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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Classic Rant #589 (September 27, 2011): The Tortilla Chips Are Down, But Will Never Be Out

As the Red Sox sink to further depths in the East, let us take some time out of our busy day to reflect on someone who changed many of our lives ... but we wouldn't know who this person was if we walked right into him in the middle of the street.

Arch West was a snack food executive who pretty much stumbled upon an idea that changed history, and it all happened when he was on a family vacation in California.

He ate out at a Mexican restaurant, and was intrigued by fried tortilla chips that were served with a meal.

With his businessman's sense, he thought that these could go over big with his employer and with snack food fans everywhere.

And he was right on both counts.

His employer happened to be Frito-Lay, the major snack food manufacturer, and the product that he thought up was Doritos, the first nationally sold tortilla chip.

There have been many copy-cat and similar items since its debut in the mid-1960s, but Doritos is the real thing, and it has become one of Frito-Lay's top-selling snacks over the years.

And it pre-dated the Mexican food phenomenon that is seen in just about everything we consume, and the idea for a nationally distributed tortilla chip even pre-dates the overriding success of the Taco Bell chain and probably every other Mexican food chain that have become as American as apple pie over the last two or three decades.

There really isn't much more to the story.

West lived to the ripe old age of 97, and he passed away a few days ago.

But his creation will live on well past his life, and probably the lives of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

On my end, Doritos are addicting. Like they used to say about Lay's Potato Chips, you can't eat just one.

There are many variations of the original now, but I like the original. It is the best of the entire line, although its other line mates are intriguing.

So there you have it. Here's another unknown name, but a guy who had a bit of ingenuity, and one whose legacy will be everlasting ...

All because of a tortilla chip.

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