Friday, February 10, 2006

In the spirit of NBC's Scrubs approach -- "We know this is good stuff, but we don't have a use for it, so we'll just double up the servings until people are paying attention or we're depleted." -- it's Random Thought Of The Day (or RTOTD, for short) No. 2.

A trip to the snack machine

Why are chip manufacturers spending so much money on making chips that taste like other things? Just in my workplace's two upstairs vending machines, there are chips made to simulate the experience of eating: baked potatoes, potato skins, mozzarella, nacho cheese, pork, inexactly barbecued meat, jalapenos, salsa, ranch dressing, and, finally, dill pickles.
If one wanted to, one could compose an entire meal of potato and corn chips that simulate the four major food groups, and yet offer none of the nutritional benefits of these foods.
Why? These chips don't even satisfy you if you've got a craving for cheese or salsa or a baked potato. They will only leave you wanting the real thing.
Why are there so many varieties?
Now, granted, I'll frequently go with flavored chips over plain ol' Ruffles. Which leads to the other question: What the eff is wrong with ME?
I've never had a moment when I was eating regular chips -- Lay's, Ruffles, Kettle Chips -- and said to myself, "Y'know, I wish these chips tasted more like pork or pickles." I was just, generally, satisfied with the potato taste, and the crunch.
I think this, at least, is because "the flavoreds" don't actually taste like pork or pickles. They're in a bag marked pork or pickles, and they taste different than regular chips, so we're willing to pretend they resemble pork or pickles.
And thus does our politeness preserve the jobs of thousands of research chemists (who fake the flavors in the recipe) and graphic designers (who fake the flavors on the bag) in the food industry.
We're not eating "O'Keely's Artificially Flavored Cheddar & Bacon Potato-Skins-Flavored Potato Crisps" because we like them, we eat them because we have to, or else our economy will collapse.
And then, the terrorists win.


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