In 1961, or so we are told, Arch West came upon his first fried tortilla chip. Three years later, the company he worked for, Frito-Lay, rolled out Doritos. West died last week in Dallas at the age of 97. But what he gave us, for better and for worse, will be around for a very long time. For no matter how many unhealthy ingredients might be found inside a Dorito (remember the Onion headline, "Doritos Celebrates One Millionth Ingredient"?), it's just too good to resist. Indeed, I was reminded of a passage from Lisa DePaulo's essay in GQ about the National Guardsmen assigned to watch Saddam Hussein after his capture.
All [Saddam's] drinks, from milk to water to orange juice, had to be room temperature. He wouldn’t eat beef but seemed to like fish and chicken. Salads were acceptable, but only if they came with Italian dressing, because he liked to use the dressing to marinate his olives. He pretty much got whatever he wanted, within reason. And his favorite food was…Cheetos. He was nuts about Cheetos. One of the guardsmen turned him on to them, and before long he would get grumpy if they ran out (so they started to order extra from the mess hall). Then one day they gave him Doritos instead, and Saddam never went back. “He kept asking for doris,” Jesse says. He’d eat a family-size bag of Doritos in ten minutes. When they’d give him a bag, he’d smile, thank them profusely, and retreat to a corner of his cell. Then he’d sprinkle a few drops of water into the bag and eat. They’re still not sure if he thought it would somehow be less messy that way or if he just liked them soggy. The Doritos thing he didn’t feel like explaining.
When it comes to our love for Doritos, no explanations are needed.