- There be doom inside.
I rarely talk about snacks on this blog. That's because I rarely eat them. Most of my life is planned around full meals; by the time I waddle home from said meals, I'm too stuffed to eat anything else. Unless I'm planning a get-together where I can share foods like candy, ice cream, and chips, I rarely get the urge to buy them for myself.
But while I was shopping at Whole Foods after work last night, I spotted Spicy Carrot Chips by Danielle in the snack section and thought, "I like raw carrots. And cooked carrots. And carrot juice. Maybe I would like...carrot chips."
[INSERT GRATING BUZZER NOISE THAT SIGNIFIES FAILURE.] That was a stupid thought; carrot chips are nothing like carrots in raw, cooked, or juiced form. If I ate vegetable chips more often I'd probably know that. But seeing the chips reminded me that one of my favorite snacks when I was little was Hain's carrot-flavored corn chips. If I liked those, maybe I would prefer chips packed with 100% PURE CARROT POWER. That's pretty much what Danielle's chips are: the ingredients are just fresh carrots (yup, the package says "fresh"), palm oil, chili, and salt. The description on the back of the package, although probably too good to be true, also reeled me in (emphasis mine):
The Carrot is sweeter than many other vegetables and is an ideal ingredient in many side dishes and salads. Carrots are also popular as a juice or snack and make delicious sliced chips. Danielle™ Carrot chips are full of flavor and the perfect companion for all occasions.
(The copy editor in me wants to rewrite that paragraph.)
It's true that carrots are mega-sweet. And they make a nice ingredient in sides and salads. And are good in liquid form. And are nice to snack on. But does that mean they'd also be good as chips? Chips for tonight's special occasion of, "getting home late on a Thursday night, schlepping something edible together for dinner, and watching Lost by myself while mindlessly shoveling dinner down my throat"?
Alas...nope. This is the worst form of carrot I've ever eaten, not to say that it tasted terrible or made me feel like retching (I ate most of the bag for the purposes of this review...yeah), but that it was no better than any other form of carrot. Upon the first chew, I thought it was pleasantly crunchy. And then crunchy turns to soft. Which makes sense—that's what mastication does. But something about its texture felt drier, fluffier, and sandier than other chip-like snacks. The wad of dry carrot chip mush didn't go down easy; after swallowing, I felt like I had something stuck in the back of my throat that could only be alleviated by chasing it down with a glass of water. I wouldn't be surprised if this is what a cat feels like when it gets a hairball stuck in its throat.
But it wasn't just the texture that got to me—the flavor didn't do it any favors either. Admittedly, my nose is stuffed and I can't taste well at the moment, but in this case I don't think I'd want to taste the chips any better. The main problem with the flavor is that it didn't remind me carrots, but of the beta carotene capsules I used to take as a kid. It brought back memories of my mom twisting open a capsule and dumping its powdered orange contents into a spoon (she doesn't like eating gel caps), then me uncomfortably popping the spoon in my mouth and trying to get the powder-turned-paste down my throat as quickly as possible without coming in contact with the rest of my throat.
The flavor of the beta carotene powder wasn't that bad. It was sort of...carrot-y. But certainly not tasty. And that memory carries on to these carrot chips. If you don't have negative connotations of eating beta carotene powder as a kid, you probably won't have as much of a problem with these chips as I did. I thought adding salt might help, but it didn't improve the chips at all.
How much did it cost for me to bring you this review? $4.49 for a 2-ounce bag. (At the Whole Foods in Chelsea, at least; you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere.) It's not a surprising price—I'm sure they use high quality "everything" when they can—but it's certainly not worth it. I should've just gotten pita chips.
I don't mean to dismiss everything made by Danielle. This experience told that I'd probably dislike any carrot chip, no matter the company who makes it. Danielle has an interesting line of fruit and vegetable snacks and I bet all the non-carrot ones are better than the carrot chips. ...Except maybe the okra chips and the durian chips. But taro, banana, and pineapple? Hell yeah, I'm down with those. (I'll pick one of those up next time I'm at Whole Foods.)
As for the carrot chips—hell no. There are at least two positive reviews of the chips out there, but I wanted to get my two cents in the mix just in case any of you come across the chips and wonder if you should get it. NOOOO. That's my advice. If you want a healthy carrot snack, eat a carrot. But if you've eaten these chips and think differently, let me know.
Sidenote: I actually paused a third of the way through the episode of Lost that I was watching to IMMEDIATELY JOT DOWN THOUGHTS OF CARROT CHIP DISSATISFACTION. Back to Hulu, I go.