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Monday, August 10, 2015

Product Review: Pasta Chips

Monday, August 10, 2015 By

AUGUSTA, GA. - Okay, I don't usually buy chips. We eat high fiber around here, so if we're buying something crunchy and salty, it's usually Boom Chicka Pop popcorn from Costco. But I earned a Klout Perk to try Pasta Chips, and they sent a whole bag of crunchy deliciousness straight to my house. Argh! My life is so hard with the free food and stuff!

Anyway, Pasta Chips is the brand name, and they come in six flavors.

We got Garlic Olive Oil, which was just fine by us. The chips were light and had a perfect crunch. I really liked the texture. But they flavor was nothing new. In fact, it was quite familiar. I just couldn't put my finger on it...

Anyway, a pasta chip is just what you'd imagine: A chip made from baked pasta dough. And the website is hilariously enthusiastic in explaining that the idea was born at "a small, authentic Osteria" located "in the hills of Tuscany." And that might be true. Maybe. But the reason I'm calling bull$#!% on that is because EVERY brand even Italian-adjacent claims to be born on a Tuscan hillside by an authentic Italian midwife who birthed the idea with her authentic Italian hands made of authentic Italian fettuccine.

Have you ever seen a brand claim to have been born on an Umbrian hillside? Or in coastal San Marino? No! Because Tuscany is the only region most Americans know - although they're not sure if it's a city, a state, a province, or what. Americans also know the cities of Rome and Venice. When prompted, they know Milan, although they sometimes think Milan is in Spain. Folks who actually read their Shakespeare in high school (instead of just the Cliffs Notes) might remember Genoa. Fans of E.M. Forster know Florence. And a precious few know Turin, because of the Shroud of Turin - although they probably think Turin is somewhere near Jerusalem.

Long story short, I think the idea for these was born an an authentic American food science lab. Kind of like The Olive Garden.

Regardless of their nonsense backstory created for marketing purposes, the chips were garlicky and crunchy and lovely. They didn't break when I dipped them in hummus or tzatziki sauce. And they held up when I baked them in the oven with some Muenster cheese melting on top.

I still couldn't place the flavor of the chip.

But that's really all I ask of a chip: Be not-too-crunchy and don't taste like garbage. I'm not asking for hand-raised semolina massaged by virgins until ready for ritual sacrifice in the miller's evil grinder. But for those of you with higher requirements for your dip-delivery mechanisms, you should know that the marketing firm that designed the packaging also claims that the chips are: "All Natural, NonGMO Verified, 60% Less Fat than a Potato Chip, 20% Less Fat than Pita Chips, Kosher Certified, Vegan and only 120 calories per serving." Take that with a grain of authentic Mediterranean sea salt.

And I like that they're only 120 calories per serving; however, they measure their serving size in ounces, and I don't know why companies do that. Do I look like I carry around a kitchen scale everywhere I go? How am I supposed to figure out what an ounce is? Food companies: Don't give me ounces and grams so that I have to math my food. I am very busy adulting my life! Just give me the number of chips I can shove in my face hole.

Anyway, the flavor of the chips was still a mystery to me. Then I was making Emerson some chicken broth before her surgery last week, and got some of the consommé powder on my finger. It tasted almost just like the pasta chips. Then I got a whiff of the summer breeze as the cat escaped the front door again and it all came back to me. I don't know if anyone else's mother bought these in the 70s and 80s to pair with our squeeze cheese and Shasta/Big K colas, but this is the flavor I was remembering:

And I'm not mad about it. I haven't had these in 25 years, at least. I was suddenly drenched in lake water and sunscreen, surrounded by bathing-suit-clad 10-year-old friends, pulling a grape soda out of icy cooler water, watching my younger brother try to fit an entire can of squeeze cheese in his mouth while my mother passed out soggy, plastic-wrapped ham-and-cheese sandwiches with more mayo than I cared to eat in a lifetime.

Pass the Pasta Chips.


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