Americans spend a lot of money on food, and quite a bit of that gets put toward items that require no prep. In many cases, those are snacks -- a wide category that traditionally spans from candy to cookies, crackers, chips, popcorn and numerous other items typically packaged in a bag for grab-and-go consumption. Fruits and vegetables can end up in this category too, depending on your preference.
While I love a good bag of chips (RIP, the best damn chips ever, Doritos Late Night Cheeseburger), I’ve always had a soft spot for a less conventional snack as well: croutons.
Food take incoming: Croutons should be more widely accepted as snacks on their own, and come in much wider flavor varieties, like chips. (also, you're probably getting better value in terms of both price and calories than you do with chips)— John Cassillo (@JohnCassillo) June 7, 2018
Typically put on a salad to add some carbs and additional texture, croutons do have versatility that far outweighs their ability to maybe get soft enough to eat while you’re consuming a salad (assuming it’s been pre-tossed, with the croutons inside). As I mention above, price and calories are a pretty good value in comparison to chips as well. A bag of Kroger brand croutons is just 99 cents, and there’s only 180 calories in the entire bag.
Where croutons fall a little short, however, is the flavor options. My local Ralph’s has just a few: Parmesan and Herb, Caesar and Texas Toast — the latter having more calories than the first two, for obvious reasons. But why do I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg for what you can do with croutons? What if we got bold with some BBQ, ranch and/or sour cream and onion flavors?
Remember what chips were like 20-25 years ago? There were a handful of varieties and that’s it. You were cool with your five options and moved on. Now? I walk into a store and can get Korean BBQ-flavored chips, or banana pepper-flavored ones. Lays isn’t even that groundbreaking of a company and they’ve rolled out options like chicken and waffles, Reuben and everything bagel of late.
It’s time croutons made the same jump. Sean’s already got a name for the product, and I’m totally onboard. From the looks of Twitter, it seems like there are quite a few more #Crouthers out there as well.
Whether you’re with us or not, though, what’s your favorite unconventional snack? This is a snack safe space, so feel free to offer up any and all possibilities.