I’m a product of Generation X, as coined by the famed author Douglas Coupland. Born between the advent of the wood paneled Atari 2600 and the ColecoVision, I was fathered by the 80’s. Scatter in some circular scratch & sniff stickers to boot.
The musty smell of wires and sweat in a mall’s darkened arcade evokes the same feelings in me as one would if they smelled fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from a well-worn oven. That is my nostalgia and that is my Americana.
I cradled my teen angst with multiple viewings of The Breakfast Club, The Hidden (An underrated Kyle MacLachlan classic), and Young Guns, all of which still transport me back to my parachute pants days whenever I catch them on television. My love for this decade led me to collect obscure New Wave singles and albums in college.
My Anglophile nature was a direct result of the “me” decade. I could bore you with theories on the influence Michael Mann and the Miami Vice series (except the weird episode with James Brown and aliens) had on modern cinema, but I won’t.
I still have worn out VCR tapes of bootleg New Order concerts I can’t play because I no longer have a VCR. I miss cassette tapes, as I used to produce my own “radio show” with my younger brother before he discovered pot. My puberty-tinged squeaky voice was heavy on the Staten Island accent, but heavier on the derogatory words.
My show “employed” awful racist characters such as reporters “Char Siu Charlie” who had a horrible off the boat accent and weatherman “Blackman Jones” who would end his report by calling people “jive turkeys.” That was fun, if not appropriate.
Ah, the 80’s are everything to me.
So how is it I never came across Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch Corn Chips when I was a child? It may be that my Mom only bought ShopRite brand regular chips or pretzel twists. This variety was unleashed in the 80s and Fritos made the wise decision to bring these back, albeit in Limited Edition form.
I broke my ranch flavor hymen the way most of us did…Cool Ranch Doritos and ever since then, I’m more than happy to try ranch anything. I’ve never been a fan of corn chips because they have a gritty feel in my mouth and sometimes they smell like sweaty feet. I never made the connection until I was sparring in a failed attempt to get any belt in martial arts and noticed the mats smelled of corn chips.
The ranch flavor sold me immediately when I passed by the non-potato chip shelf, which makes the first time I have bought corn chips out of my own interest. You cannot miss the bag because Fritos uses a teal blue package (I can hear the synths of Jan Hammer) for its Wild ‘n Mild Ranch.
Wild ‘n Mild is an oxymoron. It’s like a Christian band that “rocks” or ordering a good gin martini at an Applebee’s. How can one be wild AND mild? Unless you’re talking about those sexy librarians who have their hair tied up with those chunky black glasses.
There was a strong corn chip smell (or workout mats in my mind) once I opened the bag which made me wary because I didn’t want these to taste just of corn chips. I grabbed a few. There was a nice clean smokiness from the chips that gave way to a creamy mild ranch taste immediately. Let me emphasize this does not taste anything close to Cool Ranch Doritos, but more like its disciplined sarcastic sister who listens to Elbow and watches Downton Abbey.
I really liked them despite being corn chips. The great thing about these is you can eat a handful and not have your tongue overloaded with ranch zest. The ranch flavor, no matter how much you eat, remains in the middle range and the richness of the smoke from the corn is a good compliment.
Nothing really wild exists about these corn chips but I figure someone thought rhyming was a good selling point or calling these just ranch corn chips was boring. If you’re looking for an honest ranch corn chip, Fritos delivers. If you’re looking for something to kick your taste buds into sensory override, you will be disappointed.
That’s my only complaint. I wish the ranch flavor was more prevalent, but balancing a flavor like that is hard. You do get a great spike of ranch when you first eat the chips but it doesn’t linger. Before it quickly disappears, it whispers briefly such as the librarian who checks out your books as she judges your taste in novels and argyle sweater vests.
I’m hoping Fritos shift these from limited edition to a regular product. Granted, the 80s have given us a lot of bad things, shoulder pads in blazers, that horrid “Walking on Sunshine” song, and mullets with rat tails. There are a great deal of good things as well and these Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch are one of them.
(Nutrition Facts – about 28 chips – 150 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Other Limited Edition Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch reviews:
Junk Food Guy
Item: Limited Edition Fritos Wild ‘n Mild Ranch
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10.5 ounces
Purchased at: Publix (where the parking is ridiculously annoying)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Ranch is not overpowering. Nice clean smokiness from the corn chips. The iconic hot librarian. Ranch is creamy and mild. “The Hidden” will make you pine for mashed potatoes and witness a pre-agent Cooper. New Wave music from the 80s and Elbow.
Cons: Ranch itself could be too mild. If I ever run for an elected position, those tapes will do me in. Limited edition which means who knows how long these will be around. Shoulder pad blazers from the 80s. Char Siu Charlie never hit it big as a reporter.