Think about any orange-colored food. Now ask yourself, “Is that food delicious?” The answer will always be yes. This is because the food is orange.
Orange has long been associated with deliciousness. Remember that episode of The Magic School Bus where a kid turns orange because he eats too many orange snacks? He loved orange food so much he got some weirdo body mod to let the whole world know! I’m not gonna take my love of orange foods that far, but it stands that orange = delicious.
I learned this at age eight, when my mom stopped making my school lunches to teach me some sort of lesson in responsibility. I quickly discovered what snack food was best for my fourth-grade lunch. No surprise: that began a decade-long run of exclusively orange lunches including but not limited to, cheddar-flavored Goldfish, orange Ruffles, Cheez-Its, Cheetos and cheese puffs, Nacho Cheese Doritos, and Munchies snack mix.
Using my years of orange-food experience, let me show you how to build the perfect orange meal.
The quality of an orange starter is measured by the amount of orange residue left on your fingers. You’re looking for nothing or a light dusting—nothing darker than, say, pastel clementine. Once you find that, you’ve found a great starter, and a great way to open your mind and palate to the world of orange foods.
I recommend starting with Pepperidge Farm cheddar Goldfish. They’re incredibly tasty and snackable—but also expensive ($4.35 per 6.6 oz bag in metropolitan areas), making them a delicacy as far as orange snacks go. When you see a fresh package of these in your parents’ cupboard, fill your lunch with as many as you possibly can.
My personal favorite appetizer de l’orange (that’s French) is Cheez-Its. They are crunchy, salty, a little sour, and deliciously orange.
(Cheez-Its are NOT to be confused with Cheese Nips, the most foul snack food ever placed on this earth. The thought of those SpongeBob Squarepants shapes wakes me up in the middle of the night choking on my own vom. Avoid at all costs.)
These are the heavy hitters; foods of heroes, athletes, gods. In this category you have your Doritos, your orange Ruffles, your Cheetos and cheese puffs (either will do, as they are both absolutely sensational.) And it’s important not to leave out MUNCHIES® CHEESE FIX® Flavored Snack Mix—a combination of Sun Chips, Doritos, pretzels, and Cheetos. (You might know it by its street name, “Munchies.”)
These are high-caliber orange foods, so I don’t usually recommend this to the weak-hearted beginners just in it for the Instagram likes. These foods are for the real orange thrill seekers who won’t stop at anything to get their orange fix. If you aren’t ready, step aside and leave the heavy duty work to the big boys.
These are the dusty ones, the truly orange of the orange. I get a lot of letters from people who don’t know how to properly eat such foods. Let me enlighten you. You want to start with slightly damp hands and lick them once you have a significant amount of orange-dust buildup.
And of course we can’t leave out the OG orange food: the plastic-wrapped classic Kraft single slice of American cheese. I am an orange purist at heart, and I might catch some flak for saying this, but I never ate these slices raw. I used to run around with a pretty tough crowd, and I have known many of these bad-boy punks to eat these without any buffer—not even a cracker. I can’t encourage you to follow in their footsteps. (Most of these tough guys are now out-of-work WWE wrestlers.) For beginners, pair the slices with an orange cracker of your choosing.
If you are trying to watch your figure I’m not sure this is the best guide for you, but I can offer you a couple of alternatives. There are these little orange orbs called clementines and tangerines. Both require peeling a thin outer film, and one of them has seeds in the center, which are pretty slimy and gross. (I always forget which one has seeds so my advice para ti—that’s Spanish—is to buy both and throw out the ones that have seeds. I’m not even sure why they make the ones with seeds anymore.) These fruits are decently healthy and although they aren’t cheese-flavored, you could knock out two or three of these guys for lunch if you’re a vegan or something.
What we are looking for are potables with a deep-orange hue. Lighter orange beverages tend to be less satisfying because they contain less Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #6, the behind-the-scenes flavor enhancers here.
You can’t go wrong with a classic orange soda—I prefer Welch’s to Fanta—but don’t let my professional opinion persuade you. Think for yourself! Whatever you can find at your local gas station should do just fine. For the real youngbloods out there I would suggest a nice orange juice box—an orange-tangerine Juicy Juice? Maybe even an orange Capri Sun? If you are saying to yourself, Wow, I can’t believe you took me for a juice box-drinking baby! I’m offended! I would say no one is above orange-colored juice, no matter their age. But if you are opposed to drinking out of a box or bag, I suggest a refreshing glass of Tang. You can’t really go wrong here. As an added bonus, most of these foods have an incredible amount of preservatives in them, making them great to preserve your inner organs, mind, and spirit!
In my eyes there are only two orange desserts in this world, and only one of those is worth eating. The first orange dessert is orange Starburst. I’m not a huge fan of these but if you are, great! Knock yourself out.
The real winner in this category is the Flintstones orange sherbet push-up pops. We know that a good orange food coats your fingers in orange residue—and these pops are no exception. Instead of cheese dust, the melting pops will coat your fingers in a sticky orangey slime. Highly recommended. The one issue with these is scarcity: unless you have a connect to steal them from a high-school cafeteria, you’re better off finding them to the haven of all orange foods, the gas station. While there are a lot of paths to pick from, the important thing to remember is this:
There are no wrong choices, as long as you choose orange.