Originally posted by wheregreggeats.com
I'll address a few ...
RE: Tim's Chips in the Northwest ... There is a brand of chips in Texas (Texas Chips?) ... the packaging and the product seem identical to Tim's. Anyone know if there is any connection? BTW: Tim's is probably THE most consistant, best rustic chip.
RE: Wise ... I can also remember when they were really good, because they were very well done. I'm guessing some MBA -- who would think New Haven Pizza is burned -- probably generisized the Wise Chips. Today they aren't bad.
RE: State Line chips ... Who'll ever know if the chips I read that you can get today are as good as the old-timers (such as myself) remember. But I do miss them.
RE: Harry Cary's ... ARE the best fresh. Atlthough any fresh chip is usually pretty good.
RE: Cape Cod chips ... they were the best in their time. I have to beleive they have also been over "improved" ...
RE: Utz ... never a dissapointment.
Finally, in my opinion, flavored chips -- almost always, enhanced by MSG -- are always a compromise. Therefore, the real test is in the plain chips. If i never passed through Seattle, I'd miss Tim's the most.If it weren't for the fact that Wise is so-different than the old daze, I'd miss them too.
A few comments about your excellent observations:
1. Wise - Owned by Borden, now in bankruptcy, trying to work out of it. Made in many different plants so consistant quality is going to be difficult.
2. Cape Cod - Downsizing its production from its original Hyannis, MA plant and increasing its production at the very large plant of LANCE, in Charlotte NC. Quality suffering? Well, they make the same Lance chips in the same kettles as the Cape Cod and now only the packaging (and the price) is different.
3. Utz - Trying to stay competitive by being in the low price field. While their specialty chips such as Grandma Utz's are more expensive, they are trying to be leaders in the supermarkets, but fighting Lay's can only be done on price and they may be sacrificing quality to maintain their prices.
4. Tim's - Was bought by ConAgra foods and then sold to Birdseye. Will they continue to maintain their standards now that they are truly corporate? Their web site loudly proclaims that they won the American Culinary Institutes GOLD MEDAL. Bah, humbug! Thats like Lay's recent campaign in Chicago (now under a cease and desist order from the Courts) that claimed Chicagoans preferred Lays to Jay's (a local brand) in taste tests.
This forum, "regional potato chips" is wonderful, however too often the posts are about memories. There are still people making chips with the attitude of 'this is my product, this is how it tastes, I hope you like it'. Great products with wonderful flavors. "Route 11" of Virginia, "Grippo's" of Cincinnati, "Martin's" of Thomasville Pa, "Mrs. Fisher's" in Rockford IL; these are the artists in the Chip business who we should be glorifying for their current efforts and products.
The Utz's, Lance's, Herr's, Wise's etc, have surrendered to the Lay's philosophy of mass production and now aim at the 'center' of taste levels, rather than to a specific taste.
Because of the giant known as Frito-Lay, the smaller guys can never get the wide distribution. The internet is a wonderful way to find these people and get their chips. You really should try to find "Grippo's Waffle Bar B Que" and you will immediately realize euphoria. People in Cincinnati use the crumbs from the bottom of the bag to coat their chicken! Unfortunately, Grippo does not have its own website.