Gefen Sea Salt Popped Corn Chips

‘The Ventrilocrisp was faced with an existential decision — one that lies at the heart of its crisp reviews. What did it want for itself?’

To the best of the Ventrilocrisp’s knowledge, this time in a normal year is described as “the party season”. For the Ventrilocrisp, this is a problematic time – and not only because of its unpleasant character. Here’s the rub: in a crowded environment —a “party” or a pub, per se— the Ventrilocrisp’s voice cannot be heard. It is not for want of trying. It speaks as loud as it can, straining desperately. And yet its voice remains a whisper.

A few years ago, the penny dropped. This wasn’t a question of volume – it was one of pitch. The Ventrilocrisp’s voice is the same pitch as background noise. It was faced with an existential decision — one that lies at the heart of its crisp reviews. What did it want for itself? Would it allow itself to sink wordlessly into the background, or would it fight for something more?

The Gefen Sea Salt Pop Corners’ dull packet answers this question for the crisp: they are content with life in the shadows. The bag looks like something from the Dust Bowl: its drab, pinstriped background, fusty logo and miserable pale blue borders give it the cheerless appearance of hard times. Sainsbury’s, moreover, was practically giving the Gefens away. 20p! A Christmas miracle, or a mark of desperation?

Unfortunately, this is a very bland crisp. As the Ventrilocrisp joylessly chewed the chips, it worried that it had contracted COVID-19, such was the lack of taste and smell. The flavourless crisp borrows elements of a simple corncake in its design. But whereas the texture —soft and pillowy— is passable for a corncake, it is unacceptable for a crisp.

The crisps —if they can even be described as this— are unspeakably dry, crying out loud for some dip; a little sauce, perhaps, to wash them down. Worming their way into the molars, the bitter taste of disappointment lingers miserably. Sadly, Gefen have wrongly assumed that a dietary requirement means an aversion to flavour. Think again, Gefen.

There is just one thing to say in the snacks’ favour: they are not trying to be something they’re not. The ugly bag openly signposts a disappointing crisp; the slight portion is evident before opening the bag. What you see is what you get. This bag might be content with a life behind the scenes, but most crisps —and the Ventrilocrisp (God love it) — have bigger aspirations. What it has learned is this: we don’t need to shout to be heard. Instead, we must strike a different pitch.

NB. This piece was written for GDFC Mag Issue III, on the theme of pitch. Read the full magazine here:

  • repurchase? ❎
  • recommend to a friend? ❎
  • eat this crisp in public? ❎
  • consider the price to be right? ☑️
  • need to wash hands after consumption? ❎

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