Friday, November 4, 2011

What's in A Chip?

If you read my Paris blog, you may know of my interest in potato chips as an indicator of differences in tastes across cultures.  (If not, take a look here and here.)  So naturally, after discerning the differences between the French, the Spanish, the Czechs, and so forth by their preferred potato chip flavor, it was only right that I consider what potato chip flavor defines DC. 

In my field work, I found that, during my four year absence from American snack foods, the potato chip aisle has exploded with options.  You still got your Lay's and your storebrand, but now there are dozens of new flavors and even artisanal offerings.  Truly the mind boggles at the attention American industry has paid to this aspect of consumer spending.  If we could only direct that energy into more pressing needs like say, figuring out what to do about global warming or implementing President Obama's health care plan, just imagine the kind of world we might be living in.

But I digress.  If you were to pick a chip flavor for the U.S. in general, I think you'd have to go with the classic.  And for Washington?  That's a toughie.  The closest I could figure were these Chesapeake Crab chips although the folks down Annapolis way would probably take issue with that.  

So I'll put it to a vote.  For my neighbors in DC, what do you think?  And if you're logging in from elsewhre, what potato chip flavor defines where you live?


  1. Anne, Please move back to Paris! I can't believe that I missed the opportunity to do potato chip tastings with you. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, I'm much more of a chips and fries kind of person than a macaron and chocolate one.

    I haven't noticed the Chesapeake Crab chips in Annapolis but I have noticed (and eaten!) the Old Bay ones. I guess that the taste must be similar.

    And as far as where I live, here are the definitive chips for Paris. The Lay's marketing slogan was certainly effective because I noticed that your 2007 title was the same as my 2011 title: Betcha can't eat just one.

  2. Mary Kay: Never had those chevre chips. For my money, poulet roti is the definitive French chip flavor!

  3. Chesapeake Crab - wow!

    I love your potato chip field work! In Sydney we were first astonished by CHICKEN flavoured crisps (a la poulet roti) and then, I confess, I grew to like them -- as well as CHICKEN flavoured SALT on chips! Now we are in England and not eating many crisps at all, more's the pity ... nor, when we get hot chips, are we asked if we want plain salt or chicken salt. I guess it's healthier but when we next visit the U.S. for Thanksgiving I might have to have a look in the potato chip aisle.


  4. I agree with the roast chicken being the definitive French potato chip flavor, though I think I prefer the mustard flavor ones myself. :)