April 17, 2009

P.U. D.I.Y. (Possibly unnecessary do-it-yourself)

Look at me with the acronyms.

I know the new economy is supposed to be all about putting the consumer in charge. (Either that or putting the consumer into bankruptcy - I forget which.)

So lots of companies have responded by introducing products that let the customer design their own product. Hence the rise of those Mongolian BBQ restaurants where you pick all of your own ingredients before the chef fries it all up for you. (By the way: Really? That's how they roll in Mongolia?) And that's why Nike and Puma have web sites that let you choose the colors and design of your tennis shoes. (Hey, Puma even calls their service "Mongolian Shoe BBQ." Seriously, I had no idea Mongolians were such do-it-yourselfers.)

Me? Unless I'm getting paid for my vegetable-and-spice selecting abilities, I'm happy to go to a restaurant and let the chef actually do all of the work - including determining how many water chestnuts and how much paprika to use. And the shoe companies employ professional shoe designers, I'm pretty sure. People who probably went to school for this stuff. Given the same palette of colors and materials, I'm pretty sure they'll design a better shoe than I could.

But I'm a little bit torn about the latest entry into the do-it-yourself pantheon. Because Kettle Chips, which makes the absolute best potato chip in the history of crisped vegetable snacks (see the first bullet point here), has introduced a make-your-own-potato-chip-flavor kit.

That is, they send you a few bags of naked chips and seven packets of seasoning - lemon butter, caramelized onion (the carmelized part seems weird because it's in powder form, but whatever), roasted tomato, cheddar, vinegar, sweet chili and sour cream & chive - that you can mix and match to create what is sure to be either a snack that is uniquely suited to your personal preferences or - and this seems like a distinct possibility - a truly frightening combination of powdered flavor granules.

So, I'm on the fence here. On the one hand, Kettle Chips has done a pretty good job coming up with a flavor I dig (namely spicy thai). On the other, I'm sort of curious what a lemon butter-cheddar-onion-vinegar potato chip would taste like.


bugs said...

you're just lazy.
it's super-great.
you like creating tee-shirts, no?
also, is the ROASTED TOMATO in liquid form?
either way, since you're a creature of habit, i'm inclined to think you'll just buy whatever flavor the company mixes up for you next.
the mongolian comments were very funny indeed.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I love Mongolian BBQ.

And if you read me, you know I'm a whore for new products, so this is really exciting to me.

JBhumitra said...

i agree with you on the cooks should be cooking for you thing. that is why i hate the melting pot. i dont understand why i have to pay $20+ for a pot of fondue and veggies that i then have to cook for myself. why do those places even have chefs?

also, converse had the design your own shoe thing first of all the shoe manufacturers i think. it was fun to do.

i dont know what it is about kettle, but i feel like they are healthier than other potato chips. i think it is because the packaging is so nice.

Escalator Groupie said...

J - I knew you were going to say that! I obviously agree about the Melting Pot -- although I do love cheese...

EO - I can't imagine you NOT liking this product. Good way to while away the hours, no? With a create-your-own flavor kit? I think that is very much how you roll.

Your escalator operator said...

J - Healthier. That's how they get ya'.

EG - There's also a danger that I would just eat the contents of the flavor packets, which would seem fun at the time but would probably result in one very sick writer.