American Innovators: Frito-Lay Edition

Craig Barritt/Getty Images Eva Longoria and Michael Symon

It was one o’clock in the morning and I was reaching the end of the Internet when I came across a sweepstakes called “Do Us a Flavor” hosted by Lay’s potato chips. 2009’s “Do Us a Flavour” contest, hosted by Smith’s (Australian for Lay’s), featured finalists such as “Lucas’ Late Night Kebab,” which boasted a “definite lamb flavour.” This is not a plug for the Lay’s sweepstakes, because I want to win (“Chip Off the Old Cluck”: Crispy fried chicken and the finest Belgian frites commingle with a sprinkling of the very rarest sea salt; in my haste I misspelled “commingle” as “comingle” in my submission, but whatever, I’m up against S’MORES) and I don’t want you to steal my million dollars. Instead, this is a look into the sick minds of the other people who are my competition.

For your information, this contest is somehow tied to Iron Chef Michael Symon (smiling with his arms crossed, like, “Hey, I know what you’re thinking, submitter of ‘c*ntlettuce’ flavor”) and person of interest Eva Longoria (“actress and restaurateur,” languorously whipping up what is probably cheese ooze in a white mixing bowl), neither of whom, I’m sure, is super into Lay’s potato chips. But is Lorena Garcia into Taco Bell? Does Kim Kardashian really love Kanye? Does Kanye love Kim? What’s One Direction? The stakes are very high in this competition: a million dollars, or fifty thousand dollars, or fifty dollars and a bag of c*ntlettuce. Just imagine … the frites commingling.

Or should you prefer, you can imagine these 100 percent real fan submissions, and also imagine a little “[sic]” next to all of them because everyone is champing at the bit and fingers are flying across keyboards as flavors, flavors, flavors come to town:

1. Tequila Popsicle

Description: “we made slushes with ingredients”

Once, in college, my friends and I put yogurt in a blender with vodka and frozen cranberries and three of us died. Don’t make slushes.

2. Italian Sunrise

Description: “Nothing is more beautiful than a sunrise in the mountains of Italy. These Italian flavors will make you feel as though you’re really there.”

Look, all I get from your submission is a bag picturing a hunk of cheese with a knife stuck in and this cruel tease about a trip I won’t take unless I win this contest. WHAT flavors? WHAT sunrise? Are there sun-dried tomatoes in this? Those give you cancer.

3. Harty Breakfast

Description: (Submitted by a profile picture of a squirrel) “its break fest in a bag”

You can put anything in a bag. If you’re talking hearty, you’re talking coarse-ground bulk sausage and oats and shortening. Those flavors can’t shoulder queso. Those flavors don’t want onion dip. What’s this, Harry? Oh, Elaine, that’s a note of wheat toast I detect. Look at this, Robin, I think I see a speck of Cream of Wheat hiding underneath a dusting of melted butter and dried blueberry on my potato chip! Mmm! MMMM!

4. Kalua Pork

Description: “Kalua Pork flavor takes the smoky flavor of this Hawaiian dish out of the imu, and into the bag.”

Kalua pork, championed by Sam Choy, who just lost Chopped: Grill Masters. Do I taste defeat? Put it back in the imu, son.

5. Walrus C*ck

Way too big to fit on a chip.

6. Momma’s Good Ol’ Cabbage

Description: “well I’m just craving my moms home cooked cabbage and its so delicious!”

I crave love and affection, but those aren’t flavors and I heard your momma’s cabbage is old and putrid and everybody who eats it throws up.

7. Ceviche

Description: “The spicy but juicy taste of ceviche that knocks your tastebuds on a whole new world entering a mixture of carne asada places you in a dream”

Never mind that ceviche is not carne asada. Never mind the fact that the kind of ceviche that knocks your taste buds into outer space probably sat on the hood of someone’s car for 11 hours as the birds and the flies and the squirrels rained excreta onto it. Don’t wake me up from this mental bloodbath of lime juice and mackerel. I haven’t even taken a dreamy bite of the beef that lives in its pool of fish liquid yet.

8. Coconut Shrimp

Description: “Coconut shrimp, ummmm”

Coconut shrimp: ummmm.

9. C*ntlettuce

Marketed toward women on a diet, obviously.

10. Pig in the Ground

Description: “Imagine a Moon Light Beach with a Pig in the Ground awaiting the simmering of Pork and Apples covered in Creamy Butter.”

OK, I will!


Fine. You win.