10 Things You Didn't Know About Hot Pockets Slideshow

These microwavable turnovers are more than just a snack; they’re a pop culture touchstone

10 Things You Didn't Know About Hot Pockets

10 Things You Didn't Know About Hot Pockets
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Hot Pockets are one of the most divisive foods in the freezer aisle. These little turnovers, which crisp up to melty perfection after a few minutes in the microwave, are certainly “processed” by just about every definition of the term, but they’re also an inexpensive, guilty pleasure that actually tastes good. We’ve tracked down 10 facts we bet you didn’t know about them.

They Were Invented by Two Brothers

They Were Invented by Two Brothers
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Paul and David Merage invented Hot Pockets in 1983, and they released the product under their own brand, Chef America. Nestlé acquired the company in 2002, paying $2.6 billion for the honor.

They Were Originally Called “Chunk Stuffers”

They Were Originally Called “Chunk Stuffers”
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We’re not sure which name we prefer more.

Their Release Coincided With a Big Surge in Unemployment

Their Release Coincided With a Big Surge in Unemployment
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The 1983 release of Hot Pockets also coincided with the deepest economic downturn since World War II, with unemployment at around 10 percent. The cheap, convenient meal offered by Hot Pockets was definitely a great example of “right place at the right time.”

The Little Sleeve Is Called a Susceptor

The Little Sleeve Is Called a Susceptor

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Every Hot Pocket needs to be microwaved inside a little cardboard sleeve that’s called a susceptor. The purpose of it is to absorb microwaves and concentrate more heat onto the Hot Pocket — in a sense “broiling” it so the crust becomes crispier.

Many Varieties Have Been Discontinued

Many Varieties Have Been Discontinued

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Even with dozens of varieties currently available, plenty have also been discontinued over the years. Examples of bygone Hot Pockets include Pizza Minis, subs, calzones, paninis, fruit pastries, and quesadillas.

Varieties Are Discontinued for a Surprising Reason

Varieties Are Discontinued for a Surprising Reason
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Most of the above varieties weren’t discontinued because they were poor sellers; they were canned because each variety requires a different dough, which makes production more expensive.

They Made Jim Gaffigan a Star

They Made Jim Gaffigan a Star

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The comedian’s 2005 stand-up routine is the stuff of legend, and the success of his riff on Hot Pockets helped him become famous enough to get his own TV show and play Colonel Sanders in KFC ads. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it now.

All Hot Pockets Are Manufactured in Mount Sterling, Kentucky

All Hot Pockets Are Manufactured in Mount Sterling, Kentucky
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They were made in Englewood, Colorado, until 2013, when Nestlé consolidated its operations.

Sales Are Directly Affected by the Number of People on Financial Assistance

Sales Are Directly Affected by the Number of People on Financial Assistance
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They Were Subject to a Massive Recall in 2014

They Were Subject to a Massive Recall in 2014
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238,000 cases of Philly Steak & Cheese Hot Pockets were recalled in 2014, due to the fact that they may have contained meat from “diseased and unsound” animals from the Rancho Feeding Corp. No recall-related illnesses were reported, however.