Fun, convenient, viral
October 18, 2019 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Last month, Pizza Hut rolled out a calzone shaped like a Cheez-It, a square cracker with a cheddar flavour, and, in August, KFC released a fried-chicken sandwich stuffed with Cheetos, puffy cheese-flavoured crisps.
The BBC takes a delve into the world of viral fast food-cum-snack creations that "inspire curiosity, attention and disgust wherever they go".
posted by Vesihiisi (54 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
calzone....cheddar

what?
posted by thelonius at 5:33 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


I am not a rubber-necker. When I pass an accident, I spend no time trying to see the extent of it; I focus entirely on passing by as quickly and safely as possible.

On the other hand, when 7-11 launched its cheesy stuffed doritos, I actively researched what location near me had it, made a trip to that location (which was not near anything I otherwise needed to visit), and bought some, and let me tell you...well, I'm no longer a food rubber-necker, either. Yech.
posted by solotoro at 5:36 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


I do not like the phrase "fastfood-cum-snack"
posted by Chaffinch at 5:39 AM on October 18 [128 favorites]


Soon every menu will be like those graveyard soda machines, and long live the mashup. Let us brush our teeth with crest brand cheesy beef-n-poprox toothpaste.
posted by Sterros at 5:42 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


I miss the Cheetos sandwich; it was delicious.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:44 AM on October 18


Don't snack-shame me.
posted by Reverend John at 5:45 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


It's REALLY fun when the snack food and the fast food swap start riffing on each other. Exhibit A: Taco Bell created the Dorito-flavored taco shell, the Dorito Loco Taco. Six months later, Frito-Lay rolled out a Dorito that was flavored like the Dorito Loco Taco. I'm still waiting for the Taco Bell creation that is flavored like the Dorito that is flavored like the Dorito-flavored taco.
posted by Mayor West at 5:46 AM on October 18 [11 favorites]


You said "cum-snack"... heh heheh
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:51 AM on October 18 [7 favorites]


New! Ouroboros-flavor Doritos!
posted by Panjandrum at 5:51 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


My wife's comfort food pizza is Pizza Hut, and when she needed a dose a couple of weeks ago, I happened to see the ad for the "Cheez-It Calzone" on the app while ordering and OF COURSE I added one to the order ("I wanna MUNCH..."). It's really not a calzone at all. It's a mozzarella stick that is coated in Cheez-It grist instead of seasoned breadcrumbs. It's fine, not great, not atrocious.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:54 AM on October 18 [8 favorites]


The companies certainly hope that a weird new product catches on, but all they're expecting is for it to be a loss leader that spikes people thinking about the overall brand: the key part of "Pizza Hut is selling a Cheez-It calzone!" is Pizza Hut. For every person whose eyes are caught by the calzone and decides "Oh yeah, I should get one of those", several more have their eyes caught and decide "Oh yeah, I should get some Pizza Hut."
posted by Etrigan at 5:56 AM on October 18 [14 favorites]


I have loved Cheez-Its since I can remember. I had to try this.

It was ... not awful, but not good either. I bet if it were a state fair food concoction it would have been awesome, but it was just consumable but not something I felt the need to ever try again.
posted by jzb at 6:05 AM on October 18


You'd think the BBC might mention that this phenomenon is mostly just Yum! Brands/PepsiCo trying to rationalize their supply chains and combine as many of their products as possible.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:08 AM on October 18 [20 favorites]


I suspect that any genuine horror at this sort of thing--as opposed to performative social media bullshit posturing--is just amplified chagrin at realizing that the brands know that you use junk food as a condiment for fast food. "ZOMG The Man knows that I put Cheetos on my Big Macs!" Yes, dear, they've always known.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


I always love stunt food, whether it's seasonal flavors of cereal (Coconut Cheerios coming in November!) or all the weird flavors of soda I was able to get at convenience stores when I lived in Tokyo. It's probably a big tell of mine that I'm not at all gourmet-incline when I get so very excited over things like Doritos tacos.
posted by xingcat at 6:31 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


The podcast within a podcast within a British news organization?
posted by Scattercat at 6:34 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


I for one can't get enough cheez.
posted by tommasz at 6:35 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


Hold the goddamn phone, coconut Cheerios??Can I pre-order a case?

Literally just make any food with coconut and I want it
posted by captain afab at 6:38 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


I'm mainly excited for this kind of cross-brand synergy because of the press releases marketing puts out. As Rock Steady points out, it makes great fodder for the McElroy brothers.
posted by now i'm piste at 6:39 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


It's probably a big tell of mine that I'm not at all gourmet-incline when I get so very excited over things like Doritos tacos.

There's nothing at all wrong with being a gourmand. I love food of all kinds, from the most rarified haute cuisine to the goofiest fast food novelties. Sure, it's bad for my physical health, but it's so good for my mental and emotional health that I consider it a fair trade. Live fat, die young, that's my motto.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:39 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


It looks like something created in a factory. I bet there's an audible FOOMP! when it comes out of the tube and lands in its packaging.
posted by palomar at 7:17 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


I just hope I live long enough to see the Taco Town pizza crepe taco pancake chili bag realized.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:30 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Saint John was right! Clearly Yum Brands is the many headed beast of abominations.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 7:30 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


The Flamin' Hot Cheetos Burrito is a thing around here, you can order whatever meat filling you want in it. I seen one, it looks to weigh in at a pound and a half. From what my grandson exhibits, it is a pound and a half of yum! (With some left over for later.)
posted by Oyéah at 7:41 AM on October 18


My wife's comfort food pizza is Pizza Hut, and when she needed a dose a couple of weeks ago, I happened to see the ad for the "Cheez-It Calzone" on the app while ordering and OF COURSE I added one to the order ("I wanna MUNCH...")

SQUAD

I WAAAAAAANNT TO MUNNNNNNCH
posted by dismas at 7:41 AM on October 18 [6 favorites]


> Soon every menu will be like those graveyard soda machines

What does this mean? I googled by I'm still not clear what the intended usage is, sorry!
posted by glonous keming at 7:47 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Ouroboros-flavor Doritos!

A snack eating its own tail?
posted by mhoye at 7:52 AM on October 18 [7 favorites]


It looks like something created in a factory.

And it sounds like something created by one of Janelle Shane's neural net experiments.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


Every chip shop in Great Britain worth its grease trap sells the homegrown Scottish delicacy known as the 'deep-fried Mars bar'. Hey, BBC? People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw pizza cones.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:01 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


I think 'graveyard soda machines' are the automated machines which allow you to add various flavored syrups to Coke - I've never used one, but I think they're supposed to let you also choose multiple sodas, and it will mix them together for you. Depending on where you grew up, mixing all available sodas together is called a suicide, a graveyard, or swampwater.
posted by suckerpunch at 8:04 AM on October 18 [7 favorites]


I think 'graveyard soda machines' are the automated machines which allow you to add various flavored syrups to Coke - I've never used one, but I think they're supposed to let you also choose multiple sodas, and it will mix them together for you. Depending on where you grew up, mixing all available sodas together is called a suicide, a graveyard, or swampwater.

Those machines are the best thing about living in the future. It's about time that technology was used for good.

But no, they don't automatically let you choose many flavors. You still have to do that manually.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:06 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


You lost me at "viral fast food-cum-snack."
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:07 AM on October 18 [4 favorites]


The "graveyard" machines are more fun when you can do it manually.

Go to any fast food chain and dine in. Most of the time you just order a small, medium, or large drink and they give you an empty cup that you take over to the fountain drink dispenser and fill up yourself.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Taste it some.... Needs more of that! Taste it. Eh, needs more fhis.

If you're not careful, you reach the top of your cup and it still tastes kind of crappy. :D
posted by Fukiyama at 8:08 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


"On the other hand, when 7-11 launched its cheesy stuffed doritos"

Man those were horrible. Doritos are one of the best possible foods humanity has ever engineered, but those abominations missed the mark so hard it was incredible. None of the good dorito flavour, the cheese used was below "wet cheese in a jar" tier, the thing managed to be soggy and hard in all the wrong places.

KFC's cheeto chicken was also pretty disgusting, they made a liquid version of cheetoh dust and squirted it on their crappy crispy breading. I wound up pulling the skin off to avoid it. I often put cheetohs or whatever chips I'm eating on whatever sandwhich I'm eating them with. I never knew cheetohs could be made to be disgusting but KFC did it.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:16 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Ah, yes, the Coke Freestyle machines.

I hate those damn things. Restaurants add them in the name of offering “more choice” but what it really means is I wait in line for a damn Coke while the person ahead of me navigates through 4 menus to get their Diet Mandarin Orange Vanilla Sprite. In the old days of 6-8 flavors on separate taps, I could just reach in for my drink while someone dithered between a Sprite or a root beer.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:16 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


Where did "Graveyard" come from? We call those "Willy Wonka Machines".

(Or, properly, "Willy Wonka's Every Flavor Soda Machines", but that gets to be a mouthful.)
posted by Zudz at 8:20 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Ouroboros-flavor Doritos!

Also available in Oreoboros.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:51 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Cheez-its have been around nearly 100 years.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:00 AM on October 18 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't have predicted, say, 20 years ago that corporate restaurants would be the ones able to joke around and laugh with their customers while independent restaurants would (mostly) either get extremely earnest ("we do things a little differently here...") or punch down.

By punch down I mean either make awkward deconstructed versions of foods that code as low/lower-middle class or "ethnic" in the case of liberal urban restaurants, or put up homophobic or transphobic jokes on their signs (mostly rural and small town restaurants).
posted by smelendez at 10:01 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Where did "Graveyard" come from?

Because it's dangerous, man. The human taste buds aren't meant to handle that kind of flavor explosion.
posted by Etrigan at 10:06 AM on October 18 [8 favorites]


There's a Colombian restaurant in town that puts potato chips on hotdogs. My favorite Cuban Sandwich places in Florida (too many to name) put crunchy shoestring potatoes on their pressed Cubanos.

Like, this is just a regular thing, not a "viral" thing.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:23 AM on October 18


Oh, ok, got it, thanks everyone. I was picturing actual graveyards with tombstones and also here's a drink vending machine. Which, I mean, they probably have that somewhere in America.

I know these mixed soda concotions as a "suicide" and the best mix according to 16-year-old-me was 35% Mt. Dew, 35% rootbeer, 15% Sprite, and 15% orange drink (measurements not exact). Do not stir. let the constituents mix naturally and drink from the rim (do not use a straw).
posted by glonous keming at 10:26 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


do not like the phrase "fastfood-cum-snack"

Calzone edging is where it is really at.
posted by srboisvert at 10:27 AM on October 18 [7 favorites]


Cream-puff fluffer.
posted by glonous keming at 10:28 AM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Takeout where they really take it out.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:31 AM on October 18 [2 favorites]


Smith looked over Jones' shoulder.

"No, no," he said, pointing. "See, here is why your surreality index suddenly jumped on this simulation. You were already running pretty high ... "

Jones frowned. "Listen, we're always so serious with these sims. Check the impact of this economic issue. Run it with this state passing this bill. All I wanted to do was see what would happen if they put a reality host in the White House."

Smith shook his head. "I'm not faulting you for that. And that's not the cause. I mean, that caused your surreality index to run pretty high on this sim, but that was the cause of this jump." Smith pointed to an earlier jump on a particular graph on the screen's dashboard.

"But even small stuff, if ludicrously surreal, can poison the whole sim. And, listen, I know this sim is just you futzin' around, getting used to the equipment, but ... here, if you click on this, and this ... you can see what's directly responsible for the jump in surreality."

Smith frowned, and looked at Jones with a disbelieving expression. "Cheez-It calzones? Really? I mean there's only so much you can push onto this sim before you'll find the internal dimensional logic just falls apart. You're already pushing it pretty hard ... "

Jones smiled with a mischievous grin. "Wait until you hear what I've got planned for their next year."
posted by WCityMike at 10:36 AM on October 18 [10 favorites]


I was picturing actual graveyards with tombstones and also here's a drink vending machine.

I have already purchased a tombstone that is a drink vending machine. I have also created a trust to ensure that it is stocked and maintained for eternity. One of the stipulations in my will is that all of the flavors must include at least one ounce of Dr. Pepper. This isn't because I have any strong opinions about Dr. Pepper, it's to hide the aftertaste from the other special additive. Hint: My will also stipulates that I be cremated.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:40 AM on October 18 [13 favorites]


Ah, yes, the Coke Freestyle machines.
I hate those damn things.


You can always just mix them all when you get your snack and drink.
posted by waving at 12:15 PM on October 18


Metafilter: soggy and hard in all the wrong places
posted by slogger at 1:12 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


I think we are experiencing the unforeseen side effect of legalization.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:00 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


Unforeseen only for people who have never been stoned, or been around someone stoned, even once.

still haunted by the memory of a future MeFite extending a pizza-ordering phone call by about five minutes as they tried to explain the importance of putting the pepperoni under the cheese. Don't ask why.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:13 PM on October 18 [2 favorites]


+1 hate for coke freestyle. They’ve managed to design a complex 80 step process and multil thousand dollar machine the size of a house so people can get slight variations on goopy sugar water. It’s the drink version of laggy touchscreen menu radios in cars instead of a goddamn volume knob.
posted by freecellwizard at 3:49 PM on October 18 [3 favorites]


Me, I love the Freestyle machines because for once in my life I have a choice of more than one goddamn flavor of diet soda at a restaurant (and that flavor is always diet cola, which I hate.) I <3 raspberry diet gingerale!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:18 PM on October 18 [4 favorites]


I disliked them until I figured out how to make 'em dispense plain water; now I don't mind them.

You can always just mix them all when you get your snack and drink.

True, and this is also a feature to a co-workers kids; but after my own youthful experiments, mixing coffee, tea, and whatnot, I can't imagine -- but if that's what customers want, party on.
posted by Rash at 12:41 PM on October 19


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