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Sorry for the absence. We have been taking some much needed time off.


If you are lucky enough to go on vacation to a place that you have become familiar with, you probably look forward to things that are unique to that area. Because you can’t experience these things anywhere else, they become synonymous with your vacation. These might include a favorite fishing spot, a souvenir shop, or an ice cream stand.

Or maybe a potato chip.

When I was growing up, we rented a cottage in southern Maine for several summers, and, as far as I knew, that was the only place on earth that you could get Humpty Dumpty potato chips. Made since 1947 in South Portland, the Humpty Dumpty chip logo featured a smiling egg wearing a bow tie and a bowler hat. It was the first thing I looked for at the grocery store on vacation and they were the most delicious potato chips in the world.

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Although they made funky flavors like Ketchup, Sour Cream and Clam, All Dressed, and Dill Pickle, the only kind we ever got was Regular. Now, maybe that was because it was the only kind that the grocery store carried, but I suspect it was because “regular” kind of defined who we were. We were not ripple chip people. We were definitely not sour cream and clam people.

That just made the regular chips so much more special. We didn’t waste time wondering what flavor to get because, for us, there was only one. And I’m not kidding when I say they were delicious. They didn’t taste like Wise, or Lays, or State Line chips. They were better. They elevated tunafish or a BLT or a ham sandwich to new heights.

When vacation was over, that was the end of the chips until the next year. Only people lucky enough to live in Maine year round got to have Humpty Dumpty chips in December or January. When July rolled around again on the calendar, the chips were something to look forward to.

Eventually I outgrew going to Maine with my parents. Once or twice we did some overnights at a motel but it wasn’t the same. We ate our meals in restaurants and we never bought chips just to have them around.

Shortly after I returned to Maine as a spouse and parent to make new vacation memories, they started making Humpty Dumpty potato chips in Canada. The company had been bought and sold a few times since my younger days. But the best part is the chips were still sitting on the shelves when we went to the store.

We made the chips an even bigger part of our vacation. We would have them with meals but also with dip before supper. We would finish bags and go back to buy more. We would buy bags to bring home with us.

Some years we couldn’t find Regular, but Ripple was always readily available and that was okay. One year, a friend of mine from college who was born and raised in Maine, visited us on vacation and brought a bag of every kind of Humpty Dumpty chip they had in the store. It must have been at least half a dozen varieties, although Sour Cream and Clam was noticeably absent.

Today, even if we go to Maine for a day trip, we buy a bag or two. We buy bags for friends and relatives so that they can experience them. To be honest, I don’t think I could tell the difference now between Humpties and another kind of chip. They may not even be as good as they were when I was a kid. But that’s not the point, is it?

For me, Humpty Dumpty potato chips will be as much a part of vacation as throwing a ball around on the beach or that first whiff of salt air.

What is your favorite vacation treat?  Please leave a comment…

Note from Suzanne:
I have written in the past that not all of my family members subscribe to the same diet as myself. While I practice a vegan diet and eat very little processed food, other members (all adults) in my home have chosen different paths (carnivorous and flexitarian).

While we no longer purchase and devour bag upon bag during vacation, the carnivore and the flexitarian do enjoy this treat from time to time. Potato chips are not a food I miss so one or two chips leaves me satisfied.