The state of Maine isn’t known for a whole heck of a lot. Living here in the middle of the state you figure that out growing up. We usually get lumped in with Boston in just about everything. We are part of the New England of Patriots football, we cheer for the Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox sports teams, although we do have minor league baseball, basketball, and hockey going on around the state. But rest assured that Maine will never play host to the Olympics, a Super Bowl, or hell, even a Wrestlemania. Even when the Fallout 4 add-on based on a radioactive Maine island called “Far Harbor” was a bit of a surprise for those of us on the nerdier side on Maine, and that wasn’t exactly the best representation.
We take pride in the smaller things. Especially our food items. Things like genuine Maine Whoopie pies, Amato’s Italians (sub sandwiches for all you from away), Moxie Soda, and the one staple food to go with our suppers (that are not just pork and beans BTW) or for when we get the Munchies, Humpty Dumpty potato chips.
If you are in Maine these things are EVERYWHERE. Gas Stations, corner markets, even the big box stores will probably have them. Anywhere that sells food most likely has a section with bags of the stuff. Sure they will carry some of the big brands like Lay’s, or even Wise chips, but many times those are just second fiddle and window dressing for the bags with the big egg sitting there that everyone around here goes for.
So where did it all come from? Well, the whole thing started when the chips were first introduced back in 1947 out of Scarborough Maine. They’ve been bought and sold a few times and now are produced out of Canada after being bought by the Old Dutch company back in 2006. However, even with new owners, the chips didn’t change much and people still eat them by the bag full. By far the biggest customers for the chips are in the state of Maine, and they sell more than enough to keep things going year after year. Even though the regular potato chips are king, they make a whole bunch of other things like cheese puffs and party mixes under the name.
But it’s the Potato Chips that are the anchor of the whole thing. The Humpty Dumpty chips aren’t quite as greasy as some of the bigger brands are, and they do not skimp out on the flavor either. Barbeque is the standard. Bags of BBQ Humpty Dumpty are the ones you will find in almost any location in the state and for good reason. They are good and most of all they are inexpensive. Most places will sell you a full-sized bag for a couple of bucks, even cheaper for the small sized bags you can pack into a lunch for school or work. And if you are REALLY hungry, they have also sold these things by the box. Not all that unusual when back in it’s early days they used to be sold in metal buckets.
As for the flavors, BBQ may be the king but that is not the only kind you can get. There are the more normal and pedestrian flavors that people are familiar with like regular salt, Sour Cream and Onions, Vinegar, and Cheese and Onion, but they don’t stop with just that kind of thing either. Besides those bags of BBQ chips, you are just apt to find Sour Cream and Clam, Clamato (Clam and Tomato), Ketchup, Dill Pickle, and something called All Dressed Up which has all kinds of things going on.
Despite dominating the snack market here in the state, they don’t advertise that much. Local TV isn’t inundated with ads telling us to buy these things. We literally just DO. Pizza? Italians? Spaghetti? Doesn’t matter. There is a bag of Humpty Dumpty right next to it. They don’t cost a lot and make a handy side dish to just about anything us Mainahs shove into our gullets. Well, except for Chinese food. Old Dutch hasn’t put Egg Rolls or Pork Fried Rice onto a chip.
So if you are ever up in the Northeastern part of the country here in the state of Maine, grab yourself a bag before you go. If you aren’t the traveling type, we can send you some! Ayuh.