Savorings Flaky Pastry Bites

By: Pillsbury

I Paid: $4.19 for an 8.5-ounce box of 12 minipastries (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3stars

Marketing: 4stars

“Savorings” is a name that’s pretentious enough to actually be charming, particularly in the context of food you dump out of your freezer into the oven. The branding represents an ongoing, possibly never-to-die trend in American mass-market food: the impulse to cloak the utilitarian and lowbrow in the guise of the sophisticated and luxurious. As the economy nosedives, the cheap-as-luxurious trend may dry up a bit—but for now, it’s still booming.

Savorings are puff pastry bites notable for their elegant venting holes and less-than-elegant fillings, which include Cheese and Spinach, Mozzarella and Pepperoni (that’s a damned pizza roll, you would-be aristocrats!), and Buffalo Style Chicken. The latter was the only variety available locally.

The puffs themselves are bizarrely confused about their station in life, the perfect physical complement to the name. Frankly, they look classy, and would comfortably sit shoulder to shoulder with hors d’oeuvre at an upscale wedding or catered business meeting. The pastry is fluffy, buttery, nicely browned, and surprisingly flaky, a far cry from the greasy, leaden crap that typifies freezer fare.

And then … the filling. Buffalo chicken doesn’t belong in this fine of a getup; it’s like putting a melted Hershey’s chocolate bar inside a pain au chocolat, or filling the baked Alaska at Oleana with Wells’ Blue Bunny Super Chunky Cookie Dough ice cream. That said, the chicken itself is relatively tender, although it could use more heat and kick in order to compete with the substantial flavor and texture of its exterior.

Wheat Thins Fiber Selects

By: Nabisco

I Paid: $3.19 for a 7.5-ounce box of of Garden Vegetable; $3.19 for an 8-ounce box of 5-Grain (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4stars

Marketing: 4stars

There is something about Wheat Thins that recalls the virtues of the Roman Republic, before the great city-state tragically spiraled into its decadent collapse. They are restrained and focused, offering predominantly the taste of malted and baked grain. They are not showy. And they work hard to glorify whatever happens to be spread atop them, playing a supporting role with grace and tact.

Wheat Thins Fiber Selects appear to be a little more showboaty than their noble ancestor, claiming five grams of fiber per serving, and arriving in either 5-Grain or Garden Vegetable varieties. But when you get right down to it, these hexagonal upstarts are not much different from old-school Wheat Thins in either taste or function. Both come across as almost aggressively modest and wholesome, relying on salt and hearty whole-grain flour for the bulk of their flavor. Garden Vegetable claims a bit more pop and arrives flecked with green and red bits of carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions, but they play it cool—an occasional faint tomato or onion note is detectable, but the wheat comes first. And 5-Grain is remarkably similar to the original in every aspect except for raw fiber content.

Humble may not be chic, but there’s something pleasurably addicting about Wheat Thins, now with more fiber.

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