Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the Pringle's progress

I got the 8am train to Dublin yesterday morning. There was a man opposite me eating a green tube of Pringles, which are the Sour Cream and Onion flavour, and easily the most disgusting of all savoury snacks, particularly at 8am when some of us are easily nauseated because we aren't properly awake. I looked on in distaste, flaring my nostrils dramatically, "PRINGLES ARE NOT A BREAKFAST FOOD. ESPECIALLY NOT THE GREEN ONES. STOP EATING THEM NEAR ME PLEASE," I thought loudly to myself. He didn't seem to notice.

So with the smell of Sour Cream and Onion burned into my brain I spent all of the 2½ hours of the journey thinking about Pringles.

The Pringle's Progress
by Sarah Gordon

A Pringle starts out like a large pancake or pizza base. It is has a damp, doughy consistency and is usually around 1 meter in diameter.

In the construction end of the Pringle factory, the large raw Pringle is pressed into shape over a horse's back by a man or sometimes a woman Pringle employee.

It is cooked in a large gas oven at a very high temperature, around 300°C for 45 minutes. The horse rarely survives this process.

While still hot, the Pringle is placed in front of an incredibly powerful laser which causes it to shrink by 94%, making it a more comfortable size for the human mouth.

(TRIVIA: The laser was obtained from the NASA space programme, (which had two,) and featured in the movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids! Pringle production was temporarily halted during filming while the laser was on loan, but good reserves ensured distribution remained consistent so market levels were largely unaffected.)

The shrunken Pringle is then brought to a second employee who stands at a worktop with 3 condiment shakers, each containing one of the three main flavourings: Original, Salt and Vinegar, and Sour Cream and Onion. (Less popular and limited edition flavours such as Paprika and Texas BBQ are administered in a smaller factory next door, and only on Tuesdays.) On receipt of the Pringle, he or she selects an appropriate flavouring and sprinkles it liberally over the savoury snack.

On occasion the employee occupying this position has been known to lick the underside of the Pringle, which is why there is sometimes less flavouring underneath than there is on the top.

The flavoured Pringles are carefully placed in their cylindrical cardboard packaging using a series of carefully monitored air currents.

It takes 4 days to produce enough Pringles to fill a standard 200g Pringle tube, however only 1 day for the smaller 40g pack, conventionally sold on airplanes and cross-border railway services. The Pringles are left to mature for 3 months before being shipped to convenience stores all over the world.

FOOTNOTE: When you see Pringle written down lots of times it looks like Prinn-glay. I think I would eat them if they were called Prinn-glays.