In Defense of Funyuns | Phoenix New Times

In Defense of Funyuns

In the final installment of our weeklong series, Laurie Notaro returns to explain her love for a snack adored by some and reviled by others.
Tom Carlson
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Ho Hos. Peeps. Jack in the Box onion rings. We all have it, that low-end dish or snack item that tops our own personal food pyramid. What's yours? All week we'll ask some of our favorite writers to dig deep and cough up their favorites.

They are gold, for starters. They are crunchy. You can wear the little ones like rings or the big ones as bracelets or earrings. Rarely is a snack food so versatile.

I’m talking about Funyuns, and I don’t care that you cringed right now. Your fake horror, your exaggerated gagging sounds. Pack that shit up and just be honest with yourself.

You love Funyuns. We all love Funyuns.

It’s probably the only thing I have in common with Donald Trump.

I had my first yellow bag of Funyuns in the sixth grade. It was nothing short of an awakening. The crunch, the salt, the playfulness of a snack has never been produced anywhere with so much deliverance. Funyuns have the sizzle and the meat, the texture and the bold taste, and they can also actually fly. So add game piece to their list of uses.

Do you know why I like Funyuns? It’s because they are a testament to modern science, a marvel of chemical equation, that a snack food can be made without one single real ingredient.

FUNYUN FUN FACT #1: George Binger, an engineer at Frito-Lay, invented the Funyun in 1969, and the recipe has never once been changed. Can’t say that about Twinkies. You can’t even say that about water.

FUNYUN FUN FACT #2: Funyuns are Jesse’s favorite snack on Breaking Bad.

FUNYUN FUN ALTERNATIVE FACT #3: According to a website approved by some guy claiming to be a doctor, Funyuns have the following short-term side effects:

• disorientation
• elevated heart rate
• headaches
• nausea
• dehydration

And, honestly, there’s no way to disagree with that, because those are also the side effects of pure and total elation. Of course you are going to get disoriented and have an elevated heart rate! IT’S A FUNYUN. The nausea and dehydration will naturally happen because you will eat a whole bag, and the headache is simply the result of excessive crunching.

No news to me, pally. No news to me.

And guess what? Because they are made of not one single real ingredient, they are vegan! WHICH MEANS HEALTHY. It’s paleo. (I think. Don’t quote me on that, but I am going to keep saying it.)

The “doctor” of the website also gave Funyuns an “F.” I’m not surprised at that either, because anyone who thinks that carrots get an “A” has no sense of joie de vie. Really. If a carrot is your “treat,” I would say that a little cocaine might not be out of order. Just a little. A sniff, a sniff, I’m not talking eight-ball here. Just a little something to get the juices going. See the rainbow of life, open up that bag, and breathe in the onion powder. Pull out a tiny Funyun and pretend it’s a monocle. Have a Funyun toss at your next party. Use them instead of Jenga pieces for a real challenge! Funyuns spawn creativity, improve hand-to-mouth coordination, and provide numerous teachable moments.

And I will also give Funyuns my grade: an F.

But my F is for FUN.

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