Saturday, March 13, 2010

Deciding Whether Cheetos Are Chips: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

The building where I work has a downstairs cafe, and yesterday I ordered a patty melt for lunch. The burger came with a bag of chips, which I didn't want, so I asked my friend and co-worker Cindy if she wanted them and, if so, what kind.

"Yes please!!" she replied. "Anything that's spicy. The spicier, the better."

So when I went down to pick up my food, I saw that the only thing on the chips rack that was of the spicy variety was Flamin' Hot Cheetos. But when I brought them back up to Cindy, her response surprised me:

Thank you, Nev. But Cheetos are not chips.

"Cheetos are not chips."

And a debate among us, as well as our fellow co-workers began.

Are Cheetos chips? It's an interesting question. In my view, yes. After all, you can find them in the chips section of your local supermarket. When your mom bought the variety pack of chips and put them in your lunch box as a kid, Cheetos was among the choices.

In Cindy's view, no. Chips are made of potatoes or tortillas. Cheetos are not, nor are they explicitly described as chips. Because of this, Cheetos are...well, something else.

Opinion among our other co-workers was divided. Some were in the Nevdogg camp, defending Cheetos' right to be a proud member of the chips family. Others were Cindy boosters, saying that Cheetos didn't belong where chips reigned for years. The rest understood where Cindy was coming from but struggled to define what category Cheetos should be in.

Here were the main arguments, both for and against:

1) Chips don't have to be made out of just chips or tortillas. Thus, Cheetos should be considered chips.

Cheetos have sat side by side among Ruffles, Lays and Fritos for years now. One can make the claim that they've already earned their chips membership card. And if they don't have one, such membership is long overdue. Cheetos, supporters say, have paid their dues and earned the right to have full chips rights and privileges.

2) You can find pretzels in the chips section at the market. Pretzels aren't chips. They're pretzels. So just because Cheetos can be found next to chips, it doesn't make them chips.

On paper, this is a very strong argument. But there's a flaw. Yes, pretzels are found in the chips section. However, if you look at the aisle sign at your neighborhood Ralphs, like I did yesterday, you will find that it clearly says "chips and pretzels."

Pretzels have their own listed word at the supermarket. Cheetos don't. So if Cheetos aren't chips, what are they?

This leads to:

3) If Cheetos aren't chips, just call them snacks.

That's right. Let's just call them snacks. And while we're at it, let's call all dogs dogs. All white people white. All video systems Nintendo. If we can't easily define something, let's just it in a neat little box and call them snacks.

This is how war starts, people.

If you don't want to die over Cheetos, you'll think of something better.


And now for this week's:


A friend of mine recently passed this along to me: Heidi Montag before plastic surgery, and Heidi Montag after.

Which do you prefer?

I go with the before, myself.


Anonymous said...

Get a life!

John said...

That depends, on the Cheetos. I am inclined to label the crunchy Cheetos, as "chips" in contrast with the puffy Cheetos, which are not really chip-like at all. Puffy Cheetos, belong in a category of their own. In my opinion, the true test of a chip, falls into two distinct categories:

1. Crunch Factor (Frito's)
2. Dip-ability ( the chip's ability to be dipped) Ruffle's, Frito's

Tim said...

So are Funions and pork rinds. Funions are my fourth favorite chip. BBQ pork float in and out of my top 10.

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