My Mouth is on FIE-YAH!
October 28, 2011 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Salt 'N Vinegar chips make my lips tingle to an almost unbearable degree.

But I don't want to stop eating them. I'm just curious as to whether this happens to anyone else, or why it's happening.

It especially tingles, almost burns, at the corners of my mouth.

I'm eating UTZ brand right now, but it's happened with almost every type of this kind of chip. However, it doesn't happen with salt & vinager fries that I've noticed.
posted by DisreputableDog to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Salt & Vinegar chips are awesome.

The Old Dutch variety of kettle chips Salt & Vinegar is the strongest I know, and they literally destroy my mouth. After I can't stop eating them and get a half bag down and finally stop, the outer layer of skin inside my mouth and cheeks literally sloughs off the next day. It's pretty gross, but not enough to get me to stop eating them.
posted by sanka at 9:04 PM on October 28, 2011 [6 favorites]

Acid. When I was a child, eating orange slices would burn my lips but especially at the corners of my mouth.
posted by bz at 9:44 PM on October 28, 2011

Yep, it's a normal effect of the intense salinity and aicidity. I've never tried salt and vinegar fries, but they sound like they'd be 1) awesome and 2) insufficiently saturated with vinegar to have the same acid effect without getting soggy.
posted by contraption at 10:19 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Been there, done that. I can't really buy the full-size bags as a result -- I literally cannot stop eating them and by the end I am really, really wishing I hadn't, even though the flavor sensation was so good.

Try washing them down with a glass of (probably lukewarm/room temp) milk. Not during -- just after.
posted by dhartung at 10:27 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

I can't find any sources in a quick search, but I remember something about "vinegar flavor" actually being other acids, occasionally.

Normal vinegar is acetic acid (plus water). However, for some food products that need a long shelf life it's not a good choice. Acetic acid is volatile, meaning that it evaporates quickly, so chips would lose their vinegar flavor because they have a large surface area for evaporation. But you can't just dump a whole lot of vinegar on them because they'd get soggy, so instead manufacturers use other edible acids (e.g. citric) that are not volatile. They all taste about the same: sour.

Freshly prepared foods, like your fries, don't have to deal with acetic acid evaporating during storage because you eat them right away. Thus they are usually made with actual vinegar, not the other acids.

Maybe you react badly to the other acids but you're fine with acetic acid. Adding salt to irritated mucosa is like, well, rubbing salt into a wound. (Or it could be some other ingredient in the chips that's not present in fries which is irritating your mouth. Add salt and acid to that, and you get fire in the pie-hole.)
posted by Quietgal at 10:29 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Totally acids. I get the same thing with the delicious baby tomatoes I can't stop eating in the summer.

posted by Space Kitty at 11:34 PM on October 28, 2011

Yes, I get this to the degree that the outside corners of my mouth go red and blistery and then the skin peels the next day. The inside sloughs off as someone else mentioned above.

It doesn't stop me eating them, but I do avoid the Kettles brand, which seems the strongest, and for others I try to limit myself to one handful. (Try).
posted by lollusc at 12:44 AM on October 29, 2011

Acid, yes, but it's also the salt.

The corners of your mouth will crack when they're a) dry, and b) stretched too far. Salt dries stuff. The stretching is accomplished by way of that wide-open baby-bird mouth action necessitated by the increasingly large potato chip of today.

That tingle and burn? That's what it feels like to repeatedly rub salt and acid into (tiny) open wounds.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:46 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

you are putting this stuff in your mouth

sodium acetate is used as a flavour in crisps and is frequently mixed with some acetic acid to give them an extra bit of zing
posted by drugstorefrog at 1:57 AM on October 29, 2011

Try some chapstick before you eat - should seal up the tiny cracks in your lips that Sys Rq mentioned.
posted by itheearl at 3:45 AM on October 29, 2011

Stay hydrated with the beverage of your choice. Rinse the edges of your lips as you go.
posted by effluvia at 5:22 AM on October 29, 2011

I think most large-scale salt and vinegar chip manufacturers use maltodextrin to make a sort of vinegar powder rather than just dumping liquid vinegar on the chips.
posted by TheRedArmy at 7:41 AM on October 29, 2011

Repeated application of lip balm throughout.

This won't help the skin-peeling-off-inside-your-mouth goo, but should help with the stinging lips.
posted by looli at 1:59 PM on October 29, 2011

Sodium acetate (acetic acid reacted with sodium bicarbonate) is one kind of "salt and vinegar" seasoning. If it's not particularly pure, I can imagine that it might be excessively acidic. On the other hand, if there's too much bicarbonate, it could act as an irritant (it has a hardness of 2.5 Moh).
posted by porpoise at 2:34 PM on October 29, 2011

I love this!! It also happens when I eat my homemade refrigerator pickles, which feature vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2011

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