Monday, March 26, 2012

Glico Tomato Cheeza

Just after graduating from college, I was desperate to get a job as my guaranteed student loans were going to require their first payment come August. With a B.A. in Psychology in hand, I was ready to take on the universe, but the universe wasn't exactly clamoring for my "expertise". As a stop-gap job, I took work at a Lutheran summer camp as a "crafts counselor". The irony of being called a "counselor" at a job which was essentially a sort of babysitting and teaching kids how to put together pre-packaged kits as a holder of a newly minted psychology degree was not lost on me.

The truth is that I was rotten at that job for several reasons. I have never been good with kids and I was impatient and sometimes angry with them. Another was that I was inexperienced and immature. I barely remember what I did, but I do know that I was oblivious enough about my poor performance that I asked the camp heads for a reference when I applied for my next job. I got that job, but they didn't exactly praise me. They said that I scared the kids. I guess I was lucky that the next job, which was directly related to my degree and far more fulfilling and appropriate for my personality, decided to take me despite the poor referral. Fortunately, I've gotten a bit better with kids (and all people in general) through time.

The reason that I am starting a review with this slice of my personal history is that there was something that happened during my time at that camp which reminded me of these crackers. One of the other counselors had to have her wisdom teeth pulled and was unable to eat solid food. On "hoagie day" (that's submarine sandwiches), she really wanted to have one, but was incapable of chewing one up. She asked the lunch ladies to puree one for her so she could drink her hoagie. After she sipped some of it, we asked her how it was. She said it tasted as you'd expect, but it was all wrong because of the loss of the textures and layers.

To me, that is a pretty good summary of this Cheeza release. This combines the tangy flavor of tomato with Camembert cheese. If I were to eat a cracker, a wedge of cheese, and a tomato, I'd think that was some good eating. In this configuration, the distillation of the cheese and fruit into powders that are pressed into the cracker seems awkward. It isn't helped by the fact that the Camembert, which is usually a mild cheese, seems incredibly intense and pungent. Camembert cheese powder is the first ingredient, and you can really taste the truth in that order.

I found this at Okashi no Machioka discount snack shop for 100 yen ($1.21). That's rather cheaper than supermarket and convenience store prices which tend to run closer to 147 yen ($1.78).  That gets you 42 grams and 214 calories of little crispy, fresh-tasting crackers. Cheeza crackers always taste cool on the tongue as the result of some alchemy I cannot fathom.

Usually, I like intense cheese flavors, but there's something about this which just doesn't work very well for me. Cheeza boasts its high cheese percentage and that is generally a good thing. I rarely find that I dislike their flavors, and I did eat the entire bag of this. However, I wouldn't buy it again.

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