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Demonbaby: Wednesday, September 20, 2006subscribe to demonbaby

Investigating Lunchables' Alarming New Desire To Mess With My Mouth

[Currently Avoiding: Work]



For my entire K-12 public school career, I was a brown-bagger. While other kids lined up in the school cafeteria for wondrous $1.25 meals of macaroni and cheese, chocolate milk, chicken nuggets, and other lukewarm fat-kid-food delicacies, I dined enviously on my boring home-prepared sack lunch formula: ham sandwich, apple, juice box, and small treat. My jealousy peaked on pizza days, when those very fortunate school lunch kids were treated to the legendary rectangular pizza slices, topped with that curiously rigid layer of white cheese which could be easily removed as a single piece. Pizza for lunch?? To me it was an unfathomable luxury. After all, my family was hardly wealthy, and my frugal mother saw absolutely no reason to waste money on unhealthy school lunches when she was more than happy to prepare a sensible alternative for me every morning. So when the mighty Lunchables arrived in stores, and were marketed to children as being mysteriously more fun than regular lunch, it was beyond perplexing to my mother why I would persistently beg her to buy them for me, when she could easily and economically prepare the very same ingredients herself.

In case you live under a rock, Lunchables are little pre-made lunch packs which include crackers, slices of cheese, and slices of turkey or ham. At least, that's what they originally contained. Later, juice and candy were added, and in recent years the Lunchables line has expanded to include grotesque-looking tacos, chicken fingers, mini hot-dogs, and other high-fat snack foods that children really don't need.

I don't know what it was that made Lunchables so appealing to me. Perhaps it was how neatly arranged and packaged everything was, with the individual components of your eventual cracker sandwich stacked flawlessly within their own compartments. Or maybe it was the amazing perfect circles of slimy lunch meat - a shape that assured you nature took no part in their creation. Perhaps it was the delicious, high-fat cheese slices, brought to you by the crowned kings of processed foods, Kraft. Kraft's flagship cheese is so far away from being actual cheese that the box labels it "Kraft Pasteurized Prepared American Cheese Product." Whatever the case, I was somehow convinced that Lunchables were in all ways superior to any cracker-cheese-meat combination my mother could prepare, so when she occasionally gave in and packed them for me in my sack lunch, it seemed almost as exciting as rectangular pizza.

I ate Lunchables regularly, even through high school. By that point most of my peers had come to regard the little lunch packs as the disgusting, over-priced processed garbage that they are, but not me - I still loved them. I also discovered that those perfect circles of slimy lunch meat had mysterious adhesive properties. If thrown directly upward with a good bit of force, they would stick to the cafeteria ceiling and never, ever come down. Whenever I had Lunchables I would add another meat circle to the ceiling, as part of an ongoing art installation / science project which, as far as I know, is still there.

These days I don't eat Lunchables anymore, and I haven't tried their many off-putting new varieties. But the other day at the grocery store I noticed a particularly alarming new twist on the classic Lunchables formula that was simply too bizarre to pass up.



What you see above you is the new Lunchables "Mess With Your Mouth" line of lunch packs. Displaying an admirable dedication to new frontiers of disgusting, unhealthy children's food, Kraft has outdone itself by adding a packet of "Sour Tongue-Teasing Fizz" powder to the package, and directly suggesting that you pour it onto your turkey and cheese cracker stack. Here's a close-up, lest you doubt me:



Think about this very carefully: Kraft wants kids to pour what is essentially sour Pop Rocks onto lunch meat, and eat it. This is not some small notion on the back of the box - it's the foundation of a whole "Mess With Your Mouth" ad campaign, and the entire packaging is dedicated to this seemingly unHoly marriage of sour candy and processed meat. Oh yeah, they also want you to pour sour fizzing powder onto tacos and hamburgers:



Now, I realize children are much more, shall we say, "open minded" about what they'll eat than adults are, and most seemingly-disgusting snack foods are easily excused by being designed for the adventurous palettes of children. But this time, even with a child's interests in mind, it seems like Lunchables has gone way too far. That meat is nasty enough on its own, but with sour candy on top? EWWW. Still... I bought it. I just needed to know.

When I got home, I opened up my Lunchables pack with excited trepidation. The cheese squares and meat circles were as unnaturally perfect as I remembered them, and every bit as artificially delicious. Now accompanying them, though, was the much-hyped new packet of sour fizzing powder:



Determined to try it out exactly as the box demonstrated, I poured the powder out directly onto the turkey of a cracker stack, and it looked like this:



Mmmmm. Appetizing, no? Its appearance has nothing in common with the colorful popping confetti candy shown in the illustration - rather, it looks more like a pile of cocaine on top of wet turkey. But hey, Kraft is devoting a lot of marketing to this concoction, so maybe they know something I don't. Maybe, despite common sense's drastic assertions to the contrary, it's actually delicious. There was only one way to find out. Here's a grotesque close-up of my tongue teasing the powdered turkey before it went down the hatch:



As it turns out, the taste of Ritz cracker, Kraft cheese, Oscar Meyer meat, and third rate Pop Rocks combining in your mouth is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds like it would be, confirming my suspicion that this is the most disgusting and senseless product in grocery stores at the moment. Convinced that someone at Kraft had completely lost their mind with this promotion, I decided to search for answers.

On the Lunchables website I found a whole section devoted to the "Mess With Your Mouth" foods. "Messing with your mouth" is apparently the prerogative of The Lunchables Brigade, an animated crack team of processed food enthusiasts comprised of a white boy, a black boy (complete with dreadlocks to assure you he's black, and glasses to assure you he's not threatening), and an ambiguously brown girl, who conveniently could be either Asian or Latino, depending on your specific needs for ethnic identification.



As demonstrated in this TV ad, The Lunchables Brigade seems convinced that your lunch is far too pleasing in its current form, and will break through your walls and aggressively coat your food with disgusting fizzy powder, thereby effectively messing with your mouth. This approach likely stems from the Kool-Aid Man School Of Food Mascot Tactics, which teaches that the door is simply a far too inconvenient entry point when fun food is urgently needed.

Even more perplexing is the Kraft website, which is advertising some sort of dancing game and makes no real mention of food whatsoever. I suppose it's a half-assed attempt at giving the impression that Kraft is out to get kids active, when of course its true mission is clogging millions of little arteries with its strange adhesive meats.

Okay, it's way past time for me to stop procrastinating with artificial food and get some work done.

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47 Comments:

Anonymous mona said...

Ah... this fits perfectly into my strict "fat kid food" diet regime.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those lunchables must have given you post diarrhea or is there some other reason for the sudden blog splurge? I was under the impression you only updated once a year.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous 13_GIR said...

My God. Lunchables. I had forgotten all about those. I ate them for lunch all the time in school, and my friends would try to get me to share, because they were just *that* awesome.
...I think I'll pass on this new incarnation though.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahahahaha that's so gross! i'm glad you tried it so we don't have to..

3:56 PM  
Blogger Harley said...

I've got a younger sister who eats that crap... I'm totally gonna convince her to start whining to my parents to buy it. Then I'll watch her suffer. :D

5:40 PM  
Blogger McGeek said...

Hmm, you're cafeteria in elementary school must have smelled a lot better than mine. Food that makes such a nauseating smell cannot be good for you. In fact, I always thought there was a strange correlation between the fact that I, who always brought a bag lunch, turned out relatively normal, and everyone else I went to school with has hence ended up either an abortion clinic or rehab. In some cases both.


Or maybe that's just the consequence of not getting out of the Pasadena school district before middle school...

5:58 PM  
Anonymous thelibrariAnne said...

Ahem, I'm just going to put my two cents in here as a loyal (but silent) reader of the demonbaby blog: I love these kinds of posts. I love it when there's a little less rant, a little more... trying lunchmeat/sour candy combinations? Maybe I just like the general feeling of well-being when I see bloggers do silly things. But, keep it up. I think I speak for all when I say: we love posts.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy hell! These actually do exist!!!

I dreamt that I saw these, but thought that surely, it must have been an odd dream after a long week at work.

Thank you for sacrificing your mouth to the cause. I appreciate you finding out just exactly how this messes with your mouth. Did the packaging say exactly what the sour stuff was? Now that I ask, I'm not sure that either you or I truly want to know.

The first few paragraphs? I thought you were writing my own school lunch experiences....

9:39 PM  
Blogger Bake Tater said...

For some unknown reason, I despise cold cuts. Also, I've never been overly fond of cafeteria food. So as a life-long brown bagger, I ate peanut butter and jelly everyday from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The only exceptions were 6th grade (my school added pizza to the menu), and the few odd times that we forgot to replenish the supply of either P,B, or J. Sadly enough.... it's a true story.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Sophielynette said...

Alas, as a child I never got real Lunchables, only the store brand knock offs. Granted, I was one of those kids who qualified for free lunches, so I rarely even got the knock offs. The best cafeteria food ever was the fried eggs-- those suckers bounced. Ah, and the mysterious gravy that you had to pierce the rubbery skin to get to the liquid.. I'm feeling nostalgic.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Vickie said...

I like the unthreatening black kid best. Lunchables are ghetto, but also safe.

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus...!! I'm laughing a lot when I read you Rob but seriously, it's like movie called "How to eat fried worms". Erm, okaaayyy, Bon appetit everybody !! :)))))

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I used to get bag lunches too, but my mom had fanciful notions of what constituted a proper bag lunch. So, while you and other normal bag lunch kids were commiserating over your ham sandwiches, I was the weird kid eating the salmon filet with roasted red peppers and capers.

I was probably the only fifth-grader who knew what a "caper" was.

Also, you try trading a container of artichoke hearts for a Twinkie. It doesn't happen. I consider the vindication of my adulthood to be the random purchase and consumption of Twinkies whenever I damn well please.

10:11 AM  
Blogger finn said...

it looks more like a pile of cocaine on top of wet turkey.

ROLFL.

get back to work you slacker.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

My big treat in school was one of those paper plate sized cookies. Small plates, roughly the size of a personal pizza. Remember those? I am not sure you could even call them cookies; they were blobs of cookie dough, heated slightly, probably in a microwave. I used to eat the blob and then make a mental note of how see-through the paper plate was from all of the grease. Could I hold it up to my math book and read through it? Could I read a watch dial through it? Could I see a person through it? I was trying to get one that was totally see-through.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Honorarius said...

I'm going to buy some right now... Probably taste better than oozing scabs...

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love lunchables. But it seems the more "fun" the company tries to make them, the nastier they taste.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Meghan said...

Oh, but yes my friend. You are so very true. For today, my friends and I went to the story today for lunch. And we had the "Mess With Your Mouth" one of my friends getting the crackers, and the other getting the hot dog brand. I stuck to regular good ol' crackers...well, good being used lightly.

Well, as though we didn't already believe you, we decided to take a...taste for ourselves. Well, the are just as disgusting on hot dogs as they are on cheese, meat, and crackers. But, to add to this insane situation, one of my friends decided to pour almost the WHOLE BAG of the "fun" powder substance on a wonderfully yummy Reeses.

And oh, it was horrid. More horrid than the other two combined. You can't even imagine. I still cringe at the thought. ><

So yes, I thought I'd share my experience.

=)

7:52 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

Lunchables were THE SHIT back in the day. Now they are going to give some fat little kid a heart attack.

Thank you for trying it so I didn't have to!

5:15 PM  
Blogger mousart said...

I'm wondering how you, American guys, can eat this kind of strange food? Seriously, it's the first time I see *Lunchables*... So, Rob & others, thanks for sharing your experiences ;) Erm, okay, let's go for a poutine now !

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.slate.com/id/2149531 Slate.com has a review of this delicious treat from some children and their parents.

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!! That is beyond revolting! The photo of you teasing the fizz with your tongue first made it worse.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Chino Chang said...

Your teeth look like Lee Press-on Nails. They're beautiful.

9:59 PM  
Blogger ollie tamale said...

when i was in third grade i went on a field trip to the heard muesum. after the field trip the entire class of 3rd graders had their lunch at the park. this particular park is the largest in phoenix and has a large staff of peacocks grazing the grounds. i remember this time in particular my mom had actually splurged for a lunchable. and not just any lunchable...the BIG kind. with the andes mint, two kinds of meat and cheese, aaaaaand!! dijon mustard. but no one, and i mean no one, ever eats the dijon mustard. duh. so what did i do with it? well i saw these peacocks turkeying around, and boy, if you squeeze this package of dijon together fast enough, it makes a nice squirt with incredible distance....so i found one in particular that was rather slow and nailed his dumb little head with pasturized dijon mustard product. this was also the day of my very first detention (first of thousands). the end.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had that shit in the UK now for years, I'd never give my son them to eat as they taste like crap.
I used to be the same as your mum, giving him ham sandwiches and such. Now thanks to the dribbling twat 'super-chef' that is also known as Jamie Oliver, School meals have become healthy and wholesome for fear of the well known obesity probs you guys have in the states.
So, what was my point? Ah, yes..Lunchables. As bad as they taste and as much as we try and stop them eating this garbage,kids will always find a way to shove that and the crap known as Burger King, Macdonalds and KFC down their greedy little throats...Commercialism, promise of free toys and what's 'cool' have a lot to answer for imo.
Nothing we can do to stop 'em, as much as we try kids will always choose this fake processed shit over a decent meal.
Sucks huh?

K.x

P.s Love yer blogs. :)

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My little sister, who's 5, used to love McDonalds and unhealthy processed foods.

So I had her watch Super Size Me with me and told her, "see that fat lady? if you keep eating this crap you'll end up just like her". Worked like a charm. Now she's afraid to eat fast food and candy.

I feel kinda bad about it sometimes, but hey, whatever works.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Rob, I've been dropping by your site every couple months since your japanese porno shop post made me spurt milk out of my nose (yeah thanks alot you asshole). Your rants are literary JEMS! From your perspective regarding the 9/11 media coverage to your lunchables obsession, I'm glad to be considered one of your readers
thanks :)

12:16 AM  
Anonymous chris said...

I have to know what happens when you microwave those! As soon as I saw "do not microwave" on that little pack that thought hasn't left my head. Although I don't think they sell them here. Our foods tends to have a bit more "food" in them, and less "assorted cancer".


such white teeth..

7:52 PM  
Blogger Azu said...

I used to eat lunchables for lunch in elementary school. One time they forgot to "paint" my meat. I kid you not, the "meat" in the box were clear gel discs. Makes you wonder what it actually is that they put in those things.

8:12 PM  
Blogger seamus said...

Dude, this is for the loser kids. All the cool kids are eating Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancake-Wrapped Sausage on a Stick.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Severus Tenenbaum said...

I really thought sour teasing powder stuff stopped being cool or fun many years ago.

I want to see what's in a taco-box too, is it mini tacos or what? It must be gross.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous elizabeth71 said...

I had never heard of the "Mess With Your Mouth" line of Lunchables until I saw your post yesterday. So I went out and bought a box of Turkey and American to try it for myself. I thought the tongue-teasing fizz tasted like a gummy bear. It was as nasty as you said it was on top of my turkey, cheese, and Ritz cracker!

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL Man I love it when you post something new. This one was weird for me tho. I had just seen these disgusting things in Walmart a couple of days before you talked about them. Believe me, I was as shocked as you when I saw the pic on the box suggesting that you pour that powder on your turkey, cheese, and crackers. I was thinking the same thing.
'Surely they can't mean for it to be eaten that way, right?' But after buying one to see what it was all about, I realized the awful truth. One part you forgot to notice though, is that on the back of the little packet of powder it actually tells you that this is the way they intend for you to eat it. Look on the back next time you see it.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Someone mentioned a desire to know what happens when you microwave the fizz - fear not, I wondered the same thing, especially after seeing the warning both on the fizz packet and the box itself. So of course I put some in the microwave. I was kind of expecting my microwave to explode, but sadly, nothing happened. It just kind of got brown and melty. I decided, then, that the warning was to prevent you from microwaving the plastic packet itself, for obvious reasons.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Athenia Animus said...

I was eating Lunchables left and right during my recent move from Florida to California. It was cheap and easy to eat while sitting in a moving truck. And I even tried that fizzy crap. Only I didn't put on the meat but poured it into some bottled water. Needless to say it was still disgusting.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robbie, you're my hero.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in as a cashier in a supermarket. Now that I read this article, I have a really hard time not laughing when I scan people's Lunchables. :)

I also like Lunchables, even though they're completely fake. I don't think I want to try this new powder, though.

-Jolene

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa. i think you have wayyy too much time on your hand.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LoL :) i eat lunchables all the time as a snack, but i never bothered to check what the little packet was. one day i finally decided to try it and it's actually pretty good by itself. i didnt think sugary candy would taste to good on salty nachos...

9:24 PM  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

I'm shocked to hear that it didn't taste good. WOW!

8:16 PM  
Blogger DuStJuNkY said...

From a review at http://www.slate.com/id/2149531

This one is in regards to the chicken dunks with sour tongue teasing fizz.

"Our nutrition panel was appalled by the very existence of this product, giving it a negative score not just for what it was but for what it taught kids: to sprinkle candy on an already unhealthy meal."

Priceless. :)

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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The built-in workout features have inspired many DDR fans to make playing DDR their primary source of exercise, and some have built entire weight-loss regimens around the game. However, as with all new diet or exercise plans, it is recommended that one discusses the changes with their doctor.

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11:40 PM  
Blogger _raiN said...

omglol.

andas far as the person who used supersize-me on their kid, i went out and had lunch at mcdonalds after i watched it thefirst time, lol

4:59 PM  
Blogger InaSilentWay1 said...

Next up from Kraft...
Beaver in Cowberry sauce complete with 2oz of "Fun Fizzy Stuff"

11:38 AM  
Anonymous ssoreilla said...

they don't look like that in canada

9:55 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

wow. i must have been under a rock. never knew this existed.

you should do some sort of detox. milk thistle, burdock, and yarrow. clean your liver and your blood cause it's prob still in your system.

oh yeah, do an enema or any oxy mag product. clean yo colon.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just seems like something fun for little boys to mess with at the cafeteria table. How many times in grade school did you come across kids eating disgusting combinations of foods to have a laugh? Probably a waste of money and not something I'd buy for my kid but pretty harmless I'd say. You said yourself your lunch was boring, why not spice it up a bit with something completely ridiculous.

11:54 PM  

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