One of the best places to really experience a new country and culture is to visit the grocery store. This is where the normal people who live in the country or city of interest shop and I often find it is a more realistic reflection of the country's eating habits. I also love going to grocery stores on a normal day so of course I make an effort to visit them in other countries.
When I first came to the UK my then-boyfriend-now-fiance introduced me to vegetable crisps, which are essentially the same thing as potato crisps/chips, but made out of root vegetables. It sounds really weird but it works! I always wondered why I had never seen these in the American grocery stores, but it could be because the crisps/chips area is a whole aisle in the typical US grocery store and it is easy to miss one type of chips when there are cheetos and corn chips and pringles and pretzels and ruffles and . . .
It could also be that they had not arrived in the southern US grocery stores five years ago, but it looks like they have now. My mom mentioned them the other day with skepticism until I talked her into trying them. (I think the parsnips put people off.) She was looking for a decent gluten-free snack and they seem to be few and far between in small town USA or very expensive or both. Being the good daughter I am, I decided to try to make vegetable crisps to see if I could save my mom some money and have a healthy, tasty snack. Plus, I like them too.
The process to make veggie crisps is very much like making potato crisps. You need something to slice your root veggies very thinly and I used a mandolin. Not the type that is often used in folk music, but the stand that will slice veggies very thinly while trying to slice your fingers too.
First, slice some root vegetables into thin strips. I tried carrots, parsnips and beets but you could easily try sweet potatoes and squash if you were feeling adventurous. I found that it was best to slice the carrots and parsnips on an angle so you get long thin strips.
The next bit was a trial and error process. I coated the carrots with olive oil and salt, but perhaps a bit too much oil. The carrots did not get as crispy as I wanted so a little less oil would be better. Just a tiny splash so they do not stick to the pan would be sufficient.
Once you have oiled and salted the veggies, spread them out on a baking pan and put them into an oven on a low heat, about 150 C or 300 F. You will need to leave them in there for 1.5-2 hours, turning once or twice to make sure they don't stick. I decided to oven bake them as opposed to deep frying them to try to keep them slightly more healthy.
Because of the excess oil, I dumped the crisps on to a paper towel to dry after they were cooked.
Voila! Healthy and tasty veggie crisps for my lunch.
Now that I have tried this once, it would be really easy to do again. The slicing part takes the most time but once that is done just spread on baking pans and leave to cook for a while. I might even try to tweak the recipe and cooking time as the beets are a little too done. You could probably do lots of batches of these and keep them in airtight containers to munch on. Oh, and these are gluten-free as far as I can tell so you can make them for all your gluten-free friends.