By Francesca Scaraggi Special to the Chronicle
Tuesday, Sept. 9, I spent 40 minutes in line at the Hofstra post office. With the easing of each student’s frustration as they received their packages, I crept closer and closer to the front window. I held firm. Something glorious was gleaming on my evening’s horizon; I would later open my package to reveal the 2014 assortment of Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” potato chips.
By chance, I am well acquainted with the illustrious photo editor of the chronicle, Che Sullivan, who first informed me of these flavor adventures for the casual chip connoisseur. Naturally, I demanded that she and several other friends experience these flavor sensations with me. Filled with excitement, we nestled into the warmest, least-occupied dorm room among us that evening and hosted the first chip party.
To honor the evening with the appropriate aplomb, I assembled the classiest plastic ware available on campus. And then, we tasted. First we tried the Wavy Mango Salsa chips, selected by Julie Snufilupicus, comic sans enthusiast, because “they’re almost like a salad.” The initial bite was inviting and the mango flavor was pleasant, but the taste became sharp and overpowering rapidly. The mango salsa chips are, in fact, too distinctly mango tasting for my palette. I desperately wanted to enjoy these chips—wavy texture is my favorite kind of potato chips—but the artificial mango shot through my sinuses in a most unpleasant fashion.
Next came the Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese flavor—and what a sharp cheddar flavor! Too sharp: biting, unruly, insensitive, domineering, I could continue describing the truthfully unpleasant appeal of this particular potato chip flavor. Dear reader, I can hear your cries on the wind, “But what of the bacon?” Sadly, I must report that the Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese chips were rather bereft of bacon flavoring. Denisse Girón, queen and feminist blogger, was quick to agree, “I hate the bacon one,” she remarked, “It smells weirder than it tastes.” Regardless of this flavor’s many faults, each munch retains still more bacon flavor and texture than the limp Lackman bacon.
Now I must confess, due to dietary restrictions, I could not taste the Wasabi Ginger Kettle Cooked chips. Julie and Che have, however, assured me that this flavor is a joy for the tongue. Unlike the blatantly artificial flavors described above, this chip has traces of real wasabi and ginger. Perhaps a low cost alternative to the incoherently expensive Lackman sushi?
I conclude with the chip that initiated my flavor journey, Cappuccino. Such high hopes. Could this snack food fulfill my dormant dreams of merging coffee and fried potatoes, two of my favorite things, and create the ultimate chip?
Sadly, they did not. These chips were a lackluster failure, managing to impart only the faintest hint of cinnamon and erasing all that makes a potato chip the classic stand-out snack it is. “Bad” was the only thing that Che had to say. Very bad indeed. This unpleasant snacking experience has certainly eliminated my desire for potato chips in the near future; consequently, the 2014 Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” chips receive a dismal grade, C-.