What can one classify as a ravioli? A Pop-Tart? Uncrustables? Anything with two ends of dough and some sort of filling? Or solely one pasta envelope filled with a combination of meat and cheese? I turned to the Wheaton community to answer the question that started as a 2018 internet meme—“Is a Pop-Tart a ravioli?”—with the intention to put this question to rest once and for all.
The vast majority of those I interviewed claimed that there is no way a Pop-Tart can qualify as a ravioli. In fact, I only heard one argument defending that a Pop-Tart could be a ravioli: Kavita Premkumar ’22 claimed that “Yes [Pop Tarts can be considered ravioli], especially the ones with the pictures.” While I agree that pictures on ravioli and Pop-Tarts make both foods better, they do not make a Pop-Tart a ravioli.
On the other hand, Eva Danielson ’22 argued against Pop-Tarts being ravioli: “No, a Pop-Tart is just a pastry; it’s as simple as that.” Danielson’s argument was supported by Sydney McClaren ’23, who made a similar claim: “Pop-Tarts are a pastry, not a ravioli — ravioli is a pasta. Kim Dugan ’22 made an argument regarding the casing differences between a ravioli and a Pop-Tart: “the definition [of ravioli] says it’s a pasta envelope but that [a Pop-Tart’s casing] is a pastry envelope.”
Those three arguments exclude Pop-Tarts from being ravioli due to their casing. However, I did hear an argument that it is the filling and ingredients of a ravioli that exclude a Pop-Tart from the classification. Nicole Janerio ’23 explains, “Raviolis have sauce and are gooier than Pop-Tarts.” She’s absolutely right! Pop-Tarts are filled with a sugary filling while ravioli is filled with gooey cheese, and typically meat or vegetables. Also, Pop-Tarts do not typically have sauce—they have frosting.
One of the most detailed explanations as to why a Pop-Tart is not a ravioli came from Liz Eaton ’22. She said, “I don’t think ravioli is a category on its own. Ravioli is a type of pasta. This begs the question of what makes something ravioli vs. tortellini, because they are basically the same except for the amount of cheese. If cheese is the deciding factor between a ravioli, tortellini, and just normal pasta, then a Pop-Tart isn’t any of these due to lack of cheese.” I’m glad Eaton brought up the idea of categories because that brings us to the separate argument that Pop-Tarts and ravioli may both very well fall under the category of dumpling, which opens a whole new door of possibilities that can be debated.
Lexico defines dumplings as “a small savory ball of dough (usually made with suet) which may be boiled, fried, or baked in a casserole.” Arguably, both a ravioli and a Pop-Tarts are a savory ball (or perhaps rectangles) of dough (with filling, too) that can, in theory, be baked, fried, or boiled. In retrospect, asking “are both Pop-Tarts and ravioli dumplings?” may have led to a more fulfilling debate, but alas, that is not the question I am answering this week.
As always, I had to do some clarifying research on my own to fully put the question to rest. What filled me with satisfaction was not sugary goodness, or savory meat and cheese, but instead, a Tweet from the official Pop-Tart account.
“Public service announcement: 1. Pop-Tarts are not ravioli, 2. Pop-Tarts are not sandwiches, 3. There will never be a Tide Pod flavored Pop-Tart, Have a nice day.”
So, in the end, I will have to say that no, a Pop-Tart is not a ravioli.