Cinnamon Wheat Thin Disappointment

Wheat Thins Sweet Cinnamon

Wheat Thins Sweet Cinnamon

I Paid: $3.26 for a 9.5-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

The simple, wholesome flavor of a Wheat Thin is one of the undersung pleasures of American mass-market gastronomy. It is, simply put, one of the great blank canvases of supermarket food, right up there with saltines and Triscuits.

This raises the question of why—even in a time of holiday excess, when anything goes—would Nabisco mess with the simple perfection of Wheat Thins in order to coat the crackers with a layer of cinnamon sugar?

The answer, sadly, doesn't become clear when you taste these things. The same wholesome, hearty wheat crunch of Wheat Thins dominates as per usual, but the light yet perceptible dusting of sweet cinnamon muddles the intent of the cracker. It's no longer a jack-of-all-trades savory base of operations for just about anything you choose to put upon it. Instead, it's suited only to fruit-inflected or otherwise sweet dips. That the back of the box features a fairly far-fetched ham-and-apple-dip concept doesn't suggest a great future for the Wheat Thins Sweet Cinnamon.

Sometimes you mess with perfection and somehow get something more perfect—see last week's fudge-dipped Ritz crackers. In this case, the simple beauty that is the Wheat Thin is merely degraded a bit, rendered a little less useful. Worth a shot, but ultimately something that should have never left the drawing board.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.