It’s a bold statement. “The greatest?” you ask with indignation. Surely there are other, more worthy contenders for this auspicious title? Nay, there is only one true competitor whose sweet and creamy goodness demands the crown and sash that denote “Greatest Snack Food Ever Invented.”
For the skeptics, I provide a systematic breakdown of the path to victory:
As any elementary school child will tell you, “packability” is a huge factor in the selection of a lunch box snack food. In other words, what foods can I pack in my lunch box at 7am, shove into my backpack, let sit for a couple hours is my hot locker, and still be willing to eat at lunch time? This is not a decision to be made lightly. Many otherwise great lunch snacks get the boot due to their inability to withstand the heavy demands of what I like to call “the school lunch 4-hour erosion process.” So, unless you were of those kids whose parent took the time to purchase an ergonomically correct, lunch-box sized ice pack for your insulated, monogrammed L.L.Bean lunch sack, your options were limited (and who really wanted to be one of those snooty ice pack kids anyway?).
Oatmeal Creme Pies certainly don’t need any sort of refrigeration (they have the shelf life of about 23 years). They also take up minimal room in your lunch box, as they lay flat and can be shoved between a juice box and sandwich (side note: if you are really sneaky about it, due to their unassuming height and slim profile, you can potentially sneak two of these satisfying snacks into your lunch box without your lunch-patrol mother noticing). And finally, their yumminess withstands even the most forceful of backpack mishandling. So even if your Pie is smushed up into an origami creation by lunch time, it won’t go to waste. Nope, its hermetically sealed cellophane encasing ensures that you can still lick all of its sugary goodness off the inside of the wrapper.
Pretty much every other contender for the Greatest Snack Food Ever Invented title, in my opinion, has two elements: cookies and cream. Oreos, Nutter Butters, Snackwells, Dunkaroos, Keebler Fudge Cookies, etc. all boast the highly-regarded cookie-sandwich-with-icing-inside formula. However, these competitors all fall short in their downright disregard for the appropriate quantity of cream in relation to cookie. I, for one, want some cream in every single bite of my cookie. As a gluttonous American, I feel as though the manufacturers of those other wanna-be-great snack food cookies are denying me my God-given right to ingest exorbitant amounts of sugar in every mouthful. And, lest you Double-Stuff Oreo lovers out there pick a fight on this one, I ask you to first open that cookie sandwich and tell me whether that cream reaches the VERY EDGE of the cookie? Does it? Huh? I can’t hear you…
Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies are democratic, fair and generous in their rationing and distribution of the cream. It’s a science and they’ve perfected it. I for one can’t think of anything more America than that. (Side note: Don’t let the fancy-schmanzy French name fool you, these are gems are made in Arkansas, Virginia and Tennessee).
I should be able to feel my arteries clogging just by looking at a great snack food. And oh, does Little Debbie deliver.
These babies are packed with 318 calories, 13.1 grams of fat, 318mg of sodium, 48.6 grams of carbohydrates and 22.4 grams of sugar. I’d go on, but I think the numbers speak for themselves.
Cult following and versatility
Oatmeal Creme Pies have history on their side. They were the first snack produced by the Little Debbie brand name in 1960. Since their inception, they have acquired loyal fans and committed devotees. From little children who realize that they’ve struck lunchtime trading gold (I once witnessed a child trade 4 packs of Gushers and 3 Fruit Roll Ups for one Pie – still a bad trade in my opinion) to the adults who find inventive ways to incorporate the old time favorite into new recipes.
A simple Google search will provide you with recipes for Oatmeal Creme Pie brownies, cheesecake bars, and (oh lord) Oatmeal Creme Pie truffles. Finally, the Las Vegas Foddie Fest serves up a deep fried Oatmeal Creme Pie. You read that correctly. Deep fried, on a stick, rolled in powdered sugar. OMNOM NOM NOM.
What it Lacks
But perhaps the most important characteristic of The Greatest Snack Food Ever Invented is what it lacks. You know what I’m talking about. Those pesky little things that get in the way of the cookie, the things that can be blamed for giving us all trust issues at age 5 because we thought they were chocolate chips, the “healthy” food old people love. That’s right, RAISINS. Raisins have been ruining perfectly good oatmeal cookies for decades now. But Little Debbie delivered. They took a stand and created a snack food made for the gods. So, I salute you Little Debbie, for keeping even a quarter-ounce of healthy out of our snack foods. You deserve to be recognized for your accomplishment.
Cue the anthem, balloons, glitter and sash…may your reign be longer and far more illustrious than the endangered Hostess Twinkie.