Today I’ve had a major brain failure today and no matter what I thought of I couldn’t get going. As I posted on Twitter, I had found the cure from writers cramp. Writers block.
I have to give a big thank you to Stephen Clark from Channel Seven who helped me get back on track tonight. Now if that is a good thing or not we are yet to see, but Stephen I owe you a pint sometime.
When I moved to the States in 2002 I was under the impression that the streets were paved with gold, everyone had a tan and you could leave your car unlocked anywhere. It turns out that TV lied to me once again, but never mind there was still things in the world that make life worth living. Crisps for one. That would be Chips for you here in the U.S. What you in the U.S. call French Fries we call chips. Though there really is a big difference between French Fries and Chips. I could go on but even I’m getting confused as to what is what anymore.
Let me state for the record that I have never weighed more than 160lbs in my life and I can eat family packs of chips at will. I am a chip addict.
Being the true Brit that I am, it took me a great deal of time to getting used to calling crisps, chips. And what bugs me even more is that Lays is the same company as Walkers in the U.K. So you would think the C.E.O.s would have a little talk once in a while? They obviously don’t because the variety in chips is downright dismal here. Everyone seems to love their chips here too but you are being so left out in the flavour department. You have the standards here, Regular (ready salted), Salt and vinegar, and the BBQ variations have sprung up lately. There are a few off brands that are getting risqué with their menus. I’ve seen some Tomato Sauce and one Loaded Baked Potato. But there’s nothing like Walkers Cheese ‘n’ Onion, no sir! The best
chip crisp on the planet.
(reader – please imagine wavy lines here as if going back in time, perhaps some kind of dream sequence. You may or may not want to add the strumming of a harp, that’s up to you.)
There are a few things in life for an Englishman that are unwritten rules, You are born, you have your favorite crisps, you have your favorite beer, you die. The rest really is just filler.
Soon after I was weened I discovered solid food, I remember rusks, a large round cookie that was good for teething infants (man my memory is good tonight (Stephen I owe you two pints)) I also remember the packed lunches my mother would send me off to school with. Every day for the next 12 years this is what I had for lunch
- One strawberry Jam (jelly) sandwich (with crust cut off).
- One chocolate bar/cookie – either an orange club or a taxi bar.
- One apple, orange (peeled) or banana.
- One bag of crisps.
The last was the most important for you see in England a bag of crisps is not JUST a bag of chopped up potatoes, oh no, it tells everyone around you what type of person you are, or what type of mood you are in.
Lets take a look at some of the chips that were around during the mid 1970s to mid 1980s. Each one of these listed could tell a lot about you. Discos for example were the first type of crisp to be round, Pringle’s came way latter. If you had Discos when they first came out you would be always hearing, can I try one, thus, this crisp made you popular. Everyone loves a Disco! If my memory serves me right they came in three or four different flavours. The Beef, I would only eat as a last resort, usually after I’d eaten all the other ones in the multi-pack.
Not only could you get round chips, but you could get square ones with the original name of Squares. Someone probably got paid a lot to come up with that one. These crisps are not to be underestimated. These crisps in the wrong hands can be deadly. You see one thing the designer failed to think of was that most people ram a fist full of crisps in their mouths at once, so doing that with Squares was like putting half a dozen razor blades in your mouth. I remember time after time jabbing the roof of my mouth with the corner of one of these little buggers. So if you were eating these you would in not doubt be the tough kid for the day, right up until you got one of the crisps caught under your loose tooth, then you would cry like a little girl.
Outer Spacers were a novelty chip, they came in the shape of space ships, and this was one of the first I remember being in pickled onion flavour. These were highly addictive, possibly due to all the additives, these were fun chips. They told people that you didn’t take yourself to seriously, or that for 5p (8cents) this was all your parents could afford for lunch. Either way Outer Spacers were a step in the right direction, they led the way for future chips to come along such as monster munch. Oh yum what I wouldn’t do for a bag of those right now. A bag of large oversized chips in the shape of monster feet.
You can’t go wrong with a chip where you can really only fit one in your mouth at once, perhaps Monster Munch are the gobstoppers of potato chips? Theres something to ponder, perhaps not. These also came in pickled onion but the roast beef were by far the best.
Now I am a chip lover as previously stated. But I think I am this final type of person. The nibbler. The one who likes to take his or her time and enjoy the feast in a little bag in front of them. For that there really are only two types of chip you can
eat for that. First of all there is Skips, Prawn Cocktail flavour will only do for this gastronomic delight. To eat a skip is to have a million taste-buds all say “I Love You,” at once. You would never bite on a Skip, you would rest each one on your tounge and let it dissolve until it became a gooey mess you could swallow. Eating Skips slowly like this did come with its hazards. You would be half way through your packet when your sister would waltz in and munch the rest before you could do anything about it. Then there was the French Fries, not to be confused with French Fries. O.K. they were French Fries. I was just trying to see if any of you
would go for the running gag? These were obviously long and thin. they came in a huge variety of flavours and rushing them was a crime. You would take each one and hold one end with your finger tips and start to nibble from the other end, trying not to eat your fingers when you got close.
(Snap back to reality)
Well now I’m truly hungry and didn’t get to mention Frazzles or hedgehog flavoured crisps. perhaps I’ll save that for another time.