Most of the time I am proud to call myself a Canadian, but once in a while somethings comes along that makes me wonder, “What were we thinking?” The good folks over at Lay’s Canada dreamed up a contest called “Lay’s Do us a Flavour.” People from all over the country sent in their ideas for new potato chip flavours.
Here are the four finalists:
I had the chance to try these new flavours along with 9 other wild and wacky chip creations last weekend at our Family Reunion, in a blind chip and beer tasting. More about that event later!
I have written about previous reunion weekends here and here. This year our numbers were down. Only 34 were able to attend. Two of my cousins had new babies (born one day apart!), so they were otherwise very busy and couldn’t make it. My aunt from Philly was also absent due to some health issues, so her kids stayed behind to be with her.
The reunion officially started on Thursday afternoon, but two sisters and their families showed up 24 hours early. One of them arrived with all the fixings for an amazing fish taco dinner, and the other one turned up with 2 dozen Nadege macarons, so we happily started our party early. Another sister and her family showed up Friday morning, 18 hours late. The last sister showed up with her family on Friday night, almost 30 hours late. (That’s 4 sisters if anyone is counting… yes I am blessed) My brother and my mom arrived Thursday afternoon, exactly on time! I guess at least one of us was listening when mom taught us about party etiquette. All, whether early or late, were welcomed with a happy heart and open arms.
The first event of the weekend was a swim marathon on Friday morning. My baby sister, brother and I have been doing the swim for almost 10 years now. We swim from our dock to an island across the lake, a 1.6 kilometre odyssey. The man who owns the island is a heart surgeon so we know we will be taken good care of if something goes awry. This year we had the largest contingent yet, with 9 of us taking the plunge. We had 2 kayaks paddling along side to keep us company.
My cousin Brett took off at warp speed, dazzling us with his front crawl. We tried to tell him that the swim is meant to be a social time, not a race, but he was training for a triathlon, so he left us in his dust. The rest of us performed a passable head-up breaststroke at a leisurely pace.
That afternoon we all gathered at the dock for tube rides. “The Captain” (my husband) takes it as a personal challenge to tip the tube and dump all his brother-in-laws and nephews and nieces. Many people think that it would be swell to have a doctor in the family. But those people would be wrong! What you really should be wishing for is a kindergarten teacher in your clan. My sister Bonnie teaches senior kindergarten. She was so clearly in her element this weekend, planning all the activities, corralling us into teams and keeping us on schedule.
Late afternoon we gathered on the lawn for a rousing game of “Donuts on a String.” It’s harder than it looks!Saturday morning we played “Amazing Race – Smiths Falls Edition.” We were divided into teams and went off on a car rally-treasure hunt to the charming town of Smiths Falls, Ontario.
Our first challenge was to visit The Smiths Falls Public Library and find a children’s book about goats, bunnies, cows or aliens! We were required to take a picture of at least 3 team members snuggled up together reading the book. We were challenged to stop by the supermarket and search for the most calorie dense food. One team felt confident with their choice of butter tarts, but my brother-in-law Brandon came up with a jar of goose fat. Goose fat trumps butter tarts!No visit to Smiths Falls would be complete without a visit to Canadian Tire. We were asked to take a picture of the 7 things you would want to have on a desert island.
Obviously a boat would be good so you could get off the island! Failing that, if you had to stay awhile, a portable toilet would come in handy.For the final challenge of the day we were sent to McDonalds. With a budget of $10 we were able to purchase any items we wished and creatively combine them to craft a new menu item. My nephew Jacob was the judge and not surprisingly, he felt a little ill after sampling these imaginative concoctions.Saturday afternoon was time for the chip and beer tasting, also organized by Bonnie. It was a blind tasting. The table was set with all the chips and beer, without packaging. We were each given our tasting sheet and had to complete the assignment!I teamed up with my sister Jody, who is blessed with super human taste receptors, and we got 9 of the 13 chip flavours correct. Let me just say that it is wrong to add simulated meat flavours in any form to potato chips. Some were quite vile. Everyone loved the “Balsamic Vinegar and Sweet Onion” chips. No one was surprised to learn they were made by Miss Vickie’s. She knows how to make good chips!
After all those chips we needed a good cocktail to cleanse our palates.With 14 grandchildren, my mom (Mop Mop is what the kids call her) is a pretty lucky lady! We gathered them all up for a photo.For our final evening program, my sister Jody organized a family reunion version of “Heads Up.”We succeeded in making more treasured memories for everyone and tired a few family members out in the process!