Flashback: 1981. My parents lived in Germany for about a year. Vegetarianism was a rarity there back then, and the Germans found it difficult to understand why we do not eat meat. They probably could not understand the concept of vegetarianism as a custom.
Some of them even seemed to think that we were vegetarians just because we did not know how to cook meat. As a result, when my parents received dinner invitations from German friends, they had a lot of explaining to do before they accepted the invitation. Then the poor hosts were usually clueless about what to serve my parents - they usually played it safe by serving them half a dozen varieties of cakes and pastries - and sometimes, my parents saw themselves staring at just a pile of boiled rice, or a plate of mashed, salted potatoes.
Anyway, at one such dinner, along with the cakes, the hosts brought out a bowl of off-white chips, and excitedly offered it to my
Amma: What is it?
Hostess: Just eat it and see, I will tell you what it is later!
Amma and Papa pop the chips into their mouths.
Amma: *gags as a disgusting taste fills her mouth.*
Papa: *Hmmm.... something's fishy*
Both of them swallow with great difficulty, and follow it with glasses of water.
Hostess: So, how did you like it?
Amma: *Putting Indian sensibilities aside*: I didn't like it.
Hostess: *crestfallen* Ohhhhh.
Amma: What is it?
Hostess: Pig skin chips.
Amma: *Oh yuck!*
Papa: *Hmmm.... I knew something was fishy.... errr.. porky...*
Back to the present: 2006. My sister P, after having completed two months in the US as a student, living on just cereals and cheesecake, starts hankering after spicy food. Penniless, and unable to afford eating at Indian restaurants unless somebody treats her, and too busy to cook for herself, she sets out with her flatmate A to Walmart to find something spicy to eat.
Rejecting the regular salted Lays and Pringles, P and A come across a packet of chips with "Hot and spicy" printed on it. They immediately buy a packet and run back home. They make nice hot cups of tea, and sit down comfortably. They open the packs. Smiling and eager, they put a couple of chips in their mouths. It is certainly hot and spicy, and tastes not-too-bad. But some inexplicable instinct makes both P and A stop eating and look at each other. They pick up the packet and read everything written on it. Underneath the tempting words "Hot and Spicy", written in small print, is "Pork skin chips".
Like I said, it runs in the family.