Thursday, June 2, 2011

Utz Sour Cream and Cheddar

           Does anyone actually eat sour cream and cheddar in real life?  The flavoring mash up is definitely out there and there are dozens of sour-cream-and-cheddar potato chips, but where did this idea come from?  Are we supposed to imagine there are plenty of people out there who cut themselves slices of Wisconsin’s finest and dip them in a tub of sour cream, not-so-fresh from the udders of those self-same cows? 
There are certainly plenty of American culinary traditions I remain unaware of, but while searching for images for this review, it struck me that cheddar and sour cream are regularly combined in the fine American custom of stuffed baked potatoes.  Obvious one, Sea-bass! you’re thinking, I mean it’s like the potato chips are really the potatoes!  In my defense, I must note there have been baked potato flavored chips in which a studious attempt was made to realize the taste of the bacon bits and the baked potato itself, while this sub-genre exhibits no such ambitions.  So I’m still unconvinced that this wasn’t simply a mix up using two flavors that happen to go well together, and let’s leave it at that.
The origins of Sour Cream & Cheddar
group think revealed?  Not so fast...
Utz’s Sour Cream and Cheddar potato chips are basically a companion in design to their Onion & Garlic chips I reviewed earlier.  The flavoring may be different, but they share in common a smooth soft texture that dissolves easily in the mouth but lacks any sort of crunch, air bubbles, or interesting topography.  The texture does make it easy on the teeth and the tongue and facilitates the enjoyment of the orange colored flavoring, but I’m beginning to feel it’s a bit of a cop out compared to even average potato chips let alone kettle-cooked, and it also seems to lack some of the buttery oiliness of conventionally cooked chips.
The flavoring on these chips succeeds at its job; it genuinely evokes the taste of sour cream with cheddar (like I know, because I, like, totally dip my cheddar all the time)  without going too salty or too sour (the latter being an all too common tendency in cheese-oriented flavorings).  The chips at the top of the bag were a little light on the seasoning, but by the middle of the bag the amount of flavoring on each chip became consistent and in fact, highly satisfying and surprisingly addictive.  So while these chips are lacking in more robust texture and have some consistency issues, the overall quality of the flavoring helps raise this product back up to an average grade.  Or in other words, your car might look like a hand-me-down jalopy that came the worse for ware after an encounter with a misanthropic moose, and your sketchy boyfriend may still have all those awkwardly placed tattoos boasting of his membership in a totally ‘leet shop-lifting ring, but both can still put the moves on when it counts, which makes them worth the time of day if not necessarily much more than that.
"She may not look like much, but she's got
it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of
special modifications myself.  She can make
the grocery run in .5 parsecs."

Stars: 2/4
Spiciness Rating: none

- Nicely balanced cheddar and sour cream flavoring
- Surprisingly addictive

- Smooth, flat chips are sub-par in texture and likely not to impress, unless you like that kind of thing along with your taste for slick rogues

1 comment:

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