Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome to the Chipster Diaries!

And so it begins!  Your are looking at the product of an uncomfortable number of wasted hours contemplating the gastronomic delights of the humble and much derided chip, here defined as any variety of  crispy snacks including the classic potato chip, puffed corn chips a-la-Cheetos, nacho chips, and any other wierd fried or baked things I can justify without sound basis.

Why am I wasting my time and health writing about potato chips?  Did my parents feed me nothing but junk food in my youth to save money?  Sad as I am to dispel this Dickensian tale of nutritional depravity, I was in fact raised in a family where every night I was treated to French and Mediterranean cooking, and where chips were strictly interdicted, rare artifacts that I might perchance occasionally snatch at a barbecue at somebody elses house.  (Later on tortilla chips were deemed acceptable, as they could be eaten in tandem with organic salsa.)   And yet, despite my parents doing the right thing and making every effort to make me a man of refined pallet and cultured taste, like all those girls from the strict Christian families that go on to become adult film stars, as an adult I swiftly indulged my most forbidden cravings, always searching for something more interesting than the run of the mill Doritos and salty Lay's chips.
You can pretty much assume this
aisle stretches out into infinity
But why waste your time reading about them?  Well, if you have any fancy for chips yourself, you doubtlessly have felt the terrible angst of being confronted with an abundant grocery story aisle overflowing with choices, all of them promising delicious bounties- but knoqinf rhR amongst the multitudes, some are only acceptably average, some truly delicious and original, and a terrifying few are offensively repugnant.  One can never know the truth behind the shiny, smiling facades of the bags that whisper such sweet promises on the labels, without diving inside (and necessarily, paying for them.)  And though the process of exploration, the risk-versus-rewards of trying new things, is rewarding in and of itself, I still wouldn't mind getting the occasional pointer on which products truly are exceptional and which are strictly to be avoided.  It is there that this humble blog may come to your assistance.

Do you think he worried about the Lay workers
being alienated from the means of production?

Furthermore, you should read it to be entertained, because it can be funny watching supposed adults rant at length over the flaws of junk food.  Rest assured, if I can find a way to make my assessments unnecessarily long for the sake of your amusement, I will.  As a fallen culinary aristocrat and self-proclaimed chipster, I will of course attempt to maintain appropriate levels of self-aware irony, pedantic over-elocution, and verbose grandiosity.  (However, unlike a proper hipster, I harbor no disdain for mass-market products.  My philosophy is thoroughly Marxist-Leninst where chips are concerned: the consumption of the proletariat is worthy of critical examination!)

Finally, you may find this blog of interest because I happen to have begun residing in France since the beginning of January 2010, and have since been exploring the peculiar varietes of salty snacks found on the other side of the Atlantic.  Yes, that greatest of food cultures, the inventors of high cuisine, are indeed stooping down to our level and formulating savory delights suited for their unimaginably sophisticated palettes.  So while I am here, you can expect to see forthcoming (and by forthcoming, I mean already written and in the pipelines to be posted) reviews for goat cheese flavored cheetos, ham flavored potato chips, cumin-slathered nachos, and peanut-flavored corn crisps, to name a few.
Yes, there is a braised
chicken on that bag.

Weep not any tears, my fellow Americans, if you are fearful that I am abandoning any relevance to your local grocery store aisles, for I have a very substantial body of reviews written starting since the Spring of 2010 of 100% American chips of all varieties, just waiting to be posted in their web-enhanced glory.  I will be churning out around 2 new reviews a week for the next several months, so expect plenty more of interest down the line, complete with unnecessary historical details and gratuitous verbiage.

To start you off is a batch of four reviews below, ranging from the awesome wierdness of Late Night Cheeseburger Nachos to the mendacious awfulness of Burger Kings Cheesy Fries, the base nostalgia and cereal eating woes of Cheeto's Cheddar and Salsa Zingers to the peculiar naming conventions of Lay's French Bologna flavor.  Each review concludes with a rating out of 4 stars, a list of pros and cons for the more discerning reader, and a Spiciness rating.  You may also wish to take a look at the Scoring Guide tab above for an explanation of how I reach my ratings and a safety warning on spiciness levels.  You can expect me to write up plenty more reviews in the near future, and eventually institute some tabs to sort the reviews by flavor and brand (once there are enough reviews to make it worth while.)  And by all means, feel free to contribute your own insights or criticisms on the comments thread- as they say, I would happily have a dialogue over a monologue any day.  I'll leave you to enjoy what dubious pleasures you can scavenge and hopefully inspire your secret salty-sweet cravings.

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