I'll Never Write a Novel

The Memoir of a Personal Essayist OR Confessions of a Theatre Widow

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Dad Invented Those Chips

I was over at the folks the other night and we were having sandwiches (or sangwiches, as one might say). My dad had picked up some chips to accompany said sandwiches and I balked at the Salt and Vinegar chips selected. My mom kind of looked at me funny, essentially meaning, don't badmouth the chips. She said, "Your Dad made those." But the ones my dad in hand were Lay's chips, the once-upon-a-time arch rival of my dad's former company, Nalley's. He certainly could not have made these ones. My dad didn't make Lay's chips. Then Mom clarified, "Your dad made salt & vinegar chips. The first ones were made in my kitchen."

How did I not know this detail? My dad was part of the invention of Tang, THE orange astronaut drink. This I knew. Maxim Coffee--the first freeze-dried kind-- Yikes! but I know about it. Tang Mayonnaise, a precursor to Best Foods, as I understand-- I am familiar. But somehow I never knew my dad came up with the idea and recipe for the first salt and vinegar chips, known as Piccadilly Chips. My parents had just moved back to the states from Canada. When my family would go out to dinner in Canada there was malt vinegar on tables next to ketchup. Apparently that wasn't a thing yet on American restaurant tables yet. My dad loved this clever Brit import and translated into potato chips. He created the recipe in my family's kitchen with my pregnant mom standing by. She had to have either loved or hated that smell. I am sure it brings back memories to this day.

As it turns out, my dad says you can't patent a flavor. So, once it was out there, it was up for grabs and many other companies followed suit. But all thanks to my dad. Cool, right?! My dad is very smart.

The weird part of the story has to be that my dad said that there is one place in the United States where you send recipes so they can "create" the flavor for mass production in a lab. That kind of creeps me out. He talked about this mysterious place like it was common knowledge.

With my new found respect for Salt & Vinegar chips, I shall never turn my nose up at them again. I might even start to enjoy them on occasion. It's a new taste to acquire. Thanks, Dad.


Blogger Kate said...

Noreen, I love our dad and all, but I couldn't eat those damn Picadilly chips back in the day, and I don't think I can do it now. Ew. Ann loves 'em, though.

7:21 PM  
Blogger dahli said...

cheers to your dad!
he will be the one I think of whenever I encounter Salt & Vinegar chips.
how cool!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

As you develop your taste for them, might I suggest that you combine them with some Junior Mints? Weird, I know, but oh so worth it. To give proper credit, Jenny turned me onto the combo years ago and I still to this day enjoy it!

11:04 AM  
Blogger tacomachickadee said...

This so does not surprise me in the least. Because your dad IS that cool. Say hi to him for me! :)

7:25 PM  
Blogger Elle said...

gotta say, big fan of the salt & vinegar chips.

8:13 PM  
Blogger tacomachickadee said...

I SO LOVE your dad even more now.

WOW. Those are my favorite chips.

elle, ask me why this is ironic some time.

The scary place is probably in New Jersey, and they are responsible for Dill Pickle Chips. ewe.


7:33 PM  
Blogger ZERD said...

That is the coolest thing EVER! I heart those chips mega much! During grad school, when I had all-nighters, I would eat them until my mouth went numb. Ah, nostalgia!

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does one find the picadilly brand? They were my favorite as a child back in the late 70's early 80's. Lays, tims and a few others, are no comparison. Thank you, for inventing an awsome tasting snack.

Puyallup Wa

2:19 PM  

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