My name is Sean, and I’m a snackoholic.
There, I got it off my chest. And I feel much better.
My wife and kids would say, “Oh yeah… like that’s news.”
I notice I most often snack when I am either bored or procrastinating, which is how I know I have a problem. Also, I eat small meal portions, so I wind up hungry between meals. Fortunately I’m not one of those people who eats a gallon of ice cream or family-size bag of chips when I’m depressed. I don’t eat anything when I’m depressed. Which might counterbalance my snacking habit, were it not that I’m hardly ever depressed.
My drug of choice, as it were, is the potato chip. It’s always been that way. My dad loved potato chips, and would have them around the house. Sometimes he would hide them, which only made them all the more desirable. I’m more of a salty guy than a sweets guy — a tub of caramel corn has been sitting in our laundry room since Christmas, practically untouched. But the three or four bags of strange flavors of English potato chips (roasted chicken, pickle, prawn) our friend and neighbor Glennis brought us back from London lasted about 5 minutes.
Chips from other countries and exotic locales hold a particular appeal. Of the English chips, I like “steak & onion” and “cheese & onion” flavours (note: spelling) the best. And who doesn’t love that British import that everyone is doing now, “salt & vinegar”? Perhaps if I combined their prawn chips with their salt & vinegar chips, I would get something close to a pub meal of fish & chips.
Another favorite chip from far, far away is Maui’s Kitch’n Cook’d. As a kid, every year when we traveled to our condo in Maui, I would make for the nearest ABC Store and stock up. Then I would bring a few bags home with me. Unable to travel to Maui as much as I used to or would like, I’ve missed the Kitch’n Cook’d. That is, until I discovered Rusty’s Island Chips (made in California, of course), which are a dead ringer for Kitch’n Cook’d. I found eight bags recently in the clearance section at the Mitsuwa Japanese Market — I bought them all.
As with most bad habits, mine is not without embarrassment and regret. Like a smoker fiddling obsessively with a pencil, I’ve attempted to transfer my addiction to something else. First I tried baked chips, which are the devil’s work. I’ve had relative success supplanting chips with Japanese rice crackers and even some nuts, including my new and expensive macadamia habit. But I always backslide to the irresistible allure of a thin, crispy slice of fried potato.
I was feeling especially bad recently about the large bag of Japanese Calbee brand “seaweed & salt” chips I’d purchased — and then purchased again. They were salty, indeed, and also had a catalogue of ingredients near the top of which was MSG. Each serving contained 18% of my FDA-recommended daily allotment of fat, and I could eat three servings with barely a pause. But then I saw the very chips in my cupboard on the cover of my favorite cooking magazine, Saveur — they had made the annual January “Saveur 100″ issue of prized foods, ingredients, locales and utensils. Why, these weren’t a guilty pleasure at all — these were an undiscovered gourmet treat!
I like almost any kind of chip, even your plain ol’ Lay’s. When I was a kid, I used to put Lay’s on my salami sandwich. I should do that again, it was really good. Some of my other favorite chips include the Archer Farms salt & vinegar chips and Buffalo wing chips at Target, Hawaiian Kettle Sweet Maui Onion chips and UTZ Chesapeake Crab chips. Tim’s Cascade used to make a dill pickle chip I wish I could still find, and my “wish list” of chips I’d like to try includes Zapp’s Spicy Creole — anyone in the south able to send me some? Occasionally, we even get a canister of Pringles when we go on a road trip, a supremely guilty pleasure.
How is my progress going? I had Walker’s roasted chicken chips this morning after my granola, if that’s any indication. But at least it’s not heroin. It’s potatoes.
Now that I’ve shared, do you have anything you’d like to get off your chest??