Farm to Shelves, Part 2: Rise of the Machines

Now that we have covered how we use annoying, anthropomorphic peas to make our flour, I can fully explain how we use that flour to make the shells that eventually become our chips. You might think this isn’t an exciting step in the process but you’d be very wrong, especially if you like robots. And honestly who doesn’t love robots?
Fair enough.

To start, chips don’t just automatically get cooked into their final form directly from the flour like a salty cake. They are first made into small, pasta-like shells that we can cook into the final product. The shells are essentially the solid, condensed form of the pea-flour that we can eventually cook into our chips. When you think about it, this important step must take quite a complicated machine to transform the granulated flour into the crispy solid shell. I was beginning to become suspicious of witchcraft so I sent an email to our laboratory asking if they could attempt to explain this ridiculous concept in terms that wouldn’t melt my brain. After a week of what I assumed was strenuous round-the-clock work, they sent me this:

What the hell, guys? Did you forget your crayolas in your mom’s mini-van?!

But luckily I was able to decipher what they were trying to get across so let’s get started. We begin our journey in the top left of the image where we have what I gather to be (from left to right) a large canister of lentil flour, a large canister of potato flour, and a large iced toaster strudel. Both the lentil and potato flour go down those pipes and are mixed together using a specific formula to determine the exact percent of each to be used. The correct mix of flour is then sent to a sauna where they are filled with moisture and liquefied using steam, represented in the drawing by the swirly squiggle. After it gets accustomed to relaxing in the sauna, we flip it 180 degrees and scare the living crap out of the liquid flour with the most extreme part of this process. We pump it into a monstrous drill machine, the design for which we lifted from Tim Burton’s sketch book. If this thing were a transformer it would look a lot like Drill Dasher.

Except less useless and more terrifyingly awesome

This machine rotates at an extreme rate as the flour holds on for dear life inside of its rivets. The flour is pushed down, heated up and condensed as it moves towards the narrow part of the screw. At the very end of the screw there is a metal plate with shapes that are punched into it which the flour is pushed through and cut into lengths by a blade on the other side.

As cool and serious as they tried to make it sound,

I couldn’t stop thinking of a play-doh fun factory

As soon as the super-heated flour is pushed through the holes and cut, it hits the cool air and is instantly solidified, like an Antarctic pissing contest (don’t think too hard about that one). The now solid shell is put through a football field-long oven, or “oven footbull firld” according to our illiterate scientists, to dry out and is then ready to be cooked and made into an actual chip. This whole process is, of course, chemical free.

So check step 2 off of the list because that is how it’s done. Come back next week when I’ll be hair-netting it up and hitting our production floor to see how these shells get transformed into our delicious chips.

Stay Hungry,

Will the intern


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