Monday, April 25, 2011

Pringles Multigrain Cheesy Cheddar

            I have heard it argued that every movie is really the plot of two older movies combined, and if this is so, I think the same might be said of chips.  Someday there will likely be barbecue-Cheetos and Sour-Cream-and-Onion tortilla chips, and on the same premise some bright developer at Pringles must have woken up one day and thought “let's make Sun Chips that are actually Pringles!”  Now I’m fine with this mix-and-match approach which can produce some interesting hybrids, and so it is with an open mind that I tried out the Cheese Cheddar Multigrain Pringles.

Gene Wolfe wrote these books
after inventing the technology
to mass produce Pringles.
Coincidence?  Surely not!

            It must be especially tricky to mix it up with Pringles, because certain elements of the brand demand a product that is consistently of the same shape and texture to fit in the trademark Pringles cylinders.  What mind would invent such baroque chip-making technology in the first place?  Why, only the science fiction author Gene Wolf, the same mind that gave us an apprentice torturer on post-apocalyptic Earth saving the world and running away from his crazy ex-girlfriend.  If you read his account of how they were created, you may notice the same ‘dedicated mind driven over the brink of sanity’ themes that he puts into his writing- now we know what inspired the Citadel of the Autarch!
In any case, what they did with this variety is basically create a ‘Pringles’ chip with the same sort of multigrain cornmeal texture you expect from the generally excellent Sun Chips brand.  However, to make sure they stack neatly together, the chips can’t have an irregular texture, and most importantly, cannot be especially thick.  Within these limitations, multi-grain Pringles do their jobs and deliver a multi-grain corn-meal flavor, but the constraints upon their form are a little too steep for them to achieve their potential.  The crisps are simply too thin and smooth to evoke the best qualities of Sun Chips.  The orange cheese flavoring layered on is decent and adequate in quantity, but unfortunately was applied in random sprays that do not cover the entire crisp, (something which others have noticed as well),  so I found myself having to strategically target which part of the Pringle I lay my tongue upon to make sure I actually tasted the flavoring.  (Yes, I am that ridiculous.)

Those interested in a closer look at
the crisps should check out this
review of them at Gigi's Review's and
it's beautiful chip photography. 
She pretty much disagrees with me on
every point in my review!

            Another much appreciated quality of sun chips that the Pringles version fails to live up to is their fat calories ratio of about 35%.  The Pringles Multigrain crisps clock in around 140 calories, of which 50% are fat, which is significantly fewer calories than most other Pringles chips (tending around 180) but still not in the healthier-than-average ratio of fat calories that Sun Chips can claim.
            While perfectly edible and reasonably tasty, this experiment in hybridization is simply not as good as actual Sun Chips, though I suppose if you are Pringle fanboy and will accept no substitute (or face space restraints that only Pringles canisters can solve), they will at least broaden your horizons a little bit.  Now if only they would broaden the chips themselves, then they would do more to satisfy.

Stars: 1 ½
Spiciness Rating: none

- Within the contraints of the Pringle’s form, does a reasonable job of making a multi-grain crisp
- Cheese flavoring is ok
- Less calories than most Pringles

- Unfortunately, the constraints of the Pringles form really do prevent them from having the thick and rough texture that we appreciate from multi grain chips
- Cheese flavoring is sprayed on with annoying randomness
- Ratio of fat calories not as good as those of Sun Chips

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