Summit Up 9-25-10: Extruded fresh daily from Pringles chemicals
September 24, 2010
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s still recovering from a prolonged bout of Pop Chips consumption. We’re not sure what precipitated it, but we got a big FedEx box in the other day and inside were a bunch of bags of these things called Pop Chips.We were curious. So we opened the box, ripped open a bag and delivered the contents to the waiting maw of the Summit Up Comestibles Evaluation Team, located in a secret bunker high up on Peak 1. (To preserve the objectivity and privacy of the CET, we have to keep those folks apart from the general public and, more to the point, from the starving journalists in the newsroom who have been known to fight over long-expired chips and flat cans of soda.)What, you may justifiably be asking, is a Pop Chip? Well, you know how back in the olden days the only way to make a potato chip was to fry it in oil? And then, when people decided that was too unhealthy, they started baking them, and, for the most part, Americans stayed away in droves and went right on eating their fried chips because they taste like 10 zillion times better.And then came Pringles, and we have no idea how these are made except to venture a guess that the words “extruded” and “paste” enter into the mix at some point. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us at all to learn that Pringles were invented by a guy who used to make some kind of bomb parts for the military, and one day he was eating a bunch of potato chips and accidentally barfed into the mold for the bomb parts just as said mold was heading into the 3,000-degree Kelvin kiln used to make the bomb parts. On the other end, the guy was amazed to see that his chip-barf had been made into a perfectly formed chip-like entity that was neither fried nor baked but, rather, glazed or incinerated or something. Being a prudent man, he didn’t eat the barf-chip but, instead, mooshed up some fresh, un-barfed-up spuds and as many chemicals as he could find with super-long names and ran it through his new process.And thus was the Pringle born. But Pringles, as anyone can tell you, are not exactly the Health Food O’ the Gods, and if you read the label you’ll discover Pringles contain malto-zangophilbadexadrine benzoate-holy-crap, xanthanium disulphaphate-drozylene and something called “mingo,” which, upon further research, is found to be the Mongolian name for “ripped-up pieces of whoopee cushion drenched in yak urine and marinated on the high steppes for a generation.”Hard to believe. Also, did you know that, at the same time Procter & Gamble, the maker of Pringles, is pushing these things on as theoretical potato chips, they actually went to court in England in 2008 to assert that Pringles are most definitely not potato chips in order to dodge a 17.5 percent tax on potato chips (or, as the English call them, “crisps.”) On the website of consumerist.com, we found this:”Even though all Pringles containers are clearly marked ‘Potato Crisps,’ Procter & Gamble’s lawyers argued that ‘Pringles don’t look like a chip, don’t feel like a chip, and don’t taste like a chip.’ London Justice Nicholas Warren ruled that Pringles were made, not of potatoes, but out of good ‘ole fashioned American chemicals. Potato chips “give a sharply crunchy sensation under the tooth and have to be broken down into jagged pieces when chewed,” the Cincinnati-based company’s lawyers argued. “It is totally different with a Pringle, indeed a Pringle is designed to melt down on the tongue.”It’s true. Pringles seem to be made for people with no teeth. You can do fine just gumming the damn things and letting the resulting sodden mass slide down your gullet – like a pelican eating an anchovy.Where were we? Oh, right, Pop Chips. So Pop Chips are made in San Francisco from things like “potato flakes and potato starch” and then, instead of being fried or baked, they “…start with wholesome potatoes, add a little heat and pressure and pop! it’s a chip.”The Summit Up Comestibles Evaluation Team handed down a ruling from Peak 1 asserting that the Pop Chips are pretty good – definitely better than, say, baked Lay’s but not as good as those kettle chips. On the other hand, Pop Chips have a lot less fat and other nasty stuff, so maybe it’s worth checking out.Pop Chips are available wherever you happen to find them, which is to say we’re too lazy to call around to find out if they’re available in Summit County. You’ll know them if you see them, however, since the bag is clearly labeled “Pop Chips.”***Whew! That was exhausting, all that Pringle talk. Folks, it’s Saturday, the weather is beautiful (we predict) and it may be one of the last good weekends to hike, bike or sit on the couch eating Pringles. Enjoy.We out.