Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oy, That Salsa 

Living here in Israel I'm almost afraid to love chips and salsa anymore, but I can't help it: they're my favorite snack. Nevertheless I can't just relax and enjoy them, always munching a little nervously, too aware that it's only a matter of time until they take away my salsa, just like they took away my water chestnuts and square crackers before them.

It might sound crazy to someone living in the U.S., where everything is always in stock and more is on order, but here in Israel, brands come and go all the time. As soon as you get used to a new favorite product -- whiff! -- it's gone, pulled from the shelves. Lucy was never so cruel to Charlie Brown.

That's why I tend to buy my jars of salsa in big batches, so that when the Israeli supply of my favorite brand is inevitably cut off, I have a little cushion of inventory to fall back on. Of course, if I were back in Los Angeles, I would never invest so much time trying to differentiate between the locally available salsas when they are all just variations on the theme of liquid chip dip, industrially injected into glass receptacles on a factory conveyor belt somewhere in the bowels of New Jersey. But we take our comfort where we find it. For me, it's having a consistent salsa that I can use all the time.

Well, they stopped stocking that most favored brand a few months ago, and my inventory was consumed soon after, so I had to start gently acclimating my delicate palate to the next best alternative. It was tough, but, by following a strict regimen of almost daily corn chip consumption, I managed to build up a tolerance to the new salsa. It's really not so bad, once your immune system kicks in, and it still had the familiar thick and chunky texture I'd grown used to. Life goes on.

But then yesterday, out of the blue, I saw my old favorite had somehow snuck back onto the shelves. My first reaction was to shake my head and ignore Lucy -- sometimes even Charlie Brown learns to avoid kicking at what's not there and landing on that part of his anatomy that rhymes with schmuchus.

I suddenly remembered how much I missed the salsa when it first disappeared, and my resolve weakened. I bought a jar, well, actually a bunch of them, because you never know. But Lucy got the last laugh again. I started to pour some into my bowl, chip at the ready, only to discover they'd apparently changed the recipe while on hiatus. This was no longer my beloved salsa of blessed memory -- not "New and Improved" but "Thin and Runny." It slopped out of the jar like bloody, chunky diarrhea. I couldn't so much dip the chip as soak it.

I'm surprised I could even eat it. Seasoning was still pretty good though. What can I say? I love chips and salsa.

I would probably go back to making my own, if I could just be sure they won't stop stocking tomatoes.

Technorati Tags: , ,

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: