Thin potato slices fried crisp in oil date from the early 19th century, when they are said to have been invented by chef George Speck in Saratoga Springs, New York. Chips, as they came to be called, were first produced commercially either in Massachusetts in 1908 or Ohio in 1910. Flavorings were added for the first time — cheese & onion and salt & vinegar — by an Irish company, Tayto, in the 1950s, and America got into the act with chips made with barbecue-sauce flavorings later in the same decade.
After that, all bets were off. American companies started selling chips flavored with various combinations of chile powder and other spices, citrus, sour cream, pickle juice, assorted cheeses, ranch dressing, and more. British manufacturers went crazy, producing variations whose flavorings were meant to simulate the tastes of prawn cocktail, oysters, roast chicken, roast beef, roast ham with cranberries, roast lamb with mint, sausage and mustard, even haggis. Japan put its own twist on chips, with examples that evoked the flavors of nori seaweed, pickled plums, fish roe, and (why not?) Pepsi Cola.
The craze for flavoring extended beyond potato chips to tortilla chips (like Doritos), the unique little corn chips called Fritos, and various other crispy snacks — including the faux-potato chips called Pringles, made with extruded potato flour. These are 25 “junk foods” that are actually not so bad for you.
Food companies are constantly developing new products, of course, and that includes new flavored chips and suchlike. Often these are limited editions or sold only in certain markets. Sometimes, though, they’re launched nationwide and just don’t fly off the shelves, so get discontinued — sometimes just as we’re starting to develop a taste for them. Chips, after all, are among the 40 popular discontinued snack foods we miss the most.
24/7 Tempo has assembled a list of 20 potato chips and snack chips of a few other kinds that were introduced but then faded from sight. They’re some of the ones we miss the most — chips with forthright and sometimes unusual flavors that deserve another chance. We consulted a number of online lists, including those published by ChipReview, Taquitos.Net, Insider, and METV, as well as corporate sites for various chip manufacturers.