Thursday, June 1, 2006

Cheeto Smackdown

Ever want a glimpse into the esoteric, sophisticated world of humanitarian work? Can you at least feign a little interest for anecdotal purposes? Awesome.

Earlier, my educated, cosmopolitan colleagues and I were engaged in a heated debate over an outrageous pronouncement by one of our number. Ms. Cassandra Kennedy declared that though it is marketed under the same brand nationwide, the snack known as "Cheetos" is markedly different, and moreover, tastier, in the Western mountain states she calls home than it is on the East Coast. The Northeast Corridor denizens would have none of it, and demanded proof.

Happily, Ms. Kennedy recently traveled back to her ancestral home in the Northwestern United States, and somewhere in Wyoming brought forth a bag of Puffy Cheetos to pit against DC Cheetos. She had clearly thrown down the gauntlet.

So this afternoon, many of my esteemed peers gathered in the communal kitchen to test this theory. Those who hailed from the West squared off against those from the East, and vowed to put their innate allegiances aside in the name of science to determine the Tastiest Cheeto in All the Land.

Lo and behold, the visual confirmation of Ms. Kennedy's statement proved true, as the Eastern snacks were clearly of a greater girth than their Western counterparts. We had to concede that they were, in fact, different, but the real heart of the matter was the tastiness controversy. So we armed ourselves with contraband sodas to cleanse the palate, and took to the task at hand.

The Western Cheetos were crunchier, and less infused with air than the puffier Cheetos of the East. However, I still found the subtle buttery flavor of the Cheeto more pronounced and delightful in the Eastern Cheetos. I forced myself to repeat the test several times to ensure my objectivity, but came down squarely on the side of the Cheeto of my People. I was pleased to discover that the control group -- our Middle Eastern and Afghan participants -- favored my opinion, as did other Easterners.

However, it seemed that those hailing from the West could not be moved to embrace the fuller texture and overall superiority of the Eastern Cheeto. They clung tenaciously to their misbegotten conception that theirs was the Superior Snack. Perhaps there are darker forces deep within the human psyche, surpassing even the beautiful scientific truth of the matter, that will forever prevent peace and understanding in the snack food aisles of America. Alas.

Documentation of the experiment can be found below:

Cassandra serves up the Cheetos

West Coast Cheetos

East Coast Cheetos -- note the wider girth

Public Policy Director -- and master of nonpartisanship -- Todd Shelton samples the Cheetos.

The Afghanistan delegation favors the Eastern snack.