The man who invented potato chips was George Crum, who was both African-American and Native American, and a chef employed as a chef at Moon Lake Lodge –an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. And getting complaints from a customer about thick, soggy fried potatoes, Crum wanted to teach the patron a lesson, so he sliced a new batch of potatoes as thin as he possibly could, and then fried them until they were hard and crunchy. Finally, to top them off, he added a generous helping of salt. To Crum’s surprise, the dish ended up being a hit with the patron and a new snack was born.
Crum found success with his invention and even opened his own restaurant in 1860, called “Crumbs House.” Served on each table was, of course, a basket of potato chips –which was a hit with his upscale clientele. But in those days, people of color were not allowed to take out patents on their inventions and Crum never attempted to patent potato chips. The snack was eventually mass-produced sold in the bag without giving him any credit.
Fun Facts: Flavors Around The World!
- In Britain, potato chips are called “crisps” (and they say “chips” when they mean fries!)
- In Germany the most popular flavor is Paprika
- Indian chips are often exotic spices used in curries, like Masala, Coriander, and Red Chili
- In Indonesia, they make chips from Cassava
- In Greece, Oregano is the most popular flavor
- Japanese chip-eaters enjoy Seaweed, Wasabi, and Soy Sauce & Butter Chips!
Rumor has it potato chips date all the way back to 1853, where a hotel chef in Saratoga Springs, New York, George Crum, set his mind to figuring out how to please a difficult patron who constantly sent back his fried potatoes for being too soggy. Crum decided to slice the potatoes as thin as possible and deep fry them until they were extra crispy. His new potatoes instantly became a smash hit and were added as a regular feature on the hotel menu as “Saratoga Chips.”
By the 20th century,, chips had gone from fine dining delicacy to stay-at-home snack. Ohio-based business Mike-Sells Potato Chips was founded in 1910 and claims it is the “oldest potato chip company in the United States” although there are a couple other companies who claim they got there first. People would buy chips in tins or have the amount they wanted scooped out from a glass storefront at the market, but this left the chips at the bottom of the tins to get stale very quickly, until California businesswoman and chip innovator Laura Scudder came up with the idea of packaging them in wax paper and ironing both ends shut, creating the first bag of chips! With the invention of the chip bag, it became easier to mass produce the popular snack, while keeping the crispiness and flavor fresh.