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Flamin' Hot Cheetos Are More Than Worthy of Their Cult Following
No, they aren't chips, but they've got an origin story to warm your heart–and a spice level to warm your brow.
By Ben Boskovich
Aug 22, 2018
Welcome to Drunk on Chips. I'm a potato lover whose potato-loving father always kept our snack cabinet stocked with a carefully curated collection of chips. Here, I give you an honest review of a specific bag.
The Setup
I'm eating Flamin' Hot Cheetos with an oversized pair of tweezers right now.
The toughest part of this Very Laborious job I have—eating my favorite food and writing about it on the Internet—is that often I want to eat and review at the same time, yet many of the Chosen Chips don't allow for it. I get a little reckless sometimes, let a few crumbs fall in, let a salty thumb hit the space bar, but when I cracked open a bag of Cheetos' fiery cousin this afternoon, I remembered Frito-Lay had sent a pair of tweezers for examining strange Cheetos shapes a while back.
Katy Perry was a FHC for Halloween once.
This solved a couple problems, actually. Not only can I type away, taking tasting breaks at my leisure, but good lord, I forgot how spicy these things are. One at a time is just fine for a review's sake.
Even eating single FHCs will make, at the very least, your brow sweat. These boys are hot. And I gotta tell ya, I greatly appreciate how little the Cheeto Overlord fucked around when creating this seasoning—which has its own cult following.
The Godfather of FHC is Richard Montañez, a former Frito-Lay janitor with an appreciation for spice that will go down in history. He is one of my heroes, and even if Russia planted him in that Frito-Lay factory many years ago, I would vote for him for president.
The Assessment
Flamin' Hot Cheetos are one of the simplest gateways to spicy snack nirvana. You get the optimal crunch you know and love from OG Cheetos (crunchy, not puffs), and you get a spice level that's next level. Seriously, if you can't handle heat you best stick to OG.
The fiery intensity of FHCs reach the upper echelon of spicy snacks I've had the pleasure of enjoying. You may remember in my first-ever chip review where I reference Utz's and Martin's Red Hot varieties—these are on the same playing field.
This kind of spice is a comprehensive experience. It's not a slow burn, it hits you right away, stinging your tongue and the roof of your mouth like a flock of small bees. Then, as the stinging wears away and you start to notice various parts of your face beading sweat, you kind of lose control of your own saliva. It sort of...thickens?
I Googled it, and Robert—who's a self described home cook, parent, nerd, geek, metal-head, and sarcastic ass—got the most upvotes for his Quora answer:
The body is trying to protect itself. Much like any irritation in the alimentary canal, the body will produce mucus to cover the area. That is the viscous portion you are talking about.
Bodies are weird, man! I wonder if the Lord of FHC, Richard Montañez, still experiences this when he eats his creation? Maybe I can meet him some day and ask him about his saliva. You know, they're apparently making a movie about Mr. Montañez. I hope I'm invited to the premiere. I can't imagine there will be a dry eye, or forehead, in the house.
Some Tasting Notes
Size: Mixed bag. You get some nice caveman club-lookin' boys and some rabbit poop-lookin' boys.
Crunch: Perfect. Sturdy enough that you can, I don't know, grab them with a pair of tweezers without crushing them, but not so sturdy that they'll break your teeth.
Seasoning: We talked about this up top, it's a work of art.
Aftertaste: Apparently Cheeto Breath is a thing.
Some Pairings
R.I.P. Gidget the Taco Bell dog
Pairing One: Mountain Dew, because why not lean into the Skate-Kid-in-the-Parking-Lot-of-a-7-11 of it all.
Pairing Two: Wet Naps. Unless you're willing to fully commit to red fingers.
Pairing Three: Literally anything on the Taco Bell menu. Anything. I know they have some offerings that already incorporate FHC, but what have you got to lose? Hell, throw them in with the sweet little cinnamon twisty boys, I don't care!
more chips!
Dirty's Buffalo Bleu Chips Provide Your Wings Fix
Ben Boskovich
Ben Boskovich is the Deputy Editor of Esquire, where he also writes about style.
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