Flavours. So many of them!
In the past, cultural isolation kept humans across the globe from discovering each others’ regional taste kinks. But with the advent of jet planes and the Internet, the lid has been blown off this international conspiracy: potato chip flavours that are normal to us are not even available in some countries. And the selection and the marketing of chips across the world is weird. WEIRD I TELL YOU!
For example, this is a bag of Norwegian “regular” chips.
America has the pride and privilege of being the recognised inventor of the potato chip – even though we all know Canada is the place where they achieved perfection (All Dressed and Ketchup anyone?) Though there are lots of crazy chip producing countries – Japan, I’m looking at you – Great Britain deserves the crown for having invented the seasoning process in the first place.
In Canada and ‘Merica, the top potato chip flavour is Original/Salted. But this “original” business is a filthy lie.
Classic or original salted chips. Can’t go wrong with the simple taste of fried potatoes, coated in sodium. If you wanna get really crazy you can get pinking shear salted.
Much like the “Best Pie in Thunder Bay” sign at my local diner, the”original” claim is just so much horse puckey.
News flash, hot shot: the first potato chips marketed and sold commercially outside of American restaurants didn’t even have salt. Individually packaged chips didn’t hit the market until after World War II and the first potato chips – or crisps, if you will – were nada flavour. Nil. Naught. Nothing. It took some mad little Englishman to add a little twist-tie bundle of salt inside every individual packet to enhance the starchy, fried goodness of the crisp. Ever since that day, salty flavour is still the tippety-tops all across the land.
In fact Lay’s British brother Walkers still sells a “Salt and Shake” variety that lets you personalise your salt-to-potato ratio. Some would say that’s too much responsibility. But the Brits are up to the challenge! Give them tiny packets of salt, or give them death.
But not really. They also have “ready-salted” for those who want to take the anxiety out of their snack food. Though I think they legally have to sell the “salt & shake” variety of chips in the six-pack in case you mess up the first 5 attempts at finding your perfect salt balance.
Apart from two different kinds of salted crips, in the UK they’re pretty big on synthetic and natural meat flavours. Cause meat and potatoes, duh. I read somewhere that all preparations of meat must have a corresponding chip or their meatiness shall be null and void under the Meat & Potato Act of 1789.
In the USA there can never be too many varieties of barbecue/ BBQ/Barbeque chips. I heard that if anyone suggests otherwise, they have to leave immediately and can’t come back until they have invented a new variety of BBQ chip.
Now enough with the kids stuff. Let’s get weird.
Wotsits say they taste like cheese, but I dare you to name the kind and what animal’s milk it has been produced from. They’re essentially Cheetos from space. And which sick bastard ate a Prawn Cocktail chip and said “I wish there was a way to make this taste and feel like eating pop rocks and shrimp.”
What about the Bear King inviting you to eat his subjects, the monster that wants you to indulge his cannibalism or the alleged “Space Raiders” that taste like beef? They have a lot of cows in space? Didn’t think so.
And so it seems that with advances in science and marketing, the flavours and even what constitutes a chip is continually evolving. Be sure when you’re taking your snack-based tour of the world to stay informed, aware, and dazzle people with your fried potato knowledge.