Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Potato chips were the first food I ever loved, part of the reason why I devoured this Fourth-of-July NY Times article on chips with relish. (Well, less relish as such than sour cream and onion dip.) The article doesn't get all the history of chips right -- the real innovation was the airtight plastic bag, which got chips out of big stale-making barrels, turning them from bar food into a crisp household snack. But it's a nice read all the same.

The best part, though, is this toss-away paragraph at the end:

Although chips are deceptively plain, they are powerful reminders of childhoods and hometowns. That’s why families send soldiers in Iraq their favorite local chips in care packages. Grow up in Detroit? It’s all about Better Made and a ginger soda pop called Vernors.

Oh, it's true! And Better Made has, like, zero distribution more than thirty miles from Gratiot Avenue. I had to schlep around town to find shops that sold it in Lansing.

Finding Vernors is a much easier proposition -- as it happens, I was lucky to find some, my first in years, at a South Jersey Wegman's this weekend. For years I've described it as a stiffer drink than ginger ale, more like Jamaican-style ginger beer, but that's not exactly right -- it's really more of a caramel-flavored ginger root beer. If you can get it, try it with vanilla ice cream. For reasons unknown to me, it's called a Boston Cooler.


Laura said...

As soon as I started reading I was hoping for a Better Made reference, and you did not disappoint! My main visual is going through trick-or-treating loot and finding those snack size yellow bags.

In Vernors news, I spied a few bottles of it at my neighborhood supermarket and snatched one up. I was surprised to be reminded of how actually gingery it tastes, compared with Canada Dry which is more available here in LA (which I'm assuming has to do with it being distributed by a major soda brand, rather than any affinity with Canada -- Clearly Canadian is non-existent here.)

Tim said...

Canada Dry is distributed by Cadbury, which means it's the easiest ginger ale to find here, too, along with Seagram's. I like Schweppes, which definitely has more flavor, although I'm not totally sure it's more gingery.

Whole Foods's in-house Ginger Ale is also nice -- made with cane sugar, and it has a nice vanilla-y finish. And of course, there's Reed's Jamaican -- probably the beefiest and most gingery of them all.

Allan Smithee said...

There is a potato chip manufacturing company based in Florida who manufacture chocolate covered potato chips. They come in an "ugly" retro looking yellow box not a bag. Don't know whether you purchase them outside of Fl.

note: as good, if not better, than Reece's peanut butter cup.