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Munchies Article - Salt is the only flavor needed for Potato Chips? Your Thought? (1 Viewer)

Salt is the only flavor needed for Potato Chips? Your Thought?

  • Agree

    Votes: 40 44.9%
  • Disagree

    Votes: 49 55.1%

  • Total voters
    89

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/evevwz/actually-salt-is-the-only-flavor-potato-chips-need

The potato chip is in peril, and it’s all your fault. You asked for prawn cocktail-flavored chips, for turkey stuffing, for mushroom soup. You asked for kettle-cooked, oven-baked, crinkle-cut. You asked for kale chips. Kale chips? Kale. Chips.

You sullied perfection, and now the only thing to do is to go back to the beginning.

The potato chip, it is said, emerged fully formed from the hallowed halls of Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs in the summer of 1853, when a disgruntled chef named George Crum crisped up some potato shavings in response to a complaint from none other Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt himself. Upon devouring the fried potato wafers, and much to the chef’s surprise, Vanderbilt heartily congratulated Crum on his feat. And thus, the potato chip was born. Or so the legend goes.

It didn’t happen like that, of course. There evidence of a forgotten female cook (surprise!) in Saratoga, remembered as simply “Eliza, the cook,” experimenting with potato frying as early as 1849. There’s also a recipe in the 1817 edition of the whimsically-titled A Cook’s Oraclethat advises home cooks to "peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping."

But regardless of how they entered our collective diets, by the early 20th century, potato chips were being mass manufactured in America and the UK. And by 2018, the average American was eating over six pounds of potato chips each year.

Not that there's anything wrong with this! In fact, let me say categorically: I believe that there is nothing wrong with eating over six pounds of potato chips annually (no matter what the New York Times says about greasy potato-product intake). My dispute is not with the ubiquity of the potato chip; rather, it is with their perversion.

The first flavored potato chips—Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar—were developed in Ireland in the 1950s. Later that decade, in 1954, Lay’s began selling their barbecue-flavored potato chips. Now, worldwide, flavors range from dill pickle to scallop with butter to borscht. Then there's the jaw-cracking, mouth-slicing kettle chips that are marketed as a more “authentic” potato chip experience; the "healthy” oven-baked potato chips that gained popularity in the ‘90s, along with bagel and taro chips; and the popular Popchip, made by subjecting potato starches to high pressure to create the distinctive (and culinarily vapid) puff.

Flavoring potato chips is a fascinating mix of sorcery and science: What manufacturers are trying to capture in a chip is not the exact taste of chicken and waffles, but rather the sensory memory of the dish, to make tangible the intangibleidea of a plate of fresh, hot chicken and waffles. It’s a sort of synesthetic experiment, trying to compress the entire experience of a dish, it’s complexities and subtleties, into a powdered dust.

How do they do this? According to Lay’s, an “executive chef” prepares the dish to perfection, then gives it to food scientists to distill into a combination of spices and additives—which include dextrose, molasses, and various yeasts.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made about the magic of these alchemical processes, but I don’t want to make that argument. Because in gussying up a thing born of pure practical genius, we’ve obscured the true purpose of the potato chip—which is to be the blandest, streamlined-est, most transparent way to deliver unadulterated salt and fat into your mouth. Two essential elements, unmasked; two primary components of any good meal in their uncorrupted form.

A potato chip isn’t a meal, and it shouldn’t taste like one. It shouldn’t taste like a distilled barbecue spread, or a tightly-wound bowl of pad thai. It shouldn’t really taste like much of anything. It should give your tastebuds a firm shake, awaken your mouth with its salinity, leave your fingers slick and lickable. Potato chips are a palate cleanser, a preview. They are an aperitif. And they are best served, unadorned, alongside your drink of choice: Mine, a glass of nearly unbearably crisp rosé, the jam-smack of red berry and sunshine tempered by the mellow warmth of the oil and salt.

Why are we so hell-bent on embellishment? What is this instinct to stuff and fluff, to gild the lily? Why can’t we just be happy with what we have, especially when what we have is so damn good? This is true of so many foods including $0.99, corner-store potato chips. There’s a brewery in Sweden selling the “world’s most exclusive” potato chips, flavored with matsutake mushrooms and truffle seaweed, for $56. They come five to a box, and according to the press images, you are meant to eat them with tweezers. This, apparently, is the chip of the future, and I hate it. So should you.

A few nights ago, for research, I went to Rebel Rebel, a new wine bar in Somerville, Massachusetts. The bar is tiny, with pink dusklight spilling onto the snowy patio where a few people huddled under shared blankets, clutching their glasses. I met a friend and sipped a glass of punchy Lamoresca slowly. It got late and I got hungry; I was close to packing it in. And then, from the bar, emerged a small wooden bowl of plain, cheap potato chips. It was like a wafer on my tongue, dissolving into a slick of salt, making the wine sing. I didn't miss the hypothetical flavors because the plain potato chip is the best at what it does. It's already perfect.

 

Dan Lambskin

Footballguy
Plain chips are my preferred chips.  But there are times I'd like a flavored one.  
Agreed

i like to try regional chip brands when traveling and will always sample their plain chip as a baseline, but if a flavored one catches my eye I’ll give that a try

i usually get suckered into trying the new whacky flavors but it’s rare I buy a bag a second time

my favorite chips in now particular order

better made - original 

better made - wavy

better made - rainbow

When potatoes are stored they build up a higher content of sugar. These potatoes are sliced and fried into chips and they tend to turn dark. They are not burnt, have a sweeter taste and are called Rainbow Chips.

Downey’s Kettle cooked - salted

Jay’s Kettle cooked - salted

grippos - plain

kettle Krinkle cut - salt and pepper 

 

Dickies

Footballguy
If given a choice I go with a flavored potato chip 100% of the time.  My favorite chip right now is the Ruffles All Dressed.

 
regular ruffles are the GREATEST chip ever made.

with or without dip. 
They are an undeniably solid chip.

But I'll take a wide-ridged/wavy chip (e.g. from Lays) over a Ruffle any day.

I think salted kettle chips are the pinnacle of the plain salted chip.

But to say it's the only flavor needed? The writer of that article has obviously never had an All Dressed. 

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
They are an undeniably solid chip.

But I'll take a wide-ridged/wavy chip (e.g. from Lays) over a Ruffle any day.

I think salted kettle chips are the pinnacle of the plain salted chip.

But to say it's the only flavor needed? The writer of that article has obviously never had an All Dressed




1
I just saw these on Letterkenny.  Will have to start looking for them in the states.  

 

Rustoleum

Footballguy
Thought this was about Munchos (and they are horrible).

I can do without most flavored chips, but man, Grippo Barbecue are tasty.

 

Sullie

Footballguy
Potato chips are my kryptonite man, I don't recall many potato chips I've ever not liked.  I've cut back to only eating them on Saturday's watching college football in the fall.  

Here are some highlight chips though :

Plain, homemade there's a local company called BroadRipple Chips - the chips are big, the regular are very large chips, nicely salted, kind of rustic.

Bar-b-q - Grippos BBQ out of Cincinnati are pretty spectacular, I don't think they have salt on them but you don't miss it.

Jalapeno - Ms Vickies kettle jalapeno are the first jalapeno chips I ever had, years and years ago, every other ones I've tried have been 2nd to these.

Pringles - from my 70's youth, I still like Pringles

Corell's - these were the first kettle chips I ever had growing up, they all kinda taste the same (kettle chips I mean) but I do recall these as being very good.

Lawson's chip dip - they made a french onion dip that was pretty amazing and if you're from NE Ohio you know you'd walk a mile in a foot of snow to grab a container of this if you were jonesing for chip dip.

Fritos aren't potato chips, I know and while these are probably a level 100 on a scale of 1-100 of unhealthy foods, God these are great.

Doritos - another NOT potato chip - but after all these years, I still dig the original. . . and bag of taco flavored but just one per year.

Ruffles - plain are good but I do like their sour cream and cheddar

Mikesells chips are pretty good for standard wavy and they have a really good spicy dill pickle chip that's pretty good 

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
Sullie said:
Lawson's chip dip - they made a french onion dip that was pretty amazing and if you're from NE Ohio you know you'd walk a mile in a foot of snow to grab a container of this if you were jonesing for chip dip.

Mikesells chips are pretty good for standard wavy and they have a really good spicy dill pickle green onion chip that's pretty good 




 
mainly responding to the Lawson's dip.  killer - and chip-chopped ham from the old Lawson's stores too.  

 

The General

Footballguy
Tim's Cascade Jalapeno

Doritos Sweet Chili

Hawaiian Maui Sweet Onion

A good white corn chip for Salsas, Guac, etc.

These are the only ones you need. 

CASE CLOSED

 

caustic

Footballguy
I'm generally not a huge potato chip guy, but I am very serious in saying that you'll have to pry the BBQ Pringles from my cold, dead hands.

 

Chaka

Footballguy
So long as we agree that Cheetos, not puffs because those are a crime against humanity, are not potato chips I agree. I mean, I am pretty sure there are no potatoes in Cheetos but who the hell knows? 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Love chips with only salt, but as caustic said, you're going to have to pry the vinegar ones from my cold, dead hands. Funny, because I was going to say the same thing. Independent creation and all that.  

 

AhrnCityPahnder

Yinz-o-riffic
I've never had a good BBQ potato chip in my life.  

I generally agree with the point of the article, but cape-cod jalapeño kettle chips are pretty damn tasty once in a while.  

 
Corporation said:
Salt is the only flavor NEEDED.  All other flavors, no matter how good, are just wants.
This is the correct answer and I don’t really get why the original article is acting like this is some existential debate on salt only chips, but I’ll give you my Herr’s Sour Cream and Onion chips when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

eta: damn, wish I’d read the previous comments before going cold dead hands 

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Da Guru

Fair & Balanced
Has to be the right BBQ chip - but this is correct.

I am partial to the Cape Cod BBQ chip and also Great Lakes BBQ Chip
Been partial to kettle BBQ chips as of late.  Was at a party a couple weeks ago and had the best kettle BBQ chips.  Asked the host what king they were and she said just the Kroger brand.

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Three pairs of cold, dead hands clinging to their flavors. The article writer might want to reconsider his epicurean position.  

 

Bull Dozier

Footballguy
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a plain salted potato chip.  However, as someone with a serious sweet & salty love affair, anytime I have a plain salted chip I think about how great it would be to be eating a chocolate dipped potato chip in that moment instead.

 

RUSF18

Footballguy
Corporation said:
Salt is the only flavor NEEDED.  All other flavors, no matter how good, are just wants.
Agreed and this goes for damn near every food, not just chips. 

Start making things without adding even a touch of salt, only using "no salt" ingredients, etc and you'll realize how bland things taste.

 

Bull Dozier

Footballguy
Agreed and this goes for damn near every food, not just chips. 

Start making things without adding even a touch of salt, only using "no salt" ingredients, etc and you'll realize how bland things taste.
My wife is not the greatest cook.  I think everything she makes, even from a recipe, is fairly bland.  I'm thinking now she either skips past the "salt and pepper to taste" step, or if a recipe doesn't have that step she doesn't do it.  I'm always heavy on the S&P.

 

Sullie

Footballguy
Has to be the right BBQ chip - but this is correct.

I am partial to the Cape Cod BBQ chip and also Great Lakes BBQ Chip
I am just not a fan of most BBQ chips, never have been, Grippos BBQ chips made me a convert though.  I would say anyone that hates BBQ chips should give those a try, if they don't do anything for you then nothing probably will.

 
Binky The Doormat said:
I just saw these on Letterkenny.  Will have to start looking for them in the states.  
Great show, great chip. Know that the ones they produce for the Canadian market are the real deal -- the ones I get in the States are tasty, but slightly different (to me anyway -- a little bit of a flatter, less zesty taste). Still damned good. 

 
So long as we agree that Cheetos, not puffs because those are a crime against humanity, are not potato chips I agree. I mean, I am pretty sure there are no potatoes in Cheetos but who the hell knows? 
Wait, what?

Yes, Cheetos of any kind are not potato chips -- fall under the corn puff family of salty snacks.

But puffs a crime against humanity?

Man, Chaka, you are always chock full of extraordinary and insightful commentary throughout the forums here and I find myself generally aligned with - and genuinely appreciative -- of your POV and your constant valued contributions. For sure one of the posters here whose posts make coming back to these boards worthwhile.

But this was not one of those posts.

 

Ned

Footballguy
This is the correct answer and I don’t really get why the original article is acting like this is some existential debate on salt only chips, but I’ll give you my Herr’s Sour Cream and Onion chips when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.

eta: damn, wish I’d read the previous comments before going cold dead hands 
Herr's is da bomb.  Beats Lays, IMO.  I imagine the wrong coasters will have no idea what we're talking about.

  1. Sour cream and onion
  2. plain (not ripple - they just melt in your mouth)
  3. plain (ripple - thicker)
  4. Jalapeno Kettle
  5. BBQ 
 

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