“You got a giant box,” my neighbor texts me. I’m sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico, reading and soaking in the sun. I turn to my husband, who is laying in the adjacent lounge chair, sliding my sunglasses up to the top of my head.
“Were you expecting any packages?” I ask, squinting.
“No,” he says. “Maybe a Christmas present?”
“From who?” I say. He shrugs and turns back to his own book. “Oh!” I think out loud. “Maybe Amazon auto-delivered a box of cat litter!”
“It’s just cat litter,” I type back. “Do you mind bringing it in for us?”
“I don’t think it is. It’s really big,” she replies.
“Yeah,” I say. “We order the extra large box.”
She doesn’t respond. So, with the mystery solved, I go back to our vacation, my soul unencumbered by any unknown entities sitting in boxes in my living room.
Then, we get home.
Here’s what I’m going to say: Our neighbor must have concluded we have hundreds of secret cats somewhere (not just the one visible cat), because the box we arrive home to find a week later is easily large enough to fit eight boxes of cat litter. It’s shocking to walk through the door and see something like that — a brown monolith a la 2001: A Space Odyssey — mysterious, imposing, waiting. Perhaps sentient?
We circle it, wearily, after a 14 hour day of traveling. What is that? Was it a dining room table? A 1950s computer? A priceless Banksy print that would shred upon opening?
And what admirer had sent it to me? Anticipation building, I opened the box with scissors, only to find whatever it is tightly wrapped in two-inches of Styrofoam. “This is a precious, expensive thing,” I think. “Who loves me this much?”
I tear open the Styrofoam and am immediately stunned into speechlessness.
It’s….Doritos? I’ve been sent Doritos.
Inside the giant box is a boxy frame, modeled after a fire extinguisher box with a giant picture of a Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nachos bag printed onto thick plastic. “In need of fire, break,” It says. The joke is clear, but what I can’t understand is the scale. This is the size of four fire extinguisher emergency boxes put together. I picture the room where this happened.
“What if it’s like a fire extinguisher box,” the ad man pitches to a room of Frito Lay execs months ago. “Get it? Because it’s so hot?”
The room goes silent, until one voice is heard at the back from the shadows.
“Yes. YES. But bigger. Make it oh so much bigger. I want them to feel the scope of our power.”
“What? Why?” the ad man says. “Wouldn’t the point be made by keeping it normal size, you know, like the size to fit a bag of Doritos?”
More silence. Then.
“Take him away,” the gravelly voice intones. Screams as the ad man is dragged off by guards. “This,” the voice continues rising, a hulk of a man, ageless, with no emotion crossing his dead, cold eyes. “This will be my opus.”
I stare at the task before me. The box comes with a small ax. I am to break it open. I have to try the chips.
“Who did this to me?” I text everyone I know. “Who gave Doritos my address?”
No one answers.
Like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos before them, Doritos has now entered the “flamin’ hot” game. And like all chip types and/or fast food releases, many are pretty hyped about it. Released on January 10th, Flamin’ Hot Doritos have people clamoring to find the offering in stores across the county. Now, it was my turn.
Full disclosure: I’ve never had Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I don’t know why I’m disclosing that like I’m the secret virgin on the Bachelor finale, but here we are. I’ve never done it.
I take the provided ax and hack into the front of the “glass” case. It breaks and once I’ve satisfied my, “What if I was axing the heads of zombies with this tiny ax”-fantasy, I go in to examine the contents. Inside are five regular sized bags of Flamin’ Hot Nachos The thing could hold a hundred. But that’s neither here nor there. It’s go time. Time to eat some Flamin’ Hot nachos.
So how do they taste (cue my editor’s heavy sigh that we are a thousand paragraphs into a food review and I have yet to describe the taste)? The first bite, these are spicy. I know, I know, obvious. But these are very, very spicy. Look, I like spicy foods but this is alarmingly spicy. I’m immediately coughing and can’t stop. It’s the “too big” bong hit of chips.
“That sounds too spicy for you,” my husband says helpfully as I continue to cough so hard I gag, while he never once gets up to get me a glass of water.
“Yeah, these are intense,” I say sweating. “I’m going back in.”
“Why?” he says with the combo expression of both concern, disgust and just a hint of pride that he’s learned to master since I started a job taste testing fast food.
“BECAUSE THIS IS MY LIFE,” I scream. “I NEVER ASK YOU WHY YOU’RE STUDYING CHILDHOOD EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT. OUR JOBS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO SOCIETY.”
I assume the way he rolls his eyes and leaves the room is proof, once again, that I have again won an argument. So once I stop cough-crying, I put another chip in my mouth and begin to roll it around my tongue for flavor — scientifically licking off tiny bits of the neon orange-y red powder that clings to my fingers. Doritos has sent me some sort of spicy anthrax and I must do my due diligence.
It definitely tastes like the nacho cheese flavor. I’m immediately brought back to some pretty intense childhood memories of mini nacho cheese Doritos bags eaten with a plain ham sandwich and exactly two Oreos. Just a way more adult version. But, man, are these are spicy. Just, aggressively so. Like you poured hot sauce on nachos for so long that your hand starts to get tired from the motion. Stop, the people say, but you won’t. Can’t.
The question is, does the spiciness of 12 hot sauce bottles being slathered onto a nacho cheese Dorito improve the flavor? I hate looking a gift horse in the mouth, especially when said horse was sent in a box big enough to contain enough provisions to feed a small nation, but the answer is: No, not really.
The thing is, when I want to eat chips, I want to be able to cram hundreds in my mouth, like a witch cursed me to live out the rest of my life as one of the hippos in a particularly deranged version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. And to even get to any sort of flavor in these babies, you have to eat them delicately — one chip at a time while sipping water like a character in Downtown Abbey trying to secure a suitable rich society husband by eating in a lady-like manner.
No, thank you. I’m out. You’ll find me over here, just chomping on handfuls of regular chips without remorse until I nearly explode before passing out in a heap of self-loathing.
Doritos sent this bag of chips, without request and without cost to Uproxx. Except for the cost I will have to pay to dispose of the box, which doesn’t fit in my recycling bin.