The Ghetto Snacks Hall Of Fame: 25 Treats From The Hood

Oh the ghetto. Some people like to use words like “ghetto” to demean poor people but I definitely don’t use the word negatively. As someone who grew up in the South Bronx ghetto I consider my place of origin to be the bittersweet neighborhood that shaped me for better or worse. I use the word with love and reverence. All ghettos are different and have their own etiquette but my ghetto was a New York City ghetto ripe with bodegas and treats specifically marketed to “urban youth.” I don’t know how many other hoods got Homegirls Potato Chips or Rap Snacks, a brand so down (as in “I’m down with that!”) there’s a girl wearing a headscarf on it. It’s the kind of representation where it’s cool at face value but then you imagine a bunch of creepy businessmen in a meeting saying things like, “How can we sell poor people of color our high fructose corn syrup with hydrogenated oils?! Let’s just put their faces on it!”

Some of the snacks aren’t the product of marketing so much as certain neighborhoods took a liking to them because they were inexpensive and tasty. I remember scraping up 25 pennies when I was a kid so I could go to the bodega and get a bag of BonTon chips or a quarter water. Today is the day that we honor those obscurely branded snacks of our youth. I have no idea if they still make Homegirls or Tropical Fantasy juice but I remember fondly consuming them when I was clueless about  nutrition and had a much faster metabolism. Praise Corn Nuts. Praise. Them.

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