In praise of Funyuns, the secretly perfect snack

3:00 p.m. is the time my body gives up at work. My eyelids get heavy, my gchat status goes idle, and I consider spending the next two hours imagining myself in every new arrival on the Madewell site. Most people in my situation grab a coffee, attempt some new micro workout, or surrender to their body’s unrelenting chants of “be lazy, be lazy.” I choose a different approach. I buy a bag of Funyuns.

Now, I know as well as anyone how Funyuns appear to the untrained eye. They’ve been in the same style bag since their 1969 inception: green and yellow, featuring a photograph of the snack and “Funyuns” in a Starsky and Hutch-inspired font. For all the consumer knows, the snack inside could have expired in 1969. The name itself is also very close in proximity to “bunions” and, well, not too many people have appetites for foot fungus. I hear you.

However, hear me out when I say they’re actually very delicious companions to an otherwise insufferable work afternoon. Here’s why.

They were gluten-free before gluten-free was cool.

Unlike most of the Frito-Lay products, Funyuns are made from cornmeal. They contain no cholesterol, zero trans fat, and low saturated fat. Therefore, while they were modeled after a traditional fried onion ring, they actually do no contain the same nutrition risks. It’s almost like they’re good for you. They also don’t leave your fingers greasy or as magnets of cheese dust (very crucial).

They’re self-aware about their appeal, but not arrogant about it.

Most of the bags I have purchased read: “A deliciously different snack that’s fun!”

Funyuns really let you be in control of how you eat them, whether it is right out of the bag, around your finger, or twirled off of a pen and caught in midair. Their shape isn’t as constricting as their other cornmeal friend, Bugles. There’s room for creativity.

Their online presence is comparable to Kylie Jenner’s

Okay, not really, but the snack’s brand manager, Stu, has developed quite a cult following online. He claimed to only have “chip-eating experience” prior to accepting the role, but he has turned the snack into an accessible and relevant sensation. You can create a Funyun meme, ask him a question, or just read his daily updates on his blog.

They’re perfect to eat if you have an undesirable date after work

Keep in mind that because Funyuns are modeled after onion rings, they are seasoned with onion powder. If you have any meetings in the afternoon, I would probably eat them the next day. However, if you’re meeting that date you aren’t feeling anymore, but are too nice to cancel on, stuff a bunch of Funyuns in your mouth and don’t look back.

All in all, Funyuns are reliable, non-threatening, and entertaining discs of delight. There is a reason why they are still being made, 40 years later. The next time you have a case of the 3:00 sleepies, I hope you reconsider eating that piece of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate and opt for the more rewarding choice.

Lauren Lauzon is a quippy hypochondriac (self-diagnosed, of course) who spends her Sunday afternoons at the Whole Foods olive bar. Her favorite album to listen to when she’s anxious is the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. She has her Master’s in Literature and has interned at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and HarperCollins in NYC. You can worry with her on twitter (@laurenlauzon) and instagram (@laurenlauzon). 

[Image via Amazon]