“Let them eat cake!”
Oh, wait. We’re talking about potato chips
. We’re talking about those salty, crispy, crunchy, delectable snacks that Americans spend more than $7 billion on per year
Let them eat junk food, then. And we do. And we will.
The Origin of the Potato Chip
In the summer of 1853, George Crum was a chef at a Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York. Back then, the rich, famous, and well-heeled descended on the posh upstate town for the curative effects of its mineral springs.
That fateful night, one of his elegant dinner guests complained that his French fries were too thick. Instead of scoffing at the patron’s demands, Mr. Crum decided to produce a potato snack that was too thin and crisp to skewer with a fork. But Mr. Crum’s bid for culinary revenge backfired. The dinner guest was ecstatic over the new creation.
In 1860, Crum opened his own restaurant and placed a basket of potato chips on every table. He called them Saratoga Chips and the American dream snack was born. Today, millions of Americans enjoy the salty solace of a bag of potato chips.
Since 1853, the potato chip has gone through many transformations. Its history is full of famous moments and memorable milestones, from Earl Wise selling his potato chips
to patrons of his store to modern chip lovers voting on new and unusual flavors.
Here is a list of the potato chip’s most famous moments:
• According to the USDA
, over 50% of potato sales are to processors for French fries, chips, dehydrated potatoes, and other potato products.
• In 2006, Elizabeth Gould was on a Jet Blue flight from New York to Florida. Gould was eating a bag of potato chips when a strange sensation overwhelmed her. When she looked at the quarter-sized chip in her hand, it resembled the Virgin Mary
. She called it the “Holy Chip.”
• Another potato chip connoisseur, Myrtle Young, had a large collection of potato chips that looked like famous people, animals, and objects. Her prized chip resembled comedian Bob Hope. Young had a famous guest appearance
on a episode of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson where he tricked her into thinking he ate one of her chips.
• Potato chips weren’t seasoned until 1950. That was also the year the first remote control -Zenith Radio’s Lazy Bones – was marketed. Coincidence?
• Tayto, a small Irish company, pioneered the technology to add seasoning to chips. The world’s first seasoned potato chips were Cheese and Onion and Salt n’ Vinegar. The first two flavors in America, however, were Sour Cream and Onion and Barbecue. On a side note, mint-flavored chips are wildly popular in India.
• In 2003, the Snack Food Association (SFA) and the United States Potato Board held a series of celebrations to honor the 150th birthday of the potato chip
. We’re guessing someone brought chips and dip.
• March 14th is National Potato Chip Day.
• Let’s Potato Chips
: Ever heard of it? It might not sound familiar but this fictitious brand of chips has been featured in a handful of dramas and sitcoms, including Orange is the New Black, Sons of Anarchy, Community and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
With the popularity of chips seemingly always on the rise, expect there to be plenty more noteworthy moments in the near future.