Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Which the Professors Get Tummy Aches

I know I promised a blog entry on The Chocolate Fetish (and I will someday discuss my profound and specific opinions about good chocolate and its necessary consumption), but we never actually made it to the shop. The trip to Asheville was, in truth, a trip to Black Mountain for a reunion with three friends from grad school—women I’ve known for almost 20 years. We had so much catching up to do that we talked for fourteen hours straight on the first full day, leaving the cabin only once for a trip to the grocery store, where we purchased such necessities as chocolate chip cookie dough and diet cokes. It was curious and amusing to witness how quickly four middle-aged women with PhDs (who normally eat and serve their families healthy foods) could revert to their co-ed eating habits.

In the course of our many, many conversations, I mentioned how, when I was a child, my mother rarely bought junk food. Not only were we poor, but she was also health-conscious. Plus she didn’t have a taste for it. So, no cookies, or pop-tarts, or cakes, or sugary cereals in my house. But every once in while, she’d get a hankering for potato chips and dip. Since we lived in a flat just above a bodega, the Lays and sour cream were a few short steps away. (The convenience of this store was not lost on me at 7 or 8; I would scrape together coins found in the seat cushions and sneak down to purchase Hostess Pies, Fun Dip, or Good ‘n Plenty whenever I got the chance. I think most of my energy as child was taken up in the dogged pursuit of sweets.) But nothing made me happier than sitting with my mom on the floor of our avocado-green living room scarfing down chips and dip. Store-bought onion dip was acceptable, but the preferred treat was “California dip” made with sour cream and Lipton’s French onion soup. I ate many a bowl of that stuff well before the onions had rehydrated, munching them together with the chips.

Today, potato chips are my greatest weakness. I can resist ice cream, pie, cake, and most cookies; sugary cereals no longer have any appeal. But potato chips, with their crunchy, salty, greasy goodness, never fail to call my name. Currently the favorite is Kettle Chips “Salt and Pepper” flavor, but DH and I still reminisce about “Crunch Taters,” a thick-cut spicy chip that we found at gas station markets in the 80s. When we were in England, a favorite activity was tasting the bizarrely flavored “crisps” they sold: prawn cocktail, steak and onion, ham and English mustard, etc. And in Italy, snacking on chips became a car activity to ease the anxiety of getting lost in a strange land and to provide a reason to stop at the cool Auto-Grills that marked the highways. We ate a brand called “Cric-Croc” (and by some absurd logic that only he understands, “Cric-Croc” became DH's favored way to say “that’s that”).

So this weekend, when four female profs went foraging for food at the Bi-Lo to sustain our talk-a-thon, the Ruffles and onion dip proved an unanimous choice for dinner.

Paired with a dry white wine, of course.


Mary Louisa said...

HI-larious!! We shall do it all over again in 2010, so cric-croc.

ncfoodie said...

Thanks, "Mary Louisa," for commenting!
Here's to our adventure in two years. Cric-croc, crickety-croc, as the kids will soon say.