When the Chips are Down ... I Just Can't Resist

 , guardian.co.uk  |  Updated: July 31, 2013 12:32 IST

When the Chips are Down ... I Just Can't Resist

Crisps, wedges, fries or frites - I have never met a chip I didn't like. Except those unnecessary pie and sauce flavoured ones

Foie Gras? Lobster? Hand made 70% cacao chocolate truffles with gold leaf? Grain fed, marbled, well-hung Wagyu steak? Shove 'em. Give me chips. I love chips. So much that I'm salivating even as I write the word. I love them so much I would marry them, and assume all people called Smith already have.

Crisps, wedges, fries or frites... I'm all over them like a cheap suit. Any time of day or night. And any quantity. I moan with ecstasy and comfort while I eat chips; have never once said: "I've had enough chips". (Nor have I said "This chop is overcooked" but that's for another time. What? I'm a bogan? COME HERE AND SAY THAT SUNSHINE. And don't step on my Uggs).

Forget about those family assortment bags of tiny chip packets for lunchboxes. I'd rather cut my tongue out with a plastic knife than experience the chip tease of opening the bag, inhaling the aroma and feasting on what, five chips? If we're talking chips nothing less than a sack of them will do.


An old boyfriend once nicknamed me Pacman after unwrapping a hot, freshly-fried parcel of perfectly salted chips at the beach and watching me inhale the contents. Because that's what I turned into. Pacman. Mouth was moving so fast and non-stop my hand could barely keep up. I should have asked him to help shove chips into my gob during the down time when I was grabbing another fistful.

Pringles, Doritos or Kettle Chips? Na. Got to be old fashioned Smiths. Straight or crinkle cut. Potato, oil and salt. Some garlic and rosemary at a pinch if they're hot.

And while we're on what's right and wrong, you know what offends me? This flavouring epidemic. I'll tell you something for free, chips are good enough. What's with the sweet chilli & cracked pepper flavor? The Peking duck & soy, sour cream & chives? Chargrilled steak & BBQ sauce? It's like giving the Mona Lisa a makeover.

Who was the fool who said "Sure these chips are nice but they'd be much better if they were pie and sauce flavoured"? Don't tell me you missed the pie and sauce flavoured chips. What next: Salad flavoured? Energy drink flavoured? Tiramisu flavoured? If you want baked beans, Caesar salad or pizza, eat baked beans, Caesar salad or pizza. Why ruin two things?

In the Netherlands, you can get spaghetti bolognese flavoured chips. In the United Kingdom your chips (sorry, crisps) can be Marmite, turkey & bacon, roast beef & yorkshire pudding , firecracker lobster, mozzarella with tomato & basil, chorizo, beer & cheddar, Cajun squirrel, roast ox or haggis flavoured chips. I know, 50 Shades of Wrong.

The Japanese are apparently up for consommé, salmon sushi, clam chowder, hamburger or kimchi flavoured chips. But it's China who wins prize position on the chip flavouring wall of shame with kiwi, blueberry, mango and lychee, lemon tea or cucumber flavored chips. I cry angry tears.

I suspect this love of such a cheap and cheerful fare is due to my Irish background. Growing up we had fish and chips every Friday night. Or as we called it Catholic banquet. The anticipation of Mum coming back from the fish and chip shop was almost as delicious as the smell when she walked in. We'd all sit on the lounge room floor, picnic-style, rip off a "plate" and fish out what we'd ordered. I'd always have a piece of flake, two potato cakes and as many chips as I could grab before my four brothers and sisters scoffed them. Tomato sauce? How common. Mayonnaise thanks.

I love the participation with chips. If there are people around, you have to share your chips. It's the law. And if someone gets a bowl you have to, no matter how full you already you are or how little you know them, nick one.

I heard of a family that has chip salad! I know! Awesome right? Look, it's a bit fancy but basically you pour Smiths Crisps, Twisties, Burger Rings and Cheezels into a bowl, toss and serve. Dressing optional. The salad not you.

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My dream is a pillow made of chips. I could go to bed with a mouthful of crunchy salty potatoey goodness and wake with a faceful of golden mouth-love everyday! And I would sleep inside a giant chip bag and lick it all night. That would be my happy ever after.

Hot chips: Nothing less than a sack of them will do Photograph: Ian Garlick/ActionAid/PA



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