Frito-Lay is at it again. They know people – well, people like me, anyway – can’t resist a limited edition. Or something weird and unique. Or, let’s face it, a chance to pass judgment. So, for the fifth year running, they bring us the “Do Us a Flavor” contest: three or four limited-edition flavors made highly visible with special in-store displays, plus a website where tasters can weigh in on their favorites. Previous U.S. winners include Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger and Southern Biscuits & Gravy.
Canada has its own version of the contest, “Do Us a Flavour,” whose past winners include Jalapeño* Mac & Cheese and … Maple Moose? A little googling reveals that yes, that flavor was supposed to taste like moose meat and maple syrup. You do you, Canada. Apparently Canada is also home to “All Dressed” flavor Ruffles potato chips: the combined flavors of barbecue, sour cream and onion, ketchup, and salt and vinegar. (Supposedly these were made permanently available in the US in 2016, but I’ve never seen them. Maybe they just aren’t sold in New Mexico?)
But back to this year’s contest. 2017 introduces just three flavors: Crispy Taco, Kettle-Cooked Everything Bagel, and Wavy Fried Green Tomato. First up, Wavy Fried Green Tomato.
The back of the package has a photo and quote from Gregory Pope of North Carolina, the guy who pitched the flavor. He tells us that fried green tomatoes, golden brown with salt and pepper, remind him of his childhood in Georgia and are the perfect feel-good food. (Want to know more about our friend Greg? He’ll chat you up in this video.)
A look at the ingredients list reveals that the seasoning blend includes buttermilk; tomato, onion, and garlic powders; paprika; and brown sugar, among other flavorings. The buttermilk makes me think there’ll be a kind of ranch flavor to these.
The chips are really attractive, a deep golden brown, very much the color of the batter on the fried green tomatoes on the front of the bag. Greg must be delighted! Honestly, I haven’t had a fried green tomato in years, so I can’t attest to how much these taste like one, but they’re quite good. The buttermilk flavor is clear, its light tang augmented by gentle spice and a subtle vegetal flavor that my brain is totally willing to accept as tomatoey. It seems like a bright, herbal version of ranch. The texture is light and crisp. The more of them I eat, the better I like them. Arne likes them too; in fact, I had to grab the bag and take it to the kitchen for some photos before we ate them all.
I’ve tried a few of the “Do Us a Flavor” flavors before: Southern Biscuits & Gravy, West Coast Truffle Fries, New York Reuben, and Wasabi Ginger. I think Fried Green Tomato may be the most successful.
Next week: Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese!
*Seriously, Microsoft? In order to make an n with a tilde over it, I have to type ALT-0241? (Not on the numbers above the letter keys, only on the side number keypad.) That’s barbaric.