Pringles may be one of the most sci-fi foods of our time. So thin, so homogeneous, so regularly shaped that they can be stacked perfectly, these chips are truly the food of the future. But how are they made?

First, to understand what Pringles (and other stackable chips) are, you have to develop a Zen detachment from the idea of potato chips coming from actual potatoes in any recognizable way. In fact, the Pringles company once argued that their high amount of processing and low potato content actually made Pringles technically not potato chips. (For those wondering, they made this self-sabotaging argument to avoid taxes. ‘Snacks’ are recognized as necessary in the UK, and so they aren’t taxed. Potato chips, on the other hand, are luxury food, and so they are taxed.)

Instead of shaving bits off of a potato and deep frying them, the company starts with a slurry of rice, wheat, corn, and potato flakes and presses them into shape. So these potato chips aren’t really potato at all. The snack-dough is then rolled out like a sheet of ultra-thin cookie dough and cut into chip-cookies by a machine. The cut is complete enough that the chips are fully free of the extra dough, which is lifted away from the chips by a machine.

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