Potato Chips

Crisp, Potato, Fast Food, ChipsFrom the mid 1960s, there was a television commercial extolling the golden, Animal Removal Port St Lucie FL goodness of potato chips. Its catch phrase was”I bet you can not eat just one!” Truer words were never spoken. A small nibble off the edge of a potato chip, regardless of what your good intentions, led in the nibble into a normal size bite. Without thinking, you’d eaten the whole chip in a blink of an eye. You thought to yourself, another chip can’t hurt. Nor the next one, nor the one after that. What was happening?! Good heavens! Are you currently turning into a potato chip junkie?

Let us shed some light on the roots of this crunchy treat.

In the mid 1850s, frying potatoes was an accepted and popular type of American cooking. The normal manner of preparing fried potatoes was to slice them across the narrow axis and then fry them. They weren’t eaten with the fingers but instead, served with a fork, to be consumed in a genteel manner. Restaurants throughout the nation were serving fried potatoes, but it wasn’t until the chef at Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York, sliced the potato pieces so sparse did they become the rage.

It’s usually thought by food historians that George Crum was the inventor of the potato chip. He was a colorful personality in the Saratoga Springs area. A former guide in the Adirondacks, he came from a racially mixed background; he was part Indian and part African-American.

In 1853, George Crum was working as a cook at the Moon Lake Lodge resort. As stated earlier, fried potatoes were a popular fare. A demanding dinner guest, rumored to be Cornelius Vanderbilt, found his order of French fries (at that time, potatoes cut in a round shape) too thick for his liking and sent them back to the kitchen. Crum made a second batch, cut thinner than before and also fried, but these, too, were rejected as being too thick. By this time, Crum was more than aggravated and in a fit of pique, took it upon himself to rile the guest by making him French fries which were much too thin and crisp to be skewered by a fork.

His “revenge” backfired on him. Crum initially called his snack”Potato Crunches” but the dish, now a house specialty, was listed on the menu as”Saratoga Chips.” Soon thereafter, they were packed and sold, initially locally, but rapidly grew in popularity throughout the New England area.

In 1860, Crum opened up his own restaurant which featured his processors as the house specialty. He put baskets of the chips on each table and they became a vital drawing point to the success of his restaurant. Besides advertising the chips, Crum foolishly did not patent or protect his invention.

Peeling and slicing potatoes manually was slow and tedious. The 1920s creation of the mechanical potato peeler resulted in the potato chip industry to skyrocket from being a little specialty item to a top-selling snack meals.

Potato chips were chiefly a Northern dinner dish for many decades after their creation. But, in the 1920s, merchandizing and distribution of this snack took a turn for the better; their popularity growing year by year during the entire 20th century.

From the 1920s, Herman Lay, a traveling salesman working the Southern region of the country, was a major catalyst in popularizing the chips from Atlanta to Tennessee. He peddled Crum’s creation to Southern grocers straight out of the trunk of his car, his name and company eventually becoming synonymous with this crisp and salty treat. In 1932, he purchased a potato chip factory in Atlanta. 1938 marked the start of Lay’s Brand Potato Chips.

The first part of the 20th century caused several companies building large factories to the mass production of potato chips. The 1920s gave birth of three companies which specify the potato chip industry.

In 1921, he utilized the extras to make potato chips and sold them in brown paper bags as Wise Potato Chips throughout the delicatessen.

Salie made the chips which were promoted and sold by her husband Bill, and were called Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips. Salie was able to turn out about 50 pounds of potato chips per hour, using hand-operated equipment, in a small summer house behind their home.

1926 was notable for potato chip distribution. Retailers dispensed the chips in paper bags. Paper wasn’t very practical, as oil in the chips could seep through the sacks and onto the consumer’s hands.

Laura Scudder had a household chip company in Monterey Park, California. She understood the inherent flaw in the paper sacks; no one enjoyed being coated with cooking oil. Her motivated solution to this problem was brilliant. . This day, the employees hand-filled chips to the waxed paper bags and then sealed them with a warm iron. Voila! Greaseproof bags, ready to be delivered to retailers.

Potato chips are currently the preferred snack of Americans, who eat more potato chips than any other population in the world.

Some interesting side notes:

In colonial times, New Englanders considered potatoes to be ideal as pig fodder. They believed that eating these tubers shortened a person’s life expectancy. The New Englanders weren’t concerned that potatoes were fried in fat and covered with salt (each cardiologist’s bane); they had more worry about joys of the flesh. They believed the potato, in its pristine condition, contained an aphrodisiac which led to actions and behavior felt to be detrimental to long life; based on those spirits, eating an unadulterated potato resulted in the demon SEX and needless to say, sex resulted in the downfall of man. For over a century, we’ve known this to be not true and just the result of misdirected thinking.

Mass potato chip production, in modern facilities, uses continuous fryers or flash frying. In place of raw potato pieces.

I bet you can not eat just one…

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