Potato Chips are the #1 snack food in America.
The origins of the first potato chip are hazy. The most reliable historical origin tells of an unhappy customer at Chef George Crum’s restaurant in Saratoga, New York (August 24, 1853). The angry customer sent back several orders of fried potatoes complaining that the potatoes were far too think and soggy to be edible. Out of frustration- or just plain spite- Chef Crum decided to slice the potatoes as thin as possible and fry them until they were extra crispy. He even attempted to add far too much salt than was appealing to the palate. To Chef Crum’s surprise, the customer was ecstatic about this new product! The “Saratoga Chips” were birthed and became a regular menu item for the restaurant.
Soon, “The Saratoga Chip” was a common menu item on train cares, hotel restaurants, and street vendors. They were even shipped by the barrel-full to grocers and sold to private families by the pound. Families were given the baking instructions “bake the chips in a hot oven for a few minutes”. Once they were removed for the oven they would be as crisp as if fried that same day.
Written for Reminiscing the Arts: March 14th.