Ham N’ Bean Soup.


I was really hungry for ham n’ bean soup after the Christmas ham.  Usually I make a Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup with ham leftovers, but this time I wanted something different.  Plus, I made a sweet glaze for this ham which may not have played well with that soup.  I have made ham n’ bean soup before with the dried beans that I had to soak overnight, but I remember my last batch being way too salty.

This one turned out a lot better.  I used canned beans.  While we generally do most of out shopping at Aldi (& via Instacart), there are some things that Aldi doesn’t sell so I made the trip to Giant Eagle to get all the beans.  I think it turned out well.  This is more of a method than a recipe.  Here’s what I posted on Instagram (edited for terrible typing and a clear blatant lack of proofreading/editing);

AiXeLsyD13's Ham n' Bean Soup

Ham n’ Bean Soup | @AiXeLsyD13

Finally made the ham n’ bean soup.

Started with some carrots cut up, half of a Spanish onion minced, and 3 each red & yellow mini sweet bell peppers chopped very fine, sautéed them in a bit of butter, added spices

Next I added a @yuenglingbeer traditional lager, some vegetable broth, and some water & a bit of ham bullion/paste stuff.from a jar.

Then I added some leftover gravy from the Christmas ham which included ham drippings and my glaze that dropped down (beer, yellow mustard, Herlocher’s, honey, brown sugar, garlic, water, & corn starch). Then I cubed up some leftover ham from Christmas, popped it in the mix, then added some canned great northern beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans, red beans, white kidney beans, and canned diced new potatoes.

Finally I added some bisquick mix to make some dumplings after the beans cooked a bit.

I have to say it hit the spot. @bcarroll_13 liked it, and Molly did eat a bit, Ian said he liked it but didn’t eat any. Molly REALLY liked the dumplings.

I bought peas to add, but wasn’t feeling then in this mix so I kept them out.

I may try the “bags of gold” cheese-filled dumplings soup that grandma used to make next.

I forgot to mention that one can of great northern beans I mashed before putting it in because I like a thick soup.  The dumplings were my mom’s idea, which is funny if you know her & that she hates biscuits & dumplings.  I also used a few drops of liquid smoke for the first time ever at the advice of a good friend!  I also sometimes like to cook with Straub American Amber instead of Yuengling Traditional Lager.  I thought about adding garbanzo beans, but I didn’t.  I bet they would have gone well in here too.

Do you make your ham n’ bean soup?  This is something I probably make slightly different every time.  Share your secrets, tips, & tricks in the comments!

Ham n’ Bean n’ Tater Stew


This is one of my favorites.  My grandma made it a lot when I was growing up.  I have my own variation.

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup on a Spoon

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup

 

Mine includes beer. Grandma made it every once in a while with cabbage. I suppose you could add carrots and/or onions. Maybe garbanzi beans too?  Becky the awesome cook at camp makes it with noodle-style dumplings (I did try it that way once too), and some people make it wholly and horribly incorrectly with a creamy soup base.  I have no idea why you would do that to this meal.

I don’t know what to call this.  We always just called it “ham, beans, and potatoes” which is somewhat cumbersome… and could be about 4,000,000,000 other soups.  In fact, I don’t even know if this is a soup or a stew.  Both?  Neither?  What is the difference, anyway?

A lot of the time this would be made with leftover ham from Christmas, Easter, or whenever.  When the hankering strikes now, I go to ham steaks with the little bone in.  I don’t have a strict recipe, it’s more of a method.

This time, I put some Ham broth base (which can be a pain in the rear to find in the store sometimes) made slightly weaker than the directions, one cube each of chicken & beef bullion, a bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager (I have used Straub American Amber for this too), and water in the pot and started it to boil on high.  (Perhaps obviously if I had a leftover ham, I would start by boiling the bone and make the broth from that, add bullion if/as needed.)  I also popped in some minched garlic, onion powder, and season-all, salt, and black pepper.

Then I cubed up 2 ham steaks, added them to the mix,.

Then I washed n’ cut up a not quite a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, and added that to the mix.  (I have used Yukon Gold before and they’re delicious, but they seem to break down to starch easier.)

Then, I cheated and popped open 2 bags of microwave/steam ready fresh green beans, rinsed, then snapped/chopped, and added them to the mix.  When i came to a boil, I popped it down to 8 on the burner dial, and let it boil for 20 minutes.

Then, I let it simmer on 2 for another 20 minutes, then I put it on low until dinner time.

Ham n' Bean n; Tater Stew

Ham n’ Bean n; Tater Stew

We served it with fresh baked buttered bread form the local grocery store.  The kids seemed to actually eat dinner this evening too, and they’re rather picky lately.  Sometimes I make it the night before, this is the kind of stuff that’s always better the next day.  I’m not sure if it’s Irish, German, American, or all of the above.

Do you make something like this?  Post your variation(s) in the comments below.

 

 

Thanks to @RowdyBBQ for the box in the mail today! #BBQ


If you know me, you know I dig BBQ.  You also probably know that Rowdy BBQ is one of my favorite BBQ joints, if not the favorite.  Different moods & days for different BBQ, right?  I could eat from Rowdy BBQ every day.  Health be damned!

This all started last week when I Instagrammed/Tweeted this:

And I got a reply:

Like I said, the pulled pork was absolutely delicious.  But, I’m not gonna turn down free brisket twice.  What am I, crazy?  So, I emailed them.

Today, the mailman left a nifty surprise on our porch:

Rowdy BBQ - Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ – Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ - Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ – Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ - Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ – Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ - Business Card

Rowdy BBQ – Business Card

Thanks to “Rowdy the Rooster” & Steve for taking the time to go way beyond simple customer satisfaction!

Speaking of Rowdy…  I hope he’s only temporarily headless?  I noticed that the famous (infamous?) sign only had hands when I was there.

If you’ve never had the BBQ here, I recommend everything.  Ha ha.  Generally I go with the sampler so I get ribs & chicken or a brisket if I have a somewhat slightly smaller appetite.  The Big Pig is also incredible, pulled pork & cheese sauce on a giant bun.  I also like the pierogies.  Mmm.  I’m going to have to use this gift certificate pretty damn soon.

I look forward to using this sauce at home.  Lately I’ve been using the Yuengling Black & Tan Honey Barbecue sauce, but this will be all kinds of delicious.  I can say though that it can’t be nearly the same as when they cook it.

Thanks again, Rowdy BBQ!

Bands vs. Venues: Who promotes? Who makes money? Can everyone “win”?


Rick from the Fallout Shelter brought up a great discussion topic on Facebook, and it inspired me to blog about it.

That’s a private group on Facebook, so here’s what was said in case you’re not a member:

Rick D'Agostino Looking for some feedback from the music community out there. Do you think that the $5 cover charge keeps you or your friends from attending shows at the Fallout Shelter that they might otherwise attend to check out new bands? In other words, are folks only willing to pay a $5 cover to see bands that they already know? And as a band member, would you rather play to a larger crowd with a tip bucket or to just a few people and make some gas money? I am thinking of making some changes. you can reply here or message me if you want. thanks!

Rick D’Agostino is looking for some feedback from the music community out there..

Dig?  So now, you have the gist of it.  My blog may go on its own little tangent, you never really know with these things.  It’s certainly worth talking about.

First, it’s clear that I’ve never been in a band where making money is the ultimate goal.  I’m amazed over & over that venue owners let me come in, set up, and play in front of people.  Sometimes we get money from the door, sometimes we get money from tickets sold, sometimes we give it all to the touring band, sometimes it’s a charity gig, sometimes no one shows up to pay anyone, sometimes we get some gas money or a couple of bucks to dump back into merch or something.

This is how it’s worked nearly everywhere and every time I have played:  Most of the time, the cover is $3 to $5, unless we’re opening for a national act & it’s through a booker where we’re asked to sell tickets.  Some call the latter “pay to play“, and rail wholly against it.  Some people have no problem selling tickets.  Some bands like mine do, but we try anyway.  At bar gigs, the cover charge is usually $5.  Sometimes it all goes to the bands, especially if it’s a bar & if you provide your own door person.  Sometimes it pays for a sound guy (if there is one) & a cut goes to the bar, then the bands get paid.  Sometimes locals defer and let the out-of-town bands take the cash (if there is one).  Sometimes you can play for free at open stages, sometimes you pay to get in at open stages.  Sometimes no one comes out to see you, and no one gets paid.  Sometimes the band gets free or discounted drinks.  It’s generally a no pay or break even situation.  You hope to sell merchandise and/or CD‘s if you have them, and the bar hopes to sell drinks & food.  The bands should promote and the venues should promote.  Some venues think the bands should do it all, some bands think the venue should do it all.  Generally 3 or sometimes 4 bands are all on the same gig.  Sometimes, it all works out, sometimes… it doesn’t.  This is how bands who largely play their own music are forced to operate.

That’s only 1 way.  There are many other “scenes” here overlapping in the ‘Burgh.

Cover bands… or human jukebox bands, can generally charge a fee for playing a certain style, genre, or “songs that people know”.  This is to provide entertainment to drunken Yinzer patrons who want to yell out requests.  You probably usually play 3 sets, maybe 4… and you’re the only entertainment all night.  You’re probably playing pop country, classic rock, or a little mix of everything.  Professional singers/songwriters operate pretty much the same way as described above, but can get away with putting in more of their own material.

High-class…  I know a band that plays funk, and can get $5000 a gig at the least.  They put their twist on a bunch of songs, dress up, bring lights, and put on one hell of a show.  I’m pretty sure I could never command that much cash for what I do… but how is one less relevant or entertaining?  They do weddings, corporate parties, and “events”.

I’m sure there’s other stuff out there that I’m not even aware of.  I can’t really speak for any other parts of the scene than the one I’m in.

I’ve heard the argument that charging only $5 is devaluing our craft.  Bands should demand more to be heard live.  It worked for Yuengling.  They raised the price on their beer in the late 90s/early 00s and they took off ahead of the other “microbrews”.  Should we then put a higher value on ourselves & our art?  If we raise the price do we raise our expectations?  Do we raise our worth?  Do we raise the value of our music & entertainment?

I also see that a cover charge can make or break a show.  Times are changing.  People aren’t spending money on entertainment.  Music is seen like it’s all supposed to be free.  Why would someone pay for a live show?  To me, if you don’t have $5 on you for a show, maybe you shouldn’t be going to a bar in the 1st place.  $5 might get you 2 beers if you’re a butthole & don’t tip the bartender.  Then again, we hardly ever walk away with any money anyway (the Fallout Shelter is an exception here, we get paid well there, regardless of turnout), so why not let people in for free?

The tip bucket.  I’d play for one.  I have no doubt that we’re entertaining.  Why not, right?  Do all bands split the tip bucket?  Or go per performance?  That if the 1st band up gets all the cash & the “cleanup” band gets nothing simply because the patrons ran out of cash?  Are we nothing more than indoor buskers if we play for a tip jar?  Is it a better measurement of our entertainment value to work for tips?  Does it devalue our art to basically beg for donations to support the rock n’ roll cause?

I certainly don’t want to see my favorite venues close because they can’t afford to operate.  I like to play them, I like to see other bands in them… I want them to do well.  I want them to continue to host my band & other bands.  I even want them to make a buck so it’s all worth their while, and so they can do it to make a living.

I just want to play.  I don’t care where, or for how much.  I have fun doing it.  I think this is an important discussion to have, though.  What is the value of live rock n’ roll?

So…

  • Would you play for less of a cover charge?
  • Should we charge more for shows?
  • Should bands play for tips?
  • How should the tips be split?
  • How does the venue make money?
  • Who pays the sound guy?

Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Related Articles

Nostalgia…


So, I upped a bunch of old songs to SoundCloud.  Some aren’t bad.  Some are terrible.  (There’s some AiXeLsyD, some Gasoline Dion, & even some Ernie and the Berts for good measure.)  Feel free to enjoy and/or ignore.

AiXeLsyDI have had many many fun times writing songs & jamming with all of these cats over the years. We have recorded some good stuff, met interesting people, and played some absolutely wild parties & shows.  It’s awesome to have played at parks, in basements, on small stages, in garages, in countless dive bars, on big stages, in back yards, a sports bar, band battles, in cool rock bars, an Elks lodge, a dorm room, American Legions, skate parks, VFW’s, theaters, Fire Halls, and even live on the radio.  (Places I haven’t played yet… on a boat, under-water, on a moving flatbed, outside of the U.S., on TV – Ernie, can you get on booking that?)  Some people even dug our stuff.

Gasoline DionI’m glad to be able to continue to rock out with some old faces & some new faces.  I enjoy that I’m still playing shows, going to shows, rocking out with talented dudes, & continually meeting & being influenced by local musicians & those that are just passing through.  We get together to rock out & have a great time doing so …all while trying to be as goofy as possible.  I’m glad I fell into punk rock as there’s a sense of humor about it all.

Ernie and the BertsI enjoy the exchange of knowledge, whether it’s music trivia geekery, guitars & amps & how they work & how to play them, or just general rock n’ roll legends.  I enjoy being obsessed with goofy guitars yet able to appreciate a nice normal axe.  I enjoy making fun of bands that are doing absolutely terrible things, taking too long to set up, playing too long, or have terrible names.  I enjoy being the target of the same kinds of jeers.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day coming soon, I’d like to toast my fellow musicians whether I’ve been in a band with you, shared a stage with you, or just been to one of your shows and told you how much it rocked.

☘  Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking! ☘

If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.

Please, share with me some memories of the crazy paces you’ve played, the fun (or terrible) times you’ve had with your bands… whether you were in one with me or not.  Share some of the music too!

Get Stuffed.


I can’t wait to make stuffing again. It’s ridiculously tasty. I love the carb overload. Maybe I will get those goggles, and I need to pick up some Yuengling.  A week from tonight, I should be in the process of creating this awesomeness.

I’ll show you my stuffing recipe if you show me yours.

How do you do it?

Maybe this year, I’ll try to make some Potato Filling too.  There are a bunch of recipes for it out there.  Maybe stuffing balls would be good…  Now I’m hungry.

STUFFING!

STUFFING!

Yuengling Lager

Beer

Chip Wars: Snyder of Berlin


Wow.  I’ve had some duds before, but this Chip Wars thing that I tried to spark really was a colossal dud.

No one got out of line with their replies, they divulged as little information as possible.  No dirt.  No funny.  No aggravation even.  I have to say I’m disappointed in myself as much as the responses.  Apparently I didn’t push the right buttons.  It certainly took long enouhg for them to write back, but I finally got a response from Snyder of Berlin:

from Yanke, Terry tyanke@birdseyefoods.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
cc “Yanke, Terry” tyanke@birdseyefoods.com
date Mon, Jul 26, 2010
subject Snyder vs Snyder
mailed-by birdseyefoods.com

Dear Eric,

Thank you for your many questions about the Snyder of Berlin history and products .  We are always pleased to hear from customers such as your self.

First – Regarding the statement “is not associated with”.   This statement is a legal phrase that must be used from the sale of the family to Curtice Burn.

Second – We do not give tours of the manufacturing plant.

Thank you for being a loyal Snyder of Berlin customer.

Terry Yanke
Order Desk / Customer Service Representative
Snyder of Berlin / Husman Snack Foods
Ph # 814-267-4641 ext. 238
800-374-7949 ext. 238
Fax # 888-367-6142
tyanke@birdseyefoods.com

P Think Green. Please don’t print this message unless it’s really necessary. Thank you.

Well.  I wonder what they think when they read my emails?  Do they think I’m eccentric, a little kid, or “special”?  They may even think I’m a “special” eccentric little kid.  I think it’s funny that they acknowledge the fact that I asked several questions, but only answered two of them.

I sent them the same exact message that I sent to Snyder’s of Hanover.  Their answer was boring and ignored most of my questions too.  These companies are much more similar than they’d like to admit.

Perhaps too much snacking curbs your sense of humor?

No tours?  Wow.  Everyone else does tours.  Free ones at that.  Way to go on that one, PR people.

Should I reply and ask them to answer more of my questions… or should I just let this one drop like the proverbial hot potato that it is?

Also… I felt the urge to print 317 copies of this email.

Chip Wars: Utz


Well, in the ongoing Chip Wars saga that isn’t ruffling as many feathers as I’d like (yet), we have a letter to & response from Utz:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010
To: info; Nutrition; tours
Subject: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…

Hello Friends!

I’m writing to you today to tell you how much I enjoy Utz snacks… or rather, how much I hope to continue enjoying them!  I generally seem to buy Utz chips when we’re at Sheetz.  Sheetz is a damn fine establishment, don’t you think?  Although, I must confess, I have a love for Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q chips and Herr’s Ketchup flavored chips that I sometimes have to fulfill at Sheetz.  I have yet to try your Grandma’s Handcooked Chips, but look forward to purchasing a bag in the near future.  Well, hopefully.  I’m sure this is cryptic to you by now, so I’ll try to do my best to explain.

There was an article the other day on Yahoo! mentioning the “best” chips, and they didn’t happen to mention any of my favorite brands.  The article was a sham, I tell you.  So, I started researching my own favorite chip brands… to compile my own (much more accurate) list.  In looking at your site, I discovered that you have “crab” flavored chips, and my heart nearly stopped.  You see, my friends, I have a severe allergy to shellfish.  I can become violently ill and go into anaphylactic shock just by eating some food that simply came into contact witht he same cooking surface or prep area as things like shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, crayfish, clams, mussels, or calamari.

Are all of your flavors of chips processed on the same line?  Do you use just the crab juice to flavor your chips, or is it ground up pieces of crab meat?  Who on earth would want to eat crab flavored chips?  I ask because as I’m sure you’re aware, there are new regulations regarding disclosing the top allergens on food packaging, and I don’t recall any warning on your product packaging indicating that “THIS PRODUCT WAS MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES WHEAT, SOY, PEANUT, AND SHELLFISH INGREDIENTS” or anything of that sort.

I would like to continue enjoying your fine snacks, but you must understand that I cannot take the risk if there are crabs lurking around!  Do you have them in tanks there at the factory?  Oh, I shudder at the imagery!  You must imagine that for me, seeing a lobster tank at the grocery store is like anyone else walking into a mine field!

My wife and I enjoy factory tours…  I see form your website that you started about the same time as Snyder’s of Hanover, and you’re located in the same town.  Do you guys have a friendly rivalry, or is it bitter like Coca~Cola & Pepsi?  Do you order pizzas to each others’ office buildings leaving the other stuck with the tab?  For some reason, they seem to passively-aggressively hate on Snyder of Berlin on their product packaging.  I bet you’re glad the don’t say “SNYDER’S OF HANOVER IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH SNYDER OF BERLIN OR UTZ, ALSO OF HANOVER.”  I wonder what the deal with that is?  It’s crazy.  At any rate, if we’re ever in the area, I’d very much like to tour both facilities!  One of our goals is to get to the Yuengling Brewery tour in Pottsville.  Perhaps we can stop in Hanover on our way over from Pittsburgh and make a weekend out of it!  It’s only about 2 hours form your location, right?  Maybe we can take in some Pennsylvania Dutch culture out that way too.

Oh well, I’d like to find out more about your fine chips, crab flavoring, and product labeling.  I look forward to hearing from you, hopefully this email finds you well after a great holiday weekend!

Inquisitively,
-Eric Aixelsyd

P.S. – Is it “Uhtz” or “Ootz”?  I’ve been saying the former, but wondering if it’s the latter.
P.P.S – Who is the girl on the bag?

Similar to my other messages, only slightly different.  Their response:

from Pam Berwager pjberwager@utzsnacks.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Tue, Jul 13, 2010
subject FW: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…
mailed-by utzsnacks.com

Dear Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for your email regarding our Crab Chips.  First, let me say that we do not have any shellfish in our plant, nor is there shellfish in our Crab Chips.  It is strictly seasoning.  Did you ever have Bay Seasoning?  Marylanders us this all the time.  They are quite popular, and we receive many compliments on them.  The ingredients are listed on the bag and all the nutrition information is listed on our website at www.utzsnacks.com.  Just click on the nutrition bag at the top.  Our bags are listed with allergy information and most state they are gluten free.  The ingredients are potatoes, cottonseed oil, salt, spices, dextrose, paprika, maltodextrin, sugar, onion powder, honey powder (maltodextrin, honey), disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, citric acid.  The maltodextrin is derived from corn.  Contains no hydrogenated fats.  This is a gluten free food.

We also invite you to visit our free, self-guided tour of our potato chip making facility.

Sincerely,
Pam

Pamela J. Berwager
Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
Customer Care Representative
800-367-7629, ext. 263

“Check out our Facebook page under ‘Little Utz Girl’ and our blog at utzsnackcentral.com to find out what’s happening at Utz.”

No correction of my pronunciation?  No acknowledgment of Snyder vs. Snyder’s?  No telling me about the creepy girl on the bag?  At least I got assurance of what I already knew… that there are no crab guts on the chips.  The crab on the packaging still gives me the heebie-jeebies.  No comments on Sheetz?  I hope she’s not a Wawa loyalist.

I also like how she explains that maltodextrin is from corn and doesn’t explain disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate.  I don’t know if it’s just fancy names for salt, or something I’d rather not know about anyway.

I believe that this needs further pressing.

Chip Wars: Snyder’s of Hanover


Well another response rolled in, and sadly they seem unamused.  This one’s from Snyder’s of Hanover, and I asked them about their (admittedly exaggerated) rift with Snyder of Berlin.  There’s no name attached, so the company itself wrote back to me.  Spooky!

My ramblings submitted via webform:

Hello Snyder Clan!

I’m mainly writing to tell you that I enjoy many of your fine products.  From the ridiculously delicious Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips and incredibly savory Kettle-Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Peppercorn Potato Chips to the tenaciously tangy Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces and decadent Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwich Dips.  There are just too many good products to name!

I would like to know why each of your products has a statement on the outside of the packaging that vehemently denies association with the other company.  While reading the company history on each website, it’s clear that they started out of the same company… but it does seem to be a grey area.  What happened?  Why the split?  Why the clear almost stern warning that Snyder’s of Hanover “is not associated with” Snyder of Berlin and vice-versa?

The Snyder of Berlin story seems to start in Hanover during the Civil War, and the Snyder’s of Hanover story seems to start in the 1920’s… but it appears that Snyder’s of Hanover is the older business, and that Snyder of Berlin was the offshoot?  Then the stories jump to the 1940’s, and it seems form the Snyder’s of Hanover site that the Berlin company was sold in the 1950’s… but the Snyder of Berlin page seems to not mention the sale.  Color me confused!

So clearly, there is an association… and someone form each side needs to sit down to discuss & write a common history.  Perhaps some family counseling is order?  I’m sure that if you was around, your friends could recommend you to a great therapist or clergyman who would be able to help resolve the issues of animosity between the companies where they feel the need to lash out passive-aggressive notes on product packaging trying to invalidate the others’ existence.

In the immortal words of the beaten but not broken Rodney King; “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice….Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.”

While we’re on the subject, do you feel any animosity towards Utz, Herr’s, Wise, or Shearer’s?  Perhaps the Snyder of Berlin and Snyder’s of Hanover ought to align themselves together in the battle against all other regional snack chains?

My wife and I really enjoy factory tours… We mostly go to breweries, but I’m sure we would enjoy a tour if we’re ever in your area!  I hope to hear form you, and hope that this familial rift is resolved (or on its way to being resolved) in the meantime.  I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject.  Good luck to your in your healing journey!

Shalom,

-Eric Aixelsyd

(Actually, I submitted the same exact message to both companies.) And, then their answer:

from Consumer Affairs consumeraffairs@snyders-han.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Thu, Jul 8, 2010
subject RE: Contact Us form has been submitted
mailed-by snyders-han.com

Eric,

It’s really basically to try and make consumers out in the market place
aware that there are 2 separate Snyder companies.

Years ago, yes we were under the same company, but there is no family
relations and Snyder’s of Berlin decided to break away and try their own
family business.

Sincerely,
Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc.

[Yawn.]

So, clearly, Snyder of Berlin is the no-good upstart… according to Snyder’s of Hanover.  Apparently they did more than “try”.  I’d say they succeeded.

I can’t believe all my crazy comments and questions went unacknowledged  I brought out the Civil War and Rodney King.  Who references Rodney King anymore?

Chip Wars: Martin’s Potato Chips


Well, that article on “the best” chips really got me thinking about potato chips… so I wrote to a bunch of PA chip manufacturers, and may still reach out to some more.  Oddly, Martin’s Potato Chips is the last company to which I had written, and the first to reply.  I’m seriously going to need to give their chips a try.  Sadly, they dodged my Snyder of Berlin vs. Snyder’s of Hanover question… which in essence is the point upon which I keep hammering with these emails.  I may have to write back and press the issue.

Oh well, here’s my letter…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
to Butch & David Potter info2@martinschips.com
date Tue, Jul 6, 2010
subject Where can I find Martin’s Chips in & around Pittsburgh, PA?

Hello Butch & David,

I was recently reading an Article thanks to Yahoo! Shine declaring that they had discovered the “best” potato chips.  Naturally, being from Pennsylvania… I called shenanigans on the whole thing, as they didn’t mention either Snyder of Berlin or Snyder’s of Hanover, Herr’s, Utz, or even (ugh) Wise.

I expressed my opinion in the comments section, and even blogged about it.  While in the comments section, I was intrigued by someone named Melanie mentioning your fine company.  The comment was a simple one:

Martins Potato Chips Kettle-Cooked and Bar-B-Que Waffle. Made in Thomasville, Pa. 15 minutes from York, Pa. Loved by President Clinton. Really there are no others that compare.

Now, while I can’t say for sure  that former president Bill Clinton is an expert on snack foods… he does struggle with weight issues, so apparently the man likes his food.  Although, one could certainly question his taste in other areas such as women and politics… but I digress.  Hopefully his taste in food is discerning, and not like that of a garbage disposal (as is the case with some people who struggle with said weight issues).

After a quick Google search I found your website, and find it quite refreshing that you acknowledge the area “is located in south central Pennsylvania which is considered by many to be the snack food capital of the world.”  I assume that you welcome friendly snack competition from your aforementioned competitors then.  There is room for everyone at the snack table!

I must confess that I have never had any Martin’s products.  If I’ve seen them in a local store, I must have glossed over them.  This is something that I must correct, my friends!  Do you have a list of available products and/or a list of where your products are sold in the area surrounding Pittsburgh (more specifically just South of the city).

I do like Snyder of Berlin’s Honey BAR-B-Q chips, Herr’s Ketchup chips, and non-locals BEER CHIPS.  I would count those 3 among my favorites.  Perhaps you’ve heard of them?

At any rate… I like your promotion of snack unity for the region.  Perhaps you need to teach Snyder of Berlin and Snyder’s of Hanover a lesson!  Their passive aggressive packaging indicating that there is no association between one and the other when they clearly had a common origin is laughable and preposterous.  Do you feel the need on your packaging to indicate that you’re not associated with Martin Guitars?  That you can’t eat their guitars, and you can’t play your chips as a musical instrument?  I bet not.  (They’re also from that side of the state, aren’t they?)

I look forward to hearing from you, hope you had an excellent Independence Day weekend, and are ready to be back in the snack chip world!  Thank you in advance for your time and (hopefully) a continued dialog!

Champion Chip Connoisseur,
-Eric Aixelsyd

And here’s their reply:

from Chatney Almoney calmoney@martinschips.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Thu, Jul 8, 2010
subject Where can I find Martin’s Chips in & around Pittsburgh, PA?

Good Morning Eric Aixelsyd,

Thank you for inquiring about Martin’s Potato Chips.  We are a family owned company in York County.  We use a distributer in the Pittsburg area.  He said that the closest he can get to southern Pittsburg is Smithfield on Forbes at 234 Forbes Ave. He also said downtown carries several varieties as does McKees Rocks Foodland at 1100 Chartiers Ave.  Also, the Giant Eagle in Crafton (Crafton-Ingram Shopping Center) might be another convenient alternative.  I hope this helps you to find our products.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to look into our products.  We also carry a honey BBQ chip, but it is a little different than the Snyder of Berlin’s brand.  Our most popular products are our BBQ Waffle Chips, our Kettle Cook’d Chips and our Butter Popcorn.  I hope you enjoy them.

Thanks again,

Chatney Almoney
Sales Coordinator
Martin’s Potato Chips
calmoney@martinschips.com

Heh.  Chatney needs to learn about the “h” on the end of Pittsburgh.  She apparently side-stepped the Martin Guitars question, too.  I mean, they are only 2½ hours apart.

I see that Butch & Dave Potter don’t reply to the email address that’s posted as their contact address on the site.  Why put it out there if you’re not going to reply?

Also, I looked all through their online store, and don’t see any Honey BBQ chips.  I’m thoroughly confused.

All in all, I think I like Martin’s as a company.  They seem quaint.  They were the first to reply.  They do, however need a better website… and they need to address the Snyder vs. Snyder’s issue as well as the Martin Guitars inquiry.  Perhaps I should write to Martin guitars?

In all seriousness, I need to set up a factory tour road trip where I tour the Yuengling Brewery, the Martin Guitar Factory, and some chip manufacturers.