Breakfast Beauty




The first Pop-Tarts to jump out of toasters in the 1960’s were basic rectangles of pastry, frosted or not, with simple jam fillings. Over time that plain white frosting has been replaced by brightly hued icing adorned with squiggles of complementary colors and rainbow sprinkles. Hello Kitty Meow-Berry Pop-Tarts are fluorescent pink, festooned with adorable flower shaped sprinkles. I figured Kellogg had no new worlds to conquer, at least as far as the appearance of this product was concerned. I’m pleased to admit I was spectacularly wrong; they’ve really outdone themselves with NASCAR Printed Fun Pop-Tarts.

I bought this package from a vending machine in the Condé Nast building in New York, home of glossy magazines like Vogue and GQ. Somehow it’s hard to imagine anyone who works at 4 Times Square eating a Pop Tart or caring about NASCAR, for that matter. Fortunately there are other Printed Fun options if NASCAR isn’t your thing; a quick Google search turned up Pop-Tarts with sports team logos, Trivial Pursuit questions, and princesses, all edibly ink jet printed for a little visual variety first thing in the morning. It’s almost as if Kellogg’s grew tired of thinking up flavor combo ideas (strawberry milkshake, anyone?), and decided to start redesigning the blank white sugar canvas of the early days.

These Pop-Tarts are humble masterpieces, as gently blurred as an Impressionist painting. The randomness of the image placement in relation to the uneven edge of the field of icing accidentally creates a great composition. Based on the packaging, I expected to unwrap something loud and jarring, in vibrant primary colors, and was pleasantly surprised to find something so mysteriously, subtly beautiful.

This is my second post on Material Index, and it’s also the second time I’m mentioning NASCAR. I’m not sure why this is happening but I’m going to roll with it. NASCAR is barely on the radar in Brooklyn where I live but somehow it keeps popping up in my life like a certain breakfast pastry.


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