Crisps vs. Chips; a story with flavo(u)r

A couple of weeks ago I posted a little amusing event involving crisps [or ‘chips’ as the Americans call them].

Since then I’ve written a few other posts and the subject of crisps hasn’t entered my head at all.  In fact I haven’t given them a second thought and instead have focused on compiling a multitude of notes and scribblings about other non-crisp related things.

Well, I noticed the other night – whilst shopping in Walmart with the wife – that there is a radical difference in the flavours [flavors] of the crisps [chips] on offer in the USA [USA….oh, wait, that’s the same.  Never mind].

With the sheer abundance of crisps [chi….oh you get the point] in America I thought there would be a massive variety of flavours too.

But no.

Now, before I go ‘full rant’, I want to preface this post by saying that I’m not talking about specialist flavours of crisps like Jalapeño and Lime, Sea Bass, Garlic Snails or Children’s Tears…no I’m reserving this for the everyday flavours you expect from your everyday crisps, every day.

Make sense?

Good.

Now, I want to quickly talk about Doritos.  When it comes to Doritos, the flavours are pretty much the same in both the UK and the USA.

Having said that, ‘Cool Ranch’ in the USA is somehow called ‘Cool Original’ in the UK because, apparently, the English aren’t able to comprehend what Ranch is.

Admittedly we’re not like the Americans who worship and bathe in the stuff like Cleopatra did in milk, but we know what Ranch is!

We have it as a salad dressing.

Also, ‘Cool Original’ as a name makes no sense.  It implies that this was the first ‘original’ flavour to be released when they hit the UK, but in fact they were accompanied by Tangy Cheese and Lightly Salted (thanks for the clarity Doritos, I’ll look elsewhere for ‘Heavily Salted’ shall I?).

Also, the word ‘cool’ suggests these corn snacks are somehow hip and trendy.  That’s just a bit weird.

It makes so much sense when they’re ‘Cool Ranch’ because, well, Ranch is cool.

Like bow-ties.

Also, the variety of Doritos flavours in the UK are almost identical to those in the USA, except for Nacho Cheese. How is that different to Tangy Cheese? Tell me America, how?

But as far as general flavours on other brands of crisps are concerned, there are significant differences.

In the UK, the general flavours you will find – over several different types of brands – are:

  • Ready Salted
  • Cheese and Onion
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Crispy Bacon
  • Beef and Onion
  • Prawn Cocktail
  • Pickled Onion
  • Hot and Spicy
  • Barbecue
  • Marmite
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Roast Chicken

We even went crazy and had limited edition flavours like Tomato Ketchup, Fish and Chips, Sausage and Egg and Hedgehog.

Yes, Hedgehog.

Seriously.

In the USA there are hundreds of brands across different styles all offering this wide variety of flavours:

  • Salt
  • Salt and Lime
  • Salt and Vinegar
  • Barbecue
  • Cheese
  • Barbecue Cheese
  • Hot and Spicy
  • Hot and Spicy Barbecue
  • Hot and Spicy Cheese

Are you noticing a pattern here?

I see these huge aisles of crisps in the supermarket and I get excited only to find it’s either salt, cheese and barbecue OR the hot and spicy versions of salt, cheese and barbecue.

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE exotic flavours like Jalapeño Lime and Garlic Bread, but we have those in England too and I consider these to be specialist, exotic flavours.

Where America gets it right though is with Pringles.

In the UK we have a few flavours, but in America there are SO many more.  Here are a small selection of the ones that have made me stop in my tracks and buy them:

  • Wasabi and Soy Sauce
  • Buffalo Wing
  • Honey Mustard
  • Mango Salsa
  • Dill Pickle
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Pizza
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Salsa De Chili Habanero

And there are a lot more, but these are the ones I’ve seen so far. I shudder to think what else they have in the works.  Probably Hot and Spicy versions of each.

Now we just need to work on getting some UK classics over here.

tara bath of crisps

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Oh do shut up

Oh fuck.

I’m sat at a table on the train surrounded by seven horse-teethed 40 somethings (probably with names like Tarquin, Jeremy, Marjory, Cynthia etc.) drinking wine, gin & tonic and grazing on hand made crisps, guffawing at tedious jokes and japes at a volume fitting of a jet engine.

I’m so glad I’m trying to watch Doctor Who on my phone.

The volume just won’t go any higher (on my phone, not on these plum voiced pricks whose volume has no ceiling)

Exterminate!
Exterminate!

image

What would the Earl say?

I’m sitting in a hotel bar right now waiting for some food I’ve ordered.

But in a place like this it’s never just food is it… no, it’s pompous wanky food with unnecessarily long and tedious descriptions.

It’s places like this that have words like compote, medley and terrine on the menu.  Even the scrambled egg on toast sounded so exquisite I wanted to have sex with it.

Is this to somehow justify the inflated prices?

Would I pay £10 for a prawn cocktail?

No.

Would I pay it for saltwater Alaskan shrimp on a bed of distressed iceberg shavings, drizzled with creamy homemade Marie Rose dressing and a tickle of paprika, complimented with hand cut toasted wheatbread laced with Devon churned butter?

Fuck yeah! Here are the deeds to my house, just feed me this extravagance!

Oh, wait, it’s just prawn cocktail.

And it doesn’t end with their choice of words.  Everything is delivered on a tray.  Even my diet coke was delivered on a tray, complete with a posh stirrer.

Why?   Is it so I can mix my diet coke with the rest of the diet coke in my glass?

I perused this minefield of Shakespearean verse called a menu and eventually decided to go for the ‘free range slivers of extra matured….’ Oh for fuck’s sake, I went for a ham sandwich.

Now, in my experience a ham sandwich is bread, butter, ham, possibly mustard and then bread. It is basically ham ‘sandwiched’ between two slices of bread.   So why am I still waiting for it an hour later?

If the pig has been hand reared as a result of my order, the cows milked and the butter churned,  the mustard seeds grown fresh, and the bread baked specially…then it makes sense I’d have to wait. But I suspect they’ve run out of trays in the kitchen and don’t know how to deliver my food to me any other way.

Frankly, I’m so hungry right now you could deliver it with a crossbow and I’d be happy.   In pain, but happy.

Interestingly, I’ve just had a second diet coke brought to my table (on a tray, naturally) and I find myself a little disappointed it has no stirrer.   If you set the bar too high, you’ll inevitably disappoint.

My sandwich finally arrives an hour and twenty minutes after I ordered it, but at least it’s a special sandwich with…. ….oh wait, no, it’s just a ham sandwich.

But it isn’t; not really. It’s three quarters of a ham sandwich.   They’ve clearly managed to figure out the bread-ham-bread thing and then understandably cut it into quarters, only to give me three of them.

Where’s my quarter of a sandwich?  Did you fucking eat 25% of my dinner you bastards?

It then occurred to me that maybe they give everyone 3 out of the 4 quarters of the sandwich to save money.  They could effectively create a fourth ‘three quarter sandwich’ for free, provided they have three customers who order them.   I bet that’s why I was left waiting for 100 fucking minutes for a fucking sandwich because these bastards were waiting for two more fucking guests to order ham fucking sandwiches.

It all makes sense now.

To add insult to injury, they’ve provided me with an unwanted handful of cress and a ramekin of crisps. A bloody ramekin  of crisps! Do you realise how few crisps you can fit in a ramekin??

I didn’t even want these 7 crisps; I wanted my whole sandwich!

For what it’s worth, the sandwich is delicious, dammit.

ham