Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God’s Own Potato Chips

I just had lunch, and I’m listening to Hindu Devotional Sounds on BBC Asian Network. So I hope you’ll indulge me here in the connection I’m about to make.

Mmm, yes, lunch was really tasty today. I did the Jeff City thang and had myself a braunschweiger sandwich. I’ll bet if you took a poll of the eating habits of Missourians, you’d find that Jefferson Citians eat way more braunschweiger per capita than all the other people in the state.

I did it up good—nice wheat bread with a thin slice of Swiss cheese, lightly toasted, then topped with lettuce, sliced green onion, tomatoes, cucumber, and braunschweiger from Williams Brothers in Washington, Missouri. (Remember I told you about the Wurstfest?)

But more about braunschweiger later; along with my sandwich I enjoyed a handful of God’s own potato chips. You think I’m joking? I’m not. I’m serious—ask my friends. I don’t even like potato chips, popcorn, and all that kind of stuff very much. So if I’m motivated to sing devotional praises about some kinda potato chip, you’re going to pay attention, right? Right.

These chips—Ballreich’s—are from Tiffin, Ohio. We pick them up when we’re doing car trips to visit Sue’s folks in northern Ohio; we get a few bags at a time and then try to make them last. (And indeed, you can buy them online.)

There is something different about them. The kind we like the most are the original “marcelled” type—the term was popular as a way of describing that wavy-ironed hairstyle popular among women in the 1920s, doncha know; apparently Bellreich’s is the only potato chip company to use the term.

So what makes them so dang good? Is it that they use specific types of potatoes, Norchip, Snowden, and Atlanta, all (I’m pretty sure) Ohio-grown? . . . Maybe it’s the fat they fry them in? I don’t know. But they have a je ne sais quoi that sets them apart.

So here was my thought today as I experienced potato chip heaven. (Forgive me.)

In chapter 7 of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is explaining his nature to Arjuna. It’s a lovely passage, full of poetry, that’s been sticking with me recently. No wonder it came to me as I was munching this afternoon. So here it is, BG 7.8-10, from the Juan Mascaró translation (Penguin, 1962):

I am the taste of living waters and the light of the sun and the moon. I am OM, the sacred word of the Vedas, sound in silence, heroism in men.

I am the pure fragrance that comes from the earth and the brightness of fire I am. I am the life of all living beings, and the austere life of those who train their souls.

And I am from everlasting the seed of eternal life. I am the intelligence of the intelligent. I am the beauty of the beautiful.

. . . To which I would like to add, “I am the yum of the Ballreich’s potato chip.”

(Apologies to Lord Krishna, but I suspect the deity knows what I mean and laughs merrily at my enthusiasms.)

No comments: