Toaster Pastries: Taste the Sweet Nostalgia of 1978 Healthfood and Catskills Hipster

My pumpkin spice-loving cousin Sarah and I continue our Spice World tour by taste testing another pumpkin treat from the always friendly folks at Trader Joe’s. Up now: Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin Toaster Pastries.

img_5370Mike: This time I have two confessions, and a review. I apologize in advance that they’re long.

Confession #1.  I have issues with Pop Tarts. I loved Pop Tarts as a child, although I was deprived of them more often than not. When given the opportunity, I would happily burn the inside of my mouth on a Pop Tart’s deliciously molten red goo and wonder why I couldn’t have more.

Since then, my life has been largely Pop Tart free. Until last fall.


“I have issues with Pop Tarts.” — Mike


Last fall I visited a rustic hipster motel deep in the wilds of the Catskills. What’s a rustic Catskills hipster motel like, you might ask? Imagine a $200 dolllar-a-night refugee camp, sparsely furnished by Design Within Reach. For your $200, breakfast is included. Breakfast was a Pop Tart. An ironic Pop Tart. Just the one.

This Pop Tart was served in the motel office. You were supposed to enjoy it while you used the only WiFi within a 20-mile radius to text your boss in Manhattan and tell her that you’d be coming in late again this morning because your cat is having a another panic attack. While you did this, your friends would browse old copies of Kinfolk, eat their ironic Pop Tart, and laugh an ironic laugh.

But some of us had hiked 7 miles up a goddamn mountain the day before. We were interested in a less ironic breakfast. Or at least a second Pop Tart. And a toaster. We weren’t laughing. Pop Tarts are now a trigger for me.


“It had a bad taste of dirt, or that could be whole wheat flour.” — Sarah


Sarah: This was very enjoyable in an “I’m quite the health-nut, apparently” way.

Mike: I still have more baggage to unload while I wait for the pastry to toast.

Confession #2:  This is the third box of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Toaster Pastries that I’ve purchased. Strangely, it’s the first toaster pastry that I’ve eaten. What happened to the contents of the previous boxes? I’ll simply point out that I live with only one other person. And she does not have Pop Tart issues. Or maybe she just has different ones than I do.

Now that I’ve cleared the air, here’s the taste test:

Wow that’s sweet. I don’t think it’s the least bit pumpkiny, but it’s hard to tell because the roof of my mouth is blistered. There’s some nice nostalgia in that.

img_5376Sarah: It had a base taste of dirt, or that could be whole wheat flour – I’m never sure. But it adds a hearty foundation to the actual, grown-in-the-ground pumpkin filling.

Pretty much tastes exactly like the pumpkin pie with the wheat germ crust your mom tried to sneak in during Thanksgiving 1978.

3 pumpkins for taste, plus 1 for nostalgia.

Mike: All the sugar cuts through the lingering bitterness of Catskills hipster. Not bad.