Friday, October 07, 2005

Mole Snacks

Brace yourself for a glimpse into the future of savory pre-packaged convenience foods! Ready? OK, here it is: Mole-flavored snacks.

Hey, why are you making that face? Perhaps you misunderstood me. But—geez!—did you really think I'd advocate using the essence of burrowed rodent as a food flavoring? Give me a little credit! My proposal for chocolate potato chips, though perhaps unusual, hardly qualified me as some sort of creative food terrorist.

And, no, I'm not talking about serving snacks in gram units equal to the atomic masses of the snack's constituent molecules. Reading "mole" that way would favor the science of snacking at the expense of its art. A (chemical) mole of a typical comestible polysaccharide, corn starch, runs around2.27 x 10(^8) Daltons, (a.k.a. "atomic mass units"). If I calculate correctly, a mole of it would thus give you over 500,000 pounds of snacking. Granted, you might want that huge a serving of Chocotato Chips. As I've rushed to caution, however, I discourage such over-indulgence.

By "mole snacks" I mean simply this: Snacks flavored with that delicious Mexican sauce of chocolate, chiles, garlic, and nuts. (Go here for some pre-packaged examples.) I mean, in other words, not "MOHL"-flavored snacks but rather "moh-LAY"-flavored snacks.

A quick google indicates that nobody yet markets snacks flavored with mole. What a missed opportunity! The sweet-and-spicy flavors of mole would work wonderfully with corn or potato chips. As with Chocotato Chips, I throw the idea out there for some entrepreneur to take and run with. I, for one, would buy a bunch.

There remains, however, a marketing problem. How would you introduce consumers to mole-flavored snacks? You almost certainly wouldn't want to call them "mole-flavored snacks"—leastwise not in the U.S. At the risk of linguistic chicanery, you might call them "molĂ©–flavored snacks," I suppose. That still runs the risk of confusing consumers, however. "Hot chocolate"? Nah. Too cute. Maybe "adobo," a similar (but strictly speaking quite different) chile-based sauce, would work as a name for mole-flavored snacks. Or you might opt for something more impressionistic, like "molcajete," the stone mortar used to grind chiles for mole and other sauces.

I rest assured that able marketing people can solve the problem of naming mole-flavored snacks. I don't think that they would prove too difficult to sell, though. By any name, mole-flavored snacks would taste great.


J said...

Your Google search apparently missed Trader Jose's Sweet Mole Tortilla Chips, available at Trader Joe's. They are indeed tasty.

Tom W. Bell said...

Are you sure those aren't pleasantly-tempered-subterranean mammal-flavored chips? That sounds like something Joe would do.

lizriz said...

I love that I saw the first lines on this post in My Yahoo RSS thingy and thought, "Ah, this must be a post from Tom!"


Glen Whitman said...

"I mean, in other words, not 'MOHL'-flavored snacks but rather 'moh-LAY'-flavored snacks."

I just realized that pronunciation isn't quite right. It should be "MOH-lay," not "moh-LAY." If it were the latter, then putting the accent mark on the final e would be correct.

(And before some other smarty-pants chimes in, I think Tom and I both realize it's technically more like "-leh" than "-lay.")

Tom W. Bell said...

Lizriz: "I think you meant to type, 'Akh, this must be another post . . . .'" I know what you mean, though.

Glen: Well, I dunno'. I chose "MOH-lay" over "moh-LAY," deliberately, on the authority of (if memory serves) a purveyor of Mexican foods.

But I didn't know it would be more "leh" than "lay"; I studied French rather than Spanish.

Amy Phillips said...

Doesn't a mole (the unit of measurement) refer to a number of units of the item, not a number of constituent molecules? That is, a mole of Chocotato Chips would be 6 x 10^23 chips.