Go Fork Yourself: Microwavable Chips
OverviewType: Eat in
Pros:Everything that happens before you eat the chips is simply marvellous
Cons:Everything after the above
Oven chips are a glorious, delicious food for everyone to enjoy, whether crinkle-cut or regular, long and skinny or short and fat, crunchy or soft. They make the rest of your meal glow and your tummy smile. Then there are microwavable chips…
As you tear the lid and place the box inside the microwave oven, you pass the two and a half minutes of recommended cooking time by imagining how it ever got to this point. Not your situation, but the chips. Every single chip started out once upon a time as a happy potato, or at least the worn-down sole of a Dr Marten’s. Then, one fateful day, that potato came to be in an ugly processing plant – one that looks like Los Angeles in Blade Runner – and an inexorable trip towards ruination, then division, then transportation, then digestion began. Crucifixion doesn’t seem so bad by comparison.
The microwave pings you back to reality and you give the box a shake, but the potato offal inside is still a single interwoven unit, like a clump of wet hair stuck in a shower drain. Part of you wants to look on the box again for the warning that says SHOULD cause food poisoning. Logistically speaking, microwavable chips are but a medium by which to transport ketchup into one’s body, most frequently by the mouth. You see the logo and suffer temporary paraphilia – you like the idea of microwavable chips, but there’s no love to be found in this food. It is simply a purely mechanical process to stop you dying sooner than you would if you didn’t plan on ever eating again.
Once you sit down, you turn onto Sky Sports News and brace yourself for an exercise in mediocrity, or perhaps banality is the more correct word. The steaming yellow bulk on your plate is invitingly warm, but drastically underwhelming. Unlike food that you can’t shove into your mouth quickly enough, you find yourself inserting chips into your gullet one by one, methodically twisting each into a dollop of the aforementioned ketchup before proceeding to the next one. At this point, the brain is gone and the body is on autopilot. An hour later, you’ve almost finished. They’re not even warm any more, but that’s ok, you just needed them to be not-frozen enough to consume, really.
As you approach the finale of your dish, tears inexplicably begin to roll out of your eyes, maybe accompanied by the sudden realisation that you made a conscious decision to buy this food. Then cook this food. Then eat this food. You’re still eating this food. A succession of bad life choices has culminated in this moment. You can’t remember anything Natalie Sawyer has said over the last 60 minutes and you understand what it’s like to be hit with a neuralizer from Men In Black. Now the salty tears are flowing onto the fries, finally adding a mild flavour and making them soggier than ever, but you can’t stop the process. What’s started must be seen through to the end.
When the last one disappears, you collapse to the floor, a broken shell of a human, and it’s at least three hours before you can convince yourself to move out of the foetal position. In the meantime, a burglar has broken into your apartment and stolen the PS Vita you got for your birthday. He sees you on the ground and the empty box on the sofa. He understands. He does the only humane thing he can by dialling the emergency services on your smartphone and leaving it beside your head, leaving through the bathroom window as you wince and cough thankfully. The ambulance arrives just in time. The handsome, but slightly afflicted paramedics load you up and take you to recuperate. They try to pump your stomach, but your digestive system has flushed your dinner straight through, now your large and small intestines are playing a game of pass the parcel with your meal and the doctor informs you that the only thing to do is to go in immediately via the rectum with the wire brush and Dettol. As they toss you over and pull down your underpants in a room full of screaming A&E patients, a moment of peaceful clarity hits, and you think to yourself at least this is better than a box of microwavable chips.