ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Erin

Well this is exciting and slightly awkward. I get to introduce myself! Hello! My name is Erin, and I’m so bad at introductions that when they occur in person, whoever I’m meeting usually ends up thinking my name is Karen. I’m then faced with the difficult decision of correcting them or just pretending to be Karen for the rest of the time we know each other. Thankfully I’m a little better at writing than speaking, so that shouldn’t be a problem here.

For as long as I can remember of my thirtyish years on Earth, I’ve been obsessed with food, specifically snack food and its packaging. I’m the youngest child of a fairly large family, so growing up I did a lot of grocery shopping with my mom, spinning the Kool-Aid rack and scrutinizing the cereal section for the best prize. The grocery store is still one of my favorite places, and I spend an unnatural amount of time wandering the aisles and taking in what’s new and who’s updated their labels. I probably should have pursued a career in food marketing or writing or something, but instead, I wound up as a dog walker. The beauty of this is that it affords me the opportunity to work from 11 a.m to 3:30 p.m. and spend the rest of my time doing whatever I feel like, which is usually reading about new Pringles flavors.

I enjoy cooking and baking and do both frequently, but it’s still common to find me eating Kraft Dinner and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets once a week because that is a perfectly acceptable meal and not just for a five-year-old. I tend to give away most of what I bake because while homemade things are delicious, I also need to save room and calories for the next seasonal variety of peanut butter cups.

I was born on the East Coast, and both sides of my family are from the Coal Region of Pennsylvania. I’m strongly of the opinion that the best pretzels come from PA, and it was there that I learned to love Tastykakes and American cheese on pizza. It doesn’t belong on every pizza, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. If you do try it and choose to knock it an hour later when you’re still scraping cheese off your teeth, fair enough. I moved to Chicago about fifteen years ago, and it’s been home ever since. It’s a great city for food and a great city in general.

If you take me on a road trip, I’ll spend too long in every gas station making sure I’ve seen all the regional chip brands. I’m deeply disturbed by the closing of Long John Silver’s restaurants. I might be the only person that misses tan M&M’s. Sometimes I go through my kitchen cabinets and realize I’ve accidentally accumulated four pounds of Arby’s sauce packets. If these sound like qualities you enjoy in a person, I think we’ll get along great. As a long-time Impulsive Buy reader, I’m excited to have the chance to review and share my thoughts with this awesome community. Bring on the snacks!

SPOTTED – 11/30/2021

Here are some interesting new products found on store shelves by your fellow readers. If you’ve tried any of the products, share your thoughts about them in the comments.

Pez Game of Thrones The Iron Anniversary
Pez Game of Thrones The Iron Anniversary

(Spotted by DJ at Rite Aid.)

Hu Almond Crunch Dark Chocolate Bar
Hu Almond Crunch Dark Chocolate Bar
Hu Hazelnut Coffee Dark Chocolate Bar
Hu Hazelnut Coffee Dark Chocolate Bar

(Spotted by Sarah R at Sprouts.)

Hu Mint Snacking Dark Chocolate Gems
Hu Mint Snacking Dark Chocolate Gems
Hu Salty Snacking Dark Chocolate Gems
Hu Salty Snacking Dark Chocolate Gems

(Spotted by Sarah R at Sprouts.)

Core Foods Vegan Ranch Happy Gut Oat Snacks
Core Foods Vegan Ranch Happy Gut Oat Snacks
Core Foods Peanut Butter Happy Guy Oat Snacks
Core Foods Peanut Butter Happy Guy Oat Snacks
Core Foods Sea Salt  Olive Oil Happy Gut Oat Snacks
Core Foods Sea Salt & Olive Oil Happy Gut Oat Snacks

(Spotted by Sarah R at Whole Foods.)

Fresh Finds Pumpkin Spice Latte Flavored Sugar
Fresh Finds Pumpkin Spice Latte Flavored Sugar
Fresh Finds Buttery Cinnamon Roll Flavored Sugar
Fresh Finds Buttery Cinnamon Roll Flavored Sugar

(Spotted by Tommy at Big Lots.)

White Claw Hard Seltzer Surge Variety Pack
White Claw Hard Seltzer Surge Variety Pack

(Spotted by Rachel J at Safeway.)

REVIEW: Cinnamon Bun Snickers

Cinnamon Bun Snickers Wrapper

Cinnamon rolls are not cinnamon buns and I am ashamed of you for even thinking so.

Sure, they are both pinwheels of dough slathered in butter, cinnamon and sugar. And they both masquerade as breakfast in places where nutrition doesn’t matter. But there, the roads diverge.

Cinnamon rolls get baked, slathered with sugar or cream cheese, and stop trying. Cinnamon buns get flipped back into their own glaze like heroes, and are pummeled mercilessly with caramel and pecans. They are what baby cinnamon rolls hope they will one day become. They are breakfast for people who don’t eat lunch and dinner. And, on the day Snickers executives were supposed to debate whether to make a Cinnamon Roll Snickers or a Cinnamon Bun Snickers, I bet they all went home early. I bet they thought that Snickers, the candy bar that markets itself for hungry people, had cinnamon bun DNA in its peanuts.

So I had big hopes, hopes as big as the trucks that pulled into the Colorado truck stop where I once had my first cinnamon bun. The light aqua packaging was sleek and encouraged these hopes, although in the glare of the turquoise neon, I overlooked some troubling details. First, the picture depicted not a cinnamon bun, but a pedestrian cinnamon roll, hinting that the Snickers executives were taking some sloppy liberties. And then there was the label’s marque, which listed, in bold letters and in explicit disappointing detail, Peanuts, Cinnamon Bun Flavored Nougat, Caramel, Milk Chocolate.

I could have, I should have, stopped there and gotten a hold of myself. This was a Snickers bar, a typically busy conglomeration of textures and flavors, in which only one player in a diverse cast would be taking on that Cinnamon Bun challenge. Yes, that colossal cinnamon bun flavor was all going to be on nougat’s shoulders. Peanuts, caramel and milk chocolate would be stepping back, letting him do all the work. And replicating a cinnamon bun is a lot of work. Poor nougat. Poor sad, sweet nougat.

Cinnamon Bun Snickers Split

You see, Snickers nougat, like some rare orchid, is a fragile and delicate thing. In your everyday Snickers bar, it is the glue that marries the dominant peanut and caramel sensations, adding a fluffy chewiness but content to not muck up the flavor profile. Discerning palates might detect a touch of molasses or a dark honey in it, but it’s strictly back seat. Cinnamon Bun Snickers hands nougat the keys.

And it’s safe to say nougat is an overly cautious driver. The same bland molasses flavor is present, but with the slightest wisp of cinnamon, resulting in a bar that has echoes of cinnamon and is even slightly sweeter than ordinary Snickers. It resembles the button down nougat we know in every other respect, but the touch of cinnamon may be enough to transform the bar into something else, but there will be a few uneducated rubes out there who buy Cinnamon Bun Snickers thinking it is a regular Snickers, and never realizing the error of their ways.

Cinnamon Bun Snickers Caramel

Ironically, the caramel and the peanuts, which by all appearances are no different at all from the other Snickers bars in the Snickers universe, come to the rescue, primarily because cinnamon buns also have nuts and caramel and the combination evokes them. They keep the bar from being too dramatic a disappointment.

But a slight disappointment, nonetheless. Then again, if it was as good as a regular cinnamon bun, I’d never have to go back to that truck stop in Colorado. That actually sounds like a good idea right now. OK, nougat, get back in the back seat.

Purchased Price: 88 cents
Size: 1.5 oz bar
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 22 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer David

Let’s be optimistic.

The day will come, perhaps sooner rather than later thanks to one too many Carrot Cake Oreo cookies, when I gasp my last Twix-infused breath and I ascend to the Pearly Gates (I said this was going to be optimistic).

And I will look around and there will be all of my long forgotten, prematurely deceased friends. I will see Fruit Brute playing the harp, little clouds of chocolate Skittles, and of course Elvis, or at least Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Crème cups. And the gatekeeper, whom I imagine will look a bit like the guy on the Quisp box, will ask me who I am and what I have done with my life.

My name is Dave, I will tell him. Or was Dave, perhaps. And I will tell him I was the proud father of three lovely little girls, who too often served as my excuses to keep the house full enough of junk food to withstand a sugar apocalypse. I will tell him I spent a lot of time overseas, primarily as an excuse to try weird junk food products in weird places. He may ask what I focused on in life, and I will tell him that, having found enough people were focused on reducing poverty and injustice, I spent my worldly days collecting limited edition junk food.

I am guessing the Quisp gatekeeper may not like that. “Have you no regrets?” I imagine him asking.

I might mention the time I drank an entire case of Krispy Kreme Cheerwine. Or my regrets about not buying a lifetime supply of Banana Split Oreo. Or the time I left a bottle of chestnut Pepsi on a train in Egypt. So many regrets. But I probably will just keep my mouth shut.

And then I imagine the gate swinging open, and the Quisp Overlord saying, “Enter, brave soldier, intrepid explorer of the most remote and frightening seasonal displays at Walmart! You have realized the great secret, that people are, like green apple Twizzlers, limited editions as well, and have lived life as such.”

And that’s why I love limited edition foods. They are like precious little snowflakes, ours to love and cherish for one brief and fleeting moment. Too beautiful to last. They ground you in the present, force you to make the most of the now. Keep your meditation and Zen. If I want to live in the moment, I will savor a Mixed Berry Twinkie.

And, until I am called home by that great cosmic Yummy Mummy in the sky, I want to savor those Mixed Berry Twinkies with you fellow sojourners on the road to enlightenment. I am so honored to join the team!