Tag Archives: American

Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!: Lay’s Do Us a Flavor Taste Test

On Tuesday night, Anna, Kevin and I embarked upon a Lay’s taste test cage match. Four flavors will enter, only one will survive. Who gets the vote to be saved??

Chip Tasting with a PBR palate cleanser

Chip Tasting with a beer palate cleanser

No, literally. You vote to save one flavor. This is some real Lost type shit happening here.*

*I only saw that first like 3 episodes of Lost. But, I’ve got a whole mythos created in my mind. Everyone on it was a potato chip and had to be saved. But in the end, all the chips wound up in heaven. Or something.

As promised, I am sharing with you the good (Wasabi Ginger), the bad (Mango Salsa) and the ugly (the DoUsAFlavor.com website).

Our incredibly scientific and not-at-all-ripped-off-from-a-wine-tasting criteria is as follows. We scored based on the following criteria: Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Finish, and Texture. Each category was worth 5 points for a total of 25.

Spoiler Alert: I can't spell cappuccino and I'm a huge nerd

Spoiler Alert: I can’t spell cappuccino and I’m a huge nerd

The good. The undeniable winner was Wasabi Ginger. While for me, its appearance was sort of blah (the little flecks of flavor feel cheap), the taste and texture were undeniable. Out of the 4 new flavors, these were the only chips that were kettle cooked. For that reason, they were by far the crunchiest. (Crunch = my favorite texture.) They also had the added benefit of being the chips that tasted most like the inspiration. The flavor started heavy on the wasabi and then rounded out with the sweetness of the ginger, with just a hint of spice in the finish. We just kept eating them. (Betcha can’t eat just one!) We quite literally finished the bag in one sitting and I liked them so much that I bought another bag at the grocery store yesterday. #savewasabi

Then, there’s the bad. To call the Mango Salsa artificially, cloyingly sweet would be kind. We started referring to it as a ‘garbage chip’ and we started feeding it to the dog. (YOU’RE WELCOME, FULTON.) We actually threw the bag away. It’s a real shame because mango salsa sounded like it would be the easiest one to accomplish. Plus, chips and salsa are a natural marriage. But the texture was unpleasantly soft, particularly when you compared to the crunch of the kettle cooked Wasabi chips (#savewasabi). The smell was overwhelming and the taste was chemical.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that these are standard, regular American potato chips. I’m not pretending these are organic or all natural. This mango salsa spice was created in a lab, not picked from the mango salsa spice tree. But, Kettle Brand potato chips have given us some really authentic chip flavors. So, it’s not impossible.

Beyond that, we were split in our voting. Anna and Kevin really liked the Cappuccino chips. I wasn’t sold. To all of us, they tasted like dessert (my brain: tiramisu, Anna’s brain: sopapillas). But even more than that, it tasted of gas station cappuccino. I couldn’t see eating them with a sandwich. Chips are the sidekick to sandwiches, so…

Bacon Mac and Cheese was heavy on the cheese, light on the bacon, and the mac wasn’t anywhere to be seen. This was a standard, cheesy chip. Would’ve been greatly improved by a thicker, kettle cooked texture.

So, the ugly. The Lay’s Do Us a Flavor website. Hoo boy. First things first. You can vote on the site, but ONLY if it links to your Facebook. All three of us opted to text our votes in. Because how embarrassing would it be if I voted for the Wasabi chips EVERY DAY for the next 66 days. (But #savewasabi, y’all.) But the weirdest part is that both the “Flavor Reviews” and “Flavor News” sections link to aggregated pictures from FB and Twitter using the Save Flavor hashtags. The #savewasabi hashtag (et al) aggregates to the Flavor Reviews section. And the #dousaflavor hashtag aggregates to the news section. I realize I’m being overly critical here, but very rarely are the #savewasabi comments more than that. I’d be hard pressed to call them reviews. Even more hard pressed to consider the photos of other chip tastings “news.”

In the end, I think the experiment is worth it. Only good comes from this. Except for the Mango Salsa chips.

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God Bless America: Pimento Cheese

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.

Unless it’s pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.

Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.

Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.

There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese.  (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)

But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.

I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.

Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.

And God bless the USA.

My Endless Love

My Endless Love

Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52

  • cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
BONUS RECIPE!!!!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato

  • Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • large, ripe tomato, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.

Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet in the oven to finish warming through and melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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