If you’ve walked by the frozen-food section of your local supermarket lately, you’re bound to have noticed the sizeable selection of frozen potato packets sporting the familiar McCain logo.
I was struck by the range on offer and took a while perusing each pack before deciding what to buy. McCain spuds come in fried, roasted or oven-baked varieties and you can opt for wedges, potato chunks or an assortment of cuts – thin, thick or crinkle cut. Eat them crisp or slap, in flavours ranging from plain to Texan barbecue or sea salt ’n pepper.
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Decisions, decisions. I couldn’t just choose one packet to review and, instead, opted for three:
1. Thick and baked, which would have been my personal choice to purchase
2.Thin and baked, to compare them with their thicker counterparts
3. Fried orange sweet potato chips, for something totally new
Here’s what I thought:
Crispy Oven Chips, steakhouse cut (About R37.99 for a 750g packet)
My favourite was, predictably, the first option. The chips cooked perfectly, and in accordance with the instructions on the pack – smooth on the inside, crisp on the outside. No mess, no fuss, and oh so tasty. There were leftovers, and when I warmed them up the following day, the chips came out slap. So, you get the best of both worlds over two days.
Skinny Fries, American style (About R32.99 for a 1kg packet)
The thinner chips took about 10 minutes longer to bake than the 22 minutes suggested on the packet, although once done, they tasted good too. But the following day, they were too chewy for my liking. It’s best to buy these chips with the intention of eating them all straight out of the oven, as the leftovers won’t cut it. A caveat: On the front of the packet it is written “best when fried”, but at the back there are directions for frying and for baking. Seeing that there were two ways to prepare them, I went for my preferred method. I guess these chips aren’t called “fries” for nothing, but then McCain shouldn’t confuse consumers by presenting us with an additional preparation option.
Crispy Sweet Potato Fries (About R38.99 for a 750g packet)
While I would not normally fry chips – oven baked is my preference – I figured that the orange sweet potato range would at least be a healthier choice than ordinary fried chips. Plus, the phrase ‘non-GMO’ (not genetically modified) appears on the front of the packet. Frying was quick and easy, but I found the taste bland. Although the consistency of these chips was balanced – crisp exterior, smooth interior – I prefer the yellow variety. I left some chips to fry for longer than the recommended three minutes, just to see if the taste would be more appealing, but this only resulted in burnt chip crusts.
We all have different palates and, now that you know you’re spoilt for choice, try some McCain frozen chip varieties for yourself.
*Prices as per Pick n Pay website