A Kick in the Nuts
On a recent road trip, the wife and I stopped at a small-town convenience store to stock up on Diet Coke, beef jerky, trucker pills and other driving necessities. As we perused the endless aisles of Eisenhower-era snack cakes, Zagnut bars and Conway Twitty cassettes, a glint of gold caught my eye from a display near the register.
Some marketing genius at Planters decided that ï¿½Nut Poppersï¿½ was a good name for a snack food. I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure that ï¿½Nut Poppersï¿½ was also part of a hazing ritual on my high school’s football team.
a sack of Nut Poppers, a “School of Rock” promotional notebook and The Evil Dead on DVD
Now Nut Poppers might be the tastiest snack food on the face of the Earth. But with that name, its time on the shelves of our nation’s truck stops, Kwik-E-Marts and supermarkets is limited.
So in the interest of preserving a short-lived piece of snack-food history, the Badmouth team leapt into action. I bought some Nut Poppers to conduct what may end up being the only recorded Nut Poppers taste test.
|John reacts to recieving a “nut popper”|
Nut Poppers come in bags ï¿½ or ï¿½sacksï¿½ as I like to call them. And I was able to score a sack full of ï¿½Nutty Originalï¿½ as well as a sack full of ï¿½Cheddarï¿½ Nut Poppers. The back of the packaging hinted at a third flavor, ï¿½Ranch,ï¿½ but no Ranch nut sacks could be found.
|Patti & Tasha giggle at the name|
I assembled a crack team of taste testers, including myself, wife Patti and my niece Natasha. Patti and Natasha both got quite a kick out of the name ï¿½Nut Poppers,ï¿½ while I couldn’t help envisioning a more literal nut-related kick.
We started with ï¿½Nutty Original.ï¿½ I tore into the nut sack with my teeth.
|bite my sack|
Nut Poppers are peanuts covered in a crunchy coating. According to the packaging, the coating on my nuts was made out of wheat flour, cornstarch, peanut oil and ï¿½hydrogenated rapeseed,ï¿½ which I think was included mainly because it sounds naughty.
The back of the package also promised that ï¿½It’s a whole new nut experience.ï¿½ Speaking as a guy, I’ve been looking for a whole new nut experience since high-school.
|Tasha bites down hard!|
We poured the Nut Poppers into a bowl. Each Nut Popper was about the size of a Peanut M&M. Patti, Natasha and I all grabbed a handful of ï¿½Nutty Original.ï¿½
|Poppin’ nuts in my mouth|
The general consensus was that they weren’t bad. Patti felt they reminder her of peanut-filled Combos. Natasha and I weren’t reminded of anything in particular. Patti and Natasha were a little hesitant about fully immersing themselves in the Nut Poppers experience, so I led by example by stuffing my mouth full of Nut Popper goodness.
|Patti grabs a nut|
The coating on my nuts was a little salty, though, so I needed a glass of water in order to wash them down. In the end, we all agreed that they weren’t that bad ï¿½ not good enough to overcome the crappy name, but not too bad.
Then we moved on to the Cheddar.
I sensed trouble from the beginning. The Cheddar Nut Poppers were an unholy orange color that previously could only be found in traffic safety cones and Lucille Ball’s hair. In all other respects they looked a lot like the ï¿½Nutty Originalï¿½ flavor.
|Be afraid. Be very fraid.|
But the taste, oh lord the taste.
You could describe the flavor as ï¿½cheddarï¿½ in the same way that you could describe a catfish wrapped in a soiled diaper and left in the sun for three days as ï¿½fishy.ï¿½ The three-way consensus was that this was one of the most repugnant snack foods that any of us had ever tasted. Cheddar was definitely not better.
One last thing. We found a few ï¿½mutantï¿½ Nut Poppers in the bag. Most were just broken or hollow. But we found one that was malformed in a more suggestive fashion. So we leave you with one final image.
If that doesn’t turn you off of Nut Poppers, I don’t know what will.