I just ate a thin piece of ranch flavored cardboard. Oh. Wait. I’m looking at the bag I pulled it from and I see the problem. It’s a bag of BAKED potato chips. BAKED.
Friends, let me say to you: chips were not meant to be baked.
I know. We eat too much fat. We eat too much salt. We eat too many chips. And by “we”, I mean “I”, but I am not alone because some food scientist/dietician fool decided to bake chips. And some management fool decided that this was marketable. And what is truly remarkable is that taste testing fools told them this resulted in edible, even maybe good snacking. They lied.
I am at the least a third generation chip snacker. I know chips.
Grandpa always had a bag of chips at his house. Those chips were always open, the top of the bag carefully rolled and clothes-pinned. They were always tucked up high – on the top shelf above the cereal, the crackers, the unused old dried soup packets. We kids needed to climb onto the chair, to get up on the stool, to stand on the counter, to reach the chips. Friends, those chips weren’t baked.
My dad was known as the “Snack Man” for years, after one of my brother’s girlfriends noted that he spent a certain amount of time munching from bags of chips at the pantry door. I used to lie around in bed reading a lot when I was a kid, but the sound of a foil bag rustling in an entirely different wing of the house sent me running. If the Snack Man was at the chips, an empty bag was sure to follow.
I am broadly experienced in chips. I’ve eaten chips on three continents. I’ve had chips deep fried in lard, peanut oil, various vegetable oils, and once in the Russian Far East, chips that perhaps had been cooked in industrial waste oil.
I love chips. But again, friends, not baked chips. A baked chip is just a chunk of potato. It tastes…like a potato. Or, if it has flavor chemicals all over it, it takes like a piece of cardboard with flavor on it. Baked chips are no kind of chip at all.
After the apocalypse, zombie, nuclear winter, whatever, who cares, I’m heading out with my shotgun to find a chip delivery truck. I’m going to pry open the cargo doors, make myself a chip bag chair, and snack. I’ll eat chips until I run out of shells for the ghouls or chips for the belly. Because, of course, no one is going to have time to make chips in the aftermath. Like prescription antibiotics and gasoline, chips will be a finite resource.
If you are reading this and you work for a chip company, I beseech you, tell your people to stop baking chips. Spend your time making more deep fried chip goodness. If you are reading this while eating chips, I can only applaud your good taste. If your chips are extra dark, small-batch, kettle-cooked, I bow to your greatness.