OPINION: The Americans specialise in stomach bending snacks. Deep fried butter anyone? Even their everyday snacks have enough fat in them to make Elvis consider a celery stick. Take Lucky Charms breakfast cereal, they now do a cereal that's just little marshmallows. Just marshmallows. The only grain there is a sugar migraine.
So what are the most commonly available, most utterly indigestible, most fabulously American snacks? And what do they taste when you put them together….
The quintessential American puffed cornmeal chip that's doused in luminous orange dust. They're just about digestible. Assuming you can avoid retching at the blizzard like flavour of artificial cheese that tears along your tongue as soon as they touch it. Oh and then, because these are the chilli and lime flavour, you can avoid coughing up an internal organ. They come in at mild 3/10 on the gross scale.
2. TGI Fridays bacon and cheddar potato skins in a bag
Again, these are digestible. But it's the smell that puts you off. The scent of artificial cheese is so overpowering it feels like something is rotting in there. The skins are crisp and crunchy, which is perhaps the only positive, but these are such a poor shadow of the utterly delicious actual stuffed TGI Friday skins. 4/10.
3. Pop tarts
Those 'pastry' slabs that taste closer to chewing the ashes of your recently departed cat than any pastry product. These aren't digestible. They have a strange simultaneously doughy and ashy taste that crumble in your mouth, sucking all of the moisture out of it like a vacuum cleaner of death. They come in at 5/10 only because there are so many worse, utterly indigestible things on this list.
They're a 'sponge' finger with a 'cream' filling that make the 'snack' a favourite in the collective conscious of 'Murica. Luckily you can replicate this delicacy by going home, picking up a sofa cushion and tearing a chunk out of it. Sponge may be an accurate description if it refers to the bathing sort, but the cream center looks and taste like that white paste you use to fill gaps in walls. 7/10 on the retch factor, and it would be higher if I could have finished chewing one of them.
5. Canned Cheese
Exactly what it sounds like. Except it looks precisely nothing like cheese. It doesn't look like cheese. It looks like yellow paint. It has the thick, goopy texture of Budget brand hair gel and the luminosity of nuclear waste. If only it tasted like that. Anything, anything would be better than how this tastes. It tastes of plastic, puss and tears. 10/10.
And so how bad are they when they're eaten together? I wish I could tell you what they tasted like when you put them together. Unfortunately the urge to vomit was so strong I had to spit it out before the taste had permeated my mouth. It was unswallowable. But at the end of it, who else could produce some snacks so utterly ridiculous? America truly is great sometimes.
Verity Johnson is a Newshub columnist. She flew to LA courtesy of Air New Zealand. Air New Zealand offers double daily non-stop flights to Los Angeles from Auckland. A variety of inflight product choices are available including Economy, Economy Skycouch, Premium Economy and Business Premier. One-way Economy fares start from $909 (inclusive of taxes). Visit airnewzealand.co.nz for more details and to book.