To answer this query, I will tell you that they are precisely what they sound like they are. Potato chips with a ketchup flavoring. Sorry, flavouring, since I first had these on a visit to Canada many many years ago when I was a kid.
I remember being excited when we would go visit relatives there because it meant coming back with a few things: ketchup chips, Weetabix cereal, and the “good” British chocolates like Aero bars, Twirl bars, Cadbury, etc. The novelty of these chips didn’t escape me even back then. I also remember other flavors like “everything” chips, and pickle-flavored chips, among others. What can I say, I’m always intrigued by the different flavors of chips that are found in different countries. When we were in Toronto a couple years ago for my cousin’s wedding, I made it a point to inspect the nearby grocery store to see what other flavors I could find and yes, I did buy different ones to try.
I always just figured that these were treats I would only be able to have once in a while if we were ever visiting Canada. But sometimes, I would find packets of these chips in Walmart and once more I could taste the memories of my childhood. And for a brief wonderful period of time, Lays sold dill pickle-flavored chips here in Atlanta, tasting just like the Canadian kind we’d had long ago. To me they have the same appeal as the salt and vinegar flavored chips — the sharp tang of the vinegar, the salt crystal on the chips, the rawness of my tongue from the salt and vinegar after devouring the chips. The same aroma that draws me to them repels my husband, who just mutters something about how it must be a weird woman thing to like those chips. While we were driving to Memphis a couple weeks ago, we had to stop for gas somewhere in Alabama and I spotted a bag of dill pickle flavored chips. I was spiteful enough to take pleasure in the fact that he would be stuck in the car with me as I ate them. 🙂
But back to my ketchup chips. These too have a tangy smell as you open the bag, but not as sharp as the salt and vinegar/pickle chips. This smell is tempered by a sweetness from the no doubt fake tomato flavoring. The chips are dusted with an almost angry red powder that stains your nails hours after ransacking the bag for all the salty little crumbs. When I saw them a couple days ago, hanging out at the end of the aisle in Walmart, I saw that the ketchup chips were not alone. Nope, there were also steak-flavored chips and green onion-flavored chips, other flavors I remembered seeing long ago. But I only had eyes for the ketchup chips.
I brought them home and showed them to my husband who again rolled his eyes at the weird things I like to eat sometimes. Whatever, it meant the bag was all mine. I did enjoy that bag. I especially enjoyed the first chip, my mouth watering in anticipation of the taste and in reaction to the memories that the bag invoked — of long car trips years ago, the excitement of discovering something new, and of being a kid on summer vacation with no cares or worries in the world.