I heard that Arch West, the inventor of Doritos, had passed away at the full age of 97, from my shower radio, while I was getting ready for work. It was the perfect place to survey all the delicious damage that West's work has done on my body these past 28 years. Yes, I mean 28 years, because no doubt my mother was eating Doritos while I was in the womb. #classy
Coupled with the news of Dallas resident West's passing on September 20, came the knowledge that his family would pour the product he invented into his grave on top of his urn. That's beautiful, and we aren't even being sarcastic; it echoes the burial of Kenneth Zevo in the 1992 non-blockbuster Robin Williams vehicle Toys, wherein Zevo is buried with a battery-powered barrel of laughs.
Doritos have been one of the most hedonistic, maligned snack choices on the world's shelves since they were rolled out in 1964, in its first taco flavor. I actually have a bag of the taco-flavored ones in my pantry, not from 1964, at home now that I have not yet finished. They are kind of gross, but the packaging is supposed to look vintage, which made me buy them in the first place.
The folks at Best Week Ever compiled a list of 50 flavors of Doritos, ranging from the worst to the best. Number 50 is something called Crispy Salmon developed for the Asian markets, with the number one slot obviously held by Cool Ranch. Get outta here with your supposed Nacho Cheese flavor, sucka. Here is a full list of all the flavors, if you feel like going on a pleasure quest.
Other notable flavors on the list, which are now on my bucket list, include Human Ashes, Sonic Sour Cream, Gourmet Sausage, Coconut Curry, and Sausage and Beer. Any pizza-flavored Doritos variety has just made us lament Pizzarias, which were taken from our hands way too soon. They even made cinnamon and sugar-coated ones, finally breaking ground for dessert chips, years before pita chips would mainstream them.
Cool Ranch Doritos, though, have always been our first love, bringing about a warm sensation, not unlike when you think of that first kiss, or how romantic love felt the first time around. They taste like Studio 54 in your mouth, really. Even Jay Leno's grim visage couldn't hold us back. Cool Ranch chips are also versatile. They work good as a sandwich ingredient; just put them in the mix with your cheese, mayo, and lunch meat and give it all a good crunch down.
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As a stoner diet staple, they can't be beat either. A "friend" of mine once ate a whole bag of Doritos washed down with a gallon of milk, and we mean one of the big bags, not the snack-size ones. There was lots of Adult Swim involved too. I'm probably not the first person to wish that the Cool Ranch seasoning could be sold separately, like say Tony Chachere's or seasoned salt. Can you imagine a great steak rubbed with Cool Ranch? Taco Bell can try to sell a Nacho Cheese Dorito shell all they want, nothing will compare to a full bag of Doritos and a few hours of apathy.
I thank West for his triangular corn chips and send his family my best wishes in this trying time. I hope they know that their patriarch made snack time for all of us all the more amazing, and sometimes worse, and elementary school me thanks him for pushing us into one of the saddest echelons of any youth, the husky-jeans era.