Snack Memory Lane

By Paul Scheer

Paul Scheer lives and works in Pompeii. When the going gets tough, he snacks on Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, but when the tough get going, he prefers Kettle Brand Salt-and-Vinegar Potato Chip


Throughout the years my choice of snacks has varied. My preferences have ebbed and waned. Now join me as I walk down SNACK MEMORY LANE.

DORITOS – This was the earliest snack I could remember loving. I’d eat them by the bagful. This was before they were in bags that shared the same design scheme and color of motocross uniforms. The bag was simple, Old World even. There was nothing denoting EXTREME or EXPLOSIVE taste. Rather it was just “TACO FLAVOR.” There was a portal to inside of the bag, so you could see whether the bag was full or empty. How you saw it was up to you. (Lifehack: my mom and I used to dip Doritos in sour cream; it was pretty amazing. Try it.)

BIG LEAGUE CHEW – This was my childhood snack of choice; it was SHREDDED GUM! Now I had the power to decide how much gum I wanted and when I wanted it. No longer did I need to play patsy to the gum lobby. I now had total control. Plus it had the added effect of being a gateway snack for the adult-iest snack: CHEWING TOBACCO.

NERDS – Before the embarrassment of NERDS ROPE, there was simply just NERDS. A small box divided in half, reminiscent of the ill-fated MCDLT, you made the candy to your liking in the palm of your hand. It was my earliest experience with cooking and I think Julia Child would agree that finding the perfect flavor was an exacting art similar to French cuisine. This candy also, while called NERDS, bridged the gap between jocks and nerds, as friends and enemies would congregate and share a little of their box to help you improve your candy-eating experience.

FROSTY – WENDY’S, YOU DID IT! You created the perfect companion to a burger and fries. Enough said. Fribble, McDonald’s and Burger King shakes can suck a D. They have nothing on the ice-cold Frosty.

WARHEADS – Imagine eating a lemon full of razorblades. Sound good? Then I have a snack for you. Warheads: they were my favorite college candy; eating them is the closest I ever came to doing hardcore drugs. The overwhelming power in these bite-sized suckers could take down most NAVY SEALS. I once heard before the raid on Osama’s compound, everyone did a Warhead. (INTERESTING FACT: a college friend and I made our own Warheads T-shirts based on the Sour Scale on the back.)

TAKE 5 – This was my snack of the early 2000s. Our nation had just been attacked. Our country was at war, but my tastebuds were being pacified by this ingenious mix of pretzels, chocolate, peanut butter and caramel. It was like a Twix if the Twix grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. If Take 5 was a person, he’d probably not use a condom. Oddly, after Obama was elected, Take 5s didn’t taste as sweet. It was a candy bar for the right time.

TOSTITOS w/ a HINT LIME – “FUCK YOU!” I exclaimed when I first tasted the explosive power of this tortilla chip with a kick. This snack scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had. This was what I was looking for. Finally something worthy of being dipped into salsa! HELL, you didn’t even need salsa, that’s how good they are. And because it’s just a “hint,” not a burs,t of lime, surely they must be the healthiest chip on the market. Yeah, totally!

Which all brings me to. …my current snack of choice:

PRETZEL CRISPS – I’m older, wiser; my taste is more refined. While I’m not going down the cracker route (sorry, Brown Rice Triscuits, I’m not there. Not yet), I want something reminiscent of a chip that can be paired with a dip or snack (cheese, hummus, etc.) or that can be eaten alone. Truly the Transformers of the current-day snack world. The flavors are intense (e.g,. Buffalo Wing) and the presentation is classy. This is the snack you bring home to meet Mom.

However, there is one snack that, unlike these others, stands the test of time: the almighty TWIZZLER. In many respects the Twizzlers is the outcast of the candy community. It doesn’t have exciting commercials or a jingle. Probably the most defining pop culture moment it had was that Mummenshanz-style commercial they did in the late ‘80s. Which honestly was a blight on this tasty treat. This is the only candy treat I enjoy at the movies and it won’t weigh you down or make you feel gross afterward. It is perfection. Need proof? Bite off both ends and use it as a straw in your Coke. Oh, before I go further I must point out: TWIZZLERS ARE NOT RED VINES. Anyone compares TWIZZLERS to RED VINES should get an automatic hit into their genitals. Red Vines is EPCOT CENTER. Twizzlers are the World.

Is there a snack I hate? Yes, CIRCUS PEANUTS, but that’s a story for another day.