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May 16, 2022

Can you do this?

May 16, 2022 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tostitos Hint of Lime


Mariella Rudi went down the rabbit hole to bring us a wonderful in-depth piece on Tostitos Hint of Lime.

Below, the results of her investigation, which appeared on April 20, 2022 in the Guardian.

Tostitos Hint of Lime has zero lime — but it's still the perfect chip

Lab-made, lip-puckering, a chaotic flavor profile that's almost... gross? Yes, Tostitos Hint of Lime is a perfect chip.

The chip smells like nothing, but tastes like a smörgåsbord that's both confusing and arousing, like Steve Buscemi. Flecks of spring green — the kind generated from radioactive waste — coat the unwieldy triangles. The seasoning is a kaleidoscope of Day-Glo dust particles that perishes under saliva and tongue.

And when you truly take the taste in, it's not just lime that's hinted at — it's also sour candy and umami and summertime and guilt.

Except: there's no lime in Tostitos Hint of Lime.

Three recently proposed class-action lawsuits against Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo, sought $5m in damages on the basis that the chips allegedly contain a "negligible amount of lime."

One complaint filed in California federal court enlisted "flavor expert" Bob Holmes to explain the science of imitation: limes get their signature tart flavor from a combination of odor-active compounds, like alcohols and terpenes, but Tostitos Hint of Lime contained none; instead, a lab analysis revealed "a relative abundance of limonene and citral" meant to mimic lime's "woody" and "piney" notes.

Not only did the chips not contain any lime, the suit said, they also just didn't taste like what Tostitos was promoting.

Law blogs picked up the news and went pun-crazy, calling the case "a mixed bag" thrust "into the lime light," served up with "a hint of chemicals."

Pundits saw this as the unmistakable handiwork of Spencer Sheehan, a Long Island plaintiffs' attorney behind hundreds of similar putative class actions against nearly every manufacturer in the supermarket — strawberry Pop-Tarts, Betty Crocker brownie mix, pineapple-mango Vizzy Hard Seltzer's, to name a few — though his bread-and-butter are vanilla products that contain little to no actual vanilla bean, earning him the nickname "Vanilla Vigilante" and praise from consumer advocacy groups.

Charles Sipos, a defense lawyer with the firm who has been opposite Sheehan a handful of times, says recent changes in consumers' demands for food transparency have led to a kind of wild west playing out in the grocery aisle today. Suing food corporations also happens to be a lucrative business enterprise, Sipos said.

"If all the companies were diligent about complying with the limits set by [FDA] regulations and kept their statements and packaging within those boundaries, it would mean that there would be no cases like this," Sheehan said. "But as long as companies try to push the boundaries of what is allowed, there inevitably are going to be situations where they go too far and represent products in a way that will mislead consumers."

Alas, Tostitos Hint of Lime will never see its day in food court. The cases were "voluntarily dismissed," a typical outcome in cases like Sheehan's that indicates a settlement agreement. Sheehan couldn't give me specifics, but he told me that anyone could draw their own reasonable conclusions.

The only one who stands to cash in his chips would be Sheehan, Kipnees added, as the plaintiff's counsel typically receives about one-third of the settlement fund, on top of case costs.

Very little exists in the annals of the interwebs about Tostitos Hint of Lime. Many nights I've sucked down crusty mossed fingertips and typed away in a green-out (like a blackout, but from eating too much Tostitos Hint of Lime), searching for a like-minded fan club, historical taxonomy, or even a press release.

Nothing. There's no trademark on the product name, and no patent on the chip itself that I could find, unlike Ruffles.

I guess I craved an explanation for why I had always come back to these chips. There are vivid memories of Hint of Lime by my side, some difficult and sad, like eating them alone for dinner in high school. Mostly, though, I popped open the green bag like champagne on birthdays and vacations, a good-time snack to serve at life's milestones and rest stops.

There are some ironic usernames on TikTok, plus the obligatory once-a-year mention from the official @Tostitos social accounts (maybe written by a bot who hates limes or itself or both), and a steady stream of uninspired tweets from normies, save a few blue-check mentions — like a Late Night with Seth Meyers writer calling the chips a "lime holocaust in your mouth" and a Bachelorcontestant naming the chips as "the best thing" in his life and saying "it's not even close."

The chips’ more beloved cousins in the Frito-Lay family have an outspoken fanbase and get regular media attention, like Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Rabid fans of the discontinued Tostitos Hint of Jalapeño regularly accost social media managers on Hint of Lime posts. Even Stacy's Pita Chips has an origin story.

Until the lawsuits, Hint of Lime remained the ugly Quasimodo sister we didn't talk about in mixed company.

The new bag, in Black's possession, was a bolder hue of green, and instead of tortilla chips, the label read "flavored triangles." Automatic two points deducted.

The most important difference between old and new packaging is that the transparent outline of a lime wedge — a window into the goodies — is now that of a tortilla triangle. No one can prove that Sheehan's filings prompted Frito-Lay to update the Tostitos Hint of Lime packaging, but one can speculate.

The important question was: did it taste the same?

The two men dug in, and soon the listener is caught between one man's moan and the other’s guttural cry. "It comes up and slaps your face," said one. "The texture crunches like a motherfucker," said the other.

"Sometimes, I'll let it sit flat on my tongue so it can absorb that lime," Cavanagh said. "I just let it sit there and then when the chip itself starts getting a little soggy."

I reached out to Tostitos's PR to ask about the history of Hint of Lime. When was the brand first produced and marketed? Where does Hint of Lime fit into the Tostitos flavor portfolio? How many bags are sold each year and what region boasts the most sales?

I got a chipper response from an account supervisor at Ketchum, Frito-Lay's outsourced PR agency. He said he'd get me answers within a week. Two weeks later, they said they were unable to provide answers and politely passed on the opportunity to talk to me.

It's unclear why they stonewalled me; maybe the recent lawsuits have executives tight-lipped. Or maybe any peek into their chips' past was kiboshed after an LA Times investigation exposed the supposed inventor of Flamin' Hot Cheetos Richard Montañez (and the subject of an upcoming biopic directed by Eva Longoria) as "urban legend" and had PepsiCo executives tripping over each other's statements to the press. Or it could just be what happens when Frito-Lay-cum-PepsiCo is asked about ingredients, like when a science writer tried to find out why there were pork enzymes in Doritos.

In a last-ditch effort, I finished my third bag of Hint of Lime in the name of journalism and messaged an 80-year-old on Facebook asking if he was the same person Snack Encyclopedia credited with developing Tostitos for Frito-Lay in 1978. I never got a response.

The food fight to uncover the history of Tostitos Hint of Lime continues — until then, I'll let the chips fall where they may (right into my mouth).


I had my first encounter with these chips yesterday when I opened the bag pictured at the top of this post and tried them as mile marker snacks while running on my treadmill at 6.5 mph (9:14/mile).

They were great.

I was surprised by how big they were — about twice the size of Doritos.

May 16, 2022 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

'Chrysanthemums in the Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers' — Gustave Caillebotte


1893; oil on canvas; in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it may be seen in Gallery 824.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Although Caillebotte was a lifelong gardener, his interest in floral subjects did not develop until the 1880s.

This work from 1893 depicts flowers that he cultivated on his property at Petit-Gennevilliers, a small town on the Seine just northwest of Paris.

Chrysanthemums were hugely popular in France, celebrated for their resplendent colors and associations with East Asia, whose arts and cultures were greatly admired by Europeans.

This unusual, close-up view of densely packed blossoms has been related to Caillebotte's project for dining room doors ornamented with images of plants — a conception akin to the decorative series that his friend Monet based on his own garden at Giverny.

Caillebotte died in 1894 at 46.

May 16, 2022 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

You live as long as someone remembers you

Once the last person on the planet who knew you dies, you cease to exist.

Traces in movies, pictures, and books aren't the same thing as someone who actually encountered you IRL thinking about you.

Children ask where their dead pet went: "heaven" is the default answer even for those without faith with a capital F.

Better, and closer to the "truth": the dead pet isn't around the house any more, but it's alive in their head just like it was before, forever (as long as they're alive, but TMI for a little kid IMHO and what's with all the acronyms?).



Tell a child to think about their absent friend: as long as they can envision their vanished companion, that pet lives.

Wait a sec — what's that music I'm hearing?

May 16, 2022 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

1Up Bike Rack

Screen Shot 2022-05-06 at 3.28.31 PM

Wrote Seth Werkheiser: "I bought a 1Up bike rack, making it 1000x easier to get out and get moving during the week."

Up top, his setup.

From the 1Up website: "We build the most durable, hassle-free, hitch-mounting/bike-loading racks you'll find anywhere."

From $355.

May 16, 2022 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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