When most people think of potato chips, they’ll think of Lays. What historians think of potato chips, is that the origin of it, like many other american inventions, is highly contested. The most common story however involves yet another delicious accidental invention.
Moon’s Lake House was a popular restaurant in Saratoga Springs in New York. In 1853, George Crum (also known as George Speck) was the chef and had made fries to serve to a customer. The customer sent the fries back, claiming that they were too thick. Out of spite, Crum cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, fried them until they
were hard and crunchy, salted them and sent them back out to the customer. In an unexpected turn of events, the customer absolutely loved them!
Other stories claim that Catherine Wicks, Crum’s sister, was actually the true inventor of potato chips. She too worked at Moon’s alongside her brother. This version of the story claims that she accidentally dropped a thin layer of potato into a pot of boiling oil while she was peeling potatoes. She retrieved it with a fork, and the potato chip (known as the Saratoga Chip at the time) was born.
There are many other hypotheses surrounding the origin of the potato chip and it’s possible that we may never be 100% confident in what the origin of this snack truly is. The legends of George Crum and Catherine Wicks are the most popular origin stories.
At the time of its invention, the potato chip was considered a luxury and was served to upscale clientele. The Saratoga Chips brand name still exists today!
- Jenna Dhanani