I am a proud 90’s kid and a lover of all 90’s snacks. Oreos? Lived and breathed for them. Pop-Tarts? Best eaten by popping the s’mores ones in the microwave (ain’t nobody got time to wait for the toaster) and then breaking them perfectly in half.
Second to noshing on these, I love learning all of the crazy fun facts behind them.
Which brings me to Cheetos. Utterly cheesy, probably fake, and the best choice for pairing with a Subway sandwich. Here are five random facts about Cheetos that will make you loved by all 90’s kids wherever you may go.
1. Despite any protestations, we love the neon orange cheese powder coating our fingers. (Blame science.)
Turns out the professionals discovered why we love that orange dust so much. After bringing together a focus group, researchers watched their brain activity when they ate Cheetos.
They discovered that we get a “giddy feeling of subversion“—embracing the rebelliousness of doing something we shouldn’t be doing—when we’re left with hands that make us look like Chester Cheetah. (Now we have Sweetos, which will coat our fingers in delicious cinnamon sugar goodness. About damn time, Cheetos.)
Marketers took that observation—that we secretly love being bad—and turned it into a new ad campaign, where Chester Cheetah becomes the devil on our shoulder, slyly suggesting we let loose, even in a small way. We likey.
Which brings me to my next point…
2. Chester Cheetah was so cool he was banned from TV
With his classic black shades and lace up sneaks, Chester was the original cool cat of the nineties with his classic one liners like, “It ain’t easy being cheesy,” or, “Dangerously cheesy.” He had Daffy Duck as his stunt double, for goodness sake.
He was so cool that Pepsico wanted to give Chester his own Saturday morning cartoon show, called Yo! It’s the Chester Cheetah Show. Every group that has fought corporations advertising to kids in the history of ever immediately worked to shut the show down, claiming that the show would be a program-length commercial.”
Alas, Chester Cheetah never made it to air.
3. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are a food of the people.
The original Cheetos were made by C.E. Doolin in 1948; Doolin was determined to create a snack that wouldn’t go stale so, after trying corn chips from a local sandwich shop, he began experimenting and used his kids for the taste tests. His first major creation from these experiments was Fritos. His second, Cheetos.
There were other Cheetos flavors, but with the exception of Cheetos Puffs made in 1971, nothing really stuck.
Fast forward to 1992. Richard Montanez, who worked as a janitor in the Rancha Cuchamonga, CA plant for California had started adding chili powder to his Cheetos snacks. Friends and family adored the spicy kick to the cheesy crunch. “You’ve got to show the CEO this,” they told him.
With two weeks to prep—including creating samples—Montanez did just that. And the rest, as they say, is foodie history. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has been a top-seller for Frito-Lay since its inception. And Montanez? He’s the executive VP of multicultural sales for Pepsico North America.
4. Pepsi-flavored = real. Halp?
After Flamin’ Hot Cheetos hit the market, Frito-Lay started churning out all different kinds of flavor combos. Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos, Salsa con Queso Cheetos, and Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were just the start (and what a delicious start it was).
For the more interesting flavors, we need to hop over to Japan to try Mountain Dew Cheetos and Pepsi Cheetos. But how do either of those seem like a good combo?
U.S. buyers rushed to eBay to get their hands on samples of Pepsi-flavored Cheetos. And while the taste may not have been, um, appetizing, the Pepsi-flavored Cheetos (sprayed with cola-flavoring, because that sounds natural), “create[d] a carbonated sensation when you eat them—kind of like Pop Rocks, if Pop Rocks came in a “blindingly citrus-like” flavor.”
Can we talk about the discontinued flavors? Like Cheetos Bacon. Cheese + Bacon. Frito-Lay. Why? WHY.
5. Cheetos will save your life.
Especially when you don’t have any firewood. Next time you find yourself camping, or interested in doing a science experiment, trying using Cheetos to keep a fire burning. To prove that it’s true, we found a brave soul who set fire to a beloved Cheeto.
Cheetos, which are made up of “pure hydrocarbons and fat,” make excellent tinder (no, not that Tinder) for a fire. Better than Doritos, even.
Still hungry for more food news?