If television has taught me anything, it’s that it’s important to be yourself. Call a spade a spade, wear your hat forwards when everyone else is wearing theirs backwards and read Harry Potter when everyone else is on Twilight.
Why then, are we being taught to do the opposite of that in the world of chips?
Chips, or as they are slowly becoming known, crisps, go well with a couple of beers. I am quite an advocate of a pint and a pack of chips on a lazy Sunday afternoon as the sun beats down with the last rays of warmth for another weekend and I heartily advise that you follow suit. The flavour of chip that you munch while you toast the oncoming week is a highly personal one – they all have their place in the world, even original (or “plain”) flavour. But what happened to me last weekend will shock and annoy you. Well, it annoyed me; you probably won’t give a shit.
I asked for a packet of Cheese n Onion chips; I could see the yellow packet winking at me from behind the bar. Mildly Attractive Bargirl says, “We don’t have Cheese n Onion.” I was shocked. “What do you have, please?” I ask. Mildly Attractive Bargirl lays out the selection of chips on the bar for me to peruse. The shiny foil packages were less bright than I remembered them being, and there was something odd about the labelling. Gone was Cheese n Onion, there wasn’t a Chicken option, Salt n Vinegar was no more and Barbecue flavour was strangely absent. Fuck, even Plain had been replaced. I looked at the chips, then at Mildly Attractive Bargirl and then back to the chips. She shrugged apologetically and continued (in my mind) to mentally undress me.
Vintage Cheddar and Red Onion.
Moroccan Spiced Chicken.
Sea Salt & Balsamic.
Grilled Spare Ribs.
WHAT. THE. FUCK. I know everyone’s being a massive food-wanker lately and refusing to eat anything that hasn’t been blessed by Jamie Oliver and Matt the Cravat from MasterChef and isn't infused with Wagu goodness on a bed of aioli mash and roasted pig’s dick with pumpkin seeds (organic, please), but these are fucking CHIPS, people. You reach into the packet, grab a few slices of fried potato, shove them in your gob and wipe your hands on your pants. It’s a universal chip eating method; it’s the same way the Queen eats them, the same way the homeless bloke who spits at you at the bus stop eats them, the same way you eat them, the same way I do. It’s a fucking chip, for fuck’s sake. Rock salt? Vintage cheddar? In the real world, it's salt and cheese flavouring.
And for the record, Vintage Cheddar and Red Onion tastes suspiciously like Cheese and Onion. You can imagine the surprise on my face.