Most of you are familiar with my lifelong love affair with potato chips. There is not much in this world that can top my affinity for those heavenly salty-crunchy snacks. I am perfectly content with enjoying a bag on its own, but something otherworldly takes place when introducing sweet and chocolatey elements. Chips and chocolate are my Lucy and Ethel; they are my go-to for celebrating or wallowing. I am content with them on their own but bring them together, and I become undone.
I have always credited my mother for shaping me into the potato chip connoisseur that I am today, but there is another. Someone else who deserves some of that spotlight, someone instrumental in my formative years. His name is Salvatore. Salvatore, or "Salvie," was a middle-aged Italian man who spoke broken English and drove an ice cream truck. Not just any old neighborhood roving, tinny music playing, ice cream truck, Salvie had an Italian slush truck that he parked outside of my elementary school playground. Each day, like clockwork, the recess bell would ring at St. Mary's Star of the Sea School for Boys & Girls, and dozens of little blue and white uniformed children would rush from the building as if it were on fire. We made our way onto the recess yard for twenty minutes of freedom and the chance to jump rope, hopscotch, shoot hoops, and enjoy being outside. And every day, like clockwork, Salvatore and his slush truck would be waiting. Like shooting fish in a barrel, right? The line would form from the curb past the jungle gym and almost to the basketball court. If you were fast enough, you could secure a place at the front of the line, ensuring that you would have enough time to eat and still have time to play.
Now, Salvie's English might not have been perfect, but he was no dummy. He knew he wasn't going to get rich on slush alone. Salvie's magical; mystical truck also sold novelty ice cream bars, cans of soda, Sicilian pan pizza, candy bars, and potato chips. It was like a rolling advertisement for childhood obesity, and it made me giddy.
The other kids were content with scarfing down different flavors of slush, enthralled by how it colored their phlegm as they hucked loogies on the pavement and dodged the reproachful admonishments of Sister Mary "Thou shall not spit." I had better things to do with my precious recess time. I was off to the side, developing my fifth-grade palate with a carefully selected formula of M&M Peanuts and a bag of plain salted potato chips. With the determination and curiosity of Marie Curie, I would empty the M&Ms into the bag of chips. The weight of the candy would cause them to fall to the bottom of the bag. With a gentle shake for good measure, I would eat my way through my salty, crunchy hypothesis all the way to the bottom. And there, at the bottom of the bag, was my glorious conclusion—the M&Ms, in a salty, slightly greasy coating of pure potato chip love. I would sit on that recess yard and have my middle-school mind blown as my tastebuds exploded in a symphony of crunchy, salty, and sweet.
Thanks to Salvatore and his daily supply, this simple schoolyard routine would continue straight into junior high, giving way to "husky" sized dress pants and a lifelong culinary penchant for potato chips and chocolate. The rest, as they say, is history.
March 14th is National Potato Chip Day.
To celebrate, we are offering a 30% discount on all of our potato chip related products!