Ander Monson on Buena Vista Nachos Pretzel Pocket

Boasting a brutal 40% of my recommended saturated fat, 26% of sodium, and a solid 360 calories for its 5.5 ounces, the Buena Vista Foods Nacho Pretzel Pocket comes with no preparation instructions whatsoever. Is it meant to be eaten warm, I wonder? Internet tells me you can bake it in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, but I cannot imagine a situation in which you would both want to eat a Nacho Pretzel Pocket and also be willing to wait 20 minutes for it to warm up in the oven. At most one of these conditions are true, and probably neither are. So I ate it raw. It seemed like a good idea at 11:18 at night when consequences seemed far off enough. I guess I’d assumed there would be pretzels in the nacho cheese, all within the pocket, but after eating it I’m pretty sure the pocket is the pretzel. Is nacho in the sense the cheese is nacho, the kind best eaten hot at sporting events. The pretzel is, I suppose, the kind you also get at sporting events that is never as good as you want it to be, but maybe you buy it for your kid. In that case it is wise to dip it in nacho cheese sauce: these are pre-dipped, and flipped: the cheese in the pretzel, not the pretzel in the cheese. Turns out I have two more of these in the fridge, both labeled “calzones,” which is a generous reading but technically possible I suppose. My daughter brought these home from school in bags containing a bunch of other snacks that the school calls, collectively, “supersnacks.” A couple frozen boxes of juice. Some kind of cinnamon loaf, the kind she loves to chow (she is her father’s daughter). Craisins (w/added sugar and cherry juice), meat sticks and some other random stuff, and a box or two of milk. I don’t know why the school sends these home: was there extra lunch budget because kids been remote for an entire year thanks to pandemic? Even if I got a little taste of that nacho cheese from time to time, the Nacho Pretzel Pocket was mild enough that after a couple bites I’d forgotten it, and found myself wanting to go back in, which is how they get you, playing on your adolescent yearning. This food is not as stupid as it first seemed. It is also exactly as stupid as it first seemed. Still, it’s free food, and even if my daughter wouldn’t eat the Pocket, I would because something in me is still that chunky kid who glees at free food. So I ate about a third. As I nibbled at it, I could hear the police helicopter circling with the spotlight out. (I watched Predator again last night, so it’s not get to the choppa but [in best Yakov Smirnoff voice] in Tucson, Arizona, the choppa gets toyou.) I could feel my chest seize up a little then, as if someone was telling me something about my choices. I went outside with the partly eaten Nacho Pretzel Pocket in my hand and watched the choppa whirl and turn, pursuing someone a few streets over. My Pocket felt more than a little like a bomb. I took another bite. Disgusted, I hucked it in my neighbor’s back yard so I would stop eating it. Did I think Predator thoughts while watching it spin out of sight? I did. My neighbor was taken back to the hospital yesterday by paramedics—his ninth (at least: I think I might have missed a few) separate trip in the last half-year. He’d had a bad run of things and I had not believed he’d survive. Yet still he survives. It could continue. The “Foods” in Buena Vista Foods may be a misnomer. I doubt I’ll get to sleep after this. I’d like a do-over.

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