I’m unaware of when, but somewhere between being six and forty-ish America went from needing a few shelves to needing a whole aisle devoted to potato chips and snack food. I’m sure there was more variety than I remember when I was six so when I say “unaware” I mean the same way I was unaware I’d like to drink Irish Whiskey and have sex while driving a Ferrari someday.
My dad was a “State Line Potato Chip” man which pretty much made me a State Line Potato Chip kid, so that and Ruffles were all I knew. The difference for the two chips was simple. State Line chips were delicious by themselves or with sandwiches. Back in the PRD-Days (That’s Pre-Ranch Dip) Ruffles were strictly for clam, bacon horseradish or onion dips at parties. Ruffles could second as a salt lick, but were better suited for dip retrieval.
Sure there were other brands but not in our house. I do remember eating pork rinds which at the time came in pork flavor, and there was the occasional pretzel which thankfully didn’t happen too often. I’ve read that pretzels started as treats for children in church who remembered their prayers. In my opinion bribing a kid to do well with a pretzel, is like offering actors flaming bags of dog turds …instead of Grammys and bags of swag. Hmm?!
So I remember in my teen years going through phases of snacks looking for “the next big thing”. I remember Pringles and the battle over whether or not they could call themselves chips. I tried Munchos, Funyuns and cheese doodles before they were Cheetos . Going to Canada to visit family and find the wonder that is “Ketchup Flavored Chips.” Then when Doritos came out with “Taco” flavored chips (now a retro flavor a.k.a. How friggin old am I?) everything seemed to change.
It seemed as though every other week new flavors would come out. We Had cheddar, sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar and cool ranch amongst others. The types and varieties of chips were dizzying to the point where you’d hardly notice when “Maryland Crab” showed up or when “Dorito’s Taco” left. Just a blur of terrible flavors that made watered down salsas a welcomed addition to the chip world.
I had been seeing over the last few days blurbs about Lay’s new flavors, and if I’m being honest I was hoping to find the chicken and waffle flavor first. It wasn’t in the stars and yesterday I stumbled upon Sriracha flavor. I could go on to the point of being creepy about how much I love Sriracha but I’ll spare you the details and sound effects. Suffice it to say Sriracha and I get along famously.
I bought the chips and waited a day to get used to the thought of them being my new “Chip” my BFF and wondering how to off “The Cat” in a loving but humane manner.” What can I do with them? I thought of crushing them up and adding them to the tops of casseroles or breading for fried chicken on the underside of tuna sandwiches.
The first few chips were fine but the heat just wasn’t there… but…something else was. I got halfway through the bag trying to discern that taste. I’d tasted it before but what the hell was it and why was it in my Sriracha flavored chips?! I turned the bag over and yes of course, sour cream. But wait, there’s more! I checked down further and they added Swiss and Cream cheese flavors. WHY?! So I checked my bottle of Sriracha to make sure I hadn’t missed the “sour cream and cheese component.” Nope.
In chasing spicy chips it has been my experience that potato chip makers have no concept of hot and worse yet… no balls. These Sriracha flavored chips come up short in a weird way just as every other “spicy” chip does. So it looks as though the cat will be staying and Sriracha chips will just be a dream…an idea. Maybe someday a chip company will grow a pair and put heat and crispy potato chips together and say “there, I dare you to eat that.” Until then, I’ll just curl up with a bag of BBQ Ribs chips…and stare at the cat.