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    My Extremely Opinionated Grandma Rated Popular Trader Joe's Snacks, And She Did Not Hold Back

    Let's just say the winners (and losers) were very, very clear.

    Perhaps you remember my very hilarious and opinionated Grandma Lenny. She's 93 years old and she lives across the street from her favorite store, Trader Joe's.

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    Last year, I wrote all about Grandma Lenny's favorite Trader Joe's items.

    Due to the pandemic, my grandmother hasn't been leaving her house much. But recently, she made her first Trader Joe's run in nearly seven months. Just look at the grocery list in hand and the joy in her face.

    My grandma shopping at Trader Joe's!
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    But don't worry! I've been delivering Grandma Lenny her favorite T.J.'s products* during the pandemic. She set up a little dining area in her garage where we sit together, and she serves me Trader Joe's assorted crackers and Dunkers and other snacks that have been stashed away in her pantry for years.

    My grandma wearing a mask standing outside her house.
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    *Canned peaches and Trader Joe's boxed creamy tomato soup are her two most requested items, FYI.

    Grandma Lenny very rarely allows anyone inside her house these days, but on those few occasions, she writes strict rules on sticky notes. Like this one that says, "You'll have no dessert if you forget your serving spoons or mask." Signed, "The Boss."

    Handwritten sticky note rules written by my Grandma.
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    Anyway, this past weekend I stopped by Grandma's with a surprise delivery full of popular Trader Joe's snacks. Like the rest of us, she has gotten very into ~athleisure~ during quarantine. I found her in a velour Calvin Klein tracksuit and vintage Juicy couture beanie, which she dressed up with a brooch. I asked her if she was up for a taste test and, of course, she said yes.

    My grandma standing with a countertop full of Trader Joe's snacks.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    1. Sea Salted Saddle Potato Chips

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    Grandma Lenny said the chips looked familiar and she was correct. They're the Trader Joe's take on Pringles. She was thrilled that she could open the package without any assistance. "One point for easy opening," she declared. But taste-wise, she was a bit disappointed. "These are not quite as tasty or crispy as Pringles. They taste more like crackers than chips," she said. "These would make nice a hors d'oeuvre. I would put tuna fish on these," she said very seriously. (Hey, I'd try it!)

    2. Non-Dairy Oat Beverage

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    At first my grandma was a bit confused by the whole idea of oat milk. "What is it? Is it water? What's in it?" she asked me, quite a few times. I explained that non-dairy milks are all the rage these days and that I actually put oat milk in my coffee every morning. I showed her that the non-dairy beverage was made of only oats and water, and that it's gluten-free and lactose-free. She was amazed. She gave the oat milk an 'A' for being easy to open and took a sip from her wine glass. "This should be good in coffee," she proclaimed. "It tastes like you dropped a little cream in water. I can see using this, and maybe it's healthier than milk." I'll take that as a win!

    3. Baked Cheese Crunchies

    My grandma inspecting a bag of baked cheese crunchies.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Cheese Crunchies are basically the Trader Joe's version of baked Cheetos, and Grandma Lenny had high hopes. "These should be delicious," she said as she scanned the nutrition label. But as she took her first bite, her smile slowly faded into a more critical face. "Oh, these should be cheesier," she said. "I like the crunch, but they could have more flavor." I think she has a valid point. "They could be thicker too, because you need to eat two of these to make up for one," she added. Touché, grandma.

    4. Chile-Spiced Dried Mangoes

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    Grandma Lenny likes a little spice, but I warned her that these chile dried mangos pack some serious heat. She wasn't afraid. In fact, she dug right in. "These are a little too spicy for the average person, but I like spicy things," she said. "They're a little tough for an old lady to bite into!" Then, to my amazement, she reached for another dried mango. "One of these goes a long way because you just keep chewing it." Eventually, the heat caught up to her and she chased the mango with another swig of oat milk.

    5. Roasted Seaweed Snacks

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    I am a huge fan of roasted seaweed snacks. I think they're satisfying and crunchy and I eat them often. Lenny, on the other hand, was not in the same boat. "Absolutely not," she said, looking skeptically at the seaweed. Despite her initial reaction of not liking anything about it, Grandma was brave and she tried a bite before quickly dismissing the seaweed. "Take this away. I could use a drink after that," she told me.

    6. Peanut Butter–Filled Pretzel Nuggets

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    Peanut butter pretzel nuggets happen to be one of my all-time favorite T.J.'s snacks, but Grandma Lenny was mostly just concerned with the packaging. "These pass the taste test, but they should be easier to open and easier to store," she criticized. She has a very good point. These are not at all resealable. I asked her how she felt about the flavor, but she ignored my question and fed the pretzels to my dog.

    7. Mochi Rice Nuggets

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    Now I love my grandma very much, but I am taking a harsh stand against her unpopular mochi opinion. I think these Japanese-inspired rice nuggets are delightfully crispy, salty, and delicious. Grandma Lenny, however, called them a waste of time. "I don't like it. It doesn't taste like anything, and it leaves a weird aftertaste," she told me. She added that they could use some soy sauce, which, I'll admit, isn't a bad idea.

    8. White Truffle Popcorn

    My grandma digging into a bag of truffle popcorn.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    Trader Joe's has been going wild with the truffle products lately, and people have been raving about the white truffle popcorn. "Oh, white truffles? I usually like truffles," she declared. (You and I both, Grandma.) She rightfully pointed out that the pieces of popcorn are unusually small and perhaps a tad bit stale. She wasn't sure about the popcorn at first, but I noticed she kept going back for more handfuls. "You could definitely start to like this," she said. "This could become a habit." I agree 100%.

    9. Truffle Hot Sauce With Black Truffles

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    People on Instagram are going wild over Trader Joe's new truffle hot sauce, but I saw it for the first time at Grandma Lenny's local store. I didn't know how spicy it was, so I urged her to proceed with caution. Naturally, she dove right in. "I think this is one of those flavors you have to get used to," she said. "I do not hate it," she added, dipping the popcorn into the hot sauce and then going back with a saddle potato chip. "It gets stronger as it goes down." I suggested that my grandma hold onto the hot sauce to add some flavor to one of her favorite Trader Joe's meals, BBQ-cut salmon, and she agreed it was a great game plan.

    10. Green Tea Mochi

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    If there's one gene that runs rampant in my family, it's an ice cream gene. So Grandma Lenny was very excited that we were finally at the ice cream portion of the tasting. "This must be my reward for tasting all your weird snacks," she laughed as she opened the package. She opened the plastic to find eight plump mochi. "This is lovely," she said. My grandma loves green tea ice cream...but she has never tried mochi before, and unfortunately, the texture caught her by surprise. "It's an interesting combination, but why would you waste delicious ice cream in this pouch?" she asked. She slurped down the ice cream and discarded the rice cake exterior.

    The mochi had so much potential. 😭But next time, Lenny will stick to plain old ice cream.

    My grandma sitting with a wineglass filled with the mochi shell.
    Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

    11. Hold The Cone Mini Ice Cream Cones

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    I wanted to end things on a strong note, so I saved the best for last: chocolate chip, chocolate-dipped mini ice cream cones. Grandma Lenny's face lit up when she saw the box. She counted eight mini cones, carefully selected one, and bit into it. It was hard to miss the wide smile that took over her face. "This is really a treat," she announced. Then she looked at me with a sense of urgency. "What does this sell for?" she asked. Before revealing the price, I asked her what she thinks they're worth. She responded that she would pay a dollar a piece. When I told her the price — $2.99 for eight cones — I could tell she loved them even more. There's nothing we appreciate more than good food and a good bargain, which explains our mutual love for Trader Joe's.

    Do you have any favorite Trader Joe's snacks you think Grandma Lenny should try? Or do you have any non-Trader Joe's related questions for her? She loves giving advice, food-wise or not. Leave 'em in the comments below!

    My grandma holding a box of green tea mochi.
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