Whenever I leave for Paris, I pack one bag full of American snack food to share with mes amis, because that is one food group where we easily eclipse the French. On this last trip, I introduced my friends in the City of Lights to my favorite potato chip in the world, the Chicago-made Jays Jalapeño “Krunchers!” (The exclamation point is actually and appropriately part of the name.) They are an evolution of the original Jays thin, crispy chip: crunchy, kettle-style, and seasoned liberally with piquant spice. The company catch phrase has long been “Can’t stop eating ’em!” but we Midwestern snack-food connoisseurs might just have to, because our beloved munchies are currently endangered. Jays went bankrupt last year and was sold to Snyder’s of Hanover, the pretzel people in Pennsylvania. No word yet on whether they’ll continue to make my Jalapeño Krunchers!, but there’s talk that they might take the brand national. The chips’ bold texture and flavor also pair perfectly with cool and refreshing absinthe—as we discovered when my expat pal David Lebovitz couldn’t stop eating ’em and brought the bag I gave him to our gang’s absinthe night out.
Jays Jalapeño Krunchers!, $1.99 for a 7-ounce bag