My God, What Passes For Crunch-tastic These DaysCommentary • Opinion • human interest • food • trends • ISSUE 41•27 • Jul 6, 2005 By Mel Crowley Mel Crowley Boy... I just wish there were a stronger word than "appalled." While making my usual Wednesday grocery run, I was excited to see a new brand of snack chips next to the Sour Cream 'N' Cheddar Ruffles: Krunch Toobz, a lightly salted corn cylinder boldly labeled "crunch-tastic" in a red letters along the top of the bag. As any snack aficionado knows, crunch-tastic is the ultimate snack-chip adjective, outranking crunch-riffic, crunch-rageous, and even crunch-mongous. Needless to say, I was sufficiently intrigued to drop two full bags in my cart, forsaking my usual double-canister pack of Zesty Pizza Pringles. Let me tell you, it took all the will power I had to keep from tearing open that bag on the way home! The promise of true crunch-tasticity is almost too much for any serious snacker to resist. But, determined to take my first taste of these starchy wonders in a proper setting, I held out, tucking the bags into the bowels of my cupboard until after the opening credits of Temptation Island. Finally, at 9:03 p.m., I giddily opened Bag One and placed in my mouth a single Krunch Toob. The moment my molars closed in on that first Toob, my faith in crunch-itude was shaken. My snacking soul was shattered like a Funyun beneath my blue-canvas Chuck Taylors. It only got worse with subsequent bites. No doubt, by the time this sees print, the dedicated snackhound will be well aware that Krunch Toobz nowhere near live up to their claims of being crunch-tastic. On a good day, when absolutely fresh, these air-puffed-then-baked nuggets of processed corn could conceivably pass as unkommonly krispy. But to advertise Krunch Toobz as crunch-tastic is an insult to those who take such things seriously. As a nation, we have seen an alarming deterioration in snacking standards. Am I the only one who remembers when crunch-tastic was a word not bandied about lightly, reserved only for those snack chips possessing unsurpassed crunchworthiness? I thought this trend of exaggerating the greatness of a snack treat had reached its nadir back when Nestlé dared tout its dubiously named Crunch Bar as "s-crunch-ous." Was no one in the corporation willing to stand up and shout, "Wait a minute! This is wrong! Crisped rice is crispy, not crunchy! We are trading a century of credibility for 30 pieces of silver?" I shudder to think of the conspiracy of silence that taints the halls of the Nestlé Corporation. Of course, this is merely indicative of a deeper malaise. Who among us remembers when Dairy Queen started using corn sweeteners in lieu of pure cane sugar, yet continued to label their treats "scrumpdilly-icious"? I thought their number was up that time, but, like sheep, the American public continued bellying up to the double-dip trough, as though they would rather believe that scrumpdilly-icious means using second-rate ingredients than vote with their dollars for a higher standard. And, to add insult to injury, Hank Ketcham continues to whore Dennis The Menace to their unsavory cause. Thank God for Frito-Lay. It did not market Chee-tos as "dangerously cheesy" until after, and ONLY after, it had developed a Chee-to whose cheesiness exceeded acceptable safety standards. Such pride in one's craft, sadly, is all too rare in today's degraded snackscape. This crunch-tastic fiasco: How far will it go before we as a people stand up and say, "Enough!"? Perhaps Doritos will have to be called "ecstatically radically crunch-o-matical" before Joe Average American is roused from his shameful slumber. I, for one, will not sit around and wait for such a day to come. I wish to elevate the masses to a heightened awareness of the principles upon which America's snack industry was built. Only when we realize that crunch-tastic, choco-licious, and zestfully ranch-sational are words—words with meanings!—can we finally bring an end to snacking as usual and ascend to an exalted plane of Snack-vana.