Who thought the potato chip would come this far? Flavors upon flavors of options. The west has its standard fare: barbecue sauces, sour cream onions, chili cheeses. Tried and true. Typical. Trite. Not so in Japan, however, where savory snack manufacturer Calbee is busy producing next level culinary art. That's where I'd like to introduce the product that led me to reconsider the practical and spiritual applications of the chip. Hold your breath. Here is comes: The Anchovy Butter Potato Chip.
The Anchovy Butter Potato Chip doesn't try to win you over with her name. She doesn't need to. One whiff of her fishy aroma and she makes her intentions clear: "I am here and I am ready for your mouth. Take me or leave me." Uttered softly with the confidence of someone who long ago came to terms with her flaws, Anchovy Butter bares all. It's up to me to decide what to do next.
Having already opened the bag, I waste no time. She wouldn't want that. In they go. Three, four, five at a time. The coarse salty crunch gives way to the release of an aroma difficult to describe—like nodules of some far off undersea goo exploding in my mouth. It sounds bad, but it's really not. She walks delicately along the line between tasty and dirty. It's a kink, I guess. And as with all kinks, it takes some time getting used to. But by my fourth swallow she has me convinced. Anchovy Butter: you are too good to me.
You exist for more than my mouth. You exist as a treat for my whole being. Salty, sour, pungent, sweet. But these carnal indulgences don't even penetrate into the surface of your crunchy contours. Deeper down, you make me think. I contemplate the peculiarities of your existence while you enter my esophagus. Someone created you, someone who perhaps didn't realize the implications of their actions.
What do Japanese consumers like? Who is our target market? How can we captivate our customers? Someone asked these questions. I swallowed the answer. Perhaps they thought they were making a limited-time-only, soon-to-be-forgotten, discontinue-after-market-research chip. It doesn't matter though.
No. It doesn't matter that the company who created you probably has little concern for your lifespan. What is important is our short time together. For a moment, you show yourself to me, and I eat you up. Every last granule of salt and artificial flavoring passes through the long trail of my intestines. My acids dissolve you, and you become a part of me. That small remainder of you that continues down into the depths of my bowels—well, we don't need to think about that right now. Just remember, it was beautiful while it lasted.
And so with that, I am proud to report that the Anchovy Butter Potato Chip is a wonderful chip. It may be a little misguided, tainted, and peculiar, but those are always the best ones. Anchovy Butter gave me so much more than Plain ever could. Plain demands little, and gives little. Plain has no problem sitting on the side of your sandwich, existing as little more than an afterthought, an extra dose of sodium and empty calories to be washed down by some sugary beverage. I forgot Plain long ago, but Anchovy Butter will always be remembered, but not alongside the other snacks. No. Anchovy Butter is more than a snack, she's a beautiful experience.