A product of the Frito-Lay company, these are deep-fried potato crisps which have the odd effect of tasting like dill pickles. One of the many types of "empty calories" which your mother probably warned you about, and like most products of corporate America, they are imitations of more genuine and regionally produced products which undoubtedly are far superior but have been excluded from competing with the unstoppable hegemony of the Frito-Lay fried foods juggernaut. Despite all of these facts, I love 'em. They are available, one good-sized bag, for about $3.00 US.

Nutritional information: I could read it off the bag for you, but did you really want to know? In a word: abysmal. All fat and carbohydrates, with a spectacularly high glycemic index (bad for South Beach dieters) and no protein to speak of. Still, when there is snacking to be done, these are one of my current top three choices.

Through the magic of monosodium glutamate and the taste testing of untold hundreds of Frito-Lay employees, the effects of the dill pickle chip are a combination which is brought forth through a subtle and precise interaction of smell, taste, and touch senses. In its intended mode of use, this melange produces a food experience which, while reminiscent of the scent and flavor of dill pickles, at the same moment transcends this impression with crunchiness and saltiness and potato flavor. Truly, a sensory masterwork and a snacking moment worthy of even the most refined junk food palettes.

And yet, despite this glowing review, I have to say that I generally find pickles (kosher or otherwise) to be pretty gross. Perhaps I just haven't met the right pickle yet. I am after all, from the midwest, where we only come out of our shacks to hunt for fresh raccoon skins once we have worn out our old clothes by dry-humping our sisters. And here it is, in fact, that my simple middle-American sensibilities are truly turned on their head.

For, you see, the real purpose for this writeup is to highlight a discovery made on a drinking expedition. Like many people, I like vodka, and one day while exploring E2, I became intrigued by cswill's vodka writeup, concerning how to drink vodka like a Russian. (a brief excerpt:)

Most readers are probably familar with tequila. You know, the salt, the shot, and the lime. Similarly, when drinking vodka with Russians, there are usually three steps:

  • Consume the shot
  • Eat a piece of pickle
  • Smell a piece of bread, usually rye.

After reading this node, I tried this approach and discovered (to my shock) that, similar to the suspension of my dislike for sauerkraut when used in reuben sandwiches, cswill's technique makes good pickles (and rye bread) something I want to keep in my refrigerator from time to time. But, pickles and rye bread aren't all that portable, and it's hard to know how much to buy or set out when you aren't planning on drinking the whole bottle at once (as much as that may be bad form in the mother country).

Lay's dill pickle chips to the rescue. It came to me in a flash, that I might yet dare to take this facile food a step further than its born purpose, for it is in fact in its achievement in synergy among multiple senses that the true versatility of this, the Lay's Dill Pickle Chip, becomes truly realized. Together touch and taste and smell coalesce to form the intended experience, but if you dare, you may use the components apart as an artist might use the paints on his palette. You can, in fact, use these chips as a substitute for the russian pickle technique. You:

  • consume the shot,
  • eat half of a dill pickle chip,
  • smell the other half of the chip

It is through this process of experimentation that I have formed the notion that these chips are somehow related to russian culture or food science. I have become convinced that somebody of eastern European descent invented the flavor; although on further investigation it seems more likely that Canada is, in fact, more responsible for the dill pickle chip phenomenon.

Sill, I cannot help but feel I have made a great discovery... for myself, if nobody else. This discovery may merely be me finding a great city by stumbling blindly out of the woods. On the other hand, it might be that I am the first person ever to discover the secret of vodka and pickle chips, in which case I would encourage everybody to buy a bag next time you're going to break out the grey goose.

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