November 29, 2012

Ritz Bits Kickin' Cheddar sandwiches are afoot

Kickin' Cheddar could use more heat to boot.
Do you know what I love about supermarkets? The sense of discovery.

It doesn't matter whether you're in the largest Wegmans or the smallest mom-and-pop grocery store in the wilderness on the way to your favorite camping site, you'll almost always stumble on something unexpected at the supermarket. Well, you will if you keep your eyes sweeping over the shelves instead of locking them on the front of the store while barreling toward the express checkout lane in an attempt to get in and out as quickly as possible. Grocery shopping is one of the most important things you can do, folks. It's bringing bread home for you and your family. Cherish it.

In case you couldn't tell, I had a recent brush with discovery in the supermarket. I stumbled across a food that was at once new and familiar to me. Familiar because it was a snack of which (wich) I've always been fond. New because it was a fresh permutation of said snack.

The treat which (wich) I discovered, as you've no doubt discerned from the title of this post, was Ritz Bits Kickin' Cheddar sandwiches. And if you hadn't figured it out yet, we need to have a serious discussion about reading comprehension. I shudder to think about your ability to follow baking instructions.

Ritz Bits sandwiches are an old friend of mine. They were probably responsible for a fair amount of my body mass as a youth, as I'm certain I consumed more of them than I did fruits and vegetables combined over my first dozen-odd years of life. They have two main varieties, cheese and peanut butter, with cheese being superior. Some other variations have appeared and disappeared from shelves over the years. The best of the non-stalwarts was the s'mores sandwiches, which (wich) I sadly haven't seen lately.

Not that I've been paying enough attention to the Ritz Bits section of the grocery store, apparently. This week was the first time I've ever seen Kickin' Cheddar 'wiches, yet a quick Google search tells me they've been around for quite some time. Perhaps I'm the one who needs to do a little less staring at the express lane.

Regardless of whether I'm late to this kickin' party, we're going to jump right into the review. The recipe is pretty much what you'd expect: two tiny Ritz crackers flank a shot of blatantly fake cheddar cheese. Only unlike the standard Ritz cheese sandwiches, this cheese substitute comes with what the box calls a "mild spicy kick."

"Mild" is an understatement, to put it, well, mildly. And "kick" is an equal overstatement, as long as we're kicking the tires on this promotional language. The cheesy filling does have a quality that resembles spiciness, but it's more olfactory than anything else. The sensation of eating these is roughly analogous to taking a whiff of green Tabasco sauce and then stuffing a few Ritz Bits cheese crackers in your mouth.

Strangely, that makes for a snack that's fairly pleasant. I could eat these all day without a problem. To be honest with you, I very nearly did -- I finished the box over the course of two evenings.

Unfortunately for Ritz, I had higher hopes than "fairly pleasant." I wanted my old favorite cheese cracker sandwiches to be bolstered with a blast of heat that would play to my adult love for spicy food. Instead I got crackers that couldn't deliver on their smell.

There's also the issue of the green specks in the cheesy filling. I guess they're supposed to evoke thoughts of hot peppers, but they remind me more of mold.

I very much want to give these sandwiches a high score. In fact, I'll probably buy them again in the future, because they're a decent change-up from the cheese sandwiches of my adolescence. But I can't get past the fact that they need more fire.

So I'll give them a middling rating of three sporks out of five. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the supermarket to see if I can discover some Ritz Bits Fiery Cheddar sandwiches, or something along that line.

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