Who Invented Potato Chips?

According to a story that may or may not be true, the first potato chips were ‘invented around 1865 by a chef in Saratoga, New York.

The chef made a batch of thin-sliced potatoes for the diners at a guest house, but one of the guests kept sending the potatoes back and asking for thinner slices. So the chef cut a potato into the thinnest slices he could, dropped them into oil, and produced America’s first potato chips!

The first factory in America built solely to produce potato chips opened in Albany, New York, in 1925.

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  1. Anonymous says

    The History of the Potato Chip

    1853, Saratoga Springs, New York

    As a world food, potatoes are second in human consumption only to rice. And as thin, salted, crisp chips, they are America’s favorite snack food. Potato chips originated in New England as one man’s variation on the French-fried potato, and their production was the result not of a sudden stroke of culinary invention but of a fit of pique.

    In the summer of 1853, American Indian George Crum was employed as a chef at an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. On Moon Lake Lodge’s restaurant menu were French-fried potatoes, prepared by Crum in the standard, thick-cut French style that was popularized in France in the 1700s and enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson as ambassador to that country. Ever since Jefferson brought the recipe to America and served French fries to guests at Monticello, the dish was popular and serious dinner fare.

    At Moon Lake Lodge, one dinner guest found chef Crum’s French fries too thick for his liking and rejected the order. Crum cut and fried a thinner batch, but these, too, met with disapproval. Exasperated, Crum decided to rile the guest by producing French fries too thin and crisp to skewer with a fork.

    The plan backfired. The guest was ecstatic over the browned, paper-thin potatoes, and other diners requested Crum’s potato chips, which began to appear on the menu as Saratoga Chips, a house specialty. Soon they were packaged and sold, first locally, then throughout the New England area. Crum eventually opened his own restaurant, featuring chips. At that time, potatoes were tediously peeled and sliced by hand. It was the invention of the mechanical potato peeler in the 1920s that paved the way for potato chips to soar from a small specialty item to a top-selling snack food.

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