February 13, 2009

“Well Knobbly?” Well Disgusting!

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Allow me to preface this entry by letting the reader know that I am abroad in Scotland for the semester. Without that information, you may find yourself terribly lost. I have stepped outside of the culture I know all too well and revel in all too often, and have embarked on a journey to the birthplace of the bagpipe.

But what does an American pop culture pill-popper slash blogger have to write about the United Kingdom? Well, I’m not really sure either. Even though I am studying at the University of St. Andrews, the alma mater of Prince William, English royalty and tabloid extraordinaire, I’ve had a hard time coming up with comment-worthy banter for the Cornell Sun (and for that, I’m sorry, web editors).

So with no particular plan in mind, I dove right into the nearest supermarket, Tesco’s, to find my first nugget about which to write, and boy, did I find one – the Twiglet.

[img_assist|nid=35058|title=Twiglet|desc=The strangest snack to an unsuspecting American|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]

Twiglets are “a well knobbly treat”, as some of their packaging advertises, and are essentially baked twig-shaped rods covered in vegetable oil, salt, dried cheese, and pepper (clearly I did not examine the label before purchasing, was distracted by the cuteness of the name, and proceeded to taste these foul treats for the first time). A staple in healthy party snacks, Twiglets seem to not only grace tables in the UK at parties, but also seem to play a somewhat integral role in British snack food culture.

AWholeLotofCrunch.com,” a blog dedicated solely to the Twiglet phenomenon, boasts that on November 20th of 2008, Twiglets turned “eighty years young,” and the British advertising world seems to have made a goal of explaining to the public just what a Twiglet really is. It seems as though they’ve failed.

A Commercial for Twiglets – Curry Flavor

“Britain’s Number One Snack food” has also starred in an episode of Britain’s “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

But no matter what information is shed on this unusual and unsavory snack, I cannot help but ask myself, “Who cares?” If Twiglets are the equivalent of, say, Lay’s potato chips, then why aren’t Americans as obsessed with the mysteries of the chip? It comes in flavors, it’s greasy, and it’s delicious – there really isn’t much else to it. But I suppose the reasons for our difference are as cryptic as why many Americans (including myself) will never understand or appreciate Monty Python.