When I’m feeling adventurous I pop on over to Little Tokyo to buy some quirky imported/foreign snacks. Marukai Market usually has the goods. But on a recent snack run to Lil’ Tokes a bird shit on my head. Imagine Lil’ Stu skating through Lil’ Tokes as a lil’ pidgey drops a lil’ dookie… shit is real. It was on my neck, my back, my… well you get the idea.
A bird shitting on your head usually signals a “bad day,” but I turned a negative into a positive. Taking a cue from the carpet-bombing pigeons I was immediately drawn to a snack called “Aerial.” It was a sign!
I usually opt for truly spur-of-the-moment snack shopping I look for bags of treats with no english translation, or bags that have a brand name that is non-descriptive to the point of being practically useless. What, if anything, does “aerial” tell you about the snack on offer? Maybe it’s a space age astronaut food like freeze-dried ice cream? Or, more likely, the original name of the snack was lost somewhere in translation. Well, I fell into a Google Translate rabbit hole, flipping back and forth from English to Japanese as I looked for a more fitting name; it turns out that the closest adjective to the Japanese word for “aerial” is “fanciful.”
Fanciful? Aerial? Whatever you call them, these chips are lighter than air, and if you fancy Bugle-esque corn crunchies, layered in ultra thin chambers of crackly goodness with a dusting of cheese powder, then Aerial is your thing.
I mentioned Bugles, the conical General Mills snack, because two or three Aerials into the bag and I was transported to a land long ago, when I was a kid and I used to put Bugles on my fingertips and pretend that I was an edible version of Freddy Krueger. Except I was a Japanese kid. Cut to two days before I tried the Aerial chips and I’m listening to the latest episode of NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and the guests are spending an inordinate amount of time talking about spraying Cheez Wiz into Bugles as a favorite treat. Totally random. I can’t even remember the context but I remember rewinding back to make sure I heard them correctly.
Fast forward two days later and I’m living the NPR dream with a previously unknown snack that is a delicious hybrid of Cheez Whiz and Bugles. And it’s all thanks to that incontinent bird.