Fact or Fiction? Were Potato Chips Really Invented in Upstate New York
On August 24, 1853, the potato chip was invented. But who gets the credit? It depends on who you ask.
The most common legend is the potato chip began in Saratoga Springs, New York when Chef George Crum was working at Moon's Lake House. Rumor has it that railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt wanted his fried potatoes more thinly sliced. In defiance of the request, the chef sliced potatoes as thin as possible and fried them to a crisp before sending them back out. But Vanderbilt loved them, and the potato chip was born.
Fact or Fiction
Historian T.J. Stiles claimed there was no truth to the tale in his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Crum's sister, Catherine Wicks, is said to have actually created potato chips after a sliver of potato accidentally fell into the frying pan. Crum tried it and decided to start serving 'Saratoga Chips' at the Lake House.
But the famous chips may go back a lot further than 1853. Food historians suggest potato chips may have been created as early as 1817 when an English doctor named William Kitchiner released his cookbook, The Cook’s Oracle.
The book contains what may be one of the earliest references to crisps, in a recipe for "Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings", which instructs the reader to "peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping.
Today there are all kinds of flavors and versions of the salty, crispy treats that may or may not have been invented in Saratoga Springs. Regardless of who actually created it, potato chip fans are just happy someone, somewhere did.