BOOK’S #FOODIE: Grandma Utz’s Handcooked Potato Chips (review)

Grandma Utz's photo GrandmaUtz_pic_zps7ymvraxx.jpg A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to Virginia to see my cousin Kristina get married. My auntie and the family have lived in Virginia for close to thirty years and they always said “you need to come and visit”. My mom and sister have been there many times over the years but I have not, and it was nothing personal, I just never made a chance to go.

I was now in Chesterfield County and one thing my auntie always talked about was going to a convenience store called Wawa. She would tell me it has everything you needed and it’s better than 7-Eleven. I grew up with my share of corner stores and then when 7-Eleven first opened in Honolulu, it blew us away. Now I was going to witness this “better than 7-Eleven store” but can it be? When I got there, I said to myself “I am in front of Wawa.” The first thing I looked for when I walked in was snacks and I spotted Utz but I could not remember why I wanted to get an Utz. I had a brain fart, I thought “what was it that these chips are made in?” so I bought a regular pack of chips, it said cottonseed and I bought a bag. Was it this? It tasted okay to me, no big deal. The second time I went to Wawa, I knew it had to deal with a different variety of Utz and there were many flavors but there it was: Grandma Utz’s. I immediately looked in the ingredients and saw what I was looking for: these chips are cooked in lard.

Wawa sold the Grandma Utz’s chips in both snack size (2 ounces or so) and a big bag so I went for the snack size first. After all these years after reading about it online, I was going to have my first manteca chips and I will say: these are damn good. It tastes different than normal potato chips and due to it being cooked in lard, it definitely has a slightly different mouth feel. To be honest, the first thing it reminded me of was a brand of potato chips from Hawai’i called Kitch’n Cook’d, made on Maui except this case, the bag was a solid color and not clear, which has been said to weaken the chips if it stays out on the racks too long. Utz’s doesn’t feel like, I don’t know, Olestra or something? I just knew it tasted different than what I was used to but it was a good “different”. I bought a bigger bag to take home and when they were done, I wished I had bought more. Fortunately I can if I want, since those chips are available online, which I knew but I tend to prefer finding them somewhere and buying it then and there.

I am a huge fan of plain potato chips but for Grandma Utz’s, they also came in BBQ. There was also a limited edition “bacon horseradish” flavor but not sure if this will make a comeback or if it is meant for a certain part of the year. I’m aware there are a few other brands that also make lard potato chips, including Dieffenbach’s, Gibble’s, Zerbe’s, and Good’s, and perhaps one day I’ll try each one as well. One website claims some companies actually shy away from saying they make their chips with lard, a few saying they are either cooked in “shortening” or are made “homestyle” but fortunately you can find out how they are really made just by doing a search online. As for Utz, I’m glad they are not normally available on the west coast but if one has PayPal, you can obtain anything you want, including Grandma Utz’s. They also make a 15 ounce bag, which I think would be very dangerous to have in any sitting.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Butter Kit-Kat from where? Japan, of course

If you roam around the internet looking for food “oddities”, you are aware that Kit-Kat in Japan have made hundreds of different flavor variations of Kit-Kat. In North American, it seems the only variations are size-related but from Japan you can have anything from grape to tea, coffee to marshmallow, wasabi to sesame seed flavored Kit-Kat’s. Now there’s a new one, and as to why, I don’t know. The people of the Tasted Channel talk a bit about the new butter Kit-Kat.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Boobie growing cookies

There are a lot of things on the market made to enhance things on your body, but how about cookies that are meant to enhance breasts? You may say “now that’s preposterous” or “I’m going to give away dozens as gifts” but either way, you’re going to want to know what’s going on, right? That’s what Michael Truly found out about something called F-Cup Cookies, the name of which sounds more interesting, and that’s what he explores in today’s edition of The Food Feeder on the Tasted Channel.

BOOK’S FOODIE: How to make a Rich Honey – Victoria Sponge Cake (from Carolina MiLi Artiss)

From Caroline MiLi Artiss’ channel comes a very nice recipe for a Victoria sponge cake made with honey that looks as good as it sounds. If you’d like to print the recipe or look over it to see what ingredients you’ll need, click here. Artiss also has her own website, if you’d like to browse through other videos and recipes she has shared. If you’re wondering about her background, she is Malaysian/British.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Giant Toblerone Bar Challenge (from Freak Eating)

I’m not into binge eating for the sake of eating a lot for sport, but occasionally I like to see people make complete fools out of themselves, I’m not going to lie. There’s a channel called Freak Eating that does everything from eating 10 pounds of pizza to eating the world’s hottest candy. For this video, someone eats a giant Toblerone bar, which may not sound like a big deal but keep in mind that a giant Toblerone is about 2000 calories, or roughly 10 Kit Kat’s. Let’s see you do that for fun. The Freak Eating channel has close to 450 videos as of this writing so if this is the type of stuff you enjoying watching, check it out.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Valentine’s Day Candy, vegan style (from Tastemade)

So you’re in love like a Wilson Philips or Ratt song, and you know damn well it is very easy to head to a store and buy your loved one a box of candy for Valentine’s Day. Maybe you’re one of those people who feels like not impressing a loved one, you simply are going to do so with nothing but your charm but it doesn’t hurt to find some chocolates or some kind of sweets. If your loved one happens to have dietary concerts or is vegan, that may be a bit of a problem. It doesn’t have to be, as host Laura Miller shows us in her new segment of Raw. Vegan. Not Gross on the Tastemade channel. If you already make desserts, then making some vegan candy shouldn’t be too hard to do. The recipe can be found on the YouTube page for the video. The not-so-secret ingredient? Coconut butter.

BOOK’S FOODIE: Maple Glazed Pecans | Hungry for the Holidays (from Tastemade)

If Christmas has not hit your part of the world yet, and you haven’t made any plans for a meal, be it lunch, dinner, breakfast, or in between snacks… I really don’t know what you’re waiting for. I mean, the markets are still open for the most part and they may be running dry on what you want, what you’d like to have, or perhaps what you should be inspired to get, such as this recipe for maple glazed pecans. You could eat them all, but you know you don’t want to get sick overnight. Eh, get sick, it’s just Christmas. This comes courtesy of the Tastemade channel.

BOOK’S FOODIE: How to Make Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn at Home (from Demonviper)

Found this and thought “what is Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn?” I know some like to add rick crackers/arare/kaki mochi to their popcorn, but it’s a bit more involved than mixing up those two ingredients. If you’re going to a football game or about to fill up your home with people to watch a game this weekend, make up a batch of this and see how it goes.