And now, for something completely different.
In this episode of The Snackdown, I’m going to be talking to you about muesli. Specifically, the kind that the Europeans like to eat that looks like three-day old baby vomit.
Oh, who am I kidding. You already know from the title and the main image that this is about potato chips of the un-flavoured variety. But I wanted to make that crack about muesli looking like baby vomit. I mean, seriously, it does, doesn’t it?!
That said, I actually do like muesli. It provides an amazing amount of nutrition while requiring very little effort to actually eat. It’s the perfect food, until of course someone manages to figure out a way to genetically modify a human to eat transdermally. Like a hagfish, or something.
Actually before I go on, wait, does salt count as a flavour?
I mean, it’s a seasoning, but you could say the same about the magical crack-laced fairy dust sprinkled on flavoured potato chips. Since it’s powdered in a mixture, it’s technically closer to a seasoning than a flavouring.
Yes, yes. I know seasonings add flavour. Geez man, do you have to be such a pedant?
So, anyway. This is going to be completely different because I’m going to be talking about the chips I would actually buy with my own money. You know, the sort of thing the Snacktivist would actually put his own money on.
I can hear what you’re muttering about at the back there. You’re saying why not talk about flavoured potato chips? Why not talk about the things that most normal people eat.
And the answer to that is a simple one. I’m not most normal people. I mean, seriously, what sort of normal person waxes lyrical about Tim Tams or hates the Big Mac with such a passion? Or a person whose childhood dream it was to write about snacking.
But more importantly, this is my snack column. My own little corner of the internet with dozens of fans. If you want to read about flavoured chips, which to be honest, I do enjoy from time to time, but I think is ultimately pointless because you can’t taste the damn potatoes, THEN GO GET YOUR OWN DAMN SNACK COLUMN.
AND GET OFF MY LAWN.
PS: You might have noticed all these don't have a Snackdown-O-Meter rating, because all the chips listed below are all Snackgasm worthy. Trust me. Trust The Snacktivist.
The potato chip against which all other potato chips are judged, the baseline form of the decent potato chip. In other words, the Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate of the chip world.
And I’m very certain some of you believe Pringles don’t really count as potato chips. If it’s made from reconstituted potatoes and made into something that looks and tastes like a potato chip, does that count?
Well, who even knows.
Strictly speaking, Pringles aren’t potato chips. They’re more like by-product, or if you want to be generous about it, a derivative product. But by that same token, so too are sausages. I mean, waste not, want not. Lips, eyelids and other unmentionable bits are edible, too.
But seriously, if you sat down to think about it, Pringles really are rather rubbish. But sitting down and thinking too hard about what you’re compulsively cramming into your mouth is a surefire recipe for losing your marbles.
Celebrated author (and big time racist) HP Lovecraft wrote of the Great Old Ones, interstellar godlike beings whose mere countenance is enough to drive mortals to insanity. Pringles is much like that—it’s a thing whose form has evolved far beyond the ken of mere mortals.
In some respects, Pringles are devolved potato chips, but if you don’t get why Pringles are as good as they are, it just means your mind hasn’t yet grasped the six-dimensional universe.
In the immortal words of HP Lim, celebrated kopitiam political commentator (and possibly big time racist too) “aiyah, you dunno one la.”
Kettle Sea Salt
The most common complaint I hear about these chips is that they’re too greasy.
I could make a cheap Gordon Ramsay-inspired joke here about how if it were any oilier, the Americans would come a-knocking and wanting to tell you all about your lord and saviour, democracy.
But I won’t, because I’m a man of restraint, taste and discretion. Plus, it’s a cheap shot, and cheap shots don’t become me.
In all fairness to the people not yet converted to the church of Kettle chips, they certainly are greasy. Peering into the empty packet and seeing the pièce de résistance of every bag of chips (namely, the pulverised chips bits intermingled with salt; Italianchefkiss.gif) sticking to the walls is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Which is appropriate, since Kettle chips certainly aren’t for the faint of heart anyway. Uh, you know, like if you have heart problems.
Anyway, what makes these great is how, in spite of them having enough oil to start its own third-word petrodollar kleptocracy, Kettle chips still are delicately crunchy and have this raspy, potato-y texture.
Yes, you could have your Kettle chips in a good deal of other flavours, but seriously, why would you go ruining the taste of such great chips?
I’m not telling you how to eat your chi… wait.
I am telling you how to eat your chips.
I’m the Snacktivist, dammit. Purveyor of all that is good and true in the snacking world.
Also, since we’re on the topic of things you shouldn’t do with your potato chips, under no circumstances do you want to get Kettle’s unsalted chips.
Holy shit, I did it once and did I live to regret it. Have you ever wondered what deep-fried cardboard tastes like? Yeah, unsalted Kettle chips taste just like that.
I regret it more than selling my old car, more than not sleeping earlier every night and perhaps even more than THROWING AWAY THE OPPORTUNITY TO MARRY INTO MONEY.
Unsalted Kettle chips is almost as bad as alcohol-free beer. And that’s really saying something, considering alcohol-free beer tastes like if you took a Sprite, left it in the sun to gently rot away for a month and drank it after.
But unsalted Kettle chips are worth a shot, at least, if only to say that you’ve tried it.
And to say you’ll never buy them again for as long as you live.
Tyrrell’s Sea Salt
There are moments in a person’s life when they discover something so great, it transcends everything that they have had before.
The moment where tears of pure joy stream down their face and they think their entire life had led up to that point.
Some people find that joy in the face of their newborn child, when they first kiss the loves of their lives, when they see the perfect sunset on top of a perfect mountain on a perfect holiday.
Me? That moment was when I first bit into one of Tyrrell’s Sea Salt chips.
I love Kettle chips too, but those tend to be a little too thick than ideal. With Tyrrell’s, it’s sliced thin, but not so much that you can’t feel the starchiness of the potato under your teeth, but not so thick that it feels like eating a mummified tuber.
As for grease levels, it does that perfectly too. I mean, it is greasy, but in a good way. It coats your mouth, not your arteries and your stomach lining. It is the warm hug of a good friend, the seabreeze on a cool evening.
To paraphrase Natalie Portman in Garden State: you gotta eat these chips, it’ll change your life, I swear.
It certainly changed mine.
For the better, obviously.
Not like falling off a cliff or getting eaten by a shark. Which generally tends to change your life for the worse. Or what little of it is left before it ends, at any rate.