Potato Sticks – Sichuan Peppers and Yuzu

Brand: Calbee

Cost: 170 yen

Found At: 7-11

I feel like I really missed out in my childhood, not having potato sticks. They are exactly the kind of snack that I would have loved as a kid – mild, starchy, and in stick form – but I was born about ten years too early for “stick” technology to move past the pretzel phase.

But I can’t imagine that “yuzu and Sichuan pepper” is a flavor designed for children. It might have a goofy cartoon giraffe housewife on the front, but that is not necessarily an indication of a younger demographic. I’ve seen plenty of snacks that are explicitly marketed towards adults (“adult wasabi chips,” for example) that nevertheless have cute cartoon mascots. And even though these potato sticks are not spicy at all (using the flavoring of peppercorns but not the actual numbing spice elements), I suspect that little kids might still be wary. After all, one small girl cried last week on curry day because she worried the curry might be spicy (it wasn’t). It seems that Japanese children are just as spice-wary as American ones.

But whoever these sticks are marketed to, I am taking the opportunity to make up for lost time. There’s no reason to moan about what I missed out on when I can still enjoy it now. And so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend this Saturday morning the way I should spend every Saturday morning – watching TV and eating citrusy potato snacks. You can grow old, after all, but you don’t have to grow up.

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