Welcome to CrispyBits.com! This website is a culmination of years of wanting to write about food and not enough ambition to do anything about it.
First, a story.
When I was 6, I was really into snacking on raisins. I was also determined to make them taste better. I loved nothing more than opening a fresh container and putting handfuls of the plump nuggets in my mouth. On the other hand, I hated nothing more than opening a box of raisins to discover they’d become dry to the point of almost inedible. It was on such an occasion that I set on reviving this sorry batch of raisins.
I took a golf-ball sized portion of raisins and put them in a section of tin foil, which I crumpled up slightly to create a makeshift bowl. I added salt, pepper, and olive oil, since that’s what my mom would use to start cooking anything. I mixed it all together and balled up the foil to seal everything in, then put it on the back patio to bake in the hot August sun. I was certain I’d figured out the perfect way to make dried out raisins taste better.
You can imagine the look on my face when I eagerly opened up the foil ball many hours later and emptied the contents into my mouth, only to discover that, no, lots of salt and pepper and olive oil and hot summer sun do not make dried raisins taste better. It was an important lesson: not all things that taste good will be so good when combined with other tasty (but incompatible) things. Years later, when I was watching Friends on TV, a Thanksgiving episode where Rachel makes a trifle that accidentally combines two different recipes seemed eerily familiar. She blends a meat dish with a dessert, making a meat-custard-jam trifle. Everyone is appalled except for good ol’ Joey Tribbiani:
“I mean, what’s not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!”
Flash forward to today. Now I do know what tastes good, and I know the foodstuffs that give me pleasure (some guilty, some not!). Here’s a partial but by no means complete list – I’m sure you’ll catch on to the theme:
- Bacon. Crispy, salty, delicious bacon, browned but not burned, the strips so stiff that you can hear me eating from the other side of the house;
- Hard, crunchy pieces of over-baked cheese and tomato sauce from the edges of a lasagna pan;
- Small, super-concentrated triangular bits left in the bottom of a bag of Doritos;
- Kettle-style potato chips. Kettle Chips are my current favorite but over the years I’ve been a huge fan of Eagle, and, way back in the 80s, O’Grady’s chips.
- The almost-burned brownish-black pieces of shredded potato left in the frying pan after making potato latkes;
- The super sweet, sticky “rind” left over on a cupcake wrapper after pulling out the cupcake (and the same for muffins)
- One of the highlights of my childhood: a batch of Grieven my mother made for me at Passover – a wonderful Jewish delicacy of crispy strips of fried and salted chicken skin. My mother made it at my request and without a moment’s hesitation. Delectable!
The list could go on and on but I won’t bore you. Yes, dear readers, I am in love with all things crispy & crunchy! By no means will this website focus entirely on the crispy bits that I love so much, but the general idea of writing about the things I love will remain consistent.
This is a food blog long in the making, and I hope you like it.
Matt Barber (@crispybits) is a food writer based in Boston, MA. He contributed to the most recent editions of Frommer’s New England and Frommer’s Montréal & Québec City and is a correspondent for the Boston Globe food section. He likes to cook.