Close to two-decades ago, my girlfriend at the time went on vacation with her mother to China. It came at a bad time in our relationship, as she was away at school for most of the year, so any time off she had were the only times that we had a chance to spend time together, and so, in mine eyes, was precious. That being said, I don’t begrudge her the chance to travel to far away lands. (At least I didn’t at that time. It would happen again later on and it didn’t go… well.) Regardless, during her time there, she picked up a few souveniers for me; a nice calligraphy set with solid ink and a traditional brush, (it’s very pretty and I thought it was very cool and I have never used it. I still have it, in a box somewhere.) and a can of cucumber-flavoured Pringles.


It’s going to sound facetious, but that can of chips was amongst the all-time greatest snacks I have ever had. I savoured them for weeks on end, limiting my snacking to one or two chips at a time, because I knew that once they were done, there would be no more on the way. Trips to Chinatown in the months that followed were fruitless, and so, these chips were consigned to memory. I even saved the can for the better part of a year, as proof that this snack did in fact exist, and wasn’t a fever dream brought on by the heartbreak and massive amounts of alcohol consumed as my relationship (and rest of my life, to be honest) collapsed in on itself.


This article has gone way, way off the rails, but I don’t care. You’re still reading and this is my blog, so I’ll (cry) ramble if I want to.


The next chapter of this story is, as expected, life goes on. Life, ah er, finds a way. We were so caught up asking ourselves if we could, we never stopped to ask if we should. 


No, wait, that’s Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park. 


I broke up with that girl. I met my wife-to-be. We had a kid. Bought a house. Obla-dee obla-da.


Then one day last week, my loving (and really quite pretty) wife came home with these:



Lays Cucumber Potato Chips.


It was like going back to your high-school years after graduating and getting one of those big gooey oatmeal cookies they sold in the caf that you could never replicate at home, no matter how hard you tried. (The secret, according to my pastry-chef sister is to use margarine in place of butter. The butter crystalizes and doesn’t stay goopy and chewy.)


The chips tasted great, weird and fresh and distinctly like cucumber. But they also tasted like a memory. I know there is lots of science out there linking taste to memory, but in this case, the taste IS the memory. This was a chip that I had committed to the recesses of my mind, the memory of the flavour tied to the flavour memory. I didn’t have any sudden recall of times past, but instead a clear recollection of “Yes, this is how those chips tasted!’ 


Marisa was subtly impressed with the accuracy of the flavour, if not particularly fond of it. Archer ran to the nearest trash can and spit the chip out.