Aired Nov. 9, 2013 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=324WHZEig1c&feature=youtu.be
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 10th, 2013.
As if Americans weren’t fat enough already, the fine people at Frito Lay have come up with a new snack item that began its rollout last week: chocolate-covered potato chips. That’s right, they’re dipping Lay’s potato chips, the wavy kind, and covering them with milk chocolate. The idea is to create a salty-sweet taste sensation – one that people will remember fondly ten years from now when they’re in the emergency room having their arteries unblocked.
Now, I am a big fan of Lay’s; that includes the Hawaii kind, the sex kind AND the snack-food kind. And of all the big-batch commercial brands, Lay’s, in my humble opinion, does the best potato chips. My dear wife, Miriam Libby, says they make her think of the ideal man: golden, big, and just the right thickness.
I grew up on Wise potato chips, which are tasty but greasy and small. And half of them are partially burned. Eating a bag of Wise chips is like going to a garage sale after a fire; there’s good stuff, but you have to check every item for smoke damage. I like Utz chips because of the name; it sounds Jewish. Utz! Utz! It’s the noise a guy in assisted living makes when he gets off the couch. Uuuutz! Uuuutz! Ut a zoy!
And then you’ve got your boutique chips. These small-batch micro-fryers with their organic chips and their veggie chips and the kettle chips. I don’t get the kettle thing; it’s like they throw in a whole potato with the skin on, and it comes out so crunchy it makes your head hurt. You’ve got your no-salt potato chips…why bother? At their core, potato chips are a salt-conveyance apparatus, just like celery is merely a less-guilty way of getting to the onion dip.
You’ve got ketchup-flavored potato chips, which I think is just trying too hard. You’ve got Pringles – which the company says aren’t potato chips at all, they’re potato “crisps.” Who are they trying to fool? Chips, crisps – “ooh, I don’t have a beard, I have facial hair.” Get over it Pringles, you pretentious assholes.
And speaking of assholes, remember potato chips with Olestra? It was an idea by snack-food makers to add this fat substitute to the food, so you could eat without getting all the cholesterol. You also wouldn’t gain much weight, because the Olestra gave you rampant diarrhea. What a brilliant strategy for dieting! You eat five-dozen potato chips, but you stay slim because a half hour later, out they go. And Proctor & Gamble wins, because as soon as you empty your guts, you’re hungry again. So you can have more potato chips. And then you shit, and then you eat more chips. And then you shit, and you eat more chips. You don’t even have to leave the bathroom. Why risk a horrible accident? Sit on the crapper, put a Ruffles back on the sink, grab a case of Charmin, and you’re in business. Lean back, eat a chip; lean forward, take a dump. Eat a chip, take a dump, eat a chip, take a dump. Repeat until dehydration. You could just sit all day on the toilet eating potato chips. Which is, I believe, how we got Wendy Williams.
I’m pretty sure that Lay’s’ new chips are made with chocolate and not ExLax. And I’m sure they’re delicious. After all, the salty-sweetness combo is not new.
Chocolate-covered pretzels have been popular for decades, and Trader Joe’s was dipping potato chips in chocolate when I was still in Rabbinical school . . . for a few weeks.
Is it gilding the lily, though? Separately, both snack items are close to perfect. The first thing the archangel Gabriel hands you when you get up to heaven is a Cadbury bar. Or, if you’re Mother Teresa, a Godiva assortment. And if there were one snack food most people would take to a desert island, it would be potato chips. Which is stupid, because you’re surrounded by non-potable water, but I’m assuming if you’re on an island that somehow has unlimited supplies of potato chips, on the other side of the island there’s probably a storeroom Diet Pepsi.
But if you put these two ideal items together – potato chips and chocolates, are you overwhelming your tastebuds? I mean, I like Picasso and I like Grant Wood, but you put `em together, and you’ve got the pitchfork sticking through the old woman’s eye. And that’s because her eye is where her elbow should be.
Yes, chocolate and peanut butter go together. And you can even put chocolate – unsweetened – on chicken to make a mole sauce. Or you can put it on moles to make a chicken sauce. Your call.
I suppose the main issue is health-related, especially for weight watchers. At least with regular potato chips – of course, you can’t eat just one, but if you eat ten or so, you have your little indulgence, you count the calories, and then you watch your snacking for the rest of the day. With these chocolate things, one chip and you have to subsist on water and two grapes for the rest of the month. Two ounces have so many calories, they have to write out the number with commas.
Look, I am all for new products, more variety, novel taste sensations. I’m only saying it would be nice if Proctor & Gamble and Nabisco and Nestle would take a little of their R&D money and figure out how to make okra taste as good as an M&M. Maybe there’s a way to combine cauliflower with fish-oil, so that every child in America would be in the supermarket going, “Mommy, mommy! I want caulifish! Oreos are too sweet, nachos are boring – where’s the aisle with the candy bars made of onions and goat milk?”
Anyway, all this talk of snack food is making me hungry. I got my potato chips. (crinkling) Let’s see… I want something sweet… what can I dip it in? mmm…borscht!
(eating) This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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