Monday, July 8, 2013

Clover Club Potato Chips

Everybody knows that potato chips have earned a spot on that list of foods we should all avoid because they are so very unhealthy for us but we all eat them anyway.

How can you not?  They just taste so good!

As a kid growing up in Southeast Idaho, Clover Club was the brand of potato chips that we bought for an occasional snack.  Besides being a wonderful salty snack, I loved the story about how the company came to be that was printed on the back of every bag alongside little caricatures of the founders, Hod and Clover Sanders.  The company was located in Kaysville, Utah so it was practically a tale of a local family done good.

Photo credit:  blessthismessplease.com
And I lived in the land of potatoes.  I'd be willing to put money down on a bet some of the potatoes grown around Shelley ended up in Clover Club bags.  It's important to support the local economy and so we did buy potato chips from time to time.

The story from the chip bag, courtesy of The Deseret News, goes like this:  "We live in a quiet little country town of Kaysville, Utah, about 17 miles north of Salt Lake City. Almost all the folks here have some cooking specialty like homemade chili sauce, apple pie and chokecherry jelly. Clover always made the best potato chips in town - or in the world, for that matter..."  The D-News article says they took this off a 1973 vintage bag that sold for 37 cents so it was a little more recent than the one pictured.  But still, it is really indicative of the small town rural Idaho experience I had as a child.  The women in town did have specialty foods they made.  They proudly brought their signature dish to every community event and heaven help anyone who tried to challenge them by making the same dish!

I'm not exactly sure why it's been on my mind lately but this old brand of chips has made it to the forefront of my consciousness a few times in recent days so that's what I'm sharing tonight.  I have two very specific memories involving these chips.

One is my Grandma Clarke's Potato Chip Casserole.  Yes, you read that right.  She made a casserole from potato chips.  Ok, so it was really a tuna casserole with crushed potato chips stirred in AND as a topping.  Don't judge - to my childish taste buds it was the food of the gods!  Sadly, it's a recipe she didn't leave written record of though I did come up with a pretty reasonable facsimile a few years ago.  Some night when I'm home alone I'll have to think to make it again.  Me and the boys would love it, Derek not so much.  So I'll just make it on a night that he's working and avoid the yucky faces at the thought of actually eating tuna.

GRANDMA'S POTATO CHIP CASSEROLE

1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 can water-packed tuna, drained
1 1/4 cups frozen peas
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed plain potato chips (divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup measures)

Gently mix all but the last 1/2 cup potato chips in a casserole dish.  Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes.  Top with remaining chips and bake 5 minutes longer until they start to brown slightly.


My other memory is probably even a little more on the weird side.  I had a bit of a food obsession when I was a kid... anyway that's the simplest way to explain that I can think of.  Not that I was allowed to over-indulge in it but there was something that I was just focused on and constantly craving.  And that was Clover Club's Green Goddess Chip Dip.  It came in a small foil packet from a display hooked right to the front of the rack holding all the chips and you just mixed it into a carton of sour cream.

The whole rest of my life, the passing thought of this chip dip would make me involuntarily start to drool even though I was never able to replicate the taste with any other product I tried.  And I tried just about everything that carried the moniker 'Green Goddess' on its label.  Most of it was gross and disgusting, getting its color and flavor from green bell peppers...  And then, in a moment of what I like to flatter myself was sheer genius, I got the right combination of ingredients in my chip dip and sent my taste buds soaring with happiness and delight!

GREEN GODDESS CHIP DIP

To a 16 oz container of regular sour cream add 1/2 packet of Ranch Dressing/Dip Mix (I used Hidden Valley brand) and 3 Tbl of Bertolli Pesto (you could use your own just as well).  It's best if you can let it sit for the flavors to marry for several hours in your refrigerator.  Stir well before serving with plain crinkle cut potato chips.

Yup, all those years I wondered what made it so good...  It was basil.  Basil is the green in green goddess and the mystery flavor that I couldn't identify as a child.

Seriously!  Just the addition of the pesto ratchets the dip's taste up about 20 notches on the flavor scale!!

And I already LOVED ranch!

4 comments:

The Secrest Family said...

Kathy, I came across a post you wrote in 2011 about living in Shelley idaho! I believe we just bought the white home you lived in with your grandma!!! Was it on South Park!?

Kathy Burton said...

Yes! I posted more comments there. Loved living in that house!! Lots of good memories...

Anonymous said...

I have looked for years for Clover Club Green Goddess chip dip. I can't to try your recipe. Thanks kindred spirit.
:)

Kathy Burton said...

Yay! It won't be quite as green as theirs was... food coloring in the mix. But I hope your tastebuds sing as much as mine do on the occasions I give in to munching down a whole bag of chips ('cuz once I get started with this stuff I just can't stop!).