Terra's Spiced Sweet Potato Chips wisely add the word "spiced" so that you don't think these are "sweet chips", like those abominable cinnamon-and-sugar Sun Chips, which taste as if they took regular salty Sun Chips and just sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top of the existing flavor powder. The resulting flavor, "Cinnamon Cheddar", is a bold culinary stroke, but like many bold culinary strokes, tastes like sun-dried vomit.

I open the black, stylishly understated bag of Terra's chips and am delighted by the chips' deep orange color. They look just like sweet potatoes look! I pop one in my mouth, and my first reaction is, "Wow! These chips taste good!" The contrast of rich, mellow, sweet-potato sweetness with the tangy, cilantro-laden spice is an exotic new sensation. But something is nagging at the back of my brain, a vague feeling of familiarity. The odor of the chips is teasing my memory, somehow bringing to mind images of walking the snaggly streets of downtown Seattle late at night. Intrigued, I crunch down on another handful and breathe deep. Then it hits me. Where have I smelled this odor before? This musky blend of sweet, sour, and tangy? On every downtown street corner, wafting from the layers of tattered rags and crusted sweatshirts that form the steaming mound of lost humanity that is the homeless man. The truth hits me like a bolt of sickly-sweet lightning. These chips smell like B.O! Exactly like B.O! Like the kind of B.O that has been cultivated and nurtured and fermented until it acquires the richness and complexity of a great and terrible wine.

The chips taste delicious. But I can't shake the olfactory associations with diseased armpits and shambling hobos. I hurl the bag away and run to the bathroom to deposit some Cinnamon Cheddar in the toilet.


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