May 3, 2013

Lay's Chicken and Waffles Potato Chips

Ever wonder how Lay's decided to pluralize things and call these chips "Chicken and Waffles" instead of "Chicken and Waffle?"
There's really only one thing to say about Lay's Chicken and Waffle Potato Chips. One word, actually.

We won't get to it just yet, though. It's important to set the tone before revealing this one word to rule them all. Otherwise it won't have as much impact. Plus, the analytics sites would massacre me for a mono-term post pushing readers away after mere seconds

Look, I know I'm late to the game writing about these chips. They've been around for a while, part of one of those obnoxious "vote for the flavor you like" competitions that food producers keep propping up on the Internet. This one pits Chicken and Waffle Potato Chips against Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread under the clever headline of "Do Us A Flavor."

You can only vote on Facebook or by texting, even though the competition is the headline at the URL Something's wrong with the Internet or your marketing when you're shoving people from your brand's home page to Facebook, but I digress.

The whole "vote for your favorite option" trend in food was fun a few years ago. Really, it was. Now, though, I'm just ready to know that the snacks I see on the shelves will be around for more than a month or two. Otherwise, I'm loathe to try them. It's too hard to fall in love only to see something delicious washed away on a wave of popular opinion.

In some sort of meaningless protest, I stayed away from the chicken and waffles chips' competitors, sampling my target in a vacuum. Several vacuums, actually -- because I tried them, bought them again, and continued to try them.

Through it all, I weighed flavor against my predisposition to smile upon audacious takes on potato chips. I considered the balance of chicken against waffles, the strange looks I received while carrying the bag and the fact that I couldn't put them down. All to reach one word.


Yes, the word for these potato chips is "finally." Finally we in America have a potato chip flavor as outrageous as everything else we do. We're the country that put a Hummer in front of every McMansion, only to scrap the Hummers and replace them with Toyota Priuses (Priui?) in order to be less wasteful. We're the people who fell in love with Mr. T, saw Arnold Schwarzenegger become a governor and who currently wear sunglasses six sizes too big for our faces. We're the nation that produced the KFC Double Down, for goodness sake!

And now, we've finally caught up with outlandish potato chip flavors in the rest of the world. In Britain, you can get prawn-flavored potato chips. So it was a travesty when choices here were limited to such mundanity as "barbecue" and "sea salt."

None of this is to say Lay's Chicken and Waffles Potato Chips are a spitting flavor image of real chicken and waffles. They emulate a version of chicken and waffles using syrup, rather than the far-superior one that employs gravy. And that syrup largely overpowers any semblance of poultry on the potatoes.

Still, they're nothing to spit out, either. In fact, I quite like them. The syrup flavor makes for a nice sweet-and-salty chip with just enough of a chicken-fried hint to keep it interesting. I couldn't put the things down on a recent car trip, finishing a whole bag in two days.

Therefore, when it comes to our five-spork scale, there's really only one number to assign. Four.

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