Man, I just don’t even know anymore. I briefly, naively believed that I understood some things about the world—that I’d come to a peaceful place in my life where I knew that some parts of our culture are meant for me (Stranger Things, novelty flavors of Doritos, casual Champagne drinking, and that Ferris wheel just off the Vegas Strip) and others are not (One Direction, IPAs, the praise hands emoji, and Soul Cycle), and I was completely OK with that. I’m delighted that other people may enjoy and obsess, and I’ll be over in my corner digging my stuff. But Special K’s frozen Crustless Quiches have thrown me into a tailspin. I don’t know who they’re for in the greater framework of breakfast or society, and now also my mouth tastes weird. This is my cry for help.
It would be easy to go for the low-hanging fruit and deem Jimmy Dean Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick as the weirdest frozen breakfast food of the year, but they’ve been around for a while now, and the shock factor has if not dulled, at least been drowned out by the thickening static of cultural excess. Foods have additional foods engastrated within them and that’s just how it is. There is nothing new under the crust.
But suddenly, the crust is gone. Special K has removed it from the narrative for reasons that have not been explained, but which are being touted in the very name of the product. Had crust—once integral to the very identity of quiche—become problematic after years of reflection, like re-watchings of Love, Actually and Gilmore Girls? No one knows, and there’s no “gluten-free” tout on the package. The website copy reveals only “A warm & delicious weekday indulgence” and “Because you deserve brunch-like taste every day of the week” as orienteering flags through the breakfast wilderness.
And then there are the fillings: sausage (designated as “tasty” on the package), quinoa (“red”), peppers (also “red”), mozzarella, and asiago (“yummy”) in one; uncured ham, quinoa, and peppers in another; portabella, quinoa, Parmesan, asiago, and kale in the most aggressively zeitgeisty member of the crustless quiche triumvirate. Who asked for this? What human, I mean? Who is the sentient, economically-empowered person who stops in front of the freezer case and thinks, “Hmmm... I’m a busy, carbon-based life form on the go, but I don’t have time to whip up my favorite culturally reductive dish from the 1980s, and while I do enjoy pork sausage and cheese, it’s important to me to include an organic (yes, the quinoa is organic, but you have to read the squinty print) ancient grain in my diet. Oh huzzah, at long last, the focus group deities have smiled upon me!”
Presumably, that consumer exists. Reveal yourself to me please so I may complete 2016 feeling vaguely less confuzzled and alone. I’ll even take all your uneaten crusts off your hands.