August 17, 2007

Spice up your Life, Spice up your Cheetos

It's a given that Frito Lay makes a spicy variety of their ever-popular cheetah-branded puffs. But you can expect those to be Cheetos with a little hot sauce mixed in, amounting to little more than an overpowering blast of brute spiciness. But the slightly more complex taste of Jalapeño has always melded well with cheese, and it has always melded well with chips. Logic would follow that it would meld well with cheesy puffs, which are almost a mutated hybrid of cheese and chips.

Logic is correct. If you like Cheetos and if you also like the flavor of Jalapeño, chances are you'll be smitten with Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos as a quality junk food. I actually ate the whole bag, in a period of two hours -- a course of action that should be thoroughly discouraged.

In fact, the only real flaw of this variety of Cheetos might be that it is too easy to eat too many of them. That's a flaw shared by all Cheetos, so if you expect to face it when you open the bag, there shouldn't be too much of a problem. Of course, they stick to your fingers. Of course their overabundance of salty cheese flavoring makes you thirsty. Of course you feel like a bloated cow after eating them. It's part of the Cheetos experience.

Just be careful not to take that experience too far. The whole bag gave me something which I can only describe as the dreaded junk-food hangover. I awoke the next day with a bit of a headache and a pain in the stomach to match none. These symptoms persisted all day.

The body will punish you for putting too much of anything in it. That can be beer, milk or fiber, it doesn't matter. But the human anatomy seems to reserve a special type of pain for the junk food hangover that involves an excruciating tearing sensation in the gastro-intestinal tract and a need to burp incessantly.

The fact that Jalapeño was involved in the cheese snacks probably didn't help the junk food hangover, either. Long the enemy of stomachs and intestines, Jalapeño flavoring can join with greasy food to tag team even the strongest digestive juices into painful submission. Keep that in mind when you start your bag of Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos. Also keep in mind the slightly intoxicating effect of eating a few of the twisted cheesy sticks -- your cravings will only grow stronger the longer you eat them. In fact, your cravings will likely mirror the Jalapeño flavor, which also grows stronger the longer you eat them.

As it stands, Cheddar and Jalapeño Cheetos earn 3 sporks out of a possible five. If not for the painful morning after, their tasty nature would almost certainly give them a higher ranking. Unfortunately, they should bear a Surgeon General's Warning advising of the painful side effects of consuming too many cheese puffs. Cheetos should also consider an advertising campaign urging eaters to "enjoy responsibly."

A little more responsibility certainly would have helped me.

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