The Most Trivial of Pursuits: Is A Pop-Tart A Dumpling?

Just when you thought we couldn’t get any more trivial…our series covering the dumbest debates in pop culture continues. As always, you’ll likely be dumber from reading. You’re welcome.


John Kirages and Nathaniel Martin

Pop-Tarts are Dumplings – An Unpopular But Correct Opinion

Allow me to begin my argument by saying I had a Pop-Tart as part of my breakfast almost every morning from 8th grade through sophomore year. Just ask Mr. Patel. Now that I’ve established my ethos, my bold claim is that a Pop-Tart can be found in the dumpling family.

I’ve made dumplings before. I’ve eaten lots of Pop-Tarts before. The basic anatomy of each item is the same. A nice dough is the outer layer, and the middle can be filled with an assortment of delicacies. Dumplings can be filled with beef, pork, or even chicken as well as certain vegetables. Pop-Tarts can be filled with strawberry, raspberry, or cherry fillings. There isn’t any difference between the two. If you stuffed a Pop-Tart full of meat and vegetables it would be a dumpling. If you stuffed a dumpling with strawberry filling and smashed it into a Two-Dimensional object it would be a Pop-Tart. Case closed.

Disclaimer: I hope I haven’t offended anyone who takes dumpling making extremely seriously. If that’s the case just substitute the word dumpling with pirogi.


Why Nathaniel is Wrong:

This case is open and shut.  A dumpling and a Pop-Tarts are two entirely different concepts.  Allow me to offer you definitions for each.

A dumpling is “a small savory ball of dough (usually made with suet) which may be boiled, fried, or baked in a casserole.”

Meanwhile, “Pop-Tarts are a brand of toaster pastries that the Kellogg Company introduced in 1964. Pop-Tarts have a sugary filling sealed inside two layers of thin, rectangular pastry crust. Most varieties are also frosted.”

And there you have it, folks.  Dumplings are made of dough, suet (a type of animal fat), and are usually boiled, fried, or baked.  Meanwhile, Pop-Tarts consist of a sugary filling, pastry crust, frosting, and are meant to be cooked within a toaster.

If you need any more convincing, which honestly, should be unnecessary, let us take a look at the origin of each of these two foods.  First of all, dumplings were, according to legend, invented in 225 AD Zhuge Liang, a general for Shu Han, in southern China. These dumplings, called jiǎozi in Mandarin, traditionally consist of minced meat, most popularly pork, finely chopped vegetables, and a dough skin.  They are traditionally eaten for lunch or dinner.

On the other hand, Pop-Tarts were invented in 1964 by Kellogg, who actually ripped the idea off another company, Post, that announced their idea for “Country Squares” before they were ready to produce.  The first Pop-Tarts came in four flavors–strawberry, blueberry, brown sugar cinnamon, and apple currant and were advertised by an anthropomorphic toaster.

So.  On one side, we have a traditional Chinese dish with a rich history tracing all the way back to 225 AD.  On the other hand, a toaster pastry whose mascot is an anthropomorphic toaster. Are they the same? I think not.