A few times each year, I find myself falling into a familiar rhythm. I quietly sample the seasonal holiday treat assortment that will pop up on the store shelves. I'll carry out this reconnaissance mission over weeks to confirm my favorites, old and new. It's a task that culminates with the satisfaction of a small haul of deeply discounted candy that often tastes better because of the work I've done to earn it. The flavor of success, available for a few days a year.
I had already started to revel in my success a few weeks ago. It was the day after Halloween, and I walked into CVS, spurred by a baseline of euphoria fueled by a night of sake. I wandered into the seasonal aisle only to be greeted by the trick of CHRISTMAS candy and boxes of twinkle lights moments from being shortcircuited by an errant bulb instead of my expected treat of discounted candy corn and mallow creme pumpkins.
I stood, like a heartbroken phantom peering from the rafters of the opera, at the shelves that once promised a life that I could no longer have. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I was wearing a (vintage camel-colored ankle-length) cape and a mask, so the moment deserves it. I might have been able to cope if my attempt to redirect my now feckless energy into a fennel salad worthy of my number one boy wasn't also thwarted by a lack of the titular fennel at the grocery store next door.
For some reason, it made me want to devote this volume of the newsletter to a few snacks that are theoretically more accessible. From the corn-subsidy-diaspora more commonly known as American Grocery Stores, I bring you the very first edition of snackables.
Over the summer, these appeared in this newsletter, but they've earned a second one by becoming a seasonally agnostic spiritual palate cleanser. Both flavors, tradition dictates that it would be inappropriate to refer to them by anything other than color, balance a tinge of sweetness, and a level of refreshment appropriate for the stressors of existing as a human person.
I almost started this blurb by saying that I haven't purchased Skittles in years before realizing that I have tried every limited edition skittles release for a decade without having a single experience impactful enough to remember. The moment I opened a bag of these gummies, I knew that was about to change. The aroma is a pitch-perfect match distillation of the essence of the original like it was made with a bottle of the candy steeped Demeter fragrances I would test at the mall in middle school. And the texture, somewhere between a store-brand Dinosaur fruit snack and an American Haribo gummy bear, is barely toothsome in the best way. The Wild Berry edges out the Original assortment because of the travesty known as the Green Apple flavor.
In my personal cereal approval matrix, there is room for Cinnamon Toast Crunch in every quadrant. While the Cajun-spiced Cinnamon Toast Crunch shrimp with pickled jalapeño remoulade I made a few months ago sit comfortably in Highbrow Despicable, these special edition flavors are the inverse. Adding a caramel flavor to such a sweet cereal is a recipe for disaster but each box of Dulce de Leche Crunch is an Ark fit to weather the storm. This newsletter has been sitting as a draft for weeks of the strength of my intuition that Apple Pie Crunch would be an upper-echelon treat worth mentioning once I tracked down a box (it is). These cereals are prime lowbrow brilliance because they are tweaks, not reinventions of the original.
There are coincidences, and there is kismet. Kismet is finding out about Culver's limited edition Curd Burger from a TikTok posted to a fast food appreciation facebook group during the non-continuous 5-week span that I've had access to a car and Culver's over the last two years. When the stars align like that, what choice did I have other than to end up in the drive-through line before 11 AM under the guise of "going to get a bagel." My reward was a textural masterpiece of a soft bun, a hot burger, crisp ice cold veggies, and a patty-sized crispy cheese curd. Each bite revealed a new combination of flavors and a cheese curd patty dappled with both white and yellow cheddar curds.
A lifetime of seeking refuge in the effervescence of Sprite in my lowest moments did not prepare me for the triumph that would result when you added Ginger to this nearly infallible beverage. It was a step towards reconciliation from the harm caused when Sprite Tropical Mix replaced Orange Hi-C at Mcdonald's.
We're nearly a decade into the spiked seltzer era. With every new launch, I have even gotten bored of the disappointment I feel when I remember that fresh seltzer and vodka are more cost-effective and taste better. It has placed a pair of hazy, rose-colored glasses on my memories of Bud Light Ritas' reign in the post-Four Loko landscape of malt beverages. They were good! (I think?) Or at least these ice pop versions are, and they manage to pack a bit of a punch. Best served with Powerade Ice Pop chaser.
I’m still figuring this out, but hopefully, you enjoyed v.52 of unsnackable.
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