Doritos for the Weary

The week before last, I fell ill, dear readers, and have slowly transitioned through the various stages of flu or upper respiratory infection. Everyone I encountered seemed to be sick, and this impression deepened each time I ducked to avoid uncovered coughs on public transportation. I thought I was finally rounding the last quarter mile, but then I started to feel new symptoms and a resurgence of old symptoms. A new cold has begun, much to my chagrin. Normally, I try to tackle the first signs of illness with a battery of orange juice and supplements. This tactic failed two weeks ago. So what did I do this time? I did what my body really wanted to do, which was eat almost an entire large bag of Chilli Heatwave Doritos. This is a dominant variety of Dorito here in the UK, where Doritos are made by Walkers under the PepsiCo umbrella. Why am I self-medicating with Doritos? Maybe it’s because I’m Doritos Loco.

A few years ago, when I was working long, stressful hours, I periodically visited my local 7/11 to buy a nacho trifecta- Tostitos, Queso dip, and salsa. I would mix the queso and the salsa together and indulge in nachos.*  Perhaps, as a result of this, and years of snacking au vending machine, my body simply associates nacho chips with stress relief and repair. I don’t know. What I do know now is that delicious, slightly sweet, slightly hot Chilli Heatwave Doritos should not be washed down with orange juice. I think the human body knows it’s not supposed to consume that much of any one color.

Now I’ll go to bed a bit early. If I feel better tomorrow, the credit may be shared with sleep and Doritos dust.

*After a nacho hiatus of a couple months, when I finally went back to 7/11, the clerk asked me where I had been.  I appreciated his concern, while simultaneously recoiling at the frequency of my stress relief nacho purchases.


Walkers Squares- Salt & Vinegar


First of all, what’s with junk food labeling here in the UK? The labels seem to include either extremely specific and uninspired descriptions (i.e. “unmistakably cheesy”) or pictures that suggest an entirely different density.  Squares fall into the latter category.  I thought these would be thicker, like little salt & vinegar crackers, which seemed kind of interesting.  I thought maybe crackers would retain even more savory zing crystals than chips.  Alas, these are pretty much chips squared, only in terms of the shape, not (salt + vinegar) 2


I will grant that they don’t seem as oily as potato chips, although oiliness levels do vary from chip to chip, so I’m not sure if this gives Squares an advantage compared to salt & vinegar chips generally.  The lightness would be good if you just want a little bit of salt & vinegar.  I suspect, however, that most people would rather just go full throttle with their S&V crisps.

According to a label on the back, “snacks with angles is where it’s at.”  Shouldn’t it say “snacks with angles are where it’s at?”  Am I being too particular?  The label goes on to note that “squares are unashamedly different.”  Walkers is all about encouraging chip shape acceptance.  The label also claims that these are the only crisps that let you “build little crisp houses, before munching and crunching.”  I suppose that’s true, only if you’re the Zaha Hadid of the junk food world.  The rest of us should stick to building houses with saltines.

Walkers Cheese & Onion

Walkers Cheese and Onion 2

Because I am a stranger in a strange land, I didn’t realize these were chips (or “crisps” in the local lexicon).

Walkers Cheese and Onion 1

Am I crazy, or does the package suggest that these are thicker, like something between a chip and a soy crisp/rice cake? Maybe I just saw what I wanted to see. Perhaps it’s because puffy snacks usually have more flavor powder? I’m using the term “flavor powder” as if it’s a technical term.  Some people call it “Doritos Dust.”  I just rebutted my own thesis there- Doritos aren’t puffy at all, and yet they have enough flavor powder to keep them warm during a long winter. These Cheese & Onion chips are not gilded in cheesy dust, yet they are “unmistakably” cheesy, per the description on the package. Is that really the best word they could come up with to emphasize the flavor of the chips? In the U.S., the flavor would be described as “booming cheese & onion” or “Philadelphia Cheese Steak.” Actually, the latter would be hyperbole, because these do pretty much taste- UNMISTAKABLY- like a union of cheese and onion. And not a Vegas-style rip-roaring union, but rather something more sedate, where everyone is wearing shoes.

These are good if you’re in the mood for Cheese & Onion chips. They’re more oniony than the Quavers I reviewed.  However, there are so many other types of chips, er, crisps, in England- including some great salt and vinegar chips- that I don’t think I’m going to develop cravings for these in particular.

PS- Every time I typed “crisp,” I accidentally typed “crips.”  I only noticed this after a read-through.  I think Soy Crips hang out at Whole Foods.