You know what goes really well with a classy dinner party? Wine and cheese. Unfortunately, wine costs money—sometimes as much as three or four bucks a bottle. And we at The A.V. Club know that not everyone has that kind of cash on hand. Which is why we periodically present this guide to the charming off-brand foodstuffs we found at dollar stores across the nation. In such places, cheese turns out to be an option (more or less), but unfortunately, dollar stores aren't big into wine. So instead, this installment of Dining For A Dollar focuses on the low-classy dinner-party snacks you can find at dollar stores: Sugar and cheese.
Hunt's Orange-Flavor Squeez 'N Go Pudding Tubes
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate."
Worth the price? At eight tubes for a buck, it's a pretty good deal for parents who want their kids subjected to bilingual sugar goop.
Tiger Switzerland Gruyère
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Sodium citrate."
Worth the price? Really, how much is too much to pay for expired cheese? (Or, as we cut-rate consumables fans like to call it, "make-your-own gorgonzola.")
BubbaGum Candy Teeth
Scariest-sounding ingredient: The lengthy list of dyes.
Worth the price? Couldn't kids just get bad teeth by consuming some tastier candy and forgetting to brush?
Old Fashioned Foods Swiss Honey Nut Cheese Snack Spread
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Enzymes."
Worth the price? If you're looking to do some spackling, maybe. If you'd like to eat some cheese, steer clear.
Bling Bling Candy Pops
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Buffered lactic acid."
Worth the price? If it cost less than $20, it don't look right on you.
Nalley "Meals For Now" Cheeseburger Mac
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Macaroni product."
Worth the price? Not so much. It's fairly easy to find cheap canned pasta that doesn't taste like chalk.
Alberts Candy Sport Fun
Scariest-sounding ingredient: It's a photo finish between "beet powder" and "carnauba wax."
Worth the price? Kids who consume all this will be the fastest, most jazzed-up runners on their soccer teams, at least until 10 minutes pass, the buzz wears off, and they need some more "performance enhancers."
Scariest-sounding ingredient: "Whey." (No curds? Poor Little Miss Muffet.)
Worth the price? Like bad pizza and bad sex, bad chocolate is still pretty okay, especially if you can't afford better.
Cookie Shop Maple Leaf Crème Cookies
Scariest-sounding extra key flavor ingredient: "Ammonium bicarbonate."
Worth the price? Depends. How do you feel about syrup? Do you like to be overwhelmed by the smell of syrup? Do you like syrup-flavored filling in a syrup-flavored pastry? If so, enjoy these cookies, either consumed straight or crumbled over your favorite pancake.
Six-Pack Bubble Gum Burstin' Bits
Scariest-sounding ingredient: Nothing too out of the ordinary, though "lactose" might frighten those with no tolerance for lactose.
Worth the price? Maybe, if you've got time to painstakingly separate the "burstin' bits" from the "gum."