History of the potato chip
Ever wonder how the potato chip was created?Did you know that the potato chip is more than 150-years-old? In 1853, a restaurant patron at the Moon's Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York ordered fried potatoes as part of his meal. He complained that they were too thick and sent them promptly back to the cook.
The cook, George Crum, decided to slice the potatoes extra thin in response to this patron's complaint. Crum sliced the potatoes thin, fried them in boiling oil until they were crispy and put some salt on them – creating what we now know as a potato chip.
The First Chips
While Crum meant his crispy potatoes to be a snappy response to a complaining customer, the extra thin potato slices were a big hit. The thin potato slices then became known as Saratoga Chips. Saratoga Chips were then served in restaurants in the Saratoga, New York region. Crum left the Moon Lake Inn to start his own restaurant – the Crumbs House – and put a basket of Saratoga Chips on each table. The popularity of Saratoga Chips spread like wildfire. They soon became known up and down the East Coast of the United States. Then they became known simply as potato chips. But this is only the beginning of the history of the potato chip.
Potato chips were first available in grocery stores in 1895. Grocery stores dispensed potato chips in bulk from cracker barrels or from glass display cases. But in 1926, potato chips were given to customers in paper sacks. The ingenious Laura Scudder had female employees in her family's potato chip business in Monterey Park, California, take home sheets of waxed paper that were ironed into bags. The following day, the bags were filled with potato chips and sealed with a warm iron. Potato chips were then delivered to retailers.
In 1921 Wise Potato Chips was founded when Earl Wise, Sr. chose to make potato chips from leftover potatoes in his Berwick, Pennsylvania delicatessen. That same year, Bill and Salie Utz founded Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, Pennsylvania. In 1932, Herman Lay started Lay's in Nashville, Tennessee.
The history of the potato chip is fascinating – one customer's complaint about a bad meal resulted in the creation of America's favorite snack. Potato chips in the United States alone sell more than $6 billion a year. That's a lot of crispy potatoes!