Last school year, after multiple iterations, the current vending machine stock was selected under the guide of head of school Lee Thomsen. Due to the obscurity of most of the snacks, their quality is largely unknown, so reviewer sophomore Ian Thompson sampled the lesser-known foods offered.
Spice Crisps: C+
The $1.75 spice crisps smelled like gingerbread cookies or graham crackers, but when I bit into them, I was met with a bland, vaguely graham-cracker-like flavor. After chewing and swallowing, you realize that you can still taste the cookies in your mouth, and, unfortunately, it’s not a happy realization. Underwhelming flavor and overwhelming aftertaste mean I won’t be spending $1.75 on these again.
Mango Pineapple Trail Mix: B
Have you ever been munching on some raisins and peanuts and thought, “Gee, this trail mix could really use some dried tropical fruit”? If so, this $1.25 snack is definitely for you. While it doesn’t contain any chocolate, the sweetness of the dried fruit gives a nice mixture of sweet and savory balance. However, I strongly recommend checking the expiration date on the package, as I received one that had already been past due for a week or so.
Mix’n Yogurt: B-
Do you like it? This is the only question that really matters when deciding whether or not to spend $1.25 on Mix’n Yogurt. While it also lacks chocolate, the abundant raisins are an alternative source for a sweet balance to the salty peanuts. But don’t be fooled or worried by the “yogurt” part of the name – there is no discernible yogurty flavor.
Nature’s Bakery Raspberry Fig Bar: B+
Nature’s Bakery Raspberry fig bars ($1.25) have a raspberry-fig filling that more than makes up for their dry and crumbly outer breading. Overall, this is a decent light snack, especially for its (relatively) low price.
Spicy Jalapeño Popcorners: C+
Spicy Jalapeño Popcorners are spicy, faux-cheese tortilla chips. It should be noted that these come in a deceivingly large bag with only 15 or so chips inside, but the strong flavor guarantees you’ll eat them slowly and not scarf them down mindlessly. At $1, a smaller number of chips might not be a deal breaker.
Wheat Thins Veggie: C-
Vegetable Wheat Thins sound like a healthy snack. Why else would people buy them? Unfortunately, the first taste is a quasi-cheese flavor – not unlike that found in the Spicy Jalapeño Popcorners- combined with the signature vaguely sweet aftertaste of regular Wheat Thins. If that doesn’t sound like an appealing combination, you’re probably right. Worth $1? Up to you to decide, but my internal flavor compass points to “no.”
Nature’s Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar: C
If one fig bar from a brand is good, others from the same brand should be too. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the Nature’s Bakery Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar. With a much less potently flavored filling to balance out the dry, crumbly breading, this $1.25 option is a subpar version of its companion.
Butter Toffee Peanuts: A-
After I purchased a $1.75 bag of Butter Toffee Peanuts, I walked outside holding them and was told that these were “trash” and “super nasty”; it was clear that they had a pretty bad reputation. But I came to a different conclusion: this was probably the best snack I’d tried of the lot. A crunchy toffee shell coating each peanut made them very sweet, so I wasn’t surprised when students’ opinions changed after I passed the bag around.
While I did enjoy eating some of the snacks in the vending machine, most weren’t nearly as good as the less healthy snacks available.
—By Ian Thompson