Quavers are a surprise. The picture on the bag made me think they would have the texture and density of Fritos. I allowed myself to fantasize about making “Quaver pie” with artisan chili of my own invention. Blake Lively would find out about this recipe, and mention it on Preserve. If I had pulled my head out of the clouds, I would have realized that Quavers ≠ Fritos based solely on the very obvious description of Quavers as a “potato snack.” I do not think Quavers would enhance my hypothetical artisan chili, but this incompatibility does not diminish their success as a snacky snack.
Quavers are light and dissolve fairly easily, and they also deliver a very satisfying crunch, probably due to tiny air bubbles (like Munchos). They taste vaguely cheesy at first, but I think their strongest flavor is actually onion, which is two-thirds of the way down the ingredient list. I liked them. If I’m being honest, I think these would be great for people who just spent the night partying, and are winding down with a little junk food binge. This type of binge is usually preceded by a desperate scavenge, where one hopes to discover food which has otherwise proved evasive. Imagine discovering Quavers during this forage- such joy! Finding yourself surrounded by Quavers bags in the morning- a decidedly different sensation.
p.s. While writing this post, I discovered that Frito-Lay has a page dedicated to recipes made with Frito-Lay products, INCLUDING MOUNTAIN DEW. Emphasis added for obvious reasons. Instead of artisan chili, maybe I should host a dinner, and after everyone says “that was delicious,” I’ll tell them their chicken was marinated in Mountain Dew. It would be like those Folger’s ads from the 80s.
I know, I know, “under 100 calories” per bag does not a junk food make. I bought this fancy pants popcorn instead of delicious movie theater popcorn. Because I needed a snack if I was going to watch Unbroken. A movie depicting starvation, amongst other terrible things. *Hangs head in shame* I liked the movie AND the fancy popcorn.
This popcorn is “gently hand-popped.” That’s good, because I only eat humanely treated popped corn. In addition to sour cream and chives, it also includes “a dollop of creme fraiche.” I noticed that the popcorn tasted a bit unique- slightly sweet, actually. Upon further investigation (in the less florid version of the ingredient list), I realized that “dried glucose syrup” was probably responsible for the sweetness. I liked the touch ‘o glucose. I’m not sure if it would work on a serious sour cream and chive junk food, such as Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles (which are sooo good with french onion dip, btw), but it works on this light popcorn. I would go so far as to recommend that someone trying to make this at home should mix in a little corn syrup with the sour cream, onion, and chives. Also, I would recommend eating that homemade popcorn by yourself, with a spoon, because I’m not sure how mere mortals can desiccate sour cream and sprinkle it on popcorn.
Wotsits are basically cheesy poofs, which means I hold them in esteem. Unlike other types of cheesy poofs, these do taste more like actual cheese, and less like “cheese food,” which can be a bit more…tangy.
They’re also softer and dissolve faster than more artificial varieties of cheesy poof. This is important, because one of the saddest types of unintentional self-inflicted injuries is a food-related palate abrasion. All of you Sour Patch Kid, Lemon Warhead, and jumbo cheesy poof fans know what I’m talking about. Nacho chips can also cause this problem…depending on the volume and velocity of your consumption (this sounds like a sad attempt at a “real-life” math problem). I also noticed that the Wotsits are all very evenly shaped. In short, Wotsits are the ideal cheesy poof for orderly people with sensitive mouths.
I’m willing to try any cheesy snack or cheesy poof derivative. I’m on the hunt for a UK substitute for my beloved Cheez-Its. My quest continues. Don’t get me wrong- these are pretty good. I like that they’re baked, not fried, and that they don’t have artificial flavors or colors. The initial bite is cheesy, but lacks sharpness. Perhaps a touch more salt could enhance the first bite. Or more sharp cheddar. The aftertaste is cheesy, which would seem obvious for something called “mini cheddars,” but in the world of snack food, it’s not to be taken for granted. I had no problem finishing the small mini-cheddar packet; however, I don’t think I can give this cheesy snack the final rose. I’m going to keep looking.
Although salt and vinegar is not usually my preferred junk food flavor, I’ve been sampling salt and vinegar chips because when in Rome…* This is not my favorite salt and vinegar-flavored snacky snack. A rice cake can’t really masquerade as a kettle chip, can it? This snack hits with a bit of a salt and vinegar punch, but even that can’t mask the rice cake/corn flavor. They also leave kind of a metallic aftertaste. However, if one is on a diet and needs a S&V fix, these will do. I think they’d be better with an extra dash of vinegar.
*By Rome, I mean England.
I started this journal of junk because I recently moved from the US to the UK, and one of my major concerns about living in Europe was the quality of the junk food (and, full disclosure, the availability of Comedy Central and Bravo). I decided to devote some spare time to the public service of reviewing international junk foods.