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Auteur: Bannie Cheff

Performing Guardians of Imperfection in Perdu

Handicap, schmanicap. People with a disability are certainly not always weak, victims and they can speak for themselves. Maybe they can even be heroes.Two Dutch comedians, Marijn and Sem, will take you on an origins story, about the need to be perfect, politics, the silliness of the world and how we are all eventually imperfect.
On the 17th of June, we will Pre-Premiere our comedy show The Guardians of Imperfection
The first 30 tickets will have an early bird discount price of 8 euros, rest of presale tickets will be 11 euros and tickets at the door will go for 13 euros.
Doors 20:30
Show 21:00
Directed by: Eline Henrotte.

Script & performance: Marijn de Vries and Sem Bannenberg 
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The Guardians of Imperfection

Sem Bannenberg and Marijn de Vries from the Netherlands have a handicap. They are funny. And they have a real disability as well (Sem has CP and Marijn has MS). But having a disability doesn’t stop them trying to be superheroes. Hanging on the couch and eating crisps all day is fun, but playing Fringe is their way of showing a handicap only goes so far. They want to leave the audience crippled with laughter, while also giving them something to think about.

See us at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe:
16-27th of August
11:30 PM Mockingbird
Written/performed: Marijn de Vries & Sem Bannenberg

Directed by: Eline Henrotte


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Lays Naturel by Marijn de Vries

So I have been asked to write a review for this wonderful website by my good friend Sem Bannenberg. This is something we as humans have been yearning for: a website that rates crisps. So many different brands, so many different flavours, where should one go to find what crisps are wanted for specific situations. But now it is there in the form of this website. You’re welcome. 
Let me kick off with one of the most known crisps: Lays Naturel (or Walkers Ready Salted, depending where you live). It’s the crisp you turn to for parties or birthdays. It’s a rather safe bet, but is it any good?
Let me start by saying they live up to their name. They are salty, but not much more than that. There is a whim of potato, sure, but it’s overshadowed by the saltiness of the crisp. But that’s not the only problem of this crisp.
The name says it all: a crisp is crispy. Or should be at least. This ‘crisp’ disappears when you put it in your mouth, there is no real bite, there is no crunch. Instead, the crisp almost vaporises in your mouth, leaving you with a lot of salt in your mouth.
And that’s actually all there is to say about this crisp, so I will end with my final verdict. Lays Naturel (or Walkers Ready Salted) is ok to have as a bite on parties where you don’t want to spend too much money on. As a crisp I find it rather disappointing both in taste and in crunch.
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Paprika crisps by Sem Bannenberg/Bannie Cheff.

On the continental Europe, we have a lot of good things, we also have a lot of strange things, and we have paprika crisps. In this review, I will try to determine of the paprika crisp from Lay’s is a worth it to hop over to good old Amsterdam!
I was testing this crisp on a beautiful evening an evening of historical importance, was it important because of the crisp? Nope, it was Sunday the 6th of August 2017 the day of the Women’s Euro cup final, yeah the final we (The Netherlands) won! The shirt of the girls was the same colour as the paprika crisp which is bright orange (the Dutch royal colour), and that gave the crisp kind of a Dutch vibe, which made the experience even more pleasurable.

Let’s get back to the crisp like I said before it has a strong orange colour and this is a good sign the smoked paprika spice that it is supposed to be tasting like has the same colour!

Upon entering one’s mouth, the expected crispness does not over perform, but you understand the thought behind the crunch. The taste smoked paprika spice takes over with just the right amount of spiciness; then the salt takes over, what follows is a near perfect umami, this is it, my friends, the one true crisp to rule them all. 
The future is bright the future is orange. If you have the change eat these crisps are they worth a 100-quit ticket to Amsterdam? Probably not, but after a spliff or two you will thank me and get a bag of these amazing crisps! 
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Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis & Cracked black peper by Sem/Bannie

While in Edinburgh one cannot count himself ready to leave before one has stuffed its face in a plate of haggis!! Haggis in Scotland is everywhere, even as a crisp flavour. In this case Mackie’s of Scotland Haggis & cracked black pepper and of course, a review on cannot be missed.

But let us start reviewing, haggis and black pepper have historically been proven to being a golden combination. However, it is always quite important that the haggis is the lead in this duo, this is not the case in this crisp. The pepper is overshadowing the haggis. 
When entering the mouth you taste a shy, cheeky hint of the spiced organ filled sheep’s stomach but in a fraction of a second the pepper takes over and you do not taste anything else any longer. The rest of your day will be filled with the taste of pepper!
By the way, the crunch is not spectacular either! The one upside is the crisps are totally vegan! 

Go get yourself a real plate of (vegan)haggis
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Six Salt and Vinegar crisps by Sem/Bannie

During this years Edinburgh Fringe I ate a lot of crisps and when I say a lot I mean at least two small packets a day. This was part of our show, but of stage, I ate a lot of crisps as well because it’s the quick bite after a show that ends at 12.30 AM. A cultured individual like myself does want to adapt to the flavors and traditions of the country I am visiting and that is why I ate a lot of different Salt & Vinegar Crisps. Six different brands at that and I am going to rank them in this review. Before I start with the review I want to state that I am not doing a review of Kettle’s Salt & Vinegar in this piece, this is because it is my baseline, the first time I ever ate Salt & Vinegar crisps was Kettle and they get a 3/5 stars, an exemptible crisp for a baseline.
The crisps will be ordered in the order I ate them during the Fringe. I am only making note of the “special” types of vinegar that have been used in these crisps. All of them use sea salt.

Co-op: Sea Salt & Chardonnay wine Vinegar
When opening the packet you will see a slight hint of red potato peel around the edges of the crisps. Upon entering the mouth the crisp is good, but not spectacular. You immediately taste the vinegar: the sour, harsh attack of (cheap) Chardonnay that has fermented just slightly too long. The taste of the salt is pushed back by this exceptionally strong vinegar. You have to get used to the fact that the taste will take over your whole pallet for about two hours but is it is an exciting crisp.

Walkers: Salt and Vinegar
I bought these for our performances, so it where small packets and that was already horrible enough! the type of vinegar used is not specified in the list of ingredients, which gives the impression that they used all purpose cleaning vinegar. It is a soggy crisp when it enters your mouth and the vinegar tastes more like spoiled milk or old worn socks! The salt is like a jab straight into your kidneys. Do not buy these and if you do keep them away from small children!

Mackie’s of Scotland: Sea Salt & Vinegar
Again this was a small packet that I bought together with lunch one day. This was the first crisp that had a decent salt to vinegar ratio, so you could actually enjoy the classic combination. The crispiness is good, not too soft and a good crunch at the first bite! the vinegar makes a nice little whirl with the salt like a classical dance in your mouth. the smell is subtle and not too pungent. I do not know who Mackie is but he can certainly make a great crisp.

Tesco Finest: Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar
What a buy and what an amazing crisp. I knew from previous experiences that Tesco Finest makes some great crisps but this is the best one yet. The crunch is super nice and elegant. The cider vinegar is stronger than the salt but not too much so you can still taste a hint of salty goodness! The hint of apple in the cider certainly pull this crisp over the edge from great to fantastic.  Once you start eating these you will not finish until the packet is empty!!

McCoy’s Ridge cut: Salt & Malt Vinegar
First things first: I find that ridge cut crisps are of an extreme advantage above normal cut crisps. However, I could not find McCoy’s without the ridges so I give them this advantage in this review. For me ridges just enhance the crunch exceptionally which is a great thing for a crisp! the Malt Vinegar is not too present in this crisp. However, the salt is, which means that this is more of a slightly sour salted crisp than a vinegar. That’s a shame for a salt and vinegar crisp. However, it has a good crunch and that makes it worth the while.

Marks & Spencer: Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar
The Marks & Spencer crisps were recommended to me by a good friend so I put them to the test. Personally, I find Marks & Spencer’s too expensive. I always have the feeling I am out of place in their shops, standing in a queue behind the Queen is quite an experience. These crisps are kind of flaky, they do not have a good mouth feel or crunch. The balance between salt and vinegar is good,  but it is nothing special. We had to walk quite some distance to get these and it was not worth the effort.

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Hamka’s vs Patatje Joppie By Sem/Bannie

So we are back in Amsterdam. While performing overseas is fun and all you always miss home and when I write home I mean I miss the crisps that we have here. I am not talking about Paprika flavoured crisps, no, I mean Hamka’s and Patatje Joppie. Two types of crisps that you can only buy in the Netherlands (and Belgium).
Hamka’s is a corn based crisp with the taste of ham and cheese, dare I say one of the most classic and most liked combinations in (Dutch) cuisine. It was first introduced in 1964. Patatje Joppie is a potato chip type of crisp with a flavour based on a Dutch snack sauce which tastes like onion, mayo and curry powder made love to each other! This crisp flavour won an ‘invent your own taste’ competition in the Netherlands back in 2010 and hit the stores with a powerful presence in 2011. So, in short, this review is the rookie versus the veteran. An age old tale that we are not going to finish in one review, but it is a start.

Before we start reviewing I have to say I love these two crisps dearly. They are my two favorite choices for an evening of crispy pleasure. But let’s start this fight with the veteran.

Lay’s Hamka’s
When you open a given pack of Hamka’s you smell the well known and endearing smell of ham and cheese. It takes one back to the times you ate a ham and cheese toastie when you got back from school as a child. The shape of the corn based crisp is that of a rectangular waffle with little holes in it. This makes it so that it has a quite particular mouthfeel. Or as one of my friends describes it: ‘Crispy divine rectangle made up from smaller equally sized squares of golden godliness’. The crunch is superb! This is because corn batter just gets crunchier than normal flour and this makes for an exceptional crunchy crisp.
The flavour is like ham and cheese, nice and salty with enough umami to make it a tasty combination. You don’t eat them all at once though, you eat a couple of these crisps at a time and save them for later or to share them but you would not use them for a solo Netflix session.  

Lay’s Superchips: Patatje Joppie Flavour
Joppie is a sauce used in snack shops in the Netherlands. It is an alternative to mayo or ketchup and it is based on combining onion, mayo, curry powder and some secret ingredients I do not know. For this review, I used the ridged version of the crisp. This is because it has a better mouthfeel and crunch.
Upon opening the bag one gets blasted in the face by the smell of onion and curry, like a heavy storm of umami and a hint of pure fat, just like in a snack shop! The crunch is good as expected and the flavour is strong. Some might find it repulsive, but I find it quite tasty. You can clearly taste the onion and curry, but the salty potato chip gives it an extra level that begs you to eat another crisp.
Unlike Hamka’s, you would not share a bag of these crisps with others, it is a gorge fest for oneself. Perfect for those nights you get back from the pub and you need some fat and salt to outbalance the drinking or when a Netflix and chill appointment gets cancelled and turns into a Netflix and spill kind of evening. This is a crisp you feel ashamed of having in your cupboard, but the taste is addictive!

In Conclusion
I believe that these two different crisps are the perfect representatives for what the idea behind a crisp is or was in the era that they got invented. The Hamka’s are for a party, a get together crisp to share with family and friends, just like crisps were meant to be eaten in the 1960’s.
The Patatje Joppie Crisp is there for the quick snack on your own during binge watching a series or when one is watching a whole bunch of kat videos on Youtube.
As I wrote before I am a fan of both but I solely use them for the activity they were meant for. There is no clear winner.
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Lidl’s Sol&Mar: Patatas Fritas Picantes Chorizo Flavour by Sem/Bannie

Let me be honest, I am a lazy chap. Why else would I write a blog about eating crisps?
However, for this weeks review I went on a hunt for a crazy wild crisp! I was doing normal grocery shopping when I found this bag of crazy wild chorizo flavoured crisps. I bought them and took them home. Immediately I searched the internet to find a stock photo of the crisp for this review and I did not find one! I had to take a picture myself! An obscure crisp indeed.

First things first: the name of this crisp is way too long. Even if you cut the brand name Sol&Mar you are still confronted by a five-word flavour name. A crisp name needs to be easy, short and memorable, such as readily salted, salt and pepper or cheese and onion. Maybe the producers thought the crisp would get a point for each word in its name…
When one opens the bag there is no smell and the colour of the crisp itself is not red like the chorizo sausage is, it is more orange like a paprika crisp. The first bite is crunchy, which is good, but then… the flavour kicks in. Our director Eline Henrotte tasted them with me and she described it as Spam straight from a can! I myself would call it heavy garlic infused dog food. The taste reminds me of the time I was eight years old and lost a bet, as a result of this I had to eat a piece of dry dog food.  

I now understand why Lidl did not have a picture of this crisp on their website or in any discount magazine: this is a disgusting monster of a crisp! Never eat this and do not feed it to your dog either!!


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De Rit Organics: Chickpea Crisps Paprika by Sem/Bannie

After the horrid crisps, I ate last week I needed something better, something more pure and healthy. I was in need of a crisp with a high recommendation, stability is what I craved. However, one does not become a world-renowned crisp connoisseur by eating “save” crisps, and that is why I asked some advice! My girlfriend told me about chickpea crisps and she even brought me a packet of the stuff.

Let me say one thing first, it is a tiny bag of crisps and it is more expensive than a threesome in the Amsterdam red light district, including your own girlfriend! A packet of chickpea crisps contains 75 grams and sells for 2,39 euro’s, that is 3,18 cents a gram. In comparison: a “normal” packet of Lays paprika crisps contains 225 grams and costs 1,29 euro. That is 1,7 cents a gram, about half the price of these “healthy” snacks. Are these crisps worth the price? Let the test begin!

When you open the bag there is no scent, no flavour in the air. This is strange because paprika is normally regarded as a heavy flavoured crisp with a distinct smell. The crisps are all quite small in size and most of them are near perfect circle shaped. This is the sign of a mass-produced, press crisp as we know from Pringles, a worrying sign for a “healthy” product. However, when you put one of these chickpea circles in your mouth, the crunch is… it is amazing, it is as if they are infused with chicken skin, even though these vegan crisps are not! While chewing on these disks of glory you hear a perfect crack as if it was composed for a TV advert. However, the flavour is lacking. You will taste salt, but paprika is almost impossible to find in the crisp. I may have tasted some paprika while eating my fifth crisp but that may have been a fluke.

I am a big believer in “You get what you pay for”. These crisps are called paprika flavoured for a reason, and that is why I have to mark them down. I do, however, want to recommend everyone who can afford them to buy these crisps. Next week I will try the sea salt flavour of the same brand to see if they hold nearer to what is advertised.

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