Saturday, October 22, 2016

1853 - Discovery of the Potato Chip -- as told on its 75th anniversary

This year is the seventy-fifth anniversary or the potato chip and a resident of Saratoga Springs advises The New Yorker that many of the older neighbors are all excited. It seems that the chip was invented there in 1853, and that is why it is known more elegantly, as the Saratoga Chip. The discoverer's name was George Crum, and there are still alive people who remember talking to him... We say discoverer rather than inventor because it all came about by accident. Crum was a renowned fisherman and cook in the days before the Civil War and, with Peter Francis and William Groom (co-discoverers), altho it was Crum who spied the first chip), he was the chef at Moon's lake House, a fashionable place to take dinner.

The three men were filling orders in the kitchen when some finicky gentleman sent in a demand for fried potatoes of more delicate dimensions then French fried. Perhaps, in a spirit of sarcasm, Crum or one of the others sliced off a piece of potato as thin as a wafer and dropped it in the hot fat of the frying pan. Then Crum fished it out and let it cool. Absently, he ate it, and liked it. He tried a few more. The other cooks ate and approved. Mrs. Mary E. Moon, wife of the proprietor of the Moon House, was called in. She named the little fried potatoes Saratoga Chips and had a lot of them cooked and put up in white paper cornucopias. They became popular at once and with the best people. It grew to be a common sight to see fine gentlemen standing at the bar at Moon's a cold whiskey punch in one hand and a cornucopia of chips in the other.

Gay ladies, beautifully dressed, were seen returning from Saratoga Lake in their victorias daintily nibbling the chips, as recent as the early nineties. For such modern ladies as may be interested we give the recipe for the chips as they were made in Saratoga in the old days: Slice the potatoes as thin as possible; place them in very cold water for half an hour; let them dry on a white cloth; then dip in very hot grease until brown adding salt.

The recipe for the cold whiskey punch, we are sorry, we do not know.

Alton Evening Telegraph
Alton, Illinois
February 28, 1928

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