Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Potato Chip Personality Quiz

It's Superbowl Sunday! 

I admit to not being much of a hot wings fan.  My favorite place to eat on my undergraduate campus was called Wes Wings, and during my entire tenure as a Wes student, I never ate a single wing.  My favorite cut of chicken is the thigh, which I think has the perfect chicken skin-to-flesh ratio.  When I eat a wing, it's like eating skin and bones. And fire, because I am not that into hot sauce, either. But I suppose that is the caveman appeal of the unofficial snack of all Superbowl parties.

There really isn't an official menu for all Superbowl parties, although I know some people like to make representative snacks of the participating teams. Good luck with the bagels and New England clam chowder! (Or, if you wish to be perverse, bagels with New England Brugger's cream cheese and Manhattan Clam Chowder).

However, potato chips are ubiquitous at all Super Bowl parties.  And, even if you're going to a party hosted by a single guy whose idea of hospitality is pizza by the foot and a bunch of salty snacks he grabbed an hour before the game, you know there is going to be potato chips.  So what do you choose?

Wise or Lay's (or another common brand) plain, thin chips
You're the kind of person who eats things because you're supposed to eat them, not because you're really into food.  You ate tuna fish sandwiches with plain potato chips every day from your Star Wars or Strawberry Shortcake mental lunchbox in the fourth grade.  You eat chips because everyone eats them at parties.  You don't even notice that the burnt, bent ones are the only ones worth eating.

Sour cream and onion (all brands)

You like strong-tasting foods, and you have trouble controlling yourself around really tasty, fatty food.  You're pretty talented as a cook or at very least an assembler of ingredients.  You'll bake a loaf of bread and fill its hollow with a sour cream and onion or spinach dip that everyone loves.  The trouble is, you'll make another loaf for yourself and eat that as well, and you consider hot artichoke dip a vegetable.  The really thin, neurotic woman who brings cut up vegetables to the party kind of annoys you.

Salt and vinegar chips (all brands)

You have a reputation as someone who is a healthy eater or who works out a lot, or both.  However, you love this particular variety of chips.  You get a bit nervous if you see the stock of this flavor going down at the party.  You're the type of person who starts off hardly eating anything, but you lose control around the foods you really like, like those tasty turkey meatballs made with grape jelly that get dipped into the host's zesty Asian sauce.  You tell yourself that because these chips have vinegar in them, they're really detoxifying, kind of like a juice cleanse or doing seated spinal twists in yoga.

Kettle chips (all brands)

You're not super-into potato chips, but you love these.  You're the kind of person who will look at the salty snack table and say, "what, no THAI FLAVORED KETTLE CHIPS" if your host forgets them, kind of but sort of not joking. You're not a big eater, but you're very mindful of what you do eat. Waiters hate you and you're probably rooting for the opposite team that is popular in your area, just to be annoying. Or you're making a big deal about how you don't care about football at all.  Don't worry, you don't need to try so hard.

Barbecue flavored chips (all brands)

You were the lucky bastard who always had the cool, new flavor of snack food in elementary school. (Cool Ranch Doritos, anyone?)  Your mom gave you Hawaiian Punch and you always had snack cakes and money for ice cream.  You have a pretty sweet palate, although you also like snacks like hickory-smoked, salted almonds. You don't mind that these stain your tongue and fingers and makes your breath smell funny even though it grosses out your significant other.

Ketchup-flavored chips (all brands)

The Rangers are doing surprisingly well this year, although I think it's a little premature to say they have the Stanley Cup in the bag.  It's a shame about Sidney Crosby.  Oh yes, you're Canadian if you chose these, and are checking the hockey scores if you're at a Superbowl Party. Which you're attending, just to be polite, because that is the Canadian way.

Thick, 'ruffled' potato chips (all brands)

You like using chips as a spoon.  You consider the dip just as important as the chip. You still make elaborate sandwiches of tuna or peanut butter with potato chip crumbs.  Or just potato chips and mayo on toasted bread. You always eat potato chips from the bag down to the last morsel. The thin chips, however, seem like sad, waif-like copies of their thicker salty brethren. Like Gweneth Paltrow is as an actress, standing next to the talent of Kate Winslet.

'Healthy' potato chips

If you're on a diet, you know your going to fail if you reach for these.  Have the chips you really like and just try to eat less of them.  These sad chips taste like sand, not sun.

Cheddar potato chips (all brands and varieties)

You loved cheese even as a four-year-old, and always ordered the cheeseburger meal from McDonald's.  You try to hide your excessive love of cheese by affecting to love high-priced brands, sometimes, but really, you'll eat anything slathered with cheese. You also love cheesecake.

Steak-flavored, curry-flavored, or prawn-flavored 'crisps'

So.  You've probably been feeling very superior, taking this quiz, because you call potato chips 'crisps,' and Americans can't even figure out what football really is, and we just play rugby with lots of extra padding.  And forget trying to explain cricket to an American or the back story behind Shakespeare's Henriad. But before you feel too superior, remember that your culture produced these monstrosities.  And they don't even contain real meat--most brands are vegetarian.  So think of that when you're reading about Manchester United on iPad if you have to go to a Superbowl Party tonight.


  1. BOOOOOO HIIIIISSSSSS :)! I love Sun Chips :)! Though to be fair I hated them most of my life, and they don't offer my favourite flavour here anymore :(. I was a Sour Cream and Onion kid growing up, but amusingly, didn't actually like sour cream or onions.
    Chips are so hard to pin down because the same flavour of two different brands can taste incredibly different. I really don't like BBQ but don't tell that to the bag of Old Dutch Smokey BBQ my mother and I just went through :). And what no Doritos :)?!
    You had me smiling all the way through while trying to analyze my tastes (and realizing I'll pretty much eat and love them all). Oh and I love chicken thighs too, but the reason wings are so good is because they're so crispy and saucy when done right (though I don't like the spicy ones either).
    Great job Mary :).

  2. I am eating salt and vinegar chips right now! As sour chips go, I slightly prefer pickle flavored chips, but I haven't been to Fred Meyer recently, which is the only store around here that seems to carry them.

    Since I love different varieties of chips (almost) indiscriminately, I suppose I have the potato chip version of Dissociative Personality Disorder. I eat plain thin chips with sandwiches and burgers, ruffled chips with dip, Kettle Brand Salt and Pepper Chips at Christmas, barbecue chips while watching Survivor, and sour cream and onion for a change of pace. Ketchup, Thai, and cheddar chips don't sound good to me at all, but then I've never tried them. And Sun Chips are a waste of shelf space, as far as I'm concerned.

    I also went years and years without eating Doritos until -- and this is embarrassing -- I heard on the news that while Saddam Hussein was imprisoned, his guards reported that he spent a good part of every day sitting around in his underwear and eating nacho cheese Doritos. My house has rarely been without a bag since, and I don't want to think too hard about why that is because I suspect the answer is disturbing. And for information only, the taco-flavored Doritos in the retro bag are not the same as the taco Doritos of our youth, proving that not only do companies tamper with perfection, they also tamper with stuff that's not all that good to begin with.

  3. @Adam--that's so weird! My favorite flavor of chips as a kid was sour cream and onion, too, and I dislike both sour cream and onions as well. My allegiances have since shifted to salt and vinegar. It is true that there are bad and good versions of all the flavors, and at different times in my life I have liked different kinds. Except Sun Chips--although I think my dislike for them is rooted in the fact I used to get them as the only available healthy 'snack' from my college vending machine. So I associate them with dieting AND studying. Thanks for the compliment! ;)

    @Flurrious--perhaps everyone is a 'situational' chip eater to some extent--some chips one regards as mediocre have their uses in or with some sandwiches or watching certain films and television programs, although I think everyone has a deep and fundamental allegiance, when forced to choose.

    That's so strange about Saddam Hussein--you would think his hatred for America at that point would have caused him to choose something other than that most American of snack foods. (Since not even the British have a 'crisp' version of Doritos). I didn't include Doritos because I consider them a tortilla snack and sort of in their own category. I've never had the Taco Doritos! Probably Doritos could merit their own blog post...

  4. Salt and vinegar FTW! And I don't even know who won the football contest last night- now I want to see how long I can go without overhearing it or having the information flashed at me. Staying uninformed is hard work!

  5. @BD & MD--the best potato chip I ever ate was a kind of thick-cut salt and vinegar chip ('crisp') I had in the UK, so in a way I can agree with both of you--and MD, like it or not, I'm sure you've head the outcome by now!

  6. I'm a little late to this one, but I don't watch football so it's not all that surprising. As soon as salt and vinegar chips came out on the market (I'm thinking when I was in Junior High) I knew I had found "my" potato chip. I stayed pretty dedicated to them until the kettle chip came along and I discovered just how cruncy a chip could be.

    I don't eat them often, in fact mostly just buy a single serving package every couple of months to hold me until the next craving. Most recently I bought a bag of Archer Farms (Target brand) chips with black pepper which were actually pretty good.

    By the way, when you say that people who who eat salt and vinegar chips have a reputation for being healthy eaters you're right. People do assume I eat more heathfully than they do, but I probably don't and I really hate to exercise, but somehow others see it differently and until now I never thought it might be because of the chips they see me eating.

  7. @Cat Boy--it is amazing how salt and vinegar can take ordinary potato chips to new levels of awesomeness. I too no longer eat them in frightening quantities , as I did when I was young.

    Also, when I was living in England, I once had some British people reproach me for putting too much malt vinegar and salt on chips in a pub--which says a great deal about my affection for the salt-vinegar-potato combination! Now, I will just consider it 'detoxifying' rather than weird.