Bagger King

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

While padding around a convenience store the other day, I was surprised to observe some displayed bags of chippy things that proudly bore the imprimatur of Burger King. I thought it odd I'd never seen any commercials for these products before, especially considering the King is hardly underexposed.

I could only suppose the King was clandestinely planning to expand his realm beyond his existing castles of cholesterol that already dot our towns and roads. If so, maybe this liege of grease is thinking he needs many more subjects -- ones he can more easily reach in the fiefdoms of grocery stores.

What I tried: Burger King's Ketchup and Fries and Flame Broiled Flavored Potato Snacks ($1.50 each)

Take your protein pill and put your helmet on: BK's "Ketchup and Fries Potato Snacks" look rather like crimson-dusted, light-colored Fritos. They're made out of fried dehydrated potatoes and potato starch (not pure potato slices) and are quite sweet and tangy. But dang it if they don't -- at least a little bit -- recall french fries with ketchup. Maybe they're like what early astronauts would've eaten in space to replace the real thing. In other words, Tang is to orange juice as these things are to actual french fries and ketchup.

Old and new flames: Through another act of bizarre alchemy, the Flame Broiled Potato Snack conjures up the flavor of a BK burger. So some bites vaguely taste like mustard, some like pickles and some bring up that seared beef-tallow flavor BK lovingly labels "flame broiled."

Curiously, this is the second such chip I've Taste Tested that seeks to mimic a fast food burger (Dorito's "X13" was the other one). This raises the following questions: what does it say about a culture when big companies perceive such a need? In other words, are Americans really so burger-obsessed? And where might this trend end? Will there soon be burger-flavored chewing gum? Baby formula? Cupcakes? Tofu? (Actually, that one might work.)

Would I eat them again?: They're sort of fun to munch on as a novelty snack, and not hugely horrible healthwise (16 chips are 150 calories, 8 grams of fat and around 200 mg of sodium). But they're nothing I'd ever crave or go out of my way to acquire -- though some close friends of mine might strongly disagree with that.