Today in adventurous office snacks: Pringles in the U.K. is introducing a new suite of flavors called the Rice Fusion collection. They're inspired by food you'd typically have with rice: Malaysian Red Curry, Indian Tandoori Chicken Masala, and Pekin Duck with Hoisin Sauce.
Instead of going the "Once you pop!" route, which we'll perhaps all agree lacks subtlety in these too-loud times, the brand reached out to Vladimir Aniskin, a Russian artist who specializes in "micro-miniature" art.
To celebrate Rice Fusion's origins, Aniskin painted tableaux of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal, on the tiniest canvas ever: Single grains of rice.
Only 11 micro-miniature master artists exist in the world, and Aniskin holds a special place among them: In 2016 he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world's tiniest book. It can't even be seen with the naked eye, and we can barely understand how Aniskin—a scientist by profession—did it. It perhaps helps to know that the books (there are two volumes) are six pages each and sit on a golden plate, which itself is sitting … on a poppy seed.
In comparison, his rice-grain art for Pringles must have been a cakewalk, which by no means dismisses the enormity (LOL!) of the task. Here are his Taj Mahal and Great Wall grains against a two-pence coin, for scale:
The paintbrushes Aniskin used are composed of single strands of hair, and the images themselves were elaborated with specks of gold, silver and colored dust.
Because it's easy to mess up when your margin of error is literally microscopic, he's also trained himself to slow his heartbeat; the vibrations create fluctuations of up to 0.1 milimeters when he's using his drill to micro-emboss.
"Tranquility, emotional calm is half of the job," Aniskin said in an interview with Russia Beyond in 2016, when he joined the Guinness Book's list of hallowed firsts. "If something is worrying you or making you anxious, I don't recommend taking up micro-miniature work. Nothing will come out of it."
We haven't any idea what Pringles plans to do with these rice grain sculptures. Each piece is one of a kind, and their full impact can't be seen with the naked eye.
And yet they exist: The Great Wall's 13,170-mile length is reduced to five millimeters—less than 0.2 inches!—in painstaking, elaborate detail, flecked with gold. All so we can bring Chicken Masala chips to the next office party.
Pringles' Rice Fusion collection will be available in major supermarkets across the U.K. for a little under $3 per can. Perhaps it will serve as poetic consolation for Brexit.