20 February, 2008

Pop Tarts Splitz

I was born in 1960, and I can not remember a time without Pop-Tarts. When I was a kid, my mom always seemed to have a box on hand in the cupboard. They were an occasional treat, usually served up with a glass of milk for an after-school snack; Mom used to buy the ones filled with strawberry or blueberry jam though I'm pretty sure that more kinds of fruit-preserve filling were available.

When I was in high school, I discovered that Kelloggs was making a "Brown Sugar/Cinnamon" flavor, and it soon became my favorite. There was a layer of moist, cinnamon-adulterated brown sugar filling sandwiched between two layers of short pastry crust, topped with a hard shell of brown-colored confectioner's glaze. They were delicious, and completely devoid of any kind of nutritional value whatsoever - Brown Sugar/Cinnamon Pop-Tarts defined the phrase "empty calories" even better than alcohol.

I have the feeling that over the years, the hypersweet junkfood Pop-Tarts have been better sellers than the [not really] healthy fruit-filled ones. I never seem to see new fruity varieties get introduced, but I've noticed plenty of the "empty calorie" variety ones come and go. Like, for example, this one: Pop-Tarts Splitz, with chocolate filling and frosting on one side, and vanilla frosting and filling on the inside.

Now, if you don't like Pop-Tarts to begin with, nothing I write here is going to change your mind about them. The basic flavors in Pop-Tarts haven't changed all that much since I was a kid, and with the exception of the fillings, there isn't anything different about these. The pastry crust is still pretty industrial, kind of flaky/crumbly, with a quite pleasant shortbread note to it. The frosting is still that hardened confectioner's-glaze style stuff that reminds me of hardened royal icing.

There aren't any real surprises inside, either. The chocolate side tastes like sweetened cocoa and the vanilla side like artificially-flavored vanilla cake frosting. There's no fruit, no "healthy bits," nothing at all here to redeem them to parents concerned about their childrens' intake of lowest-common-denominator crap. They're just like the Brown-Sugar/Cinnamon Pop-Tarts of my youth, updated with fresh new carbohydrate overload, and with a frosting pattern on top that resembles tire tracks on a snowy road. Pretty awesome all the way around, I think.

Pop-Tarts has their own website at www.poptarts.com. Be advised if you go there, it's kind of clunky and top-heavy with animations and stuff, and they also tell you that you can't access some of the content without shutting off your pop-up blocker. Pretty funny, huh?

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