Potato Chips in France: What, No Foie Gras?

The other day I was chatting with one of my best friends here, who works for the American Embassy, and had just been shopping at the PX, where they have all sorts of American food staples.

“I’ve got four boxes of Philadelphia cream cheese, and I’m going home to make a cheesecake,” she said. “Oh, and I’ve got Nilla wafers, too!”

“You’ve got VANILLA WAFERS?!” I said, salivating at the idea of popping those crunchy little discs into my mouth either one at a time, or with peanut butter in the middle, as little sandwiches.

“Yep,” she said, laughing, because as an ex-pat, too, she knows, too, how suddenly attached we become to what we can’t get from home.

I rarely bought vanilla wafers when I lived in Dallas, but what I’d give for a box right now. I didn’t keep bags of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups in my freezer, or buy two-pound of plain M&Ms and stash them in the back of my cabinet, for safe-keeping, as I’ve done since I’ve been in Paris. I have a friend who has lived here more than 20 years who keeps empty boxes of graham crackers in her cabinet, just because it’s comforting to see the familiar box.

I dream of Fritos…of eating them one by one, or putting them on top of big bowls of chili. With a cold can of Dr. Pepper to quench my thirst, I’m transported to Texified heaven (as if there is any other kind).

Sadly, Fritos have not yet made the big jump across the pond. So I make do with these tiny triangle-shaped tortilla chips that I find at the Franprix down the street, which are closer to a Dorito than a Frito, and certainly a far cry from anything resembling a real tortilla chip, which should be large, and shaped like a quarter of a corn tortilla, salted and fried crisp.

The French don’t share my enthusiasm for tortilla chips, but they have a crazy affinity for potato chips.

Such as the smoked ham flavored chips, pictured above. Or the ones that taste like braised chicken.

Or bolognese sauce.

Or mustard.

I’ve yet to find a duck confit-flavored chip. Or one that tastes like Camembert, or Roquefort. Not yet, anyway.