Chip, Chip Hooray! It’s Potato Chip Day

by Kevin Burton

   Today is National Potato Chip Day, but I didn’t study for the quiz.

   My excuse, (there is always an excuse) Consumer Reports let me down.  In the past the magazine has published consumer preference stories about chips of all kinds.  But I found nothing on their website and by googling all I got was a comparison between potato chips and veggie chips.

   We don’t do veggie chips here for lunch or in print. Let them get their own day. This is Potato Chip Day.

   “What’s not to love about potato chips? They’re cheap, easy to find, and gloriously junk-foody,” writes Sam Stone of Bon Appetit in their best chip taste test article. “A potato chip’s delicate, salty crunch is the quintessential snack.”

   What could be simpler than potato chips? Yet the various written comparisons made things rather complicated.

   “There are seemingly endless brands and genres of potato chips to choose from,” Stone writes. “Would you prefer baked or fried? With ruffles or without? Does a kettle cooked chip sound appealing? Which oil would you prefer your chip to be fried in?”

   That’s just it. There are too many choices. And, on what basis do you choose one chip over another?

   “We tasted seven of the most popular potato chip brands to evaluate their texture, crunch, balance of salt and oil, and earthy potato flavor,” Stone wrote.

   Stone also wrote that potato chips, “added to a sandwich, for instance, or even boosted by complementary seasonings and dips, it alchemizes, transforming into something greater than the sum of its parts.”

    Well, I decided I had a taste for simplicity, rather than alchemy, for my potato chips post. So I scrapped the online comparisons and sought a better source.

   I asked a ten-year-old.

   Sparing no expense for research for Page 7, we had a fourth-grader brought in from Oklahoma to assist.  As a bonus we got a six-year-old stepsister.

   To my chagrin, our granddaughter spoke up for Sun Chips.  If Baked Lays did not exist, Sun Chips would be the worst snack food item available. But somehow Sun Chips have been elevated to the same exalted snack space occupied by Takis.

   As soon as I tasted Takis, I knew they were created for the Mexican palate. They were a familiar taste from my days as an English teacher in Mexico.   

   “Takis are snacks made by Grupo Bimbo’s Barcel unit, which manufactures rolled, corn tortilla chip snacks. The heat of this type of food is intense, and it has a distinctive rolled appearance similar to taquito, making it one of the most popular in North America,” according to

   After the six-year-old spoke up for barbecue chips, we were off to Dollar General on a fact- and chip-finding mission.  We got the nasty Harvest Cheddar Sun chips, Lays barbecue chips and two varieties of Takis.    

    I created a mock commercial about Sun Chips “with yuckiness in every bite!”  Our granddaughter wasn’t impressed. 

   If she doesn’t finish the bag before going home Thursday, I will make sure to send the remainder home with her. 

   At Dollar General I announced that Tuesday is National Potato Chip Day and that we were participating in a big way.  The cashier said her favorite was Funyons. The woman behind us in line, who also has grandchildren, said she likes “all of them, anything in a bag.”

   That latter embraces the spirit of Potato Chip Day. Bring it all on! By definition, that which causes delight, is delicious.

   For me the potato chips I love are a little like the music I love, in that where I was when I encountered them makes a difference. 

   Two potato chip brands I found while living in Ohio (and are not sold in stores in Kansas, where I am now) are among my favorites.

   Herr’s makes a red-hot chip that is my very favorite snack food product.  I buy them by the case once in a while, which is why they send me e-mails reminding me to turn my clock forward. 

   Grippo’s, a Cincinnati-area brand, makes barbecue chips that are more sweet than barbecuey. Haven’t had those in a while.   

   Our summer travel plans, not yet confirmed, could very well have us spending time in Central Indiana, within sniffing distance of where Herr’s and Grippo’s are marketed.   It we do go there, I plan to come home with a trunkful of chips.  Or if we fly, an extra suitcase full of chips. 

   Originally potato chips were sold out of wooden barrels or scooped from behind glass counters, according to Also, Americans eat around 1.85 billion pounds of potato chips annually.

  My family’s contribution to that total has gone down in recent years, but not so this week.  Today on Potato Chip Day, make mine Taco Doritos, please.

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