Review: Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish & Happy Memorial Day! What’s the Better Side Salad: Egg, Potato, or Pasta?

Junk Food Nation, Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to all who fought to give us the freedoms we have today here in the United States. Freedoms like writing a blog about junk food.

And freedom to have this debate: Today many of you will be BBQ-ing with friends, eating way too much meat. I love it. If I’m able to stuff down two burgers and a two hot dogs in one meal, then you’re damn right it’s a holiday. But what about side dishes? Traditionally when it comes to side salads, your barbecue choices are either a pasta salad, and egg salad, or a potato salad. I’m leaving aside ACTUAL salad, because (1) when I’m trying to enjoy a BBQ, I avoid the green stuff, and (2) I wanna focus on those salads that are coated in food lube: your dressings, mayos, and sauces.

For me, it’s tough. Done well, I could enjoy all three, so the following rankings are separated by only degrees:

1. EGG SALAD: It’s the hardest, I think, to find done right, so a lot of people hate it. But a good egg salad is smooth, creamy, soft, and has used some of the egg yolk as part of the binding sauce, so everything has a nice savory bite to it. Some people hate the smell of egg salad. Hey, I get it! It’s like eating a bowl of feet. DELICIOUS FEET. Add some texture into it with some celery or bacon, and you have the smelliest, and tastiest, side salad ever.

2. PASTA SALAD: Hey look, finally a way I can have pasta AND mayo in the same dish! Maybe you make your pasta salad with salad dressing. In any case, pasta salad is great – it’s the easiest way to keep shoveling down carbs after your burger is done. Those noodles fill every remaining crevice of your stomach. The downfalls of pasta salad – when it’s overly dressed, and the bottom of the bowl is just a few noodles in a sea of salad dressing, I want to puke.

3. POTATO SALAD: I’m not hating on potato salad but to me I’ve only had like one or two good ones my entire life. The potato chunks are either crunchy as hell (undercooked), or super soggy and the skins are coming off everywhere. Then the whole thing is smothered in mayo and dill or something, and I don’t get the flavor profile at all – if I wanted potatoes, I’d eat fries. Why the heck am I eating cold potatoes and mayo together? It makes no sense to me.

Anyways, that’s me. What about YOU, Junk Food Nation? What side salads do you like best, what is your ranking, and do you have a particularly good recipe to share? Tell me in the comments below.

Today’s junk food: Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish!!

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish

Oh, Pepperidge Farm – I’ve reviewed plenty of your Goldfish crackers on this blog before, but it’s been a while since I’d seen you try something adventurous like these Cheeseburger Goldfish. I’ve been skipping some of your other recent flavors, but I couldn’t pass these up.

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish: The Money Shot

Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish: The Money Shot

First of all, PF, good job on the packaging with these Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish. These definitely jump out at you. The picnic table tablecloth is a nice touch.


Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish are made up of red ketchup Goldfish, yellow/orange cheddar Goldfish, and brown burger Goldfish. Not sure why Cheddar and Burger have no smiles, but Ketchup is damn happy to be here.


One thing – 56 Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish in one serving??? That’s why I love you, PF. I’m not sure what else has a size of 56 in one serving. Dippin’ Dots, maybe.


Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish contain lots of cool ingredients, like “grill flavor from sunflower oil.” Whoa.


When I opened up this bag of Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish and sniffed, it DID INDEED smell very burger like! And it wasn’t because of the normal attempts by other snack companies to make a burger flavor – that usual mix of ketchup, mustard, and pickle flavor/aroma. No, these smelled eerily like meat. Like a McDonalds or Burger King cheeseburger, with it’s over the top grill smell, American cheese aroma, and another smell that you know comes from the ketchup/pickles/onions on one of those fast food burgers. The smell was uncanny. Spot on. Sort of amazing.

One thing to note – my bag had LOTS of cheddar fish and basically outnumbered the brown fish, which were second in number, and the very scarce red fish. I would’ve liked to see more balance in the bags.


I had to dissect these Pepperidge Farm Cheeseburger Goldfish. I popped a cheddar Goldfish – it was your standard PF goldfish cracker; light, crispy, full of cheese cracker flavor. I popped a red Ketchup fish – there wasn’t a ton of them in my bag, honestly – and the flavor I got was sort of weak. There was definitely a light tomato-ey taste to the cracker, but other than that it just tasted like…a cracker. Period. I want my ketchup BRIGHT and TANGY. This was not.

The brown burger cracker was good though – eaten alone, it did have a uniquely grill-like meat flavor. It was sort of weird, and reminded me of all the meat-flavored chips I’d had in the past. However, these tasted WAY better than just a cracker sprinkled with bouillon – the meat flavored was definitely baked into the cracker, and there was no mistaking that it was beef that PF was aiming for.

Eaten altogether? Well, it won’t feel like you’re actually eating a cheeseburger – the basic taste is that you’re eating a mouthful of cheesy Goldfish crackers that have a hint of cheeseburger flavor. The flavor profile was almost more cheeseburger mac and cheese / Hamburger Helper, than just plain ol cheeseburger. The burger flavor was basically sort of muted, but there was enough of a hint where you wouldn;t mistake it for any other flavor. The flavor of these fish, generally, was pretty cool. They were definitely tasty – none of the different fish were unappetizing at all.

So was this an endorsement? Yes. Thumbs up. You’re not going to get knock you over the head cheeseburger flavor, but these are cheeseburger-y enough to make me want to chow them multiple times. I’d definitely buy these again.

PURCHASED AT: Walmart, Laurel, MD

COST: $1.98 on sale

Thoughts? Please comment below or hit me up on Twitter @junkfoodguy or LIKE my Facebook Page and message me there. I also have Google+!! Let’s hang out.


Junk Food Guy

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Discuss - 15 Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    I royally hate mayo myself. I’m the weird one at a BBQ who either has a plateful of crudite’s or stands around shrugging off the “Aren’t you going to eat anything?” questions. Yeah, I’m no fun. So none of the above unless they have an alternative binder.

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Jessica: I hear you, but I am in the “love mayo” camp. It’s essentially just oil and eggs, so mayo is actually great to cook with!

  2. MP says:

    Thanksgiving may be the turkey holiday, but Memorial Day is the red meat holiday!
    I’m not a fan of cold mayo salad, but if I had to pick one, it would be pasta. But it’s all so WEIRD. It’s like one of those old foods like meatloaf or pickled beets that just doesn’t seem like it needs to be around anymore.
    *flicks away the ketchup Goldfish*

  3. Alek says:

    Why there is watermelon juice in the list? It should be balanced and why there is no “bun” goldfish?

    I’m a potato salad sucker especially with bacon in it.

  4. Heather H. says:

    Pasta salad is OK if it’s very lightly dressed in salad dressing. I don’t like anything made with mayo so I’ll pass on the others. Potato salad is definitely the worst. Why do some people aim for the brightest shade of yellow possible? It reminds me of the scene in “Vegas Vacation” where Cousin Eddie says “I’ll have some of the yella.” 😉

  5. ruckus says:

    madness – egg salad first?! no way.

    Potato salad is the best of the traditional. I fry up a couple strips of chopped bacon with an onion and combine it with sour cream, mayonaise, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Chopped green onion provides a bit of brightness before the dressing is mixed into the cooked red potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

    Egg salad is a sandwich not a side.

    Pasta Salad is .. sad…

    Anyhow Happy Memorial Day all!

  6. Sylvia says:

    None of those. Coleslaw all the way; especially a fake green kfc style one.

    Isn’t the ratio approximating a real cheeseburger? Two buns, one patty a bit of ketchup?

    • junkfoodguy says:

      @Sylvia: Re ratios, yeah, maybe. Although maybe I’m someone who loves to drown his burgers in ketchup 🙂 (Not really, but what if?)

  7. brit says:

    I don’t care for potato salad, at all.

    Cole slaw or fruit salad though, I’m on board!

  8. C. says:

    All three of those salads are wunner’ful. I’m a big fan of ’em all. Maybe because I am a fan of mayonnaise (king of all the condiments).

    Of the three–for sheer enjoyment factor–I vote for potato salad, alone. Its the boldest. The most manly. Has the most heritage, history, and tradition. Stores and preserves the best, too.

    Its also the one where the main ingredient takes center-stage. You can’t usually taste chunks of egg in an egg salad and in a pasta salad, the cold crudite veggies come to the fore and the pasta is more like ‘binder’ or ‘filler’. But in potato-salad, the potatoes come first and its great. There’s not just two ways potatoes go into potato salad: ‘overcooked’ or ‘undercooked’. These sound like incompetently-prepared salads. It also sounds like the wrong variety of potato was used, if this (‘too hard’ or ‘too soft’) is the result.

    Winning potato salad recipes are fiercely guarded by their discoverers. And rightly so. Its a knack to get correct. Potato salad is simple but can be amazing when given a slight push or tilt in the right direction. Add-ins are a must: celery, bacon, dill pickles, pearl onions, scallions, hard-boiled egg, gr pepper, carrot. Lots of things work with potatoes.

    As for the sauce: besides the mayo, it definitely ought to have a few shots of red wine vinegar (which makes pasta salad so great), mustard or mustard seed, horseradish, and also tablespoonfuls of celery seed. For sure.

    A really good potato salad though, will cut the mayonnaise quotient into half and instead, swap in half-the-portion of sour-cream, instead. Fantastic result. Cold and crisp and all-mixed-together and moist and creamy on a hot day. Nothing better! I’ve even used potato salad as the spread on a hearty sammich–when its really cold and creamy it outdoes any other condiment.

    Yawlp–I gotta say that although egg salad and pasta salad are nice in their way, a picnic table just ain’t a picnic without potato salad.

    p.s. German potato salad has no mayo. Just oil, vinegar, potatoes, bacon and scallions.

  9. These aren’t bad. I need to eat a few more ketchup ones to nail them down, but they seem to have a lot more going for them than you seem to get. Almost a tang and there is vinegar in these, so that could be it. Nothing needs to be said about the copious, boring cheddar. The burger fish are slightly, perhaps oddly burger-y. Need to eat some more to know if I like them or just appreciate them for their effort.

    These clearly should have had some of the pretzel fish mixed in for pretzel bun effect.

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