X-13D

I have written before about my enthusiasm for new flavors of Doritos. I’ll try most any Doritos flavor once. No better example of that exists than an occurrence that took place at a Kum & Go in Iowa over the recent Memorial Day holiday. Dorito shopping tends to be better away from home, because they try different flavors in different markets. Sadly, this means there are probably some Pipeline People who have never enjoyed the sensation of the season, Wild White Nacho.

The Kum & Go didn’t disappoint. True to form, they did have a Doritos flavor I had never seen…or even remotely contemplated. The bag was black, with “X-13D” printed in large, white, plain letters. Smaller writing indicated this was a “test flavor” and a bunch of other bullcrap about how top secret something was, or whatever. All they had to tell me was it was a new flavor, and give it a name.

I was fine enough with the name X-13D. I’d prefer my food to have descriptive or otherwise meaningful names, but as long as they keep the new Dorito flavors coming I’m not going to complain. X-13D it was, glad to know you, hope you’re good, and that if you are really good you are good enough that I can always get you in any convenience store, not some of this flavor rotation crap.

I settled into the driver’s seat for my rotation on the drive to Kansas. I open the X-13D’s. They smelled…like many other kinds of cheesy Doritos. Good start, the cheese flavors are always the best. I ate one. It was strange, and I couldn’t place the flavor. Jane tried one and said, “Cheeseburger”. I tried another and said nothing, but I was starting to have doubts. I always know, right from the start, whether me and a Dorito are going to make it.

I decided maybe the name really was the problem, that I just couldn’t wrap my tastebud/brain connection around a name like X-13D, which inspired little more than thoughts about chemical artificiality, test tubes and labs. Maybe it’s just me, but “Bitchin’ Bacon Cheeseburger” seems a little more inspiring than X-13D.

Well, Frito Lay wasn’t going to give me any hints with a name, so I dug deeper to come up with my own name. I turned the bag around and read the ingredient list. Cheeses, tomato powders, garlic, onion, blah, blah, I mean it’s like they emptied the spice cupboard out on these chips. It ended up being something that probably tasted great on paper but ended up an undefinable amalgamation of competing flavors. When something doesn’t taste like anything you can name, it can be hard to name it in a way that will make people want to buy it. Which is why the Doritos people have kicked this flavor to the public to name and advertise.

I got to the end of the ingredient list and saw something that disturbed me. It was “beef tallow”. I have no idea why that would bother me, as I’m a dedicated meat eater who in particular enjoys the beef. But there’s something about that word “tallow”. I just don’t like that, even though I have no idea what tallow is. For some reason, it makes me think of a cow’s hooves. And for some reason, the strangeness of the human appetite that has me so enjoy a cow’s hindquarters leaves me gagging at the thought of having cow hooves sprinkled all over my X-13D Doritos.

“Beef tallow!?”

“What?” said Jane.

“There’s beef tallow in these Doritos. What is beef tallow?”

She didn’t know, and it didn’t matter. X-13D was dead to me. It wasn’t because of the beef tallow; we were already on bad terms by then anyway. But the beef tallow just seemed so wrong, so unnecessary. Did they really have to put everything they had in?

To this day, I still don’t know what beef tallow is, but I’m about to change that. I’m going to go Google it right now, and if it’s really cow hooves I’m going to be very alarmed and smug at the same time. Hang on…

Allright. Tallow is fat. It thus turns out I’ve eaten my share of beef tallow over the years, but I’m still bothered by its presence in my chips. I doubt it’s really necessary for Frito Lay to add fat to Doritos; if 80 spices aren’t getting you the flavor you need, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

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12 Responses to X-13D

  1. schmelly says:

    ahh doritos… x13d is a terrible name, sounds like large busted women attempting extreme sports they ought not too since they are so top heavy. Remember when you use to happen across chunks of flavoring in Doritos, a nugget of pure nachocheezienasty? I haven’t run across one of those in a long time, they must have mastered the technique. I always thought they should sell those and make them human salt licks, the chips were always just surface area to me anyway. I have been known to just lick most of a bag of chips and chuck the actual chips… as eating the chips would make me full and force me to stop licking them before i adequately lost sensation on my tongue. I will keep my eye out for wild white nacho

  2. Steven Collins says:

    They use the tallow for the frying of the chips, which kind of surprises me in this day and age. McDonald’s used to make their fries with beef tallow until maybe ten years ago after lots of protests from various activists. There is another word for tallow: lard.

    Personally, my favorite dorito flavor continues to the the now defunct
    taco flavor.

  3. kelly says:

    Wild White Nacho!!! Damn their marketing department, I want some of that. The Midwest use to have the Taco Bell Supreme flavor, which was for me was heaven. Take the one thing the bell does really well (sauce) and stick it on my favorite chip. Their clever game to get me to try all their new flavors really works. I gave up my regular Dorito habit (sometime more than a bag a day) a long time ago. But everytime there is a new flavor, I try it, even if I am not hungry. My biggest gripe (outside of accessing their better Midwestern flavors) is that a lot of their new shit gives me heartburn.

  4. brent says:

    kelly, you’re living in denial if you think its their new shit that gives you hearburn. it has more to do with the the aging digestive tract of the former “bag-a-day” eater than anything the new flavors.

    black pepper is the new flavor i enjoy.

  5. pipelineblog says:

    This is the second time, minimum, that we have had this Doritos discussion. Most of us, myself included, have contributed largely the same stories and anecdotes we did the first time around. I’m sure Frito Lay would be glad to know even though we may not be eating as many of their chips as we used to, they still have our unwavering support.

    Black Pepper? I like the sounds of that.

    I keep thinking they have to mix it up, go somewhere beyond where tomatoes and sour cream, generally speaking, can take them. Why not a spicy cinnamon mix, or move into some of the Indian spices? I view it as a failure of imagination on the part of Frito Lay.

  6. Jim says:

    Overseas flavors are a different matter entirely; in Mexico you can get all these spicy jalapeno/cheese/meat flavors that rock. And in Dubai they sold a brand made in Turkey, with a kind of tomato-spice mix that was good, though not great.

  7. Katy says:

    Do all Doritos have “tallow”?

  8. pipelineblog says:

    I’m not sure. I’ve never noticed it in the ingredient list before.

    I think “Beef Tallow” would be a pretty good seller, except I still think there’s something unseemly about that word “tallow”. Maybe “Beef Boullion Boo-YAA!”

  9. Charley says:

    not all Doritos have tallow/lard. The “regular flavor” (which has been renamed something like “toasted corn”) is vegan.

  10. Whatever the ingredients may say, I just refuse to believe that any flavor of Doritos could be truly vegan.

    Clearly, there needs to be social network on the web just for Doritos lovers — a geographic exchange of flavors, if you will. Hmm….

  11. mrfares says:

    Nathan, that network exists and it’s called teh interweb 2.0

    “Results 1 – 10 of about 1,720,000 for doritos.”
    “Results 1 – 10 of about 13,200 for “x 13 d””
    “Results 1 – 10 of about 705 for dortios”
    Results 1 – 10 of about 10,800,000 for “jesus christ”
    “Results 1 – 10 of about 1,210,000 for “potty training””
    “Results 1 – 10 of about 1,310,000 for “potato chips”
    “Results 1 – 10 of about 1,270,000 for “brown rice””

    It’s not the place to go for child rearing advice but when you are talking chips…Google on!

  12. pipelineblog says:

    Man, I could go for some Dortios right now.

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