The Fall of the House of Humpty Dumpty


Okay, confession time: I forgot to go shopping, and by dinnertime, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store, so I just popped down to the corner store for a bag of chips. I know all too well that the Dorito Dinner is a bad idea. It’s great at the time, and it’s filling, but only because it fills you with self-loathing afterward. I was just talking about this to one of the girls in the fencing club on Monday, as she’d just done the Dorito Dinner, but it turned out that (a) she’d only had a small bag and (b) she’s pregnant. (Before you ask, no, I do not plan to stop jabbing her in the stomach.) I knew full well that I was about to cram myself with 220 grams of fat and salt.

When I got there, I noticed that several brands had had their prices slashed from $2.99 to two for $5.00. $2.50 for a bag of chips isn’t a great price (although it’s okay for a convenience store), but on the other hand, this was my excuse to pick up a couple of bags of Humpty Dumpty, which I don’t usually see at the supermarket. (It turns out that Frito-Lay has done a consummate job of squeezing Humpty Dumpty off supermarket shelves.) Plus, the Asian lady working behind the counter is about the sweetest person I’ve ever encountered. So I picked up a bag of Smokin’ Bacon and a bag of Barbecue.

When I got home, I tore into the Smokin’ Bacon, and — holy shit — I’ll be damned if it wasn’t delicious. I knew that Humpty Dumpty was better than Frito-Lays, especially when it comes to the barbecue flavor, which is piquant rather than sweet, as US barbecue flavors tend to be. Make no mistake: I give Lays due credit for making a very good curry-flavored chip, but Humpty Dumpty’s barbecue beats Frito-Lay barbecue flavors like a rented mule. But I’d forgotten just how good Humpty Dumpty chips were. I don’t know why; I had some only two weeks ago. And yet, it was revelatory.

So I did what I always do when I love something: I jumped onto the web to see how much other people love it. I know Americans probably don’t get to experience Humpty Dumpty, since the company’s based out of Kitchener, Ontario. Dickolas Wang had told me about the Brunching Shuttlecocks had reviewed a bunch of Canadian snack foods. What did they make of Humpty Dumpty? Ketchup chips? Coffee Crisp? Well, those answers are here,* but forget that, because I hit the gold mine of potato chip reviewery at There are things there I’ve never even heard of. Remember fat and salt? It turns out you can get fried chicken skins in a bag. That totally makes sense, actually, because (a) it’s the same concept as pork rinds and (b) I’ve always thought that KFC could make a fortune selling just the deep-fried skin without the meat. And their comprehensive Canadian chip section also holds a few surprises. Humpty Dumpty, in particular, has tested some flavours that I now desperately want to get my hands on. I need to look into whether there are any old bags of ballpark hot dog chips or fries and gravy chips on eBay.

But the terrible thing I learned in their forum was that Old Dutch acquired Humpty Dumpty last fall, and it looks like only the Humpty Dumpty snacks such as the cheese puffs and party mix will remain while the other snacks get phased out. I assume this means the chips, which, if true, is terrible news. I know Old Dutch is big out west, while Humpty Dumpty was the superpower of the east. I’ve never been west of Thunder Bay, and I’ve never had Old Dutch. The closest I’ve come is having a container of powered bleach with a picture of a windmill on it once, but I didn’t eat it; I just cleaned my toilet with it.

So, westerners (including the aforementioned Dickolas Wang), I ask you this: Is Old Dutch good? As good as Humpty Dumpty? How’s the barbecue flavor? Please let me know so I can find out if I have to stock up.

* Oddly enough, the Brunching Shuttlecock reviewers gave the Big Turk a B+. I didn’t expect them to like it. The Big Turk is a Turkish Delight bar that, until 1996, no one I knew had ever eaten except my housemate Jason, who hated it with the white-hot intensity of Greek fire. I remember several times when he remembered how much he hated the Big Turk and got so mad that he swore. That led to an occasion when my friend Jon and I decided to make a run down to the corner store and asked Jason if he wanted to come. He was too lazy, so he just asked me to pick him up a candy bar. Any particular kind, I wondered? He wasn’t fussy; pretty much any candy bar would do. Well, when we got to the store and I saw the Big Turk, I knew that’s what Jason was getting. I giggled as I ponied up the buck for it, and Jon and I were still snickering when we got back to my house and I casually handed Jason’s Big Turk over to him. He totally blew his stack. He hurled the Big Turk across the room, along with a lot of loud cuss words. He was mollified a little when I handed over the extra Coffee Crisp that I’d bought for him and kept hidden until that moment, though. Since he wasn’t going to eat it under any circumstances and it was still perfectly good, if a little dented, I picked up the Big Turk and decided to give it a whirl. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad at all. I’d probably grade it as a B- rather than a B+, but chacun à son goût, I suppose.

9 Responses to “The Fall of the House of Humpty Dumpty”

  1. 1 marijica

    i’ve been to sarajevo (the capital of Bosnia) over the winter holidays and tried their version of turkish delight, it’s called rahat lokum and it kicks ass! i especially loved when the waiter brought some in my small coffee cup because this is how they serve it – you eat it with turkish coffee.

  2. 2 Shelley L

    I know this sounds really bad, but when I was a kid, my mom worked at a place called Mother Pickle Book Distributing. It was kind of in the industrial section of our small town, so a lot of trucks would come by and dump stuff. One day, my brother and I went out exploring and found a dumpster filled with Humpty Dumpty chips! The bags were sealed and everything, just getting close to their expiry dates.
    It was the greatest thing to happen ever. We called it the Humpty Dumpster, and visited it everytime we went to the drive-in.
    I only wish it still existed, so that I could prove it to you.

  3. 3 Gloria

    You are so fucking right about Humpty Dumpty BBQ. I never understood how a BBQ flavour could be conceived as sweet, and always thought a little less of a label who made BBQ that way, even if the rest of their line was delicious.

    I also used to love Maple Leaf chips, but they were only sold at Knob Hill Farms as far as I knew, and so they disappeared when the franchise went down.

  4. 4 Keith

    Old Dutch is a Twin Cities company. Needless to say, it’s everywhere here in Minnesota.

    I like their chips. Better than Lays, in that they’re more substantial without crossing that boundary into kettle chips.

    I can’t speak of their flavored chips, though. I’m not a fan of any flavored potato chips, so I don’t eat them regularly.

    Their dill pickle chips are appalling. But that’s because I don’t like dill pickles.

  5. The Humpty Dumpster is the greatest thing ever to happen! That’s awesome!

    By the way, I have it on good authority that Mother Pickle Book Distributing puts out a great dill pickle flavoured book.

  6. I tried to leave a comment earlier and it didn’t seem to go through. The long and short of it was that yes, I remember Old Dutch chips tasting much like Lays, only perhaps more of the potato, in a good way. As a teenager I became partial to Wavy Lays, so it’s been a long time since I regularly ate Old Dutch.

    I had a debate recently where I remembered them fondly and my friend did not. I think, although I don’t know how I would test this theory at the moment (unless Old Dutch chips are available in Berkeley), that if I were to eat them again today, I might have to switch my allegiance back to Old Dutch. This could merely be the rose-coloured glasses of my mid-twenties, though.

  7. 7 Autumn

    Sadly, I am eating a bag of the BBQ Old Dutch chips (alas, humpty dumpty is no more…) And they fail.

    They don’t taste at all like the humpty dumpty chips.
    The creamy dill pickle tastes lousy too. I really loved HD’s dill pickle, with the garlicky notes 😦
    I heard that they are using the HD recipe for ketchup, but I haven’t tried it myself yet…

    pero todo tiene sentido y todo por TUUUUUUU culpa porque porque porque tus impulsos te dieron ganas de ver ese video pero tu sabes muy bien que hiciste MAL pero bueno es tu problema luego no andes de miedoso con que te apenas te dicen algo y tú: ¡NOOOOOO HUMPTYYY NOOOOO! y todos se te quedaran viendo como & este que …
    pero tu lo decides byeee
    besoooos te amoooo! $: atte: Humpty dumpty! WTF (CHIPS) con el comentario de arriba….

    CHAO! te quiere y te adora: Humpty…

    VEEEMEEE!! yo se que tu me quieres volver a ver !!! y tu DIRAS: ¡They don’t taste at all like the humpty dumpty CHIPS! OOHH YEAAAH! OMG OMG OMG !!
    ñacañacañaca !!

    Se que te gusta el tomate, el aguacate, la carne Y EL POTATOOOO EL POTATTOOO

    Ah si perdon ya me tengo que ir para producir otros comerciales ok..
    que por cierto me los cancelan sin motivo alguno
    solo porque a los mocosos y mocosas les causo miedo…

    VIVA los kinder garden yomi yomi yomi yomi potato yomiii potatooo 😛
    im the potato (8)

    Sabian que…
    El potato es una energia que produce el kinder garden o acaso es que es mentira! .. mejor compra el kinder garden yo se que te gusta su sabor.. yomii..
    pero sabes porque te sabe tan delicioso.. POR EL POTATO!

    Esque me entra la inspiracion .. mi gran inspiracion es el.. creo que ya sabes porque lo he mencionado y en este momento estoy consumiendo un potatooo!
    yomi pero no es cualquier potato es con SAL Y LIMON y poquito de chile tajin


    Sabias que..
    El tajín es un chile delicioso y natural que se le pone al potato ! y sabee.. a POTATO CON CHILE pero no cualquier chili…. se llama y lo venden en el oxxo a solo 50 centavos y sabes porque tan barato… porque.. los amenazo con mi video del kinder sorpresa ! porque se quedan traumados..

    Bueno chicos y chicas ya es el recreo… me tengo que ir a comer ! …


    Pero no cualquier potato es el que compro en el supermercadoo… de la esquina de mi casa ..


  9. 9 melinuxfool

    You think Humpty Dumpty is good now, you should have had them before they were made in Canada. They used to be made right in Maine, in the U.S.A. Their BBQ was still spicy, but they were even better than they were after they were bought out.

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