Impulse Buy: Pringles Baked Wheat Stix

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pringlestix.jpg

Having managed to convert the sliced potato into a vaguely recognizable artificial facsimile, Pringles has now turned its sculptural capabilities to the wheat stalk. Into the Pringles matter transporter goes wheat flour, margarine, palm oil, sugar and other sundry ingredients. A pushed button later, the result is Pringles Baked Wheat Stix, sturdy little broomstraws that come 10 packets to a box for your lunching/snacking convenience.

Visually and texturally, Pringles Baked Wheat Stix are appealing. The slender breadsticks have a golden toasted color and subtle cross-hatch marks like the indentations on a pretzel. The taste, though, is a bit odd. We bought the Crunchy Wheat variety expecting the unadorned taste of grain. Instead, we got a strong up-front tang most Bites tasters compared to Cheese Nips.

This wouldn't have been so disconcerting if the cheese taste (or any other) had been advertised. A glance at the ingredients provided a list of potential suspects, including "2 percent or less of" garlic, celery, pepper, egg, dried potatoes, and concentrated chicken stock. Among those, the taste none of us could single out was wheat. Maybe it's so superconcentrated and steroidal that it's hard to recognize—like the bulked-up potato taste that permeates a Pringle.

Random comments from our tasters:

Steve (munching thoughtfully): "It tastes like a Ritz cracker pounded out flat, then rubbed with Rold Gold."

Lee: "I can't get past that canned-butter taste."

Tracy: "It tastes like Cheese Nips, only blander."

(Thanks to Rob Williams for the scan.)

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