July 14, 2014

Hook Honey Bun Goldfish if you can

These Honey Bun Goldfish Grahams must not have made enough of a splash to stick around.
Production of the honey bun variety of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Grahams may have already dried up, but I think it's important to write about them for the fossil record.

I found a few packs swimming around on the shelf of a Pepperidge Farm outlet in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and I haven't seen one anywhere else since then. The Honey Bun grahams are also conspicuously absent from the Goldfish Grahams product site, which currently only lists Vanilla Cupcake, Fudge Brownie, Cookies & Cream and S'mores varieties.

From an evolutionary standpoint, I can understand why these particular crackers may have died out. Goldfish Grahams, for anyone who hasn't seen them, are shaped like the swimming cheese snacks loved by children everywhere, only they're graham crackers. I've previously sampled the Vanilla and S'mores varieties, reviewing the latter. It netted an impressive four-and-a-half sporks out of five.

The Vanilla version, while not making this particular blog, was almost as good. But it no longer exists, apparently having given way to the fancied-up Vanilla Cupcake version. And that's where we come back to the subject of today's discussion, Honey Bun grahams.

The Honey Bun flavor is good, but it's not that different in taste from regular Vanilla. Since Vanilla seems to have had to evolve into the whiz-bang "Vanilla Cupcake" to survive, it stands to reason that plan old Honey Bun just wasn't cutting it on store shelves. Still, if you see a pack in an outlet or online somewhere, it might be worth shelling out a couple of bucks to grab a piece of history.

There's just a trace of honey that lingers after every bite. It combines with the standard flavor of graham crackers to drive you back for another handful. You also might want to have a glass of milk handy, because the eating process is bound of leave you thirsty.

Overall, these fish are worth eating, even if they are a rare breed. I'm a big supporter of sustainable seafood, but this is one fish that we can't (and shouldn't) preserve. Any bags of Honey Bun Goldfish are quaint relics of time at this point, but they're moving closer to suffering as fish out of their historical waters.

Enjoy them while you can. They're worth four sporks out of five.

July 2, 2014

What's a pretzel without salt?

An adjective, as you may know if you remember grade school English class, is a type of word that tells you something about a noun. It's the color added to a sentence. The spice sprinkled on a dish.

It's also where a lot of food companies get themselves into trouble.

I bring this up today after trying out Snyder's of Hanover Sweet and Salty Pretzel Pieces. The packaging plays up two major adjectives: sweet and salty. And you can probably guess that I'm taking issue with that collective description.
Did anyone try these before naming them sweet and salty?
Before we get into that, let's take a moment to describe the snack I sampled. Snyder's Sweet and Salty line comes in two varieties. There's cinnamon sugar, which I tried. Then there's salted caramel, which wasn't available at the rather limited vending machine I accessed (the life of a food critic is a glamorous one).

Either way, the basic formula is chunks of sourdough pretzels blanketed in flavor. In my case, the tastes on tap were cinnamon and sugar, both present in abundance. Both sweet.

But neither of them lived up to the latter part of the "sweet and salty" labeling. In fact, not one thing on my sourdough hunks provided anything approaching a salty kick to the taste buds. Despite a significant 290 milligrams of sodium listed on the nutritional information — 12 percent of your daily value — there was nary a hint of NaCl to be found.

It's a shame, too, because the pretzel is a blank canvas that can successfully hold a wide variety of flavors. They classically include chocolate coating, hot sauce and honey mustard. They also include cinnamon and sugar.

These Snyder's of Hanover pretzels are darned tasty. They just aren't darned salty. So bring your table shakers or go find a salt lick if you want sweet and salty cinnamon sugar pretzels from this package.

I'm holding out hope that the salted caramel variety better lives up to the branding. In the mean time, I'm left with a good munch that was completely mislabeled. While it's tempting to be more harsh, a highly palatable snack leaves me willing to sprinkle three sporks out of five in this case.