I’m not feeling the holiday flavour

Halloween is long gone and thanksgiving is not far behind us…but pumpkin fever is still strong in America.

Everything is pumpkin flavoured (flavored) over here:

Lattes, pies, sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), cereal, doughnuts (donuts), yoghurt (yogurt), crackers, tea, cream, wine, cheesecake, bread, chocolate, tortilla chips, salsa, marshmallows, moonshine, beer, bagels, jelly (jello), pretzels, milk, pancakes, crisps (chips), cream cheese, ice cream, popcorn, almonds, oatmeal and lube.

Delicious ūüėČ

The thing is, it’s referred to as¬†‘Pumpkin Spice’, but it’s not ACTUALLY the flavour of a pumpkin. ¬†The worrying thing is, I don’t think many people here realise that.

“I love pumpkin!”, is something I hear a lot, but to be honest I don’t think anyone here knows what a pumpkin really tastes like.

I’ve asked many Americans if they’ve eaten pumpkin and the answer is usually “Er,¬†hello? ¬†Pumpkin pie?” followed by a derisive look.

Ah, bless ’em.

You could make a pumpkin pie from mashed carrot, swede (rutabaga), turnip or even baby food and they won’t know as long as it tastes like ‘pumpkin’.

So, to set the record straight, this is pumpkin spice.

pumpkinspice

And this is pumpkin.

pumpkinflesh

This is a vegetable. Can you say v-e-g-e-t-a-b-l-e?

They’re very different.

I HAVE eaten pumpkin and it’s nothing like the spice. ¬†If anything it’s like the bastard lovechild between a swede and a honeydew melon.

But less sweet.

This misrepresentation of a flavour bothers me and I don’t know why. ¬†I think America needs to have flavourings that are more representative of the fruit or vegetable it’s supposed to be.

Like grape.

 

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 Jalape√Īo 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 Jalape√Īo 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