To my dear Impulsive Buy readers:
I have a bit of a confession to make.
If you’re as attentive to my reviews as my ego likes to imagine you are, you may have noticed my reviews on this site focus 100 percent on sugar. I completely avoid the fast food section. Some of this has to do with the fact that the closest McDonald’s is a half hour excursion, but it also has to do with the fact that I don’t really eat meat.
I know, I am sorry.
I’m definitely not about to get all PETA on anyone, I just never really liked meat and decided the easiest way to get out of eating burnt hamburgers at cookouts was to just give it up. This has worked well, except for one exception. Bacon.
The thing is, most other meats have some form of suitable substitute out there. But bacon is irreplaceable; it’s God’s bookmark. Have you ever tried the horrendous slices of fake bacon that look like the polymer clay art projects I used to make in Girl Scouts?
So instead of giving up bacon, I have spent the last five years hosting brunches so that I can fill my apartment with the smell of bacon fat, “accidentally” eating the veggie dishes that I know have bacon bits in them, and using Bacon Salt far more liberally than I should. I am a fraud, and this is my confessional.
I had high hopes for these Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips, since they had the potential to fulfill my bacon cravings without coming across as a complete hypocrite to all those who think I’m a real vegetarian. And while they weren’t as innovative as some of the other flavor submissions I saw, like “Salty Tears of Regret” and “Placenta,” bacon and mac & cheese are both pretty safe flavors in the salty snacks category.
After opening the bag, I got a strong whiff of cheddar, and that’s about it. In my first few bites, all I could think about were the cheddar and sour cream chips I used to inhale. Thinking that maybe my palate was lacking its bacon detecting skills, I consulted my roommate in a taste test without letting her know what flavor they were. She too thought they were just cheddar and sour cream. If I really paid close attention, I could detect a slight bacon-y aftertaste. But I can also not identify a single point in my life where I have sat down and mindfully thought about each bite of a chip instead of just chomping on handfuls.
Because I was unconvinced in my first taste of these, I left about half the bag sitting in my room for a week to go back for a second test. And because I am lazy and bad at storing food, I left the bag completely open to go stale. Strangely, on this test, I could detect much more bacon flavor. It may have had something to do with the soft stale chip texture being reminiscent of bacon fat, but I may also just be crazy and searching for a satisfying meatless bacon substitute.
Of all the Do Us a Flavor finalists, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese is near the top. But I would vote for the Wasabi Ginger instead just because these seem too similar to current offerings.
I dream of an America where we can have the ridiculous assortment of chip flavors that they have overseas. However, I’m not sure if the general consumer is as amped at the thought of salmon teriyaki chips as I am, so I see these easily appealing to the widest audience.
If you know you’re not an adventurous eater, these would be the chips to try. Otherwise, I’d recommend trying all the finalists. You can find them in small bags and you can force your friends to eat the ones you don’t like without telling them what they are. Although they’re pretty mainstream, they’re pretty good. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for Lay’s Placenta Potato Chips next year.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz/about 15 chips – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Lay’s Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese Potato Chips
Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 2 7/8 oz bag
Purchased at: Co-op Food Stores
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Safe flavor. Appealing combo. Finding ways to still secretly get bacon in my life. Flavor intensifies when stale. Forcing your friends to eat gross food without knowing it. Placenta chips of the future.
Cons: Predictable. Taste like cheddar and sour cream chips. Having to eat mindfully and slowly to detect the actual bacon flavor. Fakin’ Bacon.