Cinnamon twist

Cinnamon twist by Shane Ronemus (CC BY-NC-ND)

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Fans of Taco Bell are some of the most devoted in the world of fast food — you might even call them superfans. They get married at a Bell-themed wedding chapel in Las Vegas, make road trip pilgrimages to locations that still have chili cheese burritos, and get incredibly vocal on social media with their opinions about the chain's food.

When you read all those comments about what customers like and don't like at Taco Bell, one item stands out above the rest for the amount of hatred it gets: the cinnamon twists. It's not surprising that most people generally enjoy standard items like tacos and burritos — it's in the chain's name, after all. But the ire that people spew at the seemingly innocuous cinnamon twists that walk the line between dessert and side dish is almost universal.

In a thread on Reddit's r/TacoBell forum, a user asked for opinions on the worst item on the menu, and most commenters honed in on cinnamon twists (often with colorful language we can't publish). 

The reasons behind the hate are varied and ultimately come down to personal taste, but customers tend to see them as a lesser value than the other side option currently offered in boxes, chips and nacho cheese sauce or cheesy fiesta potatoes, and many people complain about how they sometimes taste unusually bad. Some commenters chalk up those times when they taste like "crunchy pool water" to locations that haven't changed the deep fryer oil recently enough.

But despite all the hate that cinnamon twists get, most people are fascinated when they find out how they're made. They're shipped to restaurants in large boxes and look exactly like rotini pasta — and that's essentially what they are. They're made with wheat flour, corn meal, and rice flour, and get deep fried straight from the box. Then they take just a few seconds to puff up into the big, fat, and crispy snacks in a delightfully magical process.

Some Taco Bell fans have devised a secret way to make cinnamon twists better, but it's decidedly not Taco Bell-approved and requires knowing an employee. Workers who've done it report that if you coat the fried twists in nacho fries seasoning instead of cinnamon sugar, they're actually pretty good. While that hack won't go very far in placating superfans frustrated when the chain removes beloved items like the Mexican pizza or double decker taco, maybe someone needs to send a letter to corporate with the idea for the next big new test item.

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