I love newspaper food pages, what with their Bolognese sauce recipes and reviews of locavore bistros. They tell us how to eat well, and that’s something of real value. Putting thought into what we put in our bodies is never a bad thing.
That said, sometimes I just wanna grab some garbage food and shove greedy handfuls of it into my dumb face. There’s not much coverage of junk food in the food pages, and this feature seeks to remedy that.
In every biweekly edition of Pat Eats Garbage Food, I’ll review a different fast food item or convenience store snack and let you know what works and what doesn’t. (You’ll note I didn’t say what’s good and what’s bad; it’s all bad. That’s the point.)
■ The food: This week, we once again explore the wonderful world of Mexican snacks. We’ve covered Mexican Japanese peanuts. We’ve covered Takis. And now we’re on to Gansito, the chocolate-enrobed, cream-and-jam-filled Mexican snack cake whose name translates to “little goose.” (My wife and I call our 3-year-old “Little Goose,” so this one has a special place in my heart.)
■ The damage: I lost the receipt, so I’m not exactly sure. Somewhere between $1 and $2 for a two-cake pack.
■ The other damage: 410 calories, 18 grams fat (12 saturated!), 25 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 48 grams sugar, 60 grams carbs, in every two-cake package. Those numbers ... aren’t great. But here’s to Gansito manufacturer Marinela for at least not pulling a fast one and listing each cake as its own serving. No one has ever eaten just one. What would you do? Put the other cake in Tupperware for later? That’s sociopath behavior.
■ Official description: “Artificially flavored strawberry-and-crème-filled cake with chocolate- flavored coating,” according to the Marinela U.S. website. Really, Marinela? That’s it? Gansito has a vivid and exciting life (read: “marketing campaign”) on Instagram. The little goose skateboards, goes to a school dance, shops for records and a million other things. But the Marinela U.S. website itself is just that flat description, like it was written by the Ben Stein character from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
■ My description: Everything about them tastes fake and lab-created. But that’s true of most snack cakes. Within the parameters of the category, then, they’re just fine. In fact, they’re pretty good. That little tangy hit of jam elevates them above mediocrity. I’d put them above Twinkies but below Ding Dongs in the snack-cake hierarchy.
■ How does it feel? It feels like it’s time to brush my teeth. Ever eat a couple of spoonfuls of plain sugar when you were a kid and no one else was home? It feels like that — a cheap, short-lived high followed by a dull pang of regret and a stomachache.
■ Will I eat it again? Sure. I go on Mexican snack binges, and I need something sweet in the mix to balance out all the salty and spicy stuff.
■ Overall rating: 6 out of 10, a perfectly adequate snack cake (which is actually a step up from the ad copy on the Marinela website).