Chips and Chips

Hundred of people have emailed or texted or tweeted or called me saying that “yes, it is great you are studying Roman ceramics, but when are you going to get to the main point of your research trip – your ongoing study of the potato chip on Cyprus?” Today is your lucky day if you are one of those people deeply concerned over the hiatus in my potato chip research. Never fear, when Bill and I went to the store Monday, I was able to snag some chips to evaluate.

The first contestant is Tyrrells Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar. This was a brand I had not seen before on Cyprus. The bag says that they are hand-cooked English crisps and that the company was established in Herefordshire, England. The bag’s design was not bad-looking and it was about average priced when compared to the other chips available. As for the taste, it was nice and crispy. The flavor was a really nice blend of salty and sour. I am a fan of vinegar, and especially apple cider vinegar since it is the base flavor in my barbecue sauce – the proper sauce for barbecue in eastern North Carolina, which is the best barbecue (I know everyone should know this, but it is always worth repeating in case someone reading this is unaware of the undisputed best barbecue in the world.) I score this a *********(9) – a very good score. So good, in fact, I had to run some analytics to check and see where this placed this chip in the overall record of my research. This chip received the second-highest score I have ever given, behind the prawn cocktail chips which achieved a perfect score. In case further confirmation is needed about how I scored them, I finished the whole bag.

To celebrate my return to my chip research, I also evaluated a second flavor of potato chip, Lays Baked Tomato & Basil. It came in a very typically designed bag for Lays, with a very busy design. As for taste, it was very crispy as expected of a baked chip. My first thought on tasting it (regarding its flavor) was that it tasted like a lasagna, which was quickly followed by a growing presence of basil….and then even more basil….and then too much basil. This was something I didn’t expect, I really like the way basil smells, and I use it in my cooking a lot. If I was worried that my evaluation of the cider vinegar chips was inflated due to my eagerness to continue my research, this one demonstrated that wasn’t the case. I gave this a *(1).

So, quite a range in scoring today – from my second-highest score (9) to tied to the lowest score ever (1). This really sums up the field of potato chip research and the way the journey progresses, from the heights of culinary satisfaction to the depths of taste buds’ despair.


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