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Ever Wonder About The History Of The Potato Chip?

By Laura Trowbridge     Jun 23, 2007 in World
I like doing word searches while I am, um.....uh, busy in the bathroom. I saved a couple of the completed ones I did about a month ago (word searches, that is!). One of the topics was about the history of the potato chip with related words to seek out.
Today, I noticed museinspiredart did a history of the pretzel. It reminded me of my intention to do that potato chip history from my word search of awhile back. So I looked up information on the web and found a good article.
In 1853 an American Indian, George Crum, was the chef at a posh resort restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York. French-fried potatoes was a very popular item on the menu of Moon Lake Lodge.
One evening that summer a dinner guest ordered the French fries, but sent them back because he did not like how thick-cut they were. Chef Crum cut his fries in the standard thick-cut French way.
Crum went ahead and re-cut some potatoes thinner before frying them up for this particular guest. These too were rejected and sent back.
Now Crum was very annoyed, to say the least, by this point. He decided he would get back at the fussy diner by cutting the potatoes so thin and frying them so crisp that they would be impossible to eat with a fork.
Instead of making the dinner guest angry as was intended by the chef, the guest loved the newly born potato chips and raved about them. Now everyone wanted to try these potato chips. They were first named Saratoga Chips and were the specialty of the house.
The chips were packaged and sold in the local area because the demand was so great for them. Soon they were sold all around the New England area. Crum even opened up his very own restaurant and made his famous potato chips for his guests.
In the 1920's the invention of the mechanical potato peeler made it possible for the potato chip to become a favorite snack food in all of America. No longer did potatoes have to be slowly peeled and sliced by hand, making them fit only for a small specialty item.
For several decades after their creation, potato chips were largely a Northern dinner dish. In the 1920s, Herman Lay, a traveling salesman in the South, helped popularize the food from Atlanta to Tennessee. Lay peddled potato chips to Southern grocers out of the trunk of his car, building a business and a name that would become synonymous with the thin, salty snack. Lay's potato chips became the first successfully marketed national brand, and in 1961 Herman Lay, to increase his line of goods, merged his company with Frito, the Dallas-based producer of such snack foods as Fritos Corn Chips.
Potato chips are eaten and enjoyed the most in America now than in any other country. Interestingly, in New England colonial times the potato was looked on as only good for feeding pigs. The people at that time thought potatoes would shorten the lifespan of a person because of an aphrodisiac thought to be in a potato. It was this supposed aphrodisiac that led to "bad" behavior that would certainly shorten the life of a person.
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