Potato chips, also called crisps, are one of the most popular snacks consumed worldwide today. It comes in a variety of flavors—from the classic, cheese, and sour cream, to barbecue, among others.
For many people, a movie night or picnic won’t be complete without potato chips. But have you ever wondered how this favored snack came into existence in the first place?
What if I tell you this snack’s invention has a strange yet interesting story and was created accidentally?
Yes! Potato chips were accidentally made one day in 1853.
As the story goes, Cornelius Vanderbilt, an American tycoon who built his wealth with his railroads and shipping business, dined at Moon’s Lake House.
George Speck, also known as George Crum, was an African-American chef who worked at the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York. He’s known for his specialty, Moon-fried potatoes, which were thick-cut French fries eaten with a fork.
One day, Vanderbilt ordered French fries but was unhappy with them, complaining that they were too soggy and not crispy enough.
Crum tried to appease the unhappy customer by making a thinner batch, but Vanderbilt was still unsatisfied and kept sending it back. Frustrated with such a fussy eater, Crum sliced the potatoes into extremely thin pieces as an insult and fried them to a crisp, hoping to annoy the customer.
Take note: the potatoes were too thin to eat with a fork!
To Crum’s surprise, Vanderbilt loved them, and the potato chip was born!
He then added this new specialty to the Moon Lake Lodge menu and called it “Saratoga Chips.” It became a hit far beyond Upstate New York.
This accidental success prompted Crum to open his own restaurant called “Crumbs House” in 1860. By 1895, William Tappendon manufactured and sold potato chips in grocery stores in 1895 in Cleveland, OH.
Today, many variations and flavors of potato chips have grown in popularity over the years!