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Regional Favorites – The Love of Local Food Culture

This is a guest post by Brenda Belarmino, Administrative Assistant for Workforce Solutions

At a family gathering in southern Indiana, I recently listened to a debate on the merits of one potato chip brand to another, specifically Utz versus Grippo’s. Each brand was passionately defended by the chip connoisseurs of my family, from the spice flavorings to the thickness of the cut.

My nephew stopped at the local grocery store and was admonished by the cashier for not picking up the “better” brand. Since he was an outsider and couldn’t possibly know better, he was forgiven for that enormous mistake.

Whenever I travel to Pennsylvania, my home state, I stock up on Middleswarth potato chips. To me, they are the best chips. The right amount of greasiness, not too much to upset a sensitive stomach but not too little to make me think they are (gasp) baked.

Photo of an old Wise Potato Chips SignWhen I was very young, Wise chips ruled the area.  A person knew they were in Wise country by the distinctive advertising sign of an owl with bags under his eyes.

They are still being produced today, I thought Middleswarth might have defeated them, but it seems that there are still one or two Wise chip lovers in Pennsylvania.

My daughter loves Krunchers and has not been able to find them at the grocery store lately. Her best time at the gathering was in the grocery store when she found multiple flavors in the snack aisle. We loaded up the cart and checked out. The cashier noted that we must be the designated chip bringers for a picnic. I thought it best not to disagree as we had bought the whole stock.

While there, I thought I would give the local brand a taste test and bought a bag of horseradish cheddar flavor. I like a little horseradish on deli sandwiches and thought I’d be adventurous. I took my first bite, and the taste of horseradish engulfed my mouth and overcame my senses. My sinus cavity felt like a horseradish explosion had detonated in my head. Thinking that maybe it had been a bad chip, I gave it another try. Nope! Each chip was permeated with horseradish flavor. “Where is the cheddar?” I wondered. It was non-existent. Graciously, I shared the bag with my siblings. Why should I keep that experience to myself?

So grab a bag of favorite local-made chips on the way home tonight and enjoy! Share with your family if you buy a special flavor; they will thank you like mine did.

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