Pepsi-flavored Cheetos? The chocolate éclair hot dog? Yes, yes, wow

A version of this column first appeared in The Dallas Morning News and on

Once upon a time, in a land where people walked down busy sidewalks with large unwrapped chocolate bars and lidless jars of peanut butter, collisions created deliciousness.

You got your chocolate in my peanut butter! You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!

It was a happy-go-lucky world in the commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Everyone was smiling, everyone was thrilled, and nobody seemed concerned about the wellness of a woman publicly eating peanut butter with her fingers.

A little crazy. But perhaps not any crazier than the current trend of food hybrids, which can be far more bizarre than any of the fried heart-stoppers you’ll find at the ongoing State Fair of Texas.

(This year’s winner for most creative in the Big Tex Awards was Fried Thanksgiving Dinner. If you want to try it, I think you can find it near a booth that serves something on a stick. I hope that helps.)

The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup combination seemed like a natural. But that’s too basic these days. Too sensible.

And so good for you, too! (Maple Lodge Farms)
Not like the éclair hot dog, which drops a grilled hot dog into a sliced chocolate éclair and then tops it with whipped cream and sprinkles. That concoction was unveiled last year at the Canadian National Exhibition, a celebration that’s a lot like our fair, but with fewer cowboy hats and more hockey jerseys.

The Texas State Fair fair is known for fried foods, of course. So are all fairs, where everything from banana splits to pig ears gets doused in a fryer basket. That’s part of the live-in-the-now attitude at an event that comes just once a year. And, for some, you just haven’t lived until you experience intestinal distress miles away from home.

But every day, more odd-combination recipes pop up on the Internet. Who’s up for some Velveeta fudge squares? How about some Twinkie sushi? A slice of tater-tot pizza?

When you’re done, you can wash it down with a Bacon Soda. One customer on said the soda “does not have any of the qualities that make a good beverage other than it is wet.”

Big surprise there. A bacon-flavored soda seems nearly as ridiculous as the pairing of Kim Kardashian and “hardest-working young lady in the world.”

It's a doughnut, it's a burger, it's delicious? (Jellorama)
Here’s another stomach-churner:

A grilled-cheese sandwich with the bread replaced by two chocolate-chip cookies.

That seems like a toxic challenger to the doughnut hamburger, which has become popular over the last decade. In another slap in the face of standard bread, Kentucky Fried Chicken nixed the bun for two fried fillets on its Double Down sandwich.

Maybe bread is becoming passé. In a few years, a sub shop will ask if you want your sandwich on white, wheat, cookie, doughnut or Pop Tart.

I think I know what spawns this wonderful and/or nauseating creativity. During the last two decades, we’ve been peppered with guilt-inducing dietary tips. We’ve been told to cut calories and fat, add protein and fiber, and avoid anything with the word “baconator.”

We’ve also been aging, and Krispy Kreme sloppy joes and pizza fries are like rebellious grasps at our youth. It’s a brief return to childhood, when we liked to fill up our cups at the fountain-drink station with a little bit of everything. It was probably the same day when we emptied Pixie Stix into a bowl of cereal to make breakfast even sugary-er.

Fast-food restaurants are jumping on the combination trend. Taco Bell, which already found big success with a Doritos taco shell, is now selling a waffle taco in selected restaurants. Pizza Hut locations in the Middle East offer pizza crusts stuffed with cheeseburgers or chicken fillets, and Domino’s in Japan will deliver a mayonnaise-covered pizza. I would add that it’s shaped like Godzilla, but that’s both untrue and an unfair stab at Japanese culture, so I’ll avoid that lame joke.


Here’s something else about Japan:

It’s the exclusive home to Pepsi-flavored Cheetos. Yes, Pepsi-flavored Cheetos. Because you asked.

Somebody did, I guess.

There are no plans for the Pepsi-flavored Cheetos to be available in America, so for now, we’re stuck with the two-part task of eating a Cheeto and then taking a swig of Pepsi. Who has time for that?

Wait a second. How about you take the Cheetos and walk this direction, and I take the Pepsi and walk this direction …

Sadly, I don’t think it will go as well as with the peanut butter cups.

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