometimes it’s hard to get your family to support your dreams. Your family might dissuade you from flying over the Sahara in a hot air balloon, or opening a refuge for troubled baboons. Luckily for me, my family supports my dream to eat junk food and then write about it. My parents are my champions- this was abundantly clear when my dad presented me with various bags of Texas junk upon my arrival at the homestead.
While the UK excels at meat-flavored carbohydrate-based snacks, the U.S., particularly the Southwestern U.S., excels at cheese-flavored snacks. I’ve noticed that a cornucopia of cheese snacks are available in Texas, and the Texas grocery chain H-E-B’s cup of runneth over.
H-E-B is a cheesy poof innovator. A couple of years ago, I tasted their buffalo blue cheese poofs. I’m not usually a fan of blue cheese, but those poofs are delish, because the buffalo flavor is more pronounced than the blue cheese flavor. (I suspect that real blue cheese flavor is difficult to replicate in a processed cheesy poof). On this trip to Texas, I had the pleasure of trying H-E-B’s Hijole Cheese Balls and their Reduced Sodium Intense Cheese Puffs.
Regarding the latter, while I know it’s healthy to watch salt intake, sometimes watching salt intake has an inverse relationship with general happiness, so my natural inclination is to be wary of reduced sodium junk food. However, it’s obviously great for people on strict diets. These snacks focus on the rich, buttery flavor of cheese, rather than the savory tang imparted by good ‘ol American sodium. I didn’t mind the buttery flavor, but my family wasn’t enthusiastic about the lack of salt. These puffs were tasty, but not a huge draw.
On the other hand, the Hijole Cheese Balls are muy fantastico (nb- apparently Hijole Cheese Balls translates to Wow Cheese Balls, which is more than appropriate in this case). They combine the lime, cheese, and chili flavors that help make Mexican food delicious. They’re salty, cheesy, and slightly spicy. They have a perfect cheesy poof consistency- not rough enough to grate your palate, but not mushy enough to dissolve in your mouth like one of those biodegradable packing peanuts (I know I’m not the only person who’s been dared to eat one of those peanuts).
I’m sad that the Hijole Cheese Balls aren’t more widely available. Maybe I should import them into the UK…or maybe not, because the British may not be ready for Texas-strength cheesy poof firecrackers.