National Potato Chip Day on March 14th celebrates America’s #1 snack food. Millions will enjoy their favorite chip this holiday. It’s a good thing there are so many to choose from, too!
On August 24, 1853, an unhappy restaurant customer kept sending his potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining they were thick and soggy. Chef George Crum decided to slice the potatoes as thin as possible, frying them until crisp and added extra salt. To the chef’s surprise, the customer loved them. The crispy potatoes soon became a regular item on the restaurant’s menu under the name of “Saratoga Chips.”
Other explanations point for the existence of the potato chip point to recipes in Shilling Cookery for the People by Alexis Soyer (1845) or Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-Wife (1824). While many references between these dates sliced potatoes and fried them in grease, uncertainty remains whether the potatoes were fried to a crisp.
However, by the late 1870s, menus across the country used the term “Saratoga Chips” on train cars, hotel restaurants, and street carts. The name carried into grocers when bakeries made the chips in larger batches. They shipped them by wagon to the restaurants and grocers by the barrel. The grocers sold them to private families by the pound. Folks were instructed to bake the chips in a hot oven for a few minutes, and the chips would be as crisp as if fried that same day.
Classic Potato Chips
The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell’s Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, calls itself the “oldest potato chip company in the United States.” New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, originally established in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts, claims to be America’s first potato chip manufacturer.
In the 20th century, potato chips spread beyond chef-cooked restaurant fare and began to be mass-produced for home consumption. Flavored chips were introduced in the 1950s. Potato Chip revenues are over $15 billion a year worldwide!
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalPotatoChipDay
While we enjoy potato chips as a simple snack, they also provide a great ingredient in recipes, too. Favorite recipes include chocolate-dipped chips and crushed chips dusted over fish. Share with us how you enjoy your favorite chip recipes! Or just grab a bag of potato chips to enjoy and use #NationalPotatoChipDay to post on social media.