Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Columnists (Part I)

Little Debbie Nutty Bars.

I do not believe I have ever eaten a Little Debbie Nutty Bar until today. They would probably be considered pixifood*, but something told me to buy a package from the vending machine today and eat them for desert.

Al Sicherman wrote a food column for the Minneapolis daily newspaper for many years. Just about every day, he would find a way to mention Little Debbie Nutty Bars in his column. I liked Sicherman’s column, which I guess was a victim of the deep cuts which have become common in the newspaper business**. Many columnists have repositioned themselves as bloggers, but not Sicherman. His columns have been collected in two volumes: “Caramel Knowledge” and “Uncle Al’s Geezer Salad.” He still contributes to the food section now and then as Mr. Tidbit, but it’s not the same.

Al Sicherman was the Mike Royko of the food beat. I hope he still enjoys the occasional Little Debbie Nutty Bar.


Review: Little Debbie Nutty Bars taste like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that has been in your kid’s Halloween treat bag since 1994.

* Pixifood: a noun invented by Joe Posnanski. It is a food that you loved as a kid but cannot stand now that you're a grownup.

** These cuts could be termed 'paper cuts' yes?


Rob Hardy said...

What do you call the opposite of a pixifood: something you disliked as a kid, but love now? For me, the list includes asparagus and Tabasco sauce. It's interesting how the expensive tastes accumulate with age. I didn't like coffee until I was in my twenties, or scotch until I was in my thirties.

Foods I loved as a kid that I no longer consume: Hawaiian Punch, Ding Dongs, Spaghetti-Os, the marshmallow bits in Lucky Charms (meticulously removed from the surrounding dust-flavored "cereal"), Wonderbread (especially crustless and compressed into a large bread pill).

Childhood foods I still occasionally enjoy: York Peppermint Patties, Pepperidge Farm chocolate cake, Pop Tarts.

Jim H. said...


Yes, we need a name for the opposite of pixifood. Something that says "I never thought I'd like this, but..." For me, it's eggplant (aubergine) and carrot cake.

And for the food that we liked as a kid and probably shouldn't like as adults but we still eat it anyway. For me, that's candy corn.

Our college sophomore son likes Pop Tarts, but when I took a bite this summer -- nope, still pixifood,.

Penelope said...

For me, Little Debbie Nutty Bars fall into a category I'll call "dangerlicious"! I cannot buy them, because I have been known to eat a whole box within a day. So I guess I'm in Al's camp on this one. It's a taste plus texture thing, greater than the sum of the individual qualities. Kettle brand Salt and Black Pepper potato chips are in the same general category: dangerous!

My pixifoods would include pineapple juice (just too sweet, now) and most cake (in particular, most frosting).

Jim H. said...


I'm with you -- can't eat the commercially-prepared frosting on a standard sheet cake any more.

A nice thick chocolate cake, unfrosted, with a litte vanilla ce cream...I can handle that!

John T said...

As a kid we were not allowed pop or anything like a twinkie. We did have wonder bread of which I would peel off the crust and bounce before eating. At school lunch I'd trade my ham sandwich for a ding dong. For breakfast we seldom had any sweet cereals. We had things like cherrios and corn flakes. We were allowed sugar on our cereal of which I ate massive amounts.
As an adult I like nutty bars and I like plain cereal without sugar. Question about Nutty Bars - Wouldn't it make sense to put the little wafer part on the outside and the chocolate inside? The way they are made you have to eat them fast so the chocolate doesn't melt on your hands.

Jim H. said...

John T.:

By George, you've got something there! Sicherman might call it apostasy, but the wafer-on-the-outside construction would be a boon to parents everywhere.

Thanks for the comment.