We Eat It So You Don't Have To: 7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded
Photo by Ryan Cady Good lord.
Before I got a chance to try the Doritos Loaded, my working lede for this article was "Three fat white guys walk into a 7-Eleven. They never walk out."
I wish that lede were true.
I wish it were applicable.
I wish I were dead.
When I first heard about the Doritos Loaded (Sidebar: is that what this product is really called? I've been calling them "3D Doritos" and "Stuffed Doritos" all week, because "Doritos Loaded" is only a marginally better moniker than descriptive statement about the product), my immediate reaction, like most of you, was incredulity.
"What?" I asked aloud in a crowded 7-Eleven in Culver City several weeks ago. After reading enough posted promotional material to glean that this was not, in fact, some morbid practical joke or satire on the state American culinary trends, I'm sure I jumped to the same place as any rational reader out there - the same gut-punch reaction that all human beings have when faced with something so horrific it makes them question their philosophical worldview and jump straight from Kant to Nietschze.
Well, I am reminded of the words of Primo Levi, the Italian scholar who charted the terrors of World War II with painful clarity:
"There is no why here."
Photo by Ryan Cady Help me
So anyway, three fat white guys walk into a 7-Eleven. Right off the bat, we're assaulted with advertisements for the Doritos Loaded, as if this is a thing that sane human beings can actually be conned into ordering. A poster assures us that the Doritos Loaded go great with something called "Mountain Dew Solar Flare," which only further convinces me that we are about to make a terrible mistake.
There's a moment of personal triumph when I see that sad little heating trays are barren, devoid of all save a few dried husks of pepperoni pizza and a buffalo chicken taquito, but the attendant behind the counter says it'd be no problem to prepare some Doritos Loaded.
I pay for two orders - the self-loathing commences.
While the worker (who bore no name tag, because he felt like killing my narrative style) used a pair of comically oversized metal tongs to place the frozen, ill-shaped lumps of breaded "cheese" onto a heating tray below the thing they cook the hot dogs in, my two pals - Sebastian, from Omaha, and Adrian, from Norwalk (we like to keep a diverse sample size for these endeavors) - and I filled Big Gulps with the recommended pairing Mountain Dew Solar Flare, and toasted to all our years of camaraderie. Divvying up our meager assets, we assigned them to friends in the event of our seemingly inevitable demise - how naïve we were, then; there are fates far worse than death.
We took the two small boxes (I found the enticing colorful graphics to be condescending; I'd already purchased the fucking things, after all) outside to the parking lot, to commit ourselves to this shameful bacchanal by streetlight. I opened the first box.
At first glance, the Doritos Loaded appear as innocuous as Banquet brand chicken nuggets - truly, something unpleasant, but not sinister. Some might even argue wholesome, in a nostalgic sort of way. Of course, the smell wafting from the box was exactly as you might imagine - like fried Doritos. It was a corn-heavy smell, and I think it's still lingering on my clothes from last night.
"Jesus Christ," I muttered, picking one out of the box. "They're cold in the middle."
Indeed they were. And squishy. My thumb left a grotesque indentation in the center of the little orange pyramid, grease and flecks of breading sticking to my skin.
"Well, gentleman," I began, taking one last sip of Mountain Dew Solar Flare. "It's been a pleasure."
Sebastian nodded grimly, and Adrian may have been murmuring a silent prayer, as we pressed together the soggy cheese triangles in a macabre imitation of our earlier toast, and took the first bite.
I wish I could tell you that they're not that bad.