I’m going to guess that not everyone reading this 1) spent their adolescent years in the early to mid ’90s, and 2) read superhero comics.
But that’s okay.
(Statistically, you’re almost certainly better off for it.)
All you need to know is this: in the early ’90s, comic book publishers went absolutely, 100 percent bugfuck insane. Comics were selling like crazy, movies and cartoons had people interested in the characters, and everyone believed their mint copy of X-Force #1 was going to make them fabulously wealthy someday, whereas its primary use today is to prop up uneven table legs at comic stores everywhere.
To keep the cash train running, publishers came up with a ridiculous variety of gimmicks to entice you to buy their wares. They did variant covers. Holographic covers. Glow-in-the-dark covers. Photo covers. Silent issues. Sideways issues. Issues with nothing but splash pages. Superman died. Batman crippled. Green Lantern genocidal. Spider-Man wearing armor. One comic writer, upon dying, had his ashes mixed into the ink for the printing of a trade paperback he had written. It was madness.
(Except the last one, that was tight. Miss ya, Grue!)
Why do I bring this up? Because I increasingly get that same “’90s comics” vibe when I think about Pop-Tarts. They started out as a nice, simple breakfast pastry for kids. Eventually came new flavors, nothing wrong with that. But then they just started throwing shit at the wall to see what stuck.
We got Pop-Tarts clearly designed for dessert, not breakfast. We got seasonal Pop-Tarts with winter images printed on them. We got Wild! Pop-Tarts. And even Pop-Tarts that let you show your school spirit. And now? Well, now we’ve got a sub-brand of Pop-Tarts called Oatmeal Delights with two varieties, Frosted Strawberry and Frosted Mapley Brown Sugar; we’ll be looking at the latter. I suspect we’re supposed to think “mapley” is just a cute stylistic tic, but I’m interpreting it in more of the “vaguely reminiscent of maple” way. Your mileage may vary.
I’m not going to lie — the box itself is almost worth the purchase. There’s just so much going on there. On the front, nearly every image and word is set at an angle like you’re eating M.C. Escher’s own toaster pastries. I thought Pop-Tarts had long ago accepted they were never going to be the healthy option, yet this package can’t stop trying to convince me it’s nutritious, touting its 8 vitamins and minerals, made from whole grain, no high fructose corn syrup, no trans fat, plenty of calcium and B vitamins, and a good source of fiber.
(Spoiler: the calories and total fat are not ridiculous, but still not what anyone would mistake for “healthy.”)
The back of the box avows that each pastry contains the perfect amount of icing, which I’m calling bullshit on because “perfect” is a strong word and pride goeth before the icing fall, or whatever. There’s also one of those barcodes you can scan with your smartphone to learn more info, although I didn’t because I was crushing it on Angry Birds and you’ve really gotta ride that streak out.
TL;DR. Just… how do they taste? Not quite how I was expecting, but still pretty good. The outer layer is crispy, with cinnamon oat crumbles liberally coating it and curvy drizzles of icing. The inside filling is definitely gooey and tastes of brown sugar and maple (“mapley,” if you will), although I can’t say it particularly screams oatmeal. That’s not a criticism per se, it’s just that these could easily be called Maple Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts with no mention of oatmeal and you wouldn’t question it.
Still, the flavor did bring me back to college, stealing instant oatmeal packets from the dining hall so I’d have something to eat at 11:00 PM when it was time to start that term paper. Good times, good times. Also, there’s a reasonable amount of filling, slightly less so on each of the ends, as per usual.
All told, the brown sugar crumbles, icing, and maple filling add up to an appealing whole. Not overflowing with sheer unadulterated flavor perhaps, but a solid effort that you can maybe trick your brain into thinking is healthy if you work at it. Much like holographic covers and sideways issues, these probably won’t be around for long, so try some while you can!
(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry – 200 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 15(!) grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Kellogg’s Oatmeal Delights Frosted Mapley Brown Sugar Pop-Tarts
Purchased Price: $1.98
Size: 8 toaster pastries
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Cinnamon oat crumbles both look and taste appealing. Box isn’t attractive, but crammed with so much that you’ll buy it just to have something to read on the train. The maple(y) taste was good, though could have been more pronounced. Perhaps slightly better for you than regular Pop-Tarts. Pretty cheap. The ’80s comic industry.
Cons: The ’90s comic industry. Might’ve benefited from a little more oatmeal crammed in there. At this rate, TIB will soon become an all-Pop-Tarts review blog, instead of just a mostly-Pop-Tarts review blog. Kinda dull to look at — white icing would’ve offset that a little.