What's gone wrong with crisps?
The best - the only true - pub snack has lost its way. Crisps
have sold out. The tasty bit of rough that used to look so good next to your pint
has started to get ideas above its station.
Now you find them in coffee houses, in juice bars, in those
expensive cafes at the top of bookshops. Crisps are now Sun-Dried Tomato flavour.
They're Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt. They have become Blairite - they're middle
Check out these recent additions: Mature Cheddar and Burgundy.
Excuse me? Parmesan and shallots. You what? Is this really the future of cheese
'n' onion? And what's happened to the 'n'? You gotta have 'n'.
I can't help wondering what's next.
Pork scratchings: pan-charred tenderloin encrusted with sea
Cheese puffs: crispy maize florets drizzled with orange cheddar dust?
It all started a few years back with the whole Kettle Chips thing.
perhaps the finest you'll ever taste.'
Eh, you thought, this is crisps we're talking about isn't it? Better than the
oily pack of salt 'n' vinegar that makes your teeth water after five pints of
Stella? I think not.
Kettle Chips ushered in a whole new era of hand cooked specially
selected potatoes, lovingly fried and flavoured with things like mesquite (?)
and sour cream, and 'crushed black pepper' (crushed? So what?).
These were the kind of crisps you arranged in a chinese finger
bowl at a dinner party, not the sort you picked up after a few pints.
But there's still time to put things right. Make a stand today.
Ask for Smoky Bacon. Demand Prawn Cocktail. Insist on greasy Golden Wonder Cheese
'n' Onion. Demand those flavourless shavings which came with their own little
bag of salt.
And let's get our crisps back in the pub, where they belong.
by Barney Ronay