Ritz crackers. If you live in most of the Anglosphere, you’ve probably eaten them before. To me, Ritz crackers are ubiquitous; they’ve just always been around, like Cheerios. You know what they taste like, but you don’t really give a crap either way. You open the cupboard one day, see a box of Ritz and think, “Huh…I don’t remember buying those.” Then you grab the 8-pack of Entemann’s chocolate donuts sitting next to the crackers and head for the couch to stuff your face while you watch the Deadliest Catch marathon that you’ve already seen twice…in the past month.
Oh sure, you’ll crack the box of Ritz eventually, as you hover over a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup, with snot running down your face, wishing for death and hoping that you can keep down a few crackers long enough to take your seventh hellish dump of the morning without having to bring an old Tupperware with you, just in case your body decides it wants to expel both your virus-laden bodily fluids at the same time.
By the way, that’s the standard scenario I use to define what I would call a “bad day.”
Six months later, you’ll be cleaning out the pantry, notice the Ritz have long since expired and toss the remainder of the box in the trash. Poor Ritz. Possibly the most disregarded cracker in existence, hovering just above the humble saltine.
Somewhere along the line, Ritz decided it was time to expand their empire and get people excited about the Ritz brand name. Okay, well, maybe not excited. Mildly interested, let’s say. They went wild, launching new lines of crisps, miniatures, and recently, “Crackerfuls.”
The latest addition to this growing family is the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps. Here’s how Ritz’s official website describes them: “What happens when you hide a bite-sized, buttery tasting Ritz cracker inside a salty, crunchy pretzel? You get Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps, a scrumptiously satisfying snack you just pop in your mouth.”
What the fuck, Ritz? Have you gone crazy?
It’s like Ritz has hired Dr. Frankenstein to come up with their new products, because there’s no other explanation for it. Who else would think of putting a Ritz cracker inside a pretzel? It’s madness, pure madness.
Madness aside, it’s actually already been done, in a sense, by Keebler. A few years back, they introduced Town House FlipSides, which are a cracker on one side and a pretzel on the other. I thought it was ridiculous then, and I still think so. I guess Nabisco wanted to step it up by having the pretzel actually swallow the cracker. I don’t like where this particular competition is headed.
Pretzel Crisps currently come in two flavors, Buttery Flavor and Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion. I was drawn to the latter, of course, because the more flavors you pack into one snack product, the more intrigued I am. However, I figured Buttery Flavor would give me a better idea of what a regular Ritz cracker tastes like…inside a pretzel. That doesn’t get any less weird, no matter how many times I type it.
You know what also was a little weird? The image on the back of the box. There’s guy shoving a basketball into his crotch with another white guy and a black dude who all look like they’re having a brodown over a local sports team’s basket, goal, touchdown, or whatever. But it also looks like they just watched the revealing of some dumpy chick’s “new look” on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Seriously, I’ve never seen a “candid shot of guys celebrating something out of frame” manage to look so completely emasculated. Adding a basketball doesn’t make it any more manly when it looks like the guy is using it to hide the boner he’s getting from holding hands with his friend that he’s secretly had a crush on for years.
I didn’t have any preconceptions on how the crisps would taste going into this. I guess my mind couldn’t even come up with what a Ritz cracker pretzel would be like. I think my thought was basically, “Danger! Warning! Bad!”
The Ritz Munchables do look like little Ritz mutants, with their signature round shape and pattern of holes, but smaller, thinner and less heavy than regular Ritz. The outside is darker, more indicative of a pretzel, and it’s also smoother. As you can see from the one I broke in half, there’s no scary surprise inside. It looks just like a regular ol’ pretzel chip.
And, while I don’t think I’ve ever had a pretzel chip, I’d imagine these Munchables are pretty much what they taste like. Crunchier but less crumbly than Ritz crackers, with a mild pretzel-flavored finish. I can’t really detect any of Ritz’s traditional texture here, but I think what makes it believable as a cracker/pretzel hybrid is the presence of Ritz’s signature buttery flavor. It’s not as noticeable as in a regular Ritz, but it’s enough to turn it from a bland pretzel snack into a slightly buttery-tasting bland pretzel snack.
I think if I’d purchased the Cheesy Sour Cream & Onion flavor instead of Buttery Flavor, all resemblance to a Ritz cracker probably would go right out the window. It’s only the butter taste that makes it seem like a pretzel/Ritz hybrid. Personally, I require my pretzels to either be pre-flavored or dipped in something tasty. The butter taste just can’t save these Munchables from being Blandsville to me. I can imagine enjoying them with a nice, heavily-processed nacho cheese sauce, but they’re too small to dip into anything without getting dip all over your fingers.
Also, have a tall glass of water handy, because the Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor will suck your mouth dry, just like eating a handful of plain pretzels. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t eat these as a regular snack, but if I found myself hovering over a bowl of tomato soup, feeling miserable, these would be a good “try to get some solid foods into you” option. But then, so would saltines, and I don’t think they’re ever going to win any “Flavor of the Year” awards.
The Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor â€“ a great choice if you’re having a “bad day.”
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 15 pieces/29 grams â€“ 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 340 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, 2 grams of proteins, 0% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 4% calcium and 6% iron.)
Item: Ritz Munchables Pretzel Crisps Buttery Flavor
Price: $2.49 (on sale)
Size: 12.25 ounces
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Hint of traditional Ritz buttery flavor. Having a basketball around to hide your boner. Crispy and crunchy. Dr. Frankenstein running the Ritz R&D department.
Cons: Too bland. Bodily fluids coming out both ends. Too small for dipping. Unrequited man crushes.