What's the Difference Between Crispy and Crunchy?

We’ve all been there: face-up, couch-ridden, jumbo bag of potato chips or Tostitos or salty/carb-y snack of choice in hand, staring glassy-eyed at the ceiling or at the television or at the computer, contemplating life or heartbreak or truly nothing at all. 

But have you ever paused, mid-mastication, to muse: Is what I’m eating a crispyfood, or a crunchy food? Is the mechanical force of my jaw and its subsequent auditory output more in line with that of a crisp, or a crunch? No? You haven’t wondered that? Well, good thing What’s the Difference is here to clear things up, anyway.

According to the scientific article “Critical Evaluation of Crispy and Crunchy Textures: A Review,” published in the International Journal of Food Properties, a crispy food is defined as:

“a dry rigid food which, when bitten with the incisors [Ed. Note: the four pointy teeth at the front of your mouth]fractures quickly, easily, and totallywhile emitting a relatively loud, high-pitched sound.”

On the other hand, a crunchy food is defined as:

“a dense-textured food which, when chewed with the molars, undergoes a series of fractures while emitting relatively loud, low-pitched sounds.”

Let’s apply these definitions to real life. Lay’s potato chips? Crispy. Ice? Crunchy. Saltines? Crispy. Those hard, sourdough pretzels? Crunchy. Celery? Both—it snaps cleanly, and also undergoes a series of fractures when chewed. 

Okay, as you were. Enjoy the symphony of snacking!

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