The crunchy, cheesy, classic snack food that will leave an orange residue on your fingers after you eat them: Cheetos. What do you picture when you think of a Cheeto? This week, I turned to the members of the Wheaton community with the questions: When you picture a Cheeto, do you imagine crunchy Cheetos or Cheeto puffs? Also, which one is superior?
I only had seven respondents this week, two of whom said they picture Crunchy Cheetos, and claimed that they were also superior, two of whom said they picture Cheeto Puffs, and claimed that they were superior, one said that they picture Hot Cheetos, which were superior to both crunchy and puff Cheetos, one said that they picture Crunchy Cheetos but find white cheddar Cheetos to be superior, and, lastly, one said that they picture former President, Trump.
First, I will present the claims made by those who picture Crunchy Cheetos. Jadyn Ruzzano ’22, said that she pictures “Crunchy Cheetos, like the original ones. I personally like the puffs better but the crunchy ones are superior.” She’s right, Crunchy Cheetos are the originals. According to Wikipedia, “The first Cheetos product was Crunchy Cheetos, invented in 1948 in San Antonio, Texas. Crunchy Cheetos remained the brand’s sole product for 23 years until the introduction of Cheetos Puffs in 1971.” Also, I like that she argues for the superiority of the crunchy Cheetos despite her personal preference, acknowledging that they may have overall cultural superiority, which is interesting. Next, Jillian Hanson ’22, said that “I picture the crunchy Cheeto and those are superior because they were the original Cheetos, I think. I knew those before I knew the puffs and think that the puffs are just a less good version of Jaxs.” Hanson uses similar logic to Ruzzano in her claim of crunchy superiority. I also found it interesting that she pointed out the inferiority of puffy Cheetos to Jax, which I honestly forgot existed.
Lastly, Sarah Simkevich ’22 said, “I picture the bright orange crunchy ones with the bright orange cheetah because that’s what’s generally branded everywhere.” So clearly, she pictures the crunchy Cheetos when imagining Cheetos, yet, what makes her claim unique is she also explained that despite her picturing the crunchy Cheetos, she thinks “…the white cheddar puffy cheese puffs are superior. I might be biased because the only type of cheese puff I was allowed to have as a kid were the white cheddar ones, and the orange ones always make your hands super orange and it’s hard to clean and gets Cheeto dust everywhere (just like they show in the commercials).” I don’t think I’ve ever had the white cheddar Cheetos, but usually, white cheddar flavor is pretty good, so I’ll take her word for their greatness.
Furthermore, I want to present the arguments in favor of Cheeto Puffs being what comes to mind first and being superior. The two arguments that claimed this superiority were “Puffs always and forever” from Nora Gross ’23 and “Puffs for both” from Kayley Tullgren ’23. Neither of these arguments had any reasoning behind them and I’ll let that speak for itself. This arguing style with no support reminded me of a Trump supporter’s argument for why he should be re-elected: “Trump 2020” and “Snowflake.” We all know how that turned out, so I’ll let that speak for itself too. I must clarify that I mean nothing personally bad toward Gross and Tullgren, they are both wonderful humans, and I didn’t mean to insult them by comparing their arguments to that of a Trump supporter.
Speaking of Trump, one answer that I received was, “I picture Donald Trump,” from Sadie Woodward ’23. He does very much resemble a Cheeto, and this is an extremely valid argument. (I swear this is an unbiased article, I guess I’m lucky that I write for the Opinions Section of the Wire at a very Left-leaning, Liberal Arts College).
Furthermore, I received an argument made by Kim Dugan ’22, who said, “this is a trick question. It’s a hot Cheeto” I mean, yeah, hot cheetos are pretty fire (I’m sorry, I had to, I can’t not make a pun when I see the opportunity).
In the end, I have to say that I picture a crunchy Cheeto when picturing a Cheeto. This is likely due to how they are more frequently seen in advertising, as was argued by Sarah Simkevich ’22. Of the two options that I gave, Crunchy Cheetos are superior to Puffy Cheetos, in my opinion. Yet, I would now like to try White Cheddar Cheetos, and I also think that Hot Cheetos might be better than the classic Crunchy Cheetos, but this opinion may just depend on my mood. Also, a fun fact according to the trusty source of Wikipedia is, “In the early 1990s, Cheeto released “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” The variety was invented by a janitor, Richard Montañez, who observed that the brand did not have any products targeting Latinos.” Apparently, this was also considered “something of a cultural phenomenon” as was written by The Washington Post.
Lastly, my favorite response might have been the claim that Donald Trump was the first thing pictured when imagining a Cheeto. Since I picture him when thinking of Cheetos, I find that argument incredibly compelling and relatable.