To celebrate National Potato Day, I present to you the following argument: crisps are life. That’s it, that’s the argument.
Think about it: of all the potatoes that exist in the world – jacket, roast, new, even chips for God’s sake – crisps are 100 per cent the superior. There are no two ways about it.
Even if you don’t agree with me and you’re currently sat shaking your fists at your phone screen, just spare me a couple of minutes of your time to persuade you otherwise. And if you still haven’t had your mind changed by the end of the article, well, you’re beyond saving.
Firstly, crisps are the most versatile of all the potatoes. There are a million and one different flavours, they come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can eat an entire family bag of them without judgement.
From just one food group (are crisps a food group? I think so) comes an endless array of different snacks – tortilla chips, crinkle cut crisps, baked crisps, Pom-Bear’s…
It doesn’t stop there either as pretty much every single type of crisp can come in a variety of flavours from your classic stalwarts of ready salted, salt and vinegar and cheese and onion, to modern creations like chicken and thyme, Thai sweet chilli, sour cream, this list also goes on ad infinitum. What more could you ask for?
The solitary crisp starts important debates as well – although whoever made this pyramid deserves to be force-fed dry new potatoes for the rest of their lives:
— Channel 5 (@channel5_tv) March 24, 2019
I mean, come on. Mini Cheddars and Nik Naks on the bottom tier? And Hula Hoops and pickled onion Monster Munch in the middle?! Everyone who’s anyone knows they all deserve to be on the God tier. Or at the very least, Top Tier.
And the only time ready salted crisps should be on the Top Tier is if you’re sitting by a pool with an ice-cold Coke in one hand. Failing that, it’s acceptable to put them in a crisp butty.
Which brings me to another vital part of my argument: crisp butties are arguably the most favoured snack/meal of all time, and you can’t have a crisp butty without crisps, therefore crisps are the best. As you can see, we’ve come full circle.
Instead of banging on about how great crisps are for the rest of this article though, I’ve decided to take an approach most similar to that a politician takes in their final televised debate before an election or an important vote.
You know the one, where instead of providing any valid reasons to support their policies or arguments, they simply attack their opposition continuously until eventually theirs is the only voice that can be heard over the commotion.
Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to do right now, starting with the classic roast potato. According to a poll of over 2,000 people by GalaBingo.com, roasts were crowned as the nation’s favourite kind of potato with nearly a third of the vote (32 per cent).
Yes, they are great. You can’t beat that crispy yet still fluffy consistency which appears to melt in your mouth as you take the first bite, sure.
But they’re also ridiculously easy to get wrong. If not cooked to perfection, the roast potato quickly deteriorates into a soggy lump of, well, potato – halfway between that and mash, a combination no one wants.
And I’m telling you now, if anyone gets given soggy roasties on Christmas Day, that’s the entire holiday ruined. There’s no chance of festive cheer making an appearance if everyone’s still scarred from someone’s poor attempt at a roast.
Hence why so much work needs to go in getting them just right: a drizzle of oil here and there, opening the oven door every 10 minutes to check they’re turning a lovely golden brown colour, seasoning them until they taste just right.
Even then though, something could go wrong and all that effort would be for nothing. That’s the beauty of crisps – no effort is needed. All you need to do is pick up a packet off the shelf in your nearest supermarket/convenience store, and bish bash bosh, the work is done.
Next up, chips. Obviously, chips are great. You can’t deny that. What I am denying is their superiority over any other form of potato – particularly, crisps.
One could argue that, just as crisps are versatile in their many forms and flavours, so are chips. You can get chunky ones, curly ones, skinny ones, chippy ones. You can get chips and gravy, chips and curry, cheesy chips, salt and pepper chips.
You can even put them on a butty, just like you can with crisps. But tell me, have you ever had a bad crisp butty? No. Now ponder that same question, but replace crisps with chips, and tell me if your answer is still the same?
Okay fair enough, the answer is probably still no. But I can guarantee you’ve had a bad portion of chips at some point in your life – either because they’re too greasy, too burnt, too soggy, or just not up to your usual standards.
This becomes all too true once you start adding other ingredients into the mix like gravy or curry, because then there are just too many possibilities for the entire thing to go hideously wrong. And boy do they.
Take, for example, the time last week when my mates and I were on holiday and decided we needed to end our night out with some cheesy chips. We walked to the takeaway, hopes high for the cheesy goodness we were about to consume, only for it all to come crashing down around us when we saw what we’d ordered.
This is what we were faced with when we opened the containers:
I mean come on, what even are they? Did they really just chuck the nearest piece of processed cheese they could find onto the (under-cooked and to be honest, raw) chips before shoving them into the microwave for 30 seconds?
And then serve it in an aluminium foil takeaway container, as though it took them hours to prepare when in reality it took less than five minutes?
Yes, yes they did. Whereas if we’d have played it safe and stuck with the Lay’s we had back at the hotel, wedged in between two slices of bread or a soft baguette, we’d have been laughing. But alas, it wasn’t to be.
Moving on to mash though, which came an impressive second in Gala Bingo’s survey, with 14 per cent of those polled saying they’d prefer that over any other kind of potato. Let’s weigh up the pros and cons, shall we?
Pros: it’s great with gravy, it’s great with cheese, and it’s tip-top with a roast. Cons: discovering a stray lump in the middle of your dinner is never a good thing, it’s a lot of effort, it’s too easy to get wrong, watery mash is almost as bad as lumpy mash, and you can’t eat it without some sort of sauce/added ingredient.
As you can see, the cons outweigh the pros quite comfortably and – as my pros point out – mash usually only tastes good with an added ingredient. When have you ever had mash which hasn’t been made that bit better with a touch of gravy? Never.
I’m not even going to bother wasting anyone’s time talking through the reasons why jacket potatoes, potato salad, or new potatoes don’t top the list because quite frankly – and I think you’ll all agree – they’re not worth the effort.
Which brings me to the end of my argument and leaves you with a big decision to make: do you agree that crisps reign supreme to the other lowly forms of spud, or are you inherently wrong?
If you need a summary to help make your life-changing decision, my argument as to why crisps are – and always will be – the best type of potato is this: they’re delicious, they’re effortless, and you can never have enough of them. Oh, and crisp butties.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).