by Jim Ridley
Hey guys, here's an urgent message from Doritos: Buy a bag of our product—only we're not going to tell you what the flavor is. And while you're at it, buy a car from us sight unseen. Just take our word for it—it's got the right number of wheels. Oh, and while you're here, just spin the wheel and select a neurologist for your upcoming exploratory surgery. Really, what kind of idiot would pay for a bag full of Brand X?
After the scanner spit out my receipt, I headed to work with the black-bag Doritos known as "The Quest." It's all part of some ass-brained promotion with a prize at the end: it requires way too much exposition for the payoff of chowing down on triangular gutbombs of unknown origin. (It's like the great Mitch Hedberg routine about the foolishness of handing out receipts for buying a donut: "I give you a dollar, you give me a donut—end of transaction.")
Anyway, you're supposed to guess the (ooh, the suspense is killing me) Mystery Flavor. Which is tough anyway with Doritos, because they're founded upon the very slipperiness of their flavoring. The secret to Doritos is that they're not satisfying. No matter how many bagfuls you eat, no matter how much mossy orange residue collects on your fingers, you're never going to get that knockout blow of flavor that the chip promises. No matter how spicy it gets, it will never provide that climactic burn you get from a piece of hot chicken, that punch that signals your brain, "OK, I'm done." 'Cause then you might stop eating the damn things.
But the mystery presented a challenge. So an emergency meeting was called in my office, and each of us withdrew a chip. We crunched. And chewed. And spitballed. (Not literally, thank God.) Lime. Definitely lime. So much lime you couldn't really get around it. Maybe the mildest of chilis underneath—maybe. After a few moments, each of us took a guess:
Lee: Mojito. (Trendy, flip; a good guess, except—no mint.)
P.J.: Margarita. (Accounts for the lime and the saltiness; we may have a winner.)
Jack: Really, we don't know what the hell Jack was going on about. He said something no one understood about a candy from his childhood, then got this look like Proust eating a madeleine. We haven't heard from him since.
Mr. Pink: Lime cafeteria Jell-O.
I went to the Doritos site, clicked on some kind of secret decoder, and entered our guesses. None matched, but it gave hints as to what I presume is the real flavor. Want to know?
Two words, after the jump.