I was overjoyed to hear the announcement earlier this year that Planters Cheez Balls, the bright orange globes of deliciousness, were going to be back by popular demand.
The magnificent morsels were discontinued about 12 years ago.
Since that time, devoted fans have been lobbying to have them re-introduced.
I don’t usually get overly sentimental about highly-processed snack food products, but Cheez Balls are special.
They were a staple at every serious soirée in my younger days.
In fact, a group of friends and I who hung out around the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities back in the 1980s adopted the name for our group.
Cheez Balls were such an integral part of our parties, the snack became part of our identity.
They are an engineering marvel. Other companies have tried to copy Cheez Balls, but the imitators never measure up to the quality of the classic.
Planters Cheez Balls are light and airy, and have the perfect level of crispness not too hard, not too soft.
They have the ideal cheese-to-corn ratio, so every bite is a little nugget of Nirvana.
Just as importantly, the size and weight of Planters Cheez Balls are optimized for aerodynamic efficiency. In other words, they’re perfect for throwing.
We had a variety of party games built around these cheesy projectiles.
One game involved having all the guests at a party sit in a circle.
The thrower would stand in the middle with a canister of Cheez Balls.
He or she would lob a Cheez Ball to each of the participants in turn, and they would catch the morsels in their mouths.
The object was to see how many times we could go around the circle without a miss.
When a participant failed to catch the treat, the thrower would join the circle and another thrower would take over.
Success depended on teamwork between thrower and catcher.
It was great fun.
All my happy memories surrounding Cheez Balls contributed to my excitement when I heard they were coming back.
The plan was to first re-introduce them online only through Amazon and Walmart. Later, they will be available in stores.
Amazon began accepting orders July 1, and naturally I was among the first to place my order.
The original estimate indicated the product would be delivered in mid-July.
Sadly, instead of receiving my supply of cheesy delights, I got an email from Amazon noting that the estimated delivery had been pushed back to Dec. 1.
That was a sad day.
Things got better, though. I recently received another update notifying me the product would be delivered in September.
It was a happy moment when I arrived back at the bachelor estate after a long day at work and found a supply of the familiar canisters waiting (Amazon was only selling them by the dozen).
It was a solemn occasion when I peeled back the seal and wrapped my tongue around a sphere of cheesy perfection for the first time in a dozen years.
They are just as delightful as I remembered!
I said a few words of thanks to the snack food gods, and toasted their continued success with a refreshing adult beverage.
It was like being transported back in time, and it was marvelous.
The only dark cloud in this happy picture is that the company has said the product is only back for a limited time.
I may have to consider acquiring some warehouse space so I can stockpile a supply.
I don’t know why the company is so determined to do away with this product. It has achieved perfection, and now it seems to want to deprive its loyal customers of their enjoyment.
For now, I guess I’ll just be happy that Planters Cheez Balls are once again available for our snacking pleasure.
If I disappear in the next week or two, it will be because I have slipped into a cheese-induced coma. You’ll be able to tell by the satisfied smile on my unconscious face and the telltale residue of neon orange cheese powder on my fingers.