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Suckered By Marketing


Published April 29, 2008 at 1:44 p.m.

Since I've been so busy recently I've been buying a lot of food from the Cheese Outlet/Fresh Market on Pine Street. I'm usually a pretty good little localvore, but the other day I noticed a bag of Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Potato Chips from Herefordshire, England.

They came from far away, but I saw all kinds of enticing language on the package. Like, "We are the only small chip maker in the UK to grow our own potatoes...It's not unusual for a potato to be dug in the morning and made into chips by lunchtime." How could a foodie resist?

By the time I busted open the 1.24 ounce bag, which cost me a ludicrous $1.99, I was convinced that these would be potato chips worthy of being served to the gods. And they proved to be a tasty snack: crisp, golden, properly salted, not too greasy. But "flown across the Atlantic using massive quantities of jet fuel and still seemingly worth it good?" Not even remotely. Tyrrells crisps may be "an artisan delicacy," but they tasted like, well, potato chips.

Although I strive to make ethical food choices, I also allow myself to indulge in some of the fruits of globalization: Avocados, bananas, balsamic vinegar and European cheeses are some of the faraway items I'll spring for. But if I'm going to get something from outside my local "food shed," it better taste like nothing else on earth.

Which products from afar are your guilty pleasures?

* The picture comes from the Tyrrell's website