Drew Tries Stuff: Every Damn Weird Lay's Flavor
Do you people see what I do for you? Do you see? Okay… full disclosure, this week’s blog was originally supposed to be about me going to a writer’s group in DFW and meeting other authors, but then I got sick on Tuesday and had to think of something else. Low and behold, a commercial for the new flavors of Lays came on, and suddenly it struck me: that seems like a really stupid idea. Stupid, but fun. Also, I super wanted to try the biscuits and gravy flavor, and this gave me a viable excuse.
Not going to lie, one of the best experiences of this was actually buying the materials. I wish you could have seen the look the cashier gave me as I pulled bag after bag from my basket, refusing to be ashamed as she ran each one over the scanner. Even once I got home, the bags seemed to be maliciously staring at me, judging me as though I’d committed some unspoken taboo.
Soon enough though, I ripped those bastards open and the smugness vanished. What followed was a flavor journey unlike any I’ve ever experienced before, and I did it all so you folks wouldn’t have too. And because I wanted to try the biscuits and gravy flavor, which, coincidentally, was why that was the first bag I tore into.
Biscuits and Gravy
On my first bite, I was wildly underwhelmed. It tasted just like a chip, only slightly off. Disappointment was already settling in, but as I kept chewing, I found that the flavor started to change. Bland as it was at first, the more I chewed the more I could actually get a sense of what they’d been going for, and it was pretty good. It sort of made sense, once I stopped to think about it. The spice alone can’t capture the full flavor of biscuits and gravy; you need some starch in there as well. It’s only after everything has come together that the true taste is discerned.
I ate several more (for science) and concluded that even if the others were awful, this experiment had been worthwhile for this bag alone. Deciding it was time to get a little more adventurous, I next turned to a bag that I’d been curious about, and had a healthy fear for.
Truth be told, I have never eaten a Reuben. Even after having a Russian roommate who bought sauerkraut by the pound, I somehow never got around to trying the stuff, and for those of you who don’t know it is very much a key part of the Reuben experience. At least, I figured, I was going into this sandwich with an open mind, since I had no preconceived ideas to taint my expectations.
This wasn’t like the first bag, whose flavor changed as one chewed. This came on strong and stayed there, a one note affair, but a solid one. I’m not sure how to describe what this tasted like, other than to say it was like a pickle, but not shitty. Which, by the way, if that’s what sauerkraut tastes like, sign me up. I hate pickles themselves, however sour and acid are important aspects to flavor, or at least that’s what Top Chef keeps telling me.
Anyway, this bag was a solid “Meh”. I would eat it if it was all I had, but I wasn’t going to seek it out again. It was time to go for something a bit bolder.
Gryo’s and I have a complicated past. I’ve had ones that ranks among my favorite culinary experiences, and I’ve had ones that were so awful I gave up halfway through and went for tacos. With this bag, I didn’t know where we were going to end up on the spectrum, so I had a glass of water on hand as an emergency chaser.
Like the Reuben, this one was also a strong one-note experience that followed through from first bite to last. To their credit, it did sort of taste like a Gyro, and by that I mean all the more subtle flavors were fucking crushed by the overwhelming tartness of cucumber. It wasn’t pure cucumber, I’ll give them that, there were some other flavors and spices in there. Honestly, it felt more like I was eating a chip flavored with the tzatziki sauce than getting a full gyro experience. That said, it wasn’t a bad taste, and in fact so far it was second to the ole B&G in terms of current chip ranking. There was, however, one still left to try.
Fun fact: When I was working in Alabama for a few months, there was a French restaurant that opened near our office. Instead of fries, they served truffle-scented pomme frittes, which were pretty good if you ask me. Still, it did about as well as you’d expect a restaurant in rural Alabama that tried to fancy up their french fries to do. All of that is my way of saying, I did have some ideas of what tastes I should be getting with this one, even if those ideas were based on a very limited experience.
This bag, for me, is the most complex. The first time I tried them, I was not a fan. Then, later that night, I made burgers and tried all the chip flavors again to see how they paired with food. I didn’t mention this above because all of them tasted the same, but this one was an exception. When it had other flavors to contend with, the taste of the chip wasn’t quite so overpowering, and in fact was pretty enjoyable. It didn’t surpass B&G, but it had a unique appeal of it’s own. I was impressed. Then I went back to try them again solo, and it was back to square one. Well, that gave it some merit, at least.
1. Biscuits and Gravy
2. Truffle Fries (when paired with food)
4. Reuben Sandwich
Now, if you all will excuse me, I think I need to go eat some carrots or something to apologize to my body.