Thursday, February 10, 2011

Black people invented...Potato Chips!

George Crum

George Crum, born George Speck in 1822 in Saratoga Lake, New York, was the son of a Native American mother and an African American father (i.e. black) and a trapper turned head chef. In the summer of 1853 George was the head chef at the elegant Cary Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga where French fries were a popular item on the dinner menu. Thomas Jefferson was responsible for bringing the concept for the French fry from France in the late 1700's. So, fried potatoes that were thickly sliced and were eaten with a fork were becoming a common staple in America by this time.

George was an ornery old fart, some would say, and the story goes…

One day an unsatisfied diner sent a plate of French fry’s back to the kitchen, claiming they were sliced too thick. The diner also requested that his fries be crunchy. In annoyance, George sliced the potatoes too thin and deep fried them so that they would be extra crunchy. To top it off he sprinkled salt on what is now called the potato chip. There was no way the diner could eat the chips with a fork, but he didn’t send them back. They were too good and thus the popular American snack was born.

George happily continued to make the thin, fried potatoes, but he called them "Saratoga Chips" or Potato Crunches. They soon became so popular that they were made up in large batches, packaged in bags, and sold in New England.

George never patented the chips, but he did open his own restaurant that eventually failed; however the potato chip industry now produces billions of dollars in sales each year.