A Pringle in Time

Reading in the WSJ about a British tax court having declared Pringles to no longer have potato chip status brought to mind a day long ago when I went to hear author Gene Wolfe speak. The Chicago Public Library was sponsoring a series of “Meet the Writer” talks among which was one to be given by Mr. Wolfe. Having just read his “New Sun” tetralogy (the one beginning with Shadow of the Torturer), I made a point to attend. My real motive was not admiration for his novels — which baffled me then and baffle me still — but to ask, if questions were allowed, was it true that he had helped design the machine that produced Pringle™ potato chips? Engaging casually with the sizable audience, Mr. Wolfe was so winning, funny and self-effacing that, when questions were taken, I couldn’t bring myself to ask one I was afraid might seem disrespectful. I left without an answer. For years thereafter I dwelt in darkness. Fortunately, this glad day, thanks to Wikipedia, no more. He did.

Baur designed the Pringle canister, not the Pringle itself!

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