Hard. There are lots. I really really like crisps. May come back to this.
crisps that used to exist but don't any more
There are lots that I realise are gone, but I can't say that I miss them loads. I think I've moved with the crisp times and always been able to adapt to the changing market. Perhaps there are people who have not been able to embrace new crisp trends. I feel sorry for those people.
My brother was sending lots of photos of these when he was in Asia - sweetcorn flavour, cucumber flavour, some random seafoods, that kind of stuff.
I find the posh brands (Kettle etc., along with other gourmet crisp upstarts) are actually the trendsetters now when it comes to new flavours. And I don't mean just variations on classics (e.g. caramelised onion and mature cornish cheddar or cracked sea salt and cider vinegar) but I remember having something to do with camembert and red wine a few weeks back, they were pretty nice. And then you also get what you might call the proletariat of new flavours such as Doritos pushing out a cheeseburger flavour recently.
Yeah, they are everywhere. Remember when McCoys would be considered posh? I do like the posh crisps, they are well made usually and well flavoured. Top quality crunch. Obviously I only buy things that are on offer because I'm a cheapskate but either Tyrrell's or Kettle are always on offer wherever you go.
some of the best cheap crisps are your Indian-esque brands like Cofresh and that, a big bag for 50p and you get some solid flavours and usually good quality. I think my favourite are the chilli and lemon ones that are shaped like grills. Fuck Space Raiders and that shit in this day and age.
whether maize and corn snacks count as crisps
I know that maize and corn have long been the traditional "are they, aren't they" alternatives, and I don't know what the Northern crisp landscape is like Jim but down here in London you need to add rice-based crisps, chickpea crisps, pitta chip crisps, cracker-style crisps, pasta crisps, and lentil crisps to the list that needs analysing. Personally I absolutely count them all as "crisps". However, I do demand that the variation in make up must be made clear on the packet. The rice based ones are the most odd of the ones I've listed, though mostly I've had ones made of rice and pea (http://www.yushoi.co.uk/
) - lentil crisps are nice and crunchy and have a good makeup, they haven't seemed to have fully broken the market really, but M&S do a good chilli flavoured one. The only pasta ones I remember are Pastinos (http://www.martoranasnacks.co.uk/pastinos.php
) which we've had a few times from Waitrose and really enjoyed. You wouldn't really know they had anything to do with pasta (and I've never looked into their makeup, they might not have as much to do with pasta as they suggest). Chickpea crisps seem to be the ones gaining the most traction, but oddly the ones I've least experience with.
the blatant disregard that Walkers have for the traditional colours of crisp packets
I remember lots of the furore when they first started making the big changes (salt and vinegar green, cheese and onion blue etc.) - when was this, early 90s? I dunno. So have they changed any more since then? Would also be interesting to compare all modern brands of these two flavours in particular and see how many people have ended up using the Walkers colour method and how many have stuck with tradition.
Some more discussions...
Do you like a traditional somewhat-oval thing for your crisps? Or sticks? Shapes? Which shapes?
flat vs ridged? I do like a fucking ridge, but not as bothered as I used to be (back when McCoys were peak crisp and the ridge was integral). What about lattices?
I consider these different enough from all the other alternative crisp makeups that they need their own category of discussion. Heather swears by them but I've never fallen in love with them.