You make curious food purchases when you're high. In fact, being baked exposes an essential truth about the kind of foods that litter the shelves at convenience stores: They are designed exclusively for children, severe depressives and stoners. Who else would buy Ben & Jerry's Bonnaroo Buzz or a can of Mountain Dew Code Red?
And yet, Portland's snack tastes have grown sophisticated and picky over the years. So I took $30 to a Whole Foods and a Plaid Pantry and bought everything my stoned little heart desired. Which would taste better, the preservative-packed corner-store slop or its organic counterpart?
I left a tape recorder running to find out.
ICE CREAM BARS
Blue Bunny Strawberry Shortcake Bar
"It looks like a human tongue. It tastes like melted, dried up Nerds. Actually, it just tastes like flour. First it's sandy, then it's Play-Doh-y. The package says, 'Artificial flavor added.' No shit. Would anyone assume this thing was made of actual strawberries and cream?"
WINNER! Ruby Jewel Ice Cream Sandwich (vanilla and chocolate-chip flavor)
"The ice cream tastes like marshmallows, and the cookies don't taste like cookies, they taste like cookie dough. Is that the idea? Did the people who make this taste it and say, dude, this cookie is totally undercooked, but it's kind of awesome? If you put a regular cookie in a freezer case for a week it'll taste like shit. This tastes sort of amazing."
PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
WINNER! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
"It's a Reese's, so it tastes like a Reese's. And, wow, the ingredients list is actually not that scary."
Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Cups (milk chocolate flavor)
"This peanut butter might be good as actual peanut butter, but it's kind of weird in this chocolate. I don't like this."
PUFFY CORN SNACKS
TIE! Chester's Puffcorn
"It's like Styrofoam. You put it in your mouth and it tries to run and hide. It curls up in a little ball. Does anyone like popcorn enough to actually like this? I eat popcorn but I hate it. Why am I still eating this?"
TIE! Michael Season's Baked Cheddar Cheese Curls (gluten-free)
"I only bought these because the bag said 'BAKED' in really big letters. How come the first ingredient is organic cornmeal, but the second ingredient is cornmeal? These taste like sweet corn and I don't like it. They feel like rocks in my mouth and the Puffcorn tastes like snow."
Golden Oreo Cakesters
"This is maybe the grossest thing I've ever had. These are so many degrees removed from Oreos that they don't deserve to be called Oreos—they are shaming the Oreo name. Is it supposed to be like a Twinkie? Twinkies taste like cake. This tastes like old, stale cake. Oh my God, I hate this!"
WINNER! Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
"I thought they'd be gummy, but they're gooey. I feel like this is false advertising. You look at this box and you think they're going to be gummy bears. And all the flavors taste the same. But I guess if you wanted a juice box without actually drinking a juice box this would be cool."