Photo: Travis Tessmer

Flamin’ hot fans rejoice: Asteroids have returned to the store snack shelves after an asteroid-less decade. In the press release, Fauzia Haq, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, announces, “For over 10 years, fans have overwhelmingly asked for Cheetos Asteroids to return to store shelves… The consumer demand could not be ignored and we’re thrilled to relaunch Cheetos Asteroids, alongside three bold Doritos flavors.” Those flavors will include Doritos Fiery Habanero Triangles, Doritos Nacho Cheese Nuts, and Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho Cheese Nuts, for those who prefer an amalgamation of flamin’ hot flavors for a mere $1.19 a bag.

We had already received some Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Asteroids at the office, the bags of red balls accompanied by a mysterious letter from Chester Cheetah, indicating some sort of time capsule set-up: “How’s it going out there in 2019?… I’m surprising you with Flamin’ Hot Asteroids… They were simply too good that I had to hide them until the world could handle the fiery heat… Stay cheesy.” You too, Chester Cheetah.

As I’m not the biggest flamin’ hot fan, I opened the asteroid bags up to my co-workers. The flaming hot devotees among them had some specific critiques, finding that the little asteroids “missed the fun crunches of the oblong shape.” One said that the tiny red balls were “missing the core of the flamin’ hot.” However, the “on-the-go packaging” was a big hit: “You could put it in a cup-holder.”

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Granted, as not the hugest flamin’ hot person, I thought these asteroids tasted like some Corn Pops that had rolled into the wrong section of the snack factory. I found them extremely breakfast cereal-like; we even toyed with pouring milk on them. And I didn’t love the long-lasting, fiery after-taste, but I suppose that’s exactly what flamin’ hot people love about them. I did not find them worth the annoying red dust on my fingers. And just look at these infernally teenie snacks—I expected them to be Planter’s Cheez Ball size, and was sorely disappointed. Aren’t asteroids supposed to be large?