Pop-Tarts Hit the Big Time

I love watching CNN early in the morning, while I’m packing my husband’s lunch and making coffee (and sometimes, I’ll admit, washing last night’s dinner dishes). I’m up pretty early, so sometimes I’m watching Anderson Cooper’s performance from the night before. Mostly I watch the skinny dark-haired girl who looks just like Cindy Decker, a girl I went to college with, and the skinny gray-haired guy who can be sarcastic sometimes but in a happy way.

Yesterday morning Cindy Decker and Gray-Haired Guy did a long, involved segment about Pop-Tarts. When I first heard what the story was about, I thought maybe a bloody fingertip was found inside one of them. But everyone was smiling, so it couldn’t be that. The story was that there is now a Pop-Tart store in Times Square.  I immediately canceled plans to write a blog post about big, ‘80s hair and went to town on Pop-Tarts.

To set the mood, I dug around in my pantry, hoping to find an old box of them stashed somewhere back there. I couldn’t find any. I toyed with the idea of flying to New York to buy some at the new Times Square store, but who would make coffee, pack lunches and  keep abreast of the nation’s news on CNN?

Pop-Tart World joins the Hershey store, M&Ms World, and the holiday seasonal Charmin Public Toilet Extravaganza as the top reasons why Times Square looks back fondly on its crack whore days. Pop-Tart World is at the heart of why radical Muslims hate America.

At the grand opening, shoppers at Pop-Tart World were eating Pop-Tart sushi - broken up pieces of Pop-Tart rolled up inside a Fruit Roll-Up. There was some kind of laser show.

Pop-Tarts started out innocuously enough in 1964 in four flavors - strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and apple currant. They were devoid of frosting, tattoos, images of Virgin Mary burned into them, and Trivial Pursuit questions stamped onto them. They didn’t come in spoon-size morsels to eat like cereal, they didn’t have sprinkles, they didn’t have cartoon flavors like Barbie Sparkleberry. It took years to make them recognizable enough to start marketing Pop-Tart shaped earrings and cell phone cases.

In the past 46 years, there have been dozens of Pop-Tart flavors developed. Some, like S’Mores, stuck around to become the most popular of all. Others, like Disney Princess Jewelberry and Hello Kitty Meowberry, were discontinued. Also discontinued? Vanilla. (I mean, really, why bother? You may as well just have a piece of dry toast.) There have been some limited edition Pop-Tarts, like Guava Mango and Dulce De Leche, for the hip, sophisticated Pop-Tart eater.

Kellogg’s claims that Pop-Tarts have “25 percent less sugar.” The asterisk explains: * Contains 25% less sugar than 55 to 75 of the top 100 toaster pastries.” Are there even 75 other toaster pastries? Are there any other toaster pastries?

The Pop-Tart website turned out to be a gold mine. There’s a “Just for Moms” tab with recipes you can make using Pop-Tarts. The Apple Strudel Breakfast Bake has sausage, eggs, sour cream, cheddar cheese and 8 Frosted Apple Strudel Pop-Tarts all mixed together. It sounds more like a recipe for “Just for Dads Who are Winging It When Mom’s Out of Town.” The word “interesting” was used twice in the comments section. Also, “This looks nasty . . not gonna try this recipe!! - Christie, OH.”

I’m lucky I didn’t need any recipes for Pop-Tarts. (Again, what’s the point?) For my kids, unsupervised and limitless Pop-Tart eating was the thing they liked most about having company. When old friends came to visit from out of town, I’d often get a little wrapped up in visiting, talking, laughing and drinking, and the next thing I’d know, it was Pop-Tarts for dinner. And breakfast the next morning, lunch . . . and then dinner again . . .

It’s been awhile. we may have to take a quick trip to New York soon. I hear a twin-pack of Wild Berry calling my name.

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