Monday, February 16, 2009

Food of the Day -- Cheetos

Waiting for a bus, a car pulled up near me, rolled down the window on the passenger side and a twentysomethingish head offered me Cheetos in a giggly stoner voice. I declined. They enticed me further with the information, "they're the fluffy kind."

That was a few years ago. I turned down this generous offer from strangers, but this weird puffed extruded cornmeal coated with miscellaneous oils, salt, msg and cheddar cheese became more than an occasional favorite. For a while, they were a daily addiction and I attributed some weight gain directly to Earl's (a locally produced Cheetos knock-off). I was constantly running to the men's room to scrub my brightly orange-tinted fingers before they stained accounting reports. I've heard if you don't lick your fingers this isn't an issue, but any degree of moisture creates the problem (the stains, not the addiction).

I considered modifying a hot air popcorn popper and loading it with a soggy cornmeal paste and the cheese popcorn salt you can find in the grocery store. Cut out the Middlemen! DIY all the way! I decided it also had a lot of potential for an electrical fire, but what a way to go!

I've managed to kick the Cheetos/Earl's monkey and spared myself 340 calories a day. I rarely fall off the brightly colored cheese wagon, but my work vending machine has been taunting me. Snacks low in something bad for you merit a "Heart Healthy" sticker. Jalapeno Crunchy Cheddar Cheetos somehow meet this vague distinction.

The Jalapeno flavor is actually hot (to me). But the real problem is they are crunchy. The guys in that car really knew what they were peddling. The puffy kind really are better.

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