Potato Chips, America’s Snack

“America runs on trans-fats.”

~John Goodman

America hates having to stop eating between meals.  If we could have our way, we would spend all day scarfing down a pile of food with our hands tied behind our back like our life is one never ending pie eating contest.  But, unfortunately, an American life requires American duties.  Some of us have to work, some of us have to go to classes, and some of us have to devote a portion of the day to filming ourselves having aggressive sex with our enemy’s wife in an extremely destructive act of vengeance.  The days of fat men being pulled around in a rickshaw by manslaves as their ladyslaves hand feed them hunks of sausage went out of style at the same time as shoulder pads.

Sure, there have been attempts to limit the amount of time between our nation’s pure unadulterated gluttony.  Taco Bell created “Fourth Meal” to cater to the drunk and stoned Americans.  Brunch was brought into the equation as a way to determine which couples you don’t want to spend your Saturday nights around.  24 hour diners helped blur the lines between drunk breakfast and drunk dinner.  But, America has always had one weapon in its arsenal against healthy eating habits- snacks.  Snack time has been encouraged since our childhood, and with it we have invented portable, cheap food doused in all the calories and fats you could ever dream of.

And of the American snack, one snack in particular emerges as the undisputed king.  That of course would be the fried, unhealthy, invented in America snack- the potato chip.  Invented in America, the potato chip is small enough to be considered a snack, unhealthy enough to worry health food advocates, and delicious enough to be replicated in numerous countries to afford us all a chance to say, yet again, “Goddamn it, Japan, you’re doing it wrong!

Like many great American inventions, Potato chips were invented in New York because of a pissed off member of the service industry.  Given that every American film or TV show can accurately portray a character as a raging douchetard by having them be a dick to their waiter or waitress during a restaurant scene, it’s somewhat fitting that our favorite snack food was created because some asshole didn’t know how to order off the goddamn menu.

“Yes, I would like chicken fingers with Ranch dressing, and what flavors of juicy juice do you have?”

On August 24, 1853, a douchebag was eating at a restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York.  This being the mid 19th century, he was probably referred to as a “Ruffian” or a “Blowhard” or something, but those are just fancy words for “douchebag.”  George Crum, a Native American, was the cook at a restaurant called “Moon’s Lake House.”  When a customer sent back an order of French fries, saying they were, “too thick and too soggy,” an agitated Crum said, “Eh, I got your thick and soggy right here,” while grabbing himself to emphasize his point.  Instead of spitting (if we’re lucky) in the man’s food, Crum decided to slice the potato incredibly thin, and overcook them so that they would become crispy, and then shake an excess amount of salt on top of the result.  He also probably spit in the patron’s food.

While Crum was likely expecting the customer to complain about the incredibly thin potato slices, or maybe challenge him to a duel or something because the 1800’s had a lot of aggression issues they needed to work out, the patron actually tasted these “chips” and said, “Holy shit, this tastes delicious and unhealthy.”  These first chips, called Saratoga Chips, then became a fixture on the menu of Moon’s Lake House, while slowly branching out and being made in other restaurants around the nation.

Like everything delicious, potato chips had to morph.  First produced by cooks in restaurants, companies such as Mike-sell’s Potato Chip Company and Tri-Sum Potato Chips were found in the early 20th century as a way  for potato chips to be sold to the average, snack craving American.  Once they were able to be mass produced, America wondered, “But how can we take this unhealthy delicious food, and make it even more unhealthy and delicious?”  As Hemlock gave the potato chips a bitter taste, we decided to try putting shit on it like sour cream and onions, Bar-B-Q, and cheese.  The art of the potato chip was perfected by Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar chips, which are not only delicious and greasy, but have successfully been responsible for solving five murders, as well as markedly improving tens of thousands of Super Bowl parties each year.

Truly, the food of the Gods

Because not everyone can be America, but everyone wants to be like America, potato chips have spread all across the world.  While America likes to use normal flavors that everyone can get behind, some nations attempt to take an iconic American food and just weird the shit out of them.  Below is a list of countries that bastardize the glory of the potato chip.

  • In Australia, normal flavors like “Chili” and “Sour cream and chives” are bastardized with other flavors of potato chips including, “Honey soy chicken” and “Caesar Salad.”  What?  What the hell is that?  Honey Soy Chicken sounds like a dish we’d find laden with MSG at a Chinese Restaurant that has a newspaper clipping suspiciously covering their recent Health Inspection Certificate.  That’s not something we want on our fried greasy potatoes, dammit!  And…Caesar Salad?  Really?  Australia is a continent crawling with the world’s deadliest everything- animals, plants, insects, snakes, you name it.  There’s more stuff to kill you in Australia than you’d find in Heath Ledger’s medicine cabinet (“ohhh, booooo, that’s really offensive, AFFotD,” yeah, well, it was like three years ago, get over it).  Knowing that they live in constant fear of death at the hands of Box Jellyfish or Crocodile Dundee style knife attacks, instead of relishing every single one of life’s precious moments, Australians decide to try to make salty potato chips taste like fucking salad?  Man, what happened Australia?  You used to be cool.

  • Canada continues its trend of doing things the way America would do it if we were a country full of white people named Norton.  They have flavors that sound like they just wouldn’t taste particularly good, but don’t offend our sensibilities in any way, like dill pickle or ketchup.  Then there are normal sounding flavors, like salt and vinegar, or salt and pepper.  Then we have flavors that sound like they could be good, but clearly must not be good enough if America hasn’t embraced them yet, like sour cream and bacon.  And then they have just…weird shit, like “curry” or “Fries and gravy” (aren’t fries made of potatoes too?  Wouldn’t that just be a gravy flavored potato chip?) or even…wasabi?  What the hell, Canada?  In the global scope, Canada is the youngest child in a family that’s got too many kids, and so Canada responds with depressingly transparent attempts to get people to pay attention to them with things like “Universal Health Care” or “wasabi flavored potato chips.”  Don’t get us wrong, Canadians seem like, nice, friendly people.  But then again, so does the kid in Elementary school whose parents pack him rice cakes for lunch and who spends his days getting swirleys from his classmates.  No matter how nice he is, he’s not doing well for himself.

  • China has cucumber flavored potato chips.  Just think about that for a second.  So when the inevitable invasion comes, when you are trying to motivate yourself to defend your nation, just remember.  China wants us to eat fucking cucumber flavored potato chips.  Also they write all scribbley, and no one wants that.

  • Columbia, which has already fucked up Hot Dogs, has five main flavors of potato chips.  Plain potato chips and barbeque sound fine, right?  Limon?  Well, that’s like Columbian for lime or lemon, which doesn’t sound that good, but we’ll let it go.  Chicken flavored potato chips is just weird, we can’t get past the fact that so many countries decide to try to make potato chips taste like chicken.  It’s weird.  And, last but definitely grossest, is mayonnaise flavored chips.  What the hell?  Columbia already crumbles up potato chips to put with coleslaw and pineapple on their hot dogs, are they trying to convince us that their national palate was determined by a third grader with ADD?  And if Mayonnaise flavored potato chips doesn’t sound awful to you, imagine you walking into your kitchen to see a kid eating mayonnaise straight out of a jar with a spoon.  Are the first words out of your mouth, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THAT’S DISGUSTING”?  Yeah, we thought so.  Jesus Christ, Columbia, what’s your national brand of pop, “Dr. Pepper mixed with Sprite and Orange Crush?”  At this point we wouldn’t be surprised if their most popular desert dish was chocolate ice cream with cotton candy and gummy worms on top of it.  Columbia has the collective palate of an 8 year old, is what we’re saying.

  • Both India and Pakistan make potato chips as a warning to Westerners that they shouldn’t eat anything in their countries.  The popular Indian and Pakistani flavors of potato chips read like a “How to” guide for dysentery.  You want the most popular flavors?  Well, there’s potato, which is obnoxiously redundant (“Hi, I’d like to order the meat flavored steak, please”), as well as plantains and…tapioca?  What the hell?  There’s a reason why no one has decided to make a potato flavored ice cream (…what?  They do make that?  Goddamn it, Japan you’re doing it wrong!)  No one want to combine sweet things with potatoes.  That’s just absurd.  Goddamn it.  The mere fact that Tapioca flavored potato chips exist, and are popular among certain populations, is tangible evidence for why some people are born without a sense of taste.  Mint flavored potato chips are also available, because India apparently hates joy.

  • Russia proves to us that, though the Cold War is over, the effects of Communism have ruined just about anything that is free in that nation.  During the Cold War, the USSR formulated a plan to make potato chips disgusting, and thus ruin one of America’s precious resources.  The plan was not completed, so only Russians are stuck with such disgusting sounding flavors as, “Crab” or “Caviar” or “Shashlik,” which is basically just skewered meat, but it’s name sounds really gross.  If an American ever ate a bag of Russian potato chips, he’d pass out and wake up in Serbia.  He wouldn’t even be mad about it.  He’d just say, “Well, I should have expected that after a Russian offered me a bag of Caviar flavored chips.”

  • The United Kingdom continues to lash out against American cuisine by solidifying their role as, “Makers of the worst food, like, ever.”  The most popular flavors are suspiciously normal sounding- salted chips, cheese and onion, and salt and vinegar are flavors we can get behind.  But apparently they didn’t get the memo of “If you make your potato chips flavored like fucking shellfish, you’re a communist,” because they have “shrimp cocktail” flavored chips.  What the hell England.  No, no, Worchester sauce is good for steaks and Bloody Marys, it is not good for a potato chip flavor.  Lamb and mint flavored chips?  What the fuck is wrong with you people!?  And stop trying to make a potato chip that tastes like “American Cheeseburger,” at this point we’re pretty sure that the British idea of an “American Cheeseburger” is a hunk of liver on a bun doused in mashed potatoes.  Goddamn it, even our allies can’t get this shit right?

  • Of course, no list can be complete without delving into whatever crazy shit Japan decides to come up with.  Of course Japan would have Wasabi, but unlike Canada, that doesn’t seem like a cry for help, just sounds like Japan adhering to their unofficial motto-  “Japan, we put wasabi on everything.  Tentacle porn.”  What else would they put on potato chips?  Did you guess “Soy sauce”?  Oh, so close, how about Soy sauce and butterWhat the shit is that!? Sushi is popular in America, and many Americans have had soy sauce at one point or another, or at least have had it in their food.  At no point has it ever seemed like a good idea to combine that shit with a stick of butter.  That might permanently damage our relationship with butter, like finding out that your significant other once slept with Rosie O’Donnell.  You try to leave the past in the past, but every time you see them, you can’t get the mental image out of your head.  This analogy works for both the men and women among you who are reading this article.  Obviously Japan has mayonnaise flavored chips too, but Japan also makes pizza that has a ring of shrimp as it’s crust, so we can’t really be shocked by anything at this point.  To top it all off, they have “Scallop and butter” flavored potato chips.  If a man ever randomly started eating food the way Japanese people assume food should be, doctors would assume he had something lodged in his brain.  You’re doing it wrong, Japan!  Goddamn it!

Nothing makes it easier to take pride in your country than comparing these…travesties to the real, American way to eat potato chips.  We all know the Pringles jingle about Sour Cream and Onion, and how you put that flavor on the chip.  We rock Cheese flavored chips like no tomorrow.  Ranch dressing?  Sure!  It’s all delicious, it’s all American, and it’s not weird as all hell.  That is why Americans who eat regular potato chips are infinitely less likely to die from a severe case of, “Ew, what the hell is this potato chip flavor?” than citizens of any other nation.  So take pride in your delicious American heritage, and don’t forget to eat the crumbs at the bottom of the bag.  If not for yourself, then for…America.

4 responses to “Potato Chips, America’s Snack

  1. Pingback: The Informative American’s Guide to Proper American Eating (Originally Published June, 1954) | affotd

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  3. Pingback: The Best Potato Chip Flavors You’ve Probably Never Tasted | affotd

  4. Pingback: The Strangest Flavors of Lay’s Potato Chips in the World | America Fun Fact of the Day

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