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America’s Greatest Failure

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vea5d5z

I still maintain that the United States allowing Canada to exist is the nation’s greatest policy failing. Here’s yet another reason why:

I’ve tried to remember when ketchup chips first came into my life, but it’s a little like trying to remember the first time I wet the bed. I grew up in the 1980s in Canada, a country that takes its wack-job salty snack foods seriously. Few of these are more revered than ketchup chips. For a while in my early teen years you could determine my age from the blood-red rings of ketchup seasoning that permeated deep into my fingers and palms.

This is the point where my American friends usually start retching loudly, as if the thought of ketchup-flavored potato chips is somehow too much for their delicate constitutions—too upsetting for a nation of people who’ll happily down a couple Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme, three pints of Coke, and a family pack of Flamin’ Hot Funyuns as a post-breakfast snack.

Though ketchup chips are pretty much the most American snack food ever invented, by most accounts their origins, along with their fan base, lie north of the border. Canadians, being Canadians, remind Americans of this at every chance. We want ketchup chips to become a part of you like they’re a part of us.

The best ketchup chips are made by Lay’s and sold only in Canada. They’re a masterpiece of MSG-laden zip and crunch. The beauty of Lay’s ketchup chips is that they don’t taste at all like actual ketchup: They taste like ketchup’s component parts, without the wet. You get the slap of vinegar and citric acid, the sweet, synapse-twerking pull of cooked tomatoes and sugar, the crunch of deep-fried potato starch, and all the lip-sticking salt of a Dead Sea skinny dip. Which is to say they’re snack-time solid gold. Most good Canadians can eat a quarter-kilogram bag in a go.

A “quarter-kilogram”? Is this some sort of code for infiltrating our great nation without ketchup chips? Or do they use some sort of weird anachronistic measurement that proves their savage nature? If we simply invade and obliterate Canada, we can provide them freedom, by which of course I mean they will now be eating this:

layssouthern-01

Remember 1813!

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  • Warren Terra

    Until both nations band together to resist the imposition of Lay’s shawarma-flavored potato chips (I believe they were labeled “gyros-flavored” but we know what they really meant)

    • PohranicniStraze

      I would definitely eat shawarma potato chips, but they would need to be thick-cut for dipping in hummus.

      • Norrin Radd

        I like the concept of these exotic new LTO flavors but man in practice…blech. They actually taste like what they’re supposed to but chicken tikka masala was not meant to be a potato chip!

        • Captain Oblivious

          Obviously, you have never had CTM “half and half” (half rice, half french fries), or you would not speak this heresy.

          • NorthernInvader

            Does it come with cheese curds?

    • UserGoogol

      I haven’t tried them, but apparently it has a significant tzatziki flavor, which puts it on the gyros side of things.

      Let’s see if they can replace that with tahini.

      • Warren Terra

        Your facts ae getting in the way of my parody of islamophobia.

    • J. Otto Pohl

      They have a lot of flavored Lay’s here but I don’t remember seeing shawarma. I’ll check again today. In Bishkek there are lots of brands of shashlik flavored crisps.

    • J. Otto Pohl

      Okay I checked the grocery store. They have a wide variety of Lay’s flavored chips including ketchup. But, no gyros, shawarma, shashlik, or barbeque flavored ones.

    • sean_p

      I’m holding out for poutine-flavored chips myself.

      • Ahuitzotl

        Im waiting for potato-flavoured ones

  • jamesjhare

    From a policy standpoint an invasion/annexation going the other way would probably lead to the best policy outcomes.

    • Warren Terra

      You say that now, but Stephen Harper was pretty bad even by (pre-Trump) American standards.

      • leftwingfox

        True. Harper is what would have happened if Dubya knew what he was doing.

  • Denverite

    You really need to avoid convenience stores in the UK, Loomis. Beef flavored chips (er, “crisps”), prawn flavored crisps, yes, ketchup flaved crisps, roasted chicken flavored crisps, Worcester sauce flavored crisps (TBF, those are good). I could go on for hours. Though my sneaky suspicion is Walker’s only makes like four or five different true flavors buts calls them like 100 different names.

    • Turkle

      Though my sneaky suspicion is Walker’s only makes like four or five different true flavors buts calls them like 100 different names.

      This, for the record, is also my theory regarding Gatorade.

      • Well, sure, but 4 or 5 flavors, 4 or 5 colors, you get at least 16 and up to 25 different marques!

    • Dennis Orphen

      ‘Badge Engineered’ crisps, if you will.

    • ASV

      Counterpoint: Crunchie

    • BigHank53

      Did they stock the Monkey Gland variety of crisps, or is that Africa-only?

      Sadly, they are artificially flavored and do not in fact contain any monkey whatsoever.

    • Norrin Radd

      I think I would like ketchup chips but those British varieties really suck.

      • J. Otto Pohl

        I remember seeing Marmite flavor crisps in London.

    • Captain Oblivious

      Brits voluntarily consume “brown sauce”. So nothing else they eat surprises me.

      • Ronan

        Otherwise known as daddy sauce, cos it’s what daddy eats with his dinner (I assume)

        • Origami Isopod

          daddy sauce

          Ew.

          • Ronan

            It’s okay. I’ve looked it up and it actually seems to have a less vulgar etymology. Just good old fashioned capitalism manipulating our most sacred familial bonds to sell litre upon litre of glorified lumpy vinegar

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daddies

          • rea

            Reminds me of the question one of the kids asked me recently: if olive oil is made out of olives, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, what’s baby oil made from?

    • I don’t need to avoid them. I need to embrace them so I can talk about how the English are terrible.

    • N__B

      Also, southeast asia, where seaweed-flavored chips seem to be popular.

      • Origami Isopod

        Seaweed and shrimp.

    • sean_p

      I was recently in Spain and had jamon-flavored chips, which were… weird, but good.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Ketchup chips are delicious. Simply delicious. I feed them to all visitors from south of the border.

    • Jackov

      Yes – if you mean the artisanal version – plain kettle chip dipped in ketchup.
      All Dressed are a better mass product as no one has time to dip their chip in bbq sauce,
      sour cream and onion dip and then apply vinegar before eating.

      • Warren Terra

        And even if they have time to do all that, they don’t have time for the psychological counseling such behavior calls for.

        • Dennis Orphen
        • Jackov

          Young people appear to enjoy playing with their food as much as eating it.
          Perhaps it is a sign of mental demeteritus but I dion’t know y for susre.

          • Dennis Orphen

            If you’re a real young person’s young person, you ignore the food you’re supposed to be playing with and play with the box it came in.

      • Norrin Radd

        I recently became addicted to All Dressed. I love them. My pants not so much.

    • Ahenobarbus

      Are you an American? You serve ketchup potato chips to Mexicans?

    • kayden

      Ketchup chips are delicious. Wish I could get them here.

      • Warren Terra

        They can be purchased through Amazon at wildly inflated prices. Which means Loomis could add them to his Wish List and we could send him some.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      “Ketchup chips are delicious. Simply delicious.”

      But do they go well with vodka?

      • Lost Left Coaster

        Yes they go quite well with Caesers! If Loomis doesn’t like vodka mixed with Clamato then there is no hope.

  • OldScold

    Best health policy solution would be to start a war with Canada and loose. I look forward to our jack-booted Mountie overlords.

    • Dennis Orphen

      And Gino Vannelli singing the (new) national anthem I Just Wanna Dip My Balls In It Stop.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      But what could the US use for an ultimatum, to get Canada to fight?

      Oh, I know! Demand they take Cruz back.

  • Woodrowfan

    the only flavor potato chips should have is…potato chip. all else is an abomination….

    • Warren Terra

      I can certainly understand regarding some flavors as an abomination – I abhor Sour Cream & Onion, which is perhaps not an opinion everyone shares – but none of the available flavors appeal to you? Not everything is gravy-and-biscuit, shawarma, or pickle; there are popular options including BBQ and salt-and-vinegar.

      • Woodrowfan

        Salt and vinegar is as far as I will go. otherwise, ick. Hell, i don;t even like regular chips with ridges!!! I am a chip purist.. ;)

      • Norrin Radd

        How can you hate Sour Cream and Onion? Do you hate sunshine and Jesus too?

        • Warren Terra

          I’m famously ambivalent about the first and at best indifferent to the second.

        • Sour Cream and Onion is pretty bad. Sour Cream and Cheddar is an abomination against a god that may or may not exist.

          • Breadbaker

            Salt and pepper, as I recall, was quite delicious (and really has nothing to do with the artificial flavor things others are talking about). I haven’t had a potato chip in two years, though, since I was diagnosed as prediabetic.

        • Sour cream and onion chips are a weak attempt to emulate the far superior flavor of onion dip.

          Now, salt and pepper kettle chips… especially the ruffled variety… that’s what I’m talking about.

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            Ebola Ranch.

    • Ask Me Gently

      Was planning on renting a 5-ton truck full over the border. Figured a healthy markup would net me some serious coin. But, you know, the paperwork.

    • B. Peasant

      What, do you object to the “deep fried plywood” flavour of most crisps?

  • The Temporary Name

    Ketchup chips are gross, but not gross for ketchupiness, because as the post says they don’t taste like ketchup.

    If they did they’d be awesome.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Even better smothered in ketchup!

      And by “better”, I mean “even more disgusting”.

  • Okay, to be clear, I think General Sherman lacked ambition. But:

    Biscuit and Gravy chips are stinking addictive as hell. You wake up covered in grease pimples, with a mouthful of drywall paste, but just before you had gone into ketoacidosis, an orgasm most sublime.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Okay, to be clear, I think General Sherman lacked ambition

      Are you saying he lit fires everywhere but under his ass?

    • Dennis Orphen

      Mouthful of drywall paste and orgasm in the same sentence?

      • sparks

        Rule 34

    • weirdnoise

      So “la petit mort” easily becomes “la mort finale.”

  • keta

    A couple* of things:

    – ketchup flavoured chips are vile
    – any country that offers this favour of potato chip has no standing to mock others
    – Bog help us
    – “flavour” is incorrectly spelled in the linked piece, as well as throughout this thread

    *That was more like a dekagram than a couple, but you get my drift.

    • efgoldman

      – any country that offers this favour of potato chip has no standing to mock others
      – Bog help us

      I have never seen either of those things with my old rheumy eyes, and I hope i never do.
      The idea that anything in a Pringle’s can is a “potato chip” is like calling my daughter’s little red radio flyer an automobile.
      And you can’t spell worth shit.

      • keta

        Bizarro-flavoured potato chips speak to different tastes. But how anyone can enjoy anything that comes out of a Pringles can is one of life’s true mysteries.

        As for spelling, consider how much u bring to colour, to honour, to humour. Would you forego the savouring?

        • Warren Terra

          But how anyone can enjoy anything that comes out of a Pringles can is one of life’s true mysteries.

          You say that, because you have underestimated the internet. (Remember, you didn’t say anything about eating what comes out of the can, nor that the can has to be sealed).

          • keta

            That is handy coyote bait packaging. I stand corrected.

          • CJColucci

            I have to own up to my responsibility here. Many years ago, before significant demographic changes, my home town was a popular place for test-marketing. When I was quite young, someone brought white cardboard tubes full of uniform white cardboard things covered in salt and fat and asked us to try them and fill out forms. I honestly don’t recall my reaction — though I may be drawing a blank out of shame — but whatever we said clearly wasn’t good enough to prevent Pringles. Mea culpa.

        • Stag Party Palin

          how anyone can enjoy anything that comes out of a Pringles can

          Wrong! Pringles are the purest form of snack food, that is to say, there is salt, fat, and a platform to carry them. That the platform is deconstructed potato makes no difference. The connoisseur of salty fat does not care if the platform is potatoes, pork rinds, or goldfish. In fact, the lesser the part the platform plays, the better.

          For this reason alone, adding “flavours” to chips is sacrilegious and Pringles Regular Flavour is the only true snack food.

        • N__B

          As for spelling, consider how much u bring to colour, to honour, to humour.

          I’m willing to accept this abomination if you start using keutchuup.

          • keta

            Good grief! We’re not slab-headed ditchwater drinkers, fer crissakes.

    • Captain Oblivious

      In Canada they spell it “ou” to reflect how they actually pronounce it.

  • Scrumley

    Not to get all ad hom, but the original post is written by a man in the deplorable basket of people whose approach to french-fries is to dip them in ketchup.

    • Warren Terra

      On the other hand, Loomis defends the use of mayonnaise.

      • Ahenobarbus

        Mayonnaise is great on some things, bad on others. There are few, if any, absolutes for food.

        • skate

          With Loomis, there’s almost always an absolute.

          • efgoldman

            With Loomis, there’s almost always an absolute.

            For a progressive, he doesn’t do nuance very well.

            • Dennis Orphen

              Nuance is a dirty bandanna wrapped around the head of a ball-peen hammer.

              • BigHank53

                How….oddly specific. Remind me to decline any invitations to your debating society.

          • Dennis Orphen

            But never Absolut!

          • With Loomis, there’s almost always an absolute.

            Goddamn right

      • keta

        I cannot stomach mayonnaise. Maybe because I know too much.

        • kayden

          Well, that doesn’t sound ominous.

        • Origami Isopod

          Do you eat sausage, including hotdogs? You know how that’s made, right?

          How about eggs in general? You know where eggs come out of?

          • skate

            Honey comes from a bee’s behind. Milk comes from a cow’s behind. And have you ever tried toothpaste.

  • tlaura

    This is the most adorable thing I’ve seen since the Vox Tragically Hip explainer.

    Americans are the cutest.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      o, I gotta go find that

    • I was so charmed to find out that Canada has their own special bands that they listen to when they want to feel themselves, like really themselves. Or at least 40% themselves.

  • Colin Day

    Would you have forgiven Benedict Arnold’s betrayal if he had managed to conquer Canada?

  • rickhavoc

    As the stand up comedian Jon Stewart once put it, Canada is fine as a neighbor, what with the hockey and poutine and the Shield up there that kept the Rooskies out during the Cold War, until the US runs out of wood. Then it will be “get out.”

    • keta

      Oh, it won’t be wood. It’ll be water.

      • kped

        I hope i’m dead before the water wars :(

  • Origami Isopod

    Ketchup-flavored potato chips are love.

    Ketchup-flavored rice cakes are even more love.

    • wjts

      Together at last: the great tastes of ketchup and styrofoam!

      • Rice cakes: great food for people who hate food.

      • Origami Isopod

        All I can say is, they are weirdly addictive.

  • Harkov311

    Ketchup chips are also kind of a thing in Maine and upstate New York, though I’m not sure how much of this is closeness to Canada and how much of it might just be similar local tastes.

    • Jackov

      Secondary effect of the great lumberjack migration which bestowed cheese curds
      and french fries w/ gravy upon the grateful denizens of upstate New York.

    • skate

      Proximity to Canada is my guess. I’m down in NYC and never heard of them until reading this post.

  • cleek

    the new tikka masala Lays are worth trying, if you can find them.

    they’re palatable, but creepy.

  • Karen24

    The Old Dutch brand flavored chip is a thing of beauty. All Dressed is the best one, but ketchup, roast chicken, marinara, and salt and vinegar are all excellent. We have friends in Nova Scotia and British Columbia and always buy a few bags when we’re up there. We send them salsa and real tortilla chips in exchange.

  • kped

    I’m a Canuck, but I don’t really like ketchup chips.

    Ketchup on the other hand, is a perfectly good condiment for fries, burgers and hot dogs. Screw Loomis! It’s salty, sweet, vinegary, it hits so many notes!

    Now, put it on steak, and we’ll have words The only thing you can put on steak is some type of chimi churri, if I’m being generous….or a flavoured butter. but I like it plain. Just salt, pepper, olive oil, that’s the good stuff!

    • wjts

      I dunno. Chicken-fried steak is pretty good.

    • rea

      The only thing you can put on steak is some type of chimi churri

      Steak and chimichurri is a chip flavor now.

      • kped

        That sounds terrible.

        Really, for me, if it’s a potato chip, the only flavours that make sense are things that you put on potatoes. So, salt and vinegar works. Sour cream and onion works (baked potato). Ketchup works. But..steak and chimi churri? That’s just nonsense!

  • Cheerful

    Now if you lived in France you’d be pining for potato chips with any flavor at all, and find this disputing and quarreling over exactly which additional flavor like watching the rich complain rubies are vulgar and why can’t there be more emeralds.

    In your average French store a rack of potato chips will consist, in its entirety, of various forms of Lay’s chips, all light as aerated potato feathers, lightly dusted with salt and otherwise of no flavor at all.

    The French are fine with foods they take seriously. Stuff they don’t take seriously, like chips and beer, are treated with a fine contempt.

    • sonamib

      To be fair, the French attitude wrt beer is starting to change! There’s a place in St-Genis-Pouilly which brews their own fine craft beer, I like to go there when I’m at CERN for work. Now, granted, St-Genis is barely France at all, what with it being 2 km away from the Swiss border, but still, I’m betting this is not an isolated development.

      • Cheerful

        I felt bad about lumping in beer, because you’re right, there are French making determined improvements and, to be clear, some of the light, sweet, but otherwise flavorless beer sold in French bars is actually from Belgium (looking at you Jupiler).

        But this remains country where most people think amber is as dark as beer gets, and the idea of creativity with ingredients is viewed with alarm.

        As for chips, I was astonished to find in one of France’s largest supermarkets a small bag of Kettle Chips Honey Barbequeu up in the corner. So there is hope

        • sonamib

          The truth is, in every single country in the world, the most popular beers are shit. Jupiler (as you mentioned) and Maes in Belgium, Heineken in the Netherlands, Skol and Brahma in Brazil, Budweiser in the US. So you gotta look at the high-end market to see if the beer culture is good.

          All in all, I agree with you, France still has a long way to go beerwise, but there are exciting new developments. Though tbf they’re already world leaders in quality wine, so maybe asking them to also have world-class beer is too much.

          • wjts

            On my only trip to France, I drank far more Kronenbourg 1664 than I should have. The correct amount of Krobourg to drink is “none”, but as I’m not much of a wine drinker, there wasn’t much in the way of alternatives.

  • kateislate

    When I was in Nepal there were four options – plain, magic masala (which was awful and tasted not at all like anything that had any real spices on it), salt and pepper, and a sort of spicy ketchup that I think was called tomato tango.

    As an ordinary Canadian, I am committed to the greatness of the ketchup chip, but I have to say that the extra spice on the ones in Nepal really made it special. I miss them quite a lot.

  • NorthernInvader

    We here in the great frozen north are very glad we won the war of 1812. As time marches on and we see the utter disaster the US has become with its ever expanding basket of deplorables, we are even more grateful :)

  • FOARP

    We were eating these in the UK back in the 1980’s. so I’m not sure this is a Canadian invention . . .

    Of course, we call them crisps.

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