January 2009

Hawaiian Kettle Chips

Since George Crum invented the potato chip in 1853, Americans have been downing them by the bagfull. These days, people in the United States eat approximately 17 billion dollars worth of potato chips each year. That's more than a third of the snack industry by itself. Go down to any supermarket, convenience store or gas station and you'll find anywhere on the order of a dozen or more varieties of chip, be it in brand, texture, or flavor. It's a complicated enough issue that regulatory courts have had to formally define what exactly constitutes a potato chip. For example, a recent ruling declared Pringles to be a snack food adequate for human consumption, but not sufficiently within the bounds of potato-chipdom. In recent years one particular style of chip, the kettle chip, has been gaining in popularity. Kettle chips are naturally very crunchy, have a distinct dark color, and tend to hold on to that much-desired potato flavor a little better than your average fried or baked chip. One particular brand of chips, Hawaiian, has started to appear in more places and in several new varieties around the Pacific Northwest.

The Hunger in my Soul

As I sit here preparing to write this article, I can't help but think how hungry I am.  I have been working my day job for many hours and haven't had a thing to eat.  This is the perfect blog to post on, as I can directly relate to the name of the website.  Like many people (by many I mean everyone), I get hungry quite often.  It usually hits me all at once, one minute I'm fine, going about my business as usual and then suddenly I must eat!  I get tired and not only do I need food in me, I need something nourishing.  I need something to cure that deep down need which starts in the pit of my stomach and quickly makes its way up to my brain, all the while taking over my entire soul.  In short, potato chips won't cut it. The problem is not only do I hate the act of cooking, I also dislike how much time it takes.  I work all day and when I get home, I have things to do.  There is business to handle and I don't want to spend a minute more doing work that isn't absolutely necessary (this includes cooking).  The cooking takes long enough as it is, but then comes eating, cleaning, and probably heading back to the kitchen later on for more, because I was too lazy to make

The Canned Life

In an attempt to glean as much worthwhile knowledge out of my increased fascination with bargain food, I decided to undertake a little experiment. What would life be like if I spent a week living primarily off of things that came out of cans? More importantly, what would I learn from the process? I'm always excited by the prospect of finding something remarkably convenient or tasty in unlikely places, so this seemed right up my alley. I can say that I learned a lot, but the experience isn't going to make me change my lifestyle. Then again, in a roundabout sort of way, maybe it is. Let's get to the cans. Category I: Soup Of all the things most people will gladly eat out of a can, it's soup. These days, there's a startling variety of canned soups, both in flavor and in format. The classic Campbell's soups are always good standbys and they're frequently the lowest priced items in the aisle. Modern Campbell's follows a standard formula: The contents of the can plus one can of water, mixed in a pot until hot.

Pizza: A History Lesson

If aliens were to descend on planet Earth and collect samples of quintessentially human things, pizza would most certainly be on the list. What's not to like about it? Pizza can be small enough for a personal all-in-one meal or large enough to share with friends and family. It can be cut into whatever portion suits the consumer and the potential for flavor combinations is endless. So, how did this staple of the modern human diet come to be and how did it come to be so ubiquitous? Well, it's always best to start at the source. In this case, we're talking about Italy... sort of. To get the full history of pizza, we have to expand our search to the entire Mediterranean in general. Since nearly 1000 BC, Persian cultures have been melting cheese on chewy, doughy flatbread and covering it with toppings. The ancient Romans brought a crucial ingredient, olive oil, to the party.