Walkers Italian Spaghetti Bolognese Crisps

Italy. I haven't been there in a long while, but it's been long enough for the memories of the delicious foods, the darkened cafes, the cloistered caverns of wineries start to fade a little in my mind. My father and sister are currently there, the bastards, and in the spirit of their vacation, I'm consoling myself with these crisps.This is another flavor in the World Cup series from Walkers, and although Italy has long since been phased out of the game, this flavor still remains, and is surprisingly evocative of the actual dish it attempts to emulate.

A traditional spaghetti bolognese is rather difficult to screw up. In the basic flavors, you have a tomato sauce, the addition of any meat to that sauce, and a bed of pasta, generally topped with parmesan. It's hearty, sweet, savory, and toothsome, and can be ordered anywhere. Unfortunately, this is where the problems start.True, Walkers emulates spaghetti bolognese perfectly. But due to the bastardized inbreeding of the dish, it's about as common at any diner or kid's menu as disheveled hookers are to downtown New Haven. The spaghetti bolognese in this particular chip is not a lovingly, hand-raised, grass-fed Kobe beef from Italy with sustainable tomatoes and a touch of heavy cream. This is the greasy remains of dinner at Applebee's, with a downright saccharine tomato flavor, heavy on the salt, and the kind of herb and MSG combination reminiscent of early 90's Mrs. Dash shakers.This recalls spaghetti dinners of yore, namely, those for lunch on Wednesdays at my old elementary school. Leaving nothing but a pool of orange grease and a sweet, oniony aftertaste in my mouth, I can safely assure you that these chips may be the reason Italy was booted out of the World Cup. Potato chips, especially the greasier, crispier Walkers, are rarely a good base for a heavy, heady flavor like this. They bog down the subtleties of a saucy attempt, both literally and figuratively, at a traditional dish. Sometimes you can't pack eight hundred flavors into a snack. Sometimes you can. In Walkers' case, perhaps this is one dish that ought to be relegated back to the Olive Garden.

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