The End of an Era (or, How to Make your Chips Delicious)

By the time you read this, I, Will the Intern, will nolonger be working at Simply 7 Snacks. Not because of my hygiene or what I didto the coffee every morning, but because all good things have to come to anend. That, and I have to go back to college. But before I depart, I will leaveyou with one more gem of a blog post to hold onto. And reader, just so youknow, just because Simply 7 and I are splitting up, it doesn’t mean we love youany less. And don’t think for one second that this is your fault at all. I’llstill get to see you every other weekend and… umm, let’s just get down tobusiness.
“I can’t do all of this alone!” Paul exclaimed.  He looked up at me with tear glazed eyes as Istood in the doorway of his office, “Why are you leaving already?! You can’tgo!”
“I have to go to school, boss.” I sighed, understanding hispanic.
“Stay here! I’ll teach you! What do you need to know?Science?!” He hastily grabbed the circa-1990 ant farm he had on his desk.  “Eh?” he prodded as he pointed at thenow-ruined ant tunnels, “Science?”
“Look boss, you’re going to be fine. You did this without mebefore, you can do it again.”
Acceptance sank in as my lies soothed his hysteria. We bothtook our respective seats on either side of the desk.
“I can’t believe the summer went by so quickly,” he said,looking nostalgically off into space.
Oh no.  I knew wherethis was going. I’ve got to get out now before he starts with one of hisstories.  “I know; it’s been agood ride. Listen, I should really get back to-“
“Have I ever told youabout how we make our seasoning?”
About 4 times.  “Nope, never. How’s it done?”
“Let me tell you. It all started with an idea…
To create a chip flavor, you must first have a general ideaof what you want it to taste like. With a chip made of chickpea flour, we hadthe brilliant thought to use hummus flavors from the beginning.  So we picked the most popular flavors ofhummus – original, spicy, tomato basil, you get the idea – and headed off tothe Big Apple to develop them.
It was there we met with a company that createsflavors.  Isn’t that amazing??  (Sure, Paul, riveting.)  We told them our basic concept, and they wentto work. Within an hour and a half, they came back with samples of our desiredflavors for us to critique. For instance, we would say something like “I thinkthis would taste better if you tasted the chili pepper first and it then had aspicy aftertaste.” And they would take that feedback and actually be able tochange the recipe to make that happen. We broke down each step in the tastingprocess and decided what would be the best combination of flavors andsensations.  As we were doing that, theywere also working on building the same flavor “from the ground up” usingprofessional tasters. (Editor’s note: Why don’t I have that job??)  These “professional” tasters would taste atype of food (in our case, hummus) and tell the flavor scientists whatcharacteristics were needed for a seasoning to taste exactly like that.  We then took these different versions of our flavorsto a large consumer panel of 60 people to see what our consumers thought, andmade some adjustments based on their comments.  So that’s how ourflavors came to be.”
Paul looked at me expectantly as I stared blankly in hisdirection. As it was the 5th time hearing that particular story, Iwas preoccupied imagining the repercussions of riding a triceratops down a busyhighway. By the time I realized the story had stopped, a good minute and a halfof silence had gone by.
“S…Sounds good.” I stammered, guessing the correctresponse.
“It is good. You know what else is good? Applying theseasonings to our chips. Have I ever told you how we do that?”
“Actually Paul, I have some important things I have to dobefore-“
“So after we cook the chips in our expeller pressed oil,they enter the next phase of production: seasoning. They move into ourseasoning drum and get sprayed with the dry powdered seasoning.
The drum slowly turns, making sure each individual chip is lightlycoated with the correct amount of flavory goodness.
This is the final step in the process of actually making thechips themselves. After that we just package it and ship it wherever it needsto go. And I guess that is pretty much it.” Paul said to an empty office. “I’llmiss you…” Paul whispered as a solitary tear fell onto his desk.
Thanks for readingand as always, stay hungry,
Will the Intern
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