Pringles is, hands down, one of my favorite junk foods. Loving and creating class cuisine doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the lures of macro snack giants, such as Pringles, Hershey’s Chocolate, and Gatorade. All of which happen to make up my three of my favorite indulgences. After hearing that a lower court in England say that Pringles were, in fact, not a potato chip, I wanted to determine if the deconstruction of a Pringle could be reconstituted back into something that could be recognized as a potato product.
I found myself at the grocery store, staring at a variety of pringle flavors. I chose “Cheddar Cheese” Pringles. Yes, the blacklight, hypo-technocolor orange chips that stain your fingers and your lips when you eat them. After parting with my $1.50, I headed off to my lab, the kitchen, to deconstruct and reconstruct. What follows, are my results.
First step was pulverizing the chips which reduced them to the standard potato flake consistency found in instant mashed potatoes. Concerned about the starchiness, I had to make a few decisions. To add more fat? Or to add water. To mix until lumpless? Or to leave it lumpy. (These are technical terms). To get true results, I did both.
The one that was straight water, and mixed until smooth, ended up with a wallpaper paste consistency but had great flavor. It was like cheddar cheese glue. I immediately thought about starting my own line of pre-school paste.
The one that was lumpier, and added equal amounts of melted butter and water had a better consistency, but still didn’t give you the mouth feel, the palatability, of instant potatoes.
Conclusion, the best result was folding the two together, making potato cakes, using the leftover pulverized chips as a breading, and frying in a little bit of olive oil. The cakes were dense, flavorful, and oddly texturally acceptable with a crisp outside and a soft center.
Am I going to put these on the menu at my next big event? The coup de gras of my career is not based on deconstruction, but it was a fun day in the kitchen experimenting with what commercial food has become.
Update: On May 20, 2009, a higher court in London ruled that Pringles were, in fact, real potato chips. So there you go!