Tuesday, October 17, 2006


You'll find no humor in this post. This might be the most somber post I ever write.

America has lost something great, everyone. They ushered it right out the back door without even asking us. Just because the grocery stores are flooded with stupid products that have found their way into the market, like Crustables, and sugar-free, carb-free, taste-free, 2 calorie, 30% cardboard "cookies," truly greats snacks do not deserve to be punished.

Therefore, today I write in memory of Cheez Balls. That's right. That Mr. Peanut over at Planters has literally gone nuts, and Cheez Balls have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Do you remember your first Cheez Ball? I don't, because I grew up eating them. Cheez Balls were a way of life for me. Cheez Balls meant that the world was right. I can't remember my last Cheez Ball, either. I haven't had one in at least two or three years. Naturally, now it is all I want to eat. Cheez Balls definitely exist(ed) as a comfort food for me. I may not buy some every visit to the grocery store, but I'd like to know that I could.

Visit planters.com and you'll be asked to vote in a contest on what Mr. Peanut should wear next: cufflinks, a bowtie, or a pocketwatch. I'll tell you what he should wear: a big sign that reads "I AM DUMB FOR DISCONTINUING CHEEZ BALLS!" I cannot believe they are holding a contest about what to dress Mr. Peanut in - and has he not always had a bowtie? - but didn't ask us, this Cheez Ball and freedom-loving nation, about doing away with what was inarguably the best cheese-based product on the shelf.

Allow me to share one of my favorite memories of my time with Cheez Balls. My freshman year at college, my roommate and I had the good fortune of having a dorm room that faced a busy street (which, coincidentally, has also gone the way of the dinosaur and is now a building). Throngs of people would walk past our window around the clock on their way to class. Being the mischevous freshmen we were, we oft dreamt of funny things to do from our second-floor window, the funniest of which usually involved signage. Anyway, one lovely spring afternoon, I was high on life and enjoying a Cheez Ball or two while people watching from our open window, when a passing stranger looked up at me.

"Hey," I said.
"Hey," he replied back.
"HEY!" my roommate chimed in.
"Want a Cheez Ball?" I asked the stranger.
My roommate laughed.
"Sure," he said with a smile, and like a moth to a flame, he walked to our window.

I'll never forget the pride in my heart and surge of hope for all mankind that overwhelmed me when that stranger caught that Cheez Ball in his mouth.

"Thanks," he said, then he crunched his way to class.

It's moments like these that will be lost forever when the last Cheez Ball has been eaten. If you are fortunate enough to have a can of them (another nicety: Cheez Balls, unlike other snacks, came in a can) in your pantry, go get your can, dig a hole in your backyard and bury that can like the time capsule it is. Then come back inside and start praying that Mr. Peanut and Co. would come to their senses and crank back up the Cheez Ball making machines.

Until then, goodbye and god-speed, Cheez Ball. May your legacy carry on longer than your aftertaste.


  1. I am very sorry for your loss, and I mourn Cheese Balls with you.

  2. I was ticked that they discontinued cheez balls. I wrote Kraft and this is the response I got:

    Thank you for visiting http://www.kraftfoods.com/ and for your interest in PLANTERS Cheez Mania Cheez Balls.

    It's great to hear from consumers who are looking for our products because it lets us know how much you enjoy them. The tough part comes when we have to share the news that the product you're trying to find has been discontinued.

    If products don't seem to be popular with our consumers, and demand starts to drop, a decision is made to discontinue the item. Once this decision is made, we stop making the product and the remaining supply is shipped from our warehouse to the grocery stores. Unfortunately we do not have any information about which stores may still have our discontinued products in stock.

    At this time there are no plans to bring back our discontinued products, but we are always cooking up something new to help you live and eat better so you may discover a new favorite!

    Again, thanks for contacting us, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy our products.

    Kim McMiller
    Associate Director, Consumer Relations


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