The Dessert of Michael Pollan’s Nightmares

Reese's Dessert Bar Mix

Reese's Dessert Bar Mix

I Paid: $4.51 for a 16-ounce box (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 1 stars

Marketing: 1 stars

I've been to funerals that were more fun than making Reese's Dessert Bars, and it's not as though I have a lot of dead enemies.

The problem with this Betty Crocker product—no, strike that. One of the many problems with this product is that it turns making dessert for your family, an activity that should be joyful and wholesome, into a sad slog of plastic bags, sugary mixes, and short blasts of the microwave. Marketed as comfort food made convenient, it's not much less work than making bars from scratch. There are numerous steps, and you're getting multiple bowls and spreading implements dirty in the process. It's just a lot less fun.

You melt some butter, mix it into a chocolate crust mix, and nuke it. Then you nuke more butter and mix it with the Reese's peanut butter and a mystery mix. You pack the first mix into the cardboard "pan" provided, then top it with the second mix, and then—sighing despondently—you rip open the last plastic envelope.

Standing in the kitchen squeezing softened, low-grade chocolate icing out of a plastic bag, all I could think was: "If Michael Pollan saw me doing this, he would be displeased. I don't even think he'd yell at me. He'd just stare for a moment with a wounded look in his eyes, turn slowly around, and walk out of the room, never to return."

Believe it or not, things go downhill from there. As you taste the product of your unholy handiwork, you note that these bars are not merely bad—they are, in fact, an insult to the very concept of food itself. The cookie crust has no flavor, the peanut butter is mind-searingly sweet, and the chocolate frosting may as well be melted plastic. For a product that is essentially butter and sugar, it's almost inspiring how bad the overall taste is.

In summary: It's not too late. Save yourself! Run from this product!

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.