Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Once you pop you can't stop

Most people are familiar with Pringles . . . those uniformly shaped potato-chip like crisps. Notice that they never bother to call them potato chips. Pringles are so unique they don't need a descriptor.

I say ‘potato-chip like’ because they are made of a mixture of dried potatoes, vegetable oil, rice flour, wheat starch, and other ingredients which is mixed into a dough, formed into the familiar shape and quickly fried. 

The can is made specifically to contain the chips in a manner so that they remain fresh and whole during transport.  The aluminum foil inside the can prevents outside air from entering the can which keeps the Pringles chips fresh for a longer time, a fact that really appealed to the can's inventor,  who requested that some of his ashes be buried in a Pringles container. His family complied and part of his remains was buried in a Pringles can.

It is popularly surmized that Pringles got their name by someone in the marketing department reaching for the nearest large phone book, opening it up, and first name that was unique and non-specific was Pringle.  If that holds true, then if your family name is Pringle, and you are in a mid-west phone book, then these chips are accidentally named after you. 

One theory about how the chips got their name holds that two advertising employees lived on Pringle Drive in Cincinnati and the name paired well with potato, that it was easy to pronounce and easy to remember.

Other speculation that Pringles may have named the chips after a fellow inventor. .  perhaps in deference . . . Mark Pringle. In 1942, Pringle co-patented a "method and apparatus for processing potatoes" that resembles later methods of making potato chips.   

Like the crisps we know and love today, Pringle's invention aimed to create chips that were "uniform in size, shape, color, color, and in all other characteristics"  . . . sound familiar?  He never quite got to the point where what he was making was Pringle-like but not for lack of trying.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Carrots, peeled and quartered
2 cups water
1 Can beer
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (3 pound) corned beef
1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges

Place the onion, potatoes, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, and pepper in a 5-qt. slow cooker.

Top with brisket and cabbage. Pour in beer and water.

Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Remove bay leaf before serving.

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