Tuesday, May 5, 2009

In Praise Of...Volume 1

I've been feeling grim here lately. I am sure you noticed. My posts have been a bit of a downer, I know.

So today starts a new segment I am going to try to do once a week. I shall call it "In Praise Of" and it shall honor those things that are done well. In a time when it seems like incompetence and half-assery are the norm, excellence needs to be rewarded. The news is full of failing banks, failing auto companies, and failing solutions. It would be too easy to think that no one is succeeding at anything anymore.

But there is excellence out there. I've seen it! So let's throw out some kudos, shall we?

Today I honor a true American gem. A bright spot on our dark national horizon. A product that proves that American ingenuity is alive and well.

Today's blog is in praise of...


Oh, do tell me you have eaten those golden crisps that somehow manage to be both intensely crispy and downright fluffy. If you don't think such a combo is possible, you must never have popped open one of those orange metallic bags of fat-fried and wholly unnatural goodness.

Ah, I'll never forget my first bag, purchased from a laundromat vending machine during my "Lost Year" in Barbourville. We were poor as the proverbial church mice, and my mother's only social life consisted of Friday night trips to the local Wash 'n' Dry. There were always enough quarters left, though, for a bag of Munchos and a can of Pepsi (not Coke back in 1984, because my main man Michael Jackson was telling me that Pepsi was the choice of a new generation.) I'm not sure why I first chose that bright orange bag over my perennial favorite, Grippo's Bar-B-Q; I guess I just needed some change with my change. But it was love at first bite.

They're not even called potato chips, though dehydrated potatoes are the first ingredient. They're "crisps" and bear little resemblance to any potato I've ever seen. In fact, they don't look like they came from anything actually found in nature. They're kinda yellow, and so thin you can see through them, and so dotted with precious little air pockets that if you hold one on your tongue, you can feel a peculiarly Rice Krispies-like snap, crackle, and pop. I imagine if you crumbled them in a bowl with milk you'd be able to hear it, too. And following them up with a dessert of Diet Coke and Mentos could possibly be lethal unless you're a really proficient burper.

They're not healthy, I'm sure, since their only tenuous link to the vegetable world is that, before being dehydrated, cut to a width that borders on one-dimensional, puffed with air, blown in cornmeal, and fried in an oil that may or may not contain one or more of a variety of oils, they were once potatoes. And their fragility makes them not suitable for packing in a standard brown-bag lunch. But as an occasional snack, best enjoyed when you don't really need to hear the TV through the snap, crackle, and pop of chewing up all those air bubbles...it don't get no better.

And they recently dropped their price to $2 a bag, and actually put this on the packaging so that stores have to play along! See, it's recession-friendly.

I still like my Grippo's with southern delicacies like the fried bologna sandwich, and I like regular Husman's or Lay's chips with my lunchtime ham and cheese. But the snack I love best comes in an orange Mylar bag and defies categorization. It is itself, and it is Munchos.

Can I get some Munchos love up in here? Anybody else a fan?

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