Pommes frites

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jan 23 03:17:26 UTC 2012

If we talk about "chips", in general, there are some interesting things
to deal with. First, there was the attempt by Pringles to be classified
as something other than "crisps" in the UK--for tax purposes. That
resulted in some name changes. For one, chips of the Pringles
kind--i.e., reconstituted from potato or rice flour--are now regularly
referred to as "crisps" in the US market. There are other items that are
clearly not "chip" shaped--in the sense that they don't look like poker
chips. One such item is "veggie sticks" (or "stix"). But there are also
other "chips" that really do look like poker chips (although not
necessarily round)--these include pita chips, bagel chips, pretzel
chips, corn chips (of course! but not necessarily tortila or tortilla
chips; also includes "popcorn chips"), bean chips, vegetable chips,
[other unnamed] chips (e.g., Terra--they really just go by "Terra
chips"), multigrain chips. I have not done any formal research on the
subject--these are just the ones I can recall from memory. But there are
a couple of characteristics that most of these share. Potato chips
(other than Pringles-like versions) and Terra chips are made from slices
of actual vegetable (usually tubers, but could also be zucchini, banana,
plantain, apple--theoretically, pear and quince also could be cut into
"chips", as well as items that are referred to as "chips" in recipes but
are not sold commercially--sunchokes and lotus, both of which I've made
in my own kitchen). Pita chips and bagel chips are made from irregular
"slices" of actual pita and bagels, respectively. Pretzel chips are
essentially flat pretzels. The rest are reconstituted "chips" shaped
with dehydrated vegetable or grain flour. The only two things they have
in common is being more flat than long and usually serving as a vehicle
for some kind of "dip". "Chips and dip" is a fairly standard item. It is
not always clear what distinguishes the latter variety (i.e., the
reconstituted chips) from crackers. Most of the time, people know it
when they see it, but I've had a few kinds lately that appear to
straddle the line. Another questionable category is freeze-dried
"chips"--while such things as whole green beans and whole green peas
would not constitute "chips", slices of other fruits and vegetables
(e.g., eggplant or apple) that have been freeze-dried may well fall into
that category.

Other than that, I believe my description is fairly exhaustive. Only
some of these would be considered "crisps" in the UK and none would be
considered "chips".


On 1/22/2012 9:27 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
> On Jan 22, 2012, at 3:23 PM, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> If you travel from "potato chip" to "potato crisp," there is no link to "crisp," but looking "crisp" up yields:
>> 7. In full potato crisp. A thin sliver of potato fried until crisp and eaten cold. Usu. in pl. of such food produced commercially.
> BTW, potato chips are no longer necessarily fried. The trend away from fats for dietary reasons in the US resulted in even national brands bringing out baked potato chips. Neither the AHD nor Wiktionary have captured this change.
> Also, I wonder how appropriate "spec" (specifically) is. Mixed vegetable chips are commonly found in the bulk section of the grocery store, and sweet potato chips and other sorts are found in national grocery store chains as well.
> Benjamin Barrett
> Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list