Chips, ahoy!
June 23, 2022 8:07 AM   Subscribe

The current Kettle Chips product line features 24 different chip varieties including classics like Honey Dijon and Backyard Barbecue and newer varieties like Pepperoncini and Truffle & Sea Salt. If none of those tickle your fancy, perhaps you'd enjoy Cape Cod Chips, Utz's Dirty and Zapp's lines, Frito-Lay's Miss Vickie's brand, or even Saratoga Chips. Or, if none of these grab you, you could always make your own.

Not into the whole kettle style, more of a Lays (how they're made), Pringles (how they're made), or Ruffles (not how they're made (previously)) person? Relatable.

You probably knew this already, but the potato chip origin story? Probably a myth (previously). But you can still rent Moon's Lake House.

Or maybe you just want a ranked list of potato chips? Bet you can't read just one.
posted by box (39 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Voice of America talks CRISPS vs CHIPS!

Learn thine english, taterlovers.
posted by lalochezia at 8:13 AM on June 23

I've lived my entire life within a 25-mile radius of the Kettle Chips HQ in Salem, Oregon. (Although, maybe that's no longer the HQ?) Kettle Chips are ubiquitous here, as you might expect. And because I am fat and stupid, I've been eating far too many potato chips over the past year. I've tried dozens of varieties during that time. My two favorites? The Korean BBQ flavor from Kettle (so subtle but so good -- the most complex flavors I've ever experienced in a potato chip) and the truffle salt flavor from Kettle (not subtle at all -- delicious but like being hit over the head with a truffle brick). I also like the white truffle flavor from Trader Joe's.

Anyhow, I'm sad that the Korean BBQ flavor from Kettle seems to have been temporary or seasonal. My local grocery stores no longer have them. There's not even shelf space allocated to them. They're gone. (Maybe it's my fault? Maybe I ate them all?)
posted by jdroth at 8:15 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]

I came to represent Hostess Orange/Grape/Cherry chips of the 70s.
posted by mazola at 8:16 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

Does Utz still make the Grandma Utz's Kettle Chips? Those were the best, I think because they were fried in lard, not oil, but I can't find them anymore.
posted by SansPoint at 8:23 AM on June 23

Cape Cod Potato Chips are the best!

I remember when they came in plastic buckets. Every single family cookout there would be an open bucket of Cape Cod Chips on the table, and we repurposed those buckets for everything from collecting loose crayons to building sandcastles at the beach. My mom even used them as plant pots.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:24 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid, I Invented a sandwich, cherry jello and a layer of potato chips. On white bread, of course. Sweet and salty, with a delightful crunch. I can still taste it after all these many years of a much matured palate.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:25 AM on June 23

SansPoint: seems that they do

Speaking of Utz, I was surprised to learn that they make Dirty Potato Chips, my favorite kettle chip brand. According to MetaFilter's new favorite website Potato Pro, Dirty was acquired by Zappe Endeavors in the 90s, then Zappe was absorbed into Utz in 2011.
posted by May Kasahara at 8:34 AM on June 23

Beware BBQ… I had a friend up in Canada who worked in a potato chip factory. Overhead in the factory was a huge storage container full of that BBQ powder to be put on the chips. One day it burst, and the powder escaped. They had a sudden evacuation of all hands as breathing in this powder was deadly. They then had a hazmat crew come in to clean it up. Next time you bite into a BBQ chip, remember that somewhere people were risking their lives in order to bring you that chip.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:34 AM on June 23 [6 favorites]

Growing up, State Line potato chips were the family favorite when we visited Grandma’s house in CT. Charles Chips, home delivered in the big yellow tin were the second back at home in FL.

Now I am all about Trader Joe’s Dark Russet potato chips, with Lay’s Lightly Salted a close second.

But, at risk of going off-topic, my favorite chip by far is Doritos Nacho Cheese chips. The original, not those hot ones.
posted by sundrop at 8:35 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

I may have stood on this soapbox before...but why are there no good baked chips in the U.S. any more? The baked Lay's/Ruffles are ok, but, generally, too sweet. There used to be other brands from other producers, but all of them were discontinued. Any suggestions/theories would be appreciated.
posted by the sobsister at 8:35 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

Is this the place where we can argue endlessly about which oil is the best to fry chips / crisps? #teamanimalfat?

Can we also argue if the leftover cuttings of Catholic host wafers (Retailles d’hosties / Ritagli di Ostie) count as "chips"? #Snackrament?
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:42 AM on June 23 [4 favorites]

Mmm, corpus crispy.
posted by mpark at 8:46 AM on June 23 [11 favorites]

Utz also acquired the other Massachusetts potato chip brand, Wachusett.

For some reason I remember State Line from elementary school field day cookouts.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:56 AM on June 23

Wait: Zapp’s is now owned by Utz?!? I didn’t know that. It looks like the sale happened after the founder passed away. These were my go-to chips until Hen of the Woods.
posted by MrGuilt at 8:58 AM on June 23

Always was a fan of Middleswarth. They no longer make the cardboard barrel though.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 9:00 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

Kettle style chips have almost entirely displaced fried chips in the delis here and it drives me entirely nuts. I don't like kettle chips at all, and the only alternative now is Doritos. Doritos! Why not just serve me pastrami on sourdough and get it over with? Here, put the blindfold on and line me up against the wall. Give me one of those five dollar cigars you got behind the counter, why not. And a chocolate bar. No, not a fucking Ritter Sport! Find me a Krackle or something. I tell you, Gen Z has it rough.
posted by phooky at 9:00 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

What do you have against Ritter Sport?
posted by sharp pointy objects at 9:01 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]

Jdroth, I'm across the US, but I get the Korean BBQ intermittently in my work cafeteria. It's completely random; I assumed it was our supplier but maybe it's a source issue? You are correct in it being the best flavor.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:04 AM on June 23

(nothing other than a caricatured resistance to change. I actually love Ritter Sport.)
posted by phooky at 9:05 AM on June 23

"What do you have against Ritter Sport?"

Can't speak for phooky but Ritter Sport is no Milka as far as I'm concerned. Growing up in Germany Milka vs Ritter Sport was a clear line of division that was only crossed in emergency situations.

I'm more confused about the kettle vs fried issue. Isn't the only difference that one is made in batches and the other in a continuous process? But both are fried in fat/oil?
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:10 AM on June 23

Miss Vickie's are great, but the American version is an unusually bland port of a Canadian brand. I would expect better from the land of 25 varieties of Cheez-Itz. You all neeed to come north of the border for some Spicy Dill Pickle chips.
posted by PatchesPal at 9:15 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

If you live around the mid-Atlantic region, I recommend Route 11 Chips! Mama Zuma's Revenge and Chesapeake Crab are two of my favorites. Unfortunately I don't see their mixed vegetable chips on the website; they were tasty too.
posted by TedW at 9:16 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

Trader Joe's Ghost Pepper chips are #1. No other is even close. They are great tasting and firm enough to grab the dip without breaking.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:23 AM on June 23

I wish all dressed was a more prevalent flavor here in the states. I can usually find Ruffles version of it, but the only other brand I know of that carries it is Humpty Dumpty and that doesn't make it as far south as Massachusetts.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:24 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

The best chips are Brets Chèvre & Piment d’Espelette.
posted by snofoam at 9:30 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]

An unexpected pandemic outcome is that I discovered Brets chips are really, really good.
posted by mazola at 9:32 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

RonButNotStupid: I was just thinking about Humpty Dumpty, which I remember from my childhood in Halifax and I think Winnipeg also?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:38 AM on June 23

I think the best chips are those thick cut ones that are made in-house that you can get at upscale casual restaurants. Like the kind of place that will sell you an eleven dollar beer with your sandwich. I don’t know what magic they do to make them so different from store bought chips.
posted by eirias at 9:40 AM on June 23

I miss Tim's Cascade Alder Smoked BBQ, best chip ever made. Sigh...
posted by calamari kid at 10:17 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

I think the best chips are those thick cut ones that are made in-house that you can get at upscale casual restaurants. Like the kind of place that will sell you an eleven dollar beer with your sandwich.

There's a place like that near me that serves, as an appetizer, a big plate of these chips, warm, topped with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic vinegar drizzle. You have to eat them within about 5 minutes or they get unacceptably soggy, but those 5 minutes are the best ever.
posted by Daily Alice at 10:29 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]

Can we also argue if the leftover cuttings of Catholic host wafers (Retailles d’hosties / Ritagli di Ostie) count as "chips"? #Snackrament?

Osti chips de tabarnak?

I was just thinking about Humpty Dumpty, which I remember from my childhood in Halifax and I think Winnipeg also?

I also remember Humpty Dumpty growing up in Ontario.

Interestingly, Humpty Dumpty has changed hands a few times over the years - it was founded in Maine, was later acquired by a Canadian company, and is currently owned by Old Dutch (based in MN). Looks like they rebranded all of the Humpty Dumpty potato chips to Old Dutch, and their non-chip snacks are sold as Humpty Dumpty.

Old Dutch was super-common in Ontario kinda west of Sault St. Marie for a long time, but it wasn't until the last 10 or 15 years or so when it showed up in SW Ontario, if my frequent visits to the chip aisle are any useful piece of anecdata.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 AM on June 23

When my mother came to visit me from South Carolina, we gave her all-dressed chips to try and she immediately became a convert. I send her some when I can. Also, ridged style of all-dressed is better than than the usual smoother style.

And Covered Bridge's Storm Chips are legit.
posted by Kitteh at 10:44 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

Kettle Chips built a new factory in our town at the same time our campus buit a new Science Center, and we had a bit of a friendly rivalry around LEED certification. We thought they might beat us due to their large native prairie, but we edged them out and got platinum to their gold.

They helped us celebrate our grand opening with a big wheelbarrow full of free chips.

Soon after, Frito-Lay, a longtime institution and hometown favorite, achieved Gold certification of their existing facility.

We built a second certified building on our camps, so our town's total is up to three gold LEED-certified buildings and one platinum.
posted by BrashTech at 10:47 AM on June 23

One time I bought a bag of Herr's Ketchup flavored chips at Ocean State Job Lot (Herr's is/was not a brand that is common around here and I was curious) and they were the most hyper-palatable chips I've ever had. I just. kept. eating. them. I've gone through an entire bag of chips before and since, but this was an entirely different level of just repeatedly slamming my taste buds with burst after burst of wayyyyyyy too flavor and it was disturbing enough that I've made it a point to stay away from that brand.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:58 AM on June 23

I’m here to pour one out for Kettle Chips Spicy Thai flavor, long discontinued, that was my favorite ever flavor of chips.

I’m seeing lots of new-to-me brands and flavors in this thread-hopefully I can find something to take the place of Spicy Thai!
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 11:02 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]

Deep River's Sweet Maui Onion Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. That is all.
posted by mikelieman at 3:23 PM on June 23

I went to a meeting with a catered lunch today, and my turkey sandwich with pepper jack, avocado, field greens, tomato, and mayo on a baguette came with a bag of Dirty sour cream and onion chips. Not a flavor I would normally choose, but that was a good little bag of chips.
posted by box at 3:58 PM on June 23

My brother got married on Cape Cod a few years back, and they gave out small bags of Cape Cod chips before dinner. I remember them as being very good, not too salty or greasy, so you could really taste the potato-ey-ness of them. I'm a veteran of Kettle Chips, but I liked the Cape Cod ones better.

Maybe it was partly the clean salt air of a Cape Cod summer that amplified the taste. Or the jetlag I was feeling, having flown in from London at the eleventh hour between opera rehearsals.

Anyway, my brother and brother-in-law are still super happy and revoltingly cute together, so in conclusion, eat more potato chips.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:42 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]

At some point in elementary or middle school we took a tour of the Herr's factory. I remember nothing but the delicious warm chip they gave us fresh off the line at the end.
posted by sepviva at 6:59 PM on June 23

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