Some people are easy to please. Not me. I could never figure out the motives someone who was able to go to the movies and feel satisfied with a small popcorn, sans salt, butter, or smuggled cheese sauce, never mind passing up the litany of candies and Slurpees along the way. I can't go to a barbecue that lacks thirty flavors of mustard and ten different artisanal sausages, and I rarely order a pizza that isn't buried under a glut of toppings.
So you'd think I'd be pleased to find these potato chips, which are not only a total sensory overload with the aesthetic simplicity of a Magic Eye, but also an homage to one of life's creepiest regional quirks, voodoo. Another particularly bratty habit of mine. I'm not big on chips without dip, nor pretzels without mustard. Unadorned junk food just doesn't do it for me. Zapp's is an elusive potato chip company from some region in the US with a large concentration of sports teams. I don't know, I don't follow cricket. Whatever. It's rare to find these chips in their limited edition flavors, unless, of course, you check out Big Lots! It really is my new favorite hookup for discontinued products and hookups. This flavor, Voodoo, is less Santeria-style chicken heads and entrails and more "whoops, due to a carefully controlled employee mishap at our factory, we came out with this flavor" deal. I tell you, that shit would not fly at a CDC testing facility, no siree. Kind of uncanny how often that happens. Maybe they shouldn't hire voodoo dolls as employees any more. Note that there is unfortunately no gris-gris at the bottom of the bag. Collect them all!
While I normally try to avoid kettle chips as they invariably get stuck in my soft palate, I bought these out of a weakness for the visual design. Look at this bag and tell me you don't want to get it tattooed on your bicep, crazy-colored dolls, neon script, and all. Or at least commission a loud shirt out of the basic design. The backstory is mild in comparison, though, as are the cutesy phone order and computer graphics on the back. Opening the bag, I was immediately hit by a blast of tangy vinegar, salt, and the brown sugar paprika sweetness of barbecue. A good sign, if unoriginal. The chips are softer than the average kettle chip, although they do still fracture into a kazillion pieces upon impact and have a lot of surface area and curling to catch a good amount of seasoning in the cooking process.
The flavor is hard to pin down, starting with an acidic kick of vinegar and then morphing into a combination of sugary barbecue with an end result almost identical to the tomatoey sweetness in a bag of Herr's Heinz Ketchup chips. The chip's heavy garlic and onion influence and crisp, slightly greasy texture lend an almost chickeny flavor and feel to the chip, which is unique but not completely welcomed. It's definitely a snack with an identity crisis. I'm not beyond new combinations and ideas, but I wasn't seeing any congruent theme in this chip that made me want to go back for more. As hokey as it seems, surely a company wouldn't completely throw caution to the wind and just let the production of a flavor happen accidentally with no science behind the flavors? It was too sweet and too sharp for my liking and just didn't make a whole lot of sense.
What I really wanted with these was a kick of heat. I solved the problem by dipping them into some salsa verde until I realized that the only reason I was eating the chips was to have something as a vehicle to eat the salsa with short of pouring it into my mouth. Even with sauce added, there was just something off about these chips that didn't quite make them regular players in my lunch box.
Labels: 5, chips, snack