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Cheesies: the dilemma of Puffs versus Crunchies

Let’s be clear, there isn’t much of a debate here. Crunchies are almost universally regarded as the superior form of cheese cornmeal snack, barring a few fanatics or delusional heretics. In fact, if you check the vending machine on the first floor of the Student Union Building (by the campus card office) you’ll notice Crunchies are offered, but no Puffs. The corporations know what sells. They know all.

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By Pankaj Sharma (Contributor) – Email

Illustration: Brittany Cardinal

Illustration: Brittany Cardinal

Let’s be clear, there isn’t much of a debate here. Crunchies are almost universally regarded as the superior form of cheese cornmeal snack, barring a few fanatics or delusional heretics. In fact, if you check the vending machine on the first floor of the Student Union Building (by the campus card office) you’ll notice Crunchies are offered, but no Puffs. The corporations know what sells. They know all.

Some might be asking, does this matter? Of course it doesn’t. If you are at a point in your life where this discussion needs to happen, you either have a lot of time on your hands or you are a cheeseball tub away from a breakdown. But if we are going to do this, let us do it thoroughly so it never needs to happen again. Join me as I eat and analyze cheese snacks.

Structure

Puffs: Light and airy. Puffy. A relatively uniform shape, like that of a small detached finger of a demon child. Or silkworms, dead and orange. While larger than the Crunchies, the outside of each piece of cornmeal looks only lightly dusted by cheese product. Smells like a dirty washcloth when I open the bag.

Crunchies: Smaller, but much denser. The shapes of the cornmeal pieces show more variance than the Puffs, and they have a stronger orange hue. Incredibly, the irregularity in the shape seems to actually provide a stronger flavour, as the cheese powder holds tighter in the crevices and uneven surface area. I can’t place the smell, but it stirs something within me. Fear. I’m nervous.

Taste and Mouthfeel

Puffs: Gristly. I can feel it sticking to my teeth. Dissolves within seconds; I could eat these without chewing. The cheese flavour is like a memory. Like you had some cheese in a earlier meal and then burped, or maybe even threw up in your mouth a little bit. Can a mouth feel clammy?

Crunchies: A much more satisfying crunch. You’re definitely going to be more aware of the calories you are consuming because you are putting in effort to consume them. Much like the Puffs, I can feel it sticking to my teeth. The flavour is more pronounced than the Puffs, but I’ve begun to realize no one in this industry has ever had actual cheese. They must be going off a Wikipedia article, or prose in a Middle English poem. I can taste the cornmeal, and salt. I do not feel hunger, but I cannot stop eating. My fingers rummage through the bag violently, like a metaphor for rampant capitalism and colonialism.

Aftermath

I feel sick. I feel afraid. On the one hand, the Puffs are form without substance, weakness that has no place in nature. But they do not stir the same need to consume that the Crunchies do. The need and desire that I cannot control. The Crunchies bag advertises “no preservatives.” I am reminded of my mortality. My head aches and my muscles feel weak, like I skipped doing bicep curls. I am less confident. I can see people pass by as I write this; our eyes lock through the window. Nothing is said, no signal given — but a voice in my head screams that they know what I have done. When I look outside, I don’t see the sun I remember growing up with. There is no warmth, no light, no true colours. Everything is shades of cheese. It is true what they say, that we are what we eat. I am primal, I am limitless. I am become snack, destroyer of swole.

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