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National Potato Chip Day ~ History of the Potato Chip & a Recipe

It’s National Potato Chip Day! What genius, you ask, came up with the potato chip?

His name was George Crum. George’s father was black and his mother was a native of the Huron Tribe of native American Indians (now known as the Wyandot). He spent his early career as a guide in the georgeous Adirondak Mountains, but soon developed a love of cooking. By1853, George was a chef at the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Anyway, the story is that Chef Crum served an order of french fries, and the customer sent them back because they were cut too thick. George prepared a new, slimmer-cut batch. The customer sent them back again. Mr. Crum was a little peeved at this point, so he cut the potatoes paper thin, fried them in oil, and sent the potatoes out again (thinking the customer would be totally infuriated). Surprise! They were a hit. Thus was the Saratoga Chip born in 1853.

Fast forward to the 1920’s. The Saratoga Chip had become widely popular in northern states, but were relatively unheard of elsewhere. Enter Herman Lay. Mr. Lay started selling potato chips out of the back of his truck in other areas of the country. Yep, that’s Herman Lay of Lay’s Potato Chips.

Tell you the truth: I don’t eat a lot of potato chips. I like them, but eat them on rare occasions. Here’s a recipe from Giada de Laurentis that I love and feel slightly better about eating:

2 sweet potatoes
2 beets
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon very finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons salt
10 cups vegetable oil

(It’s good to have a mandoline to slice the potatoes & beets; otherwise, have a really sharp knife to get them to about 1/8″ thick.)

Wash the potatoes & beets and dry very well. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the garlic, rosemary and salt. Set aside.

Warm the oil in a large pot over high heat to 350 degrees F.

Meanwhile, trim 1-inch off the end of each sweet potato. Slice the sweet potatoes into very thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick. Trim 1-inch off the root end of the beets. Slice the beets into very thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick.

When the oil is hot add about a quarter of the sweet potato slices. Let fry until golden and the bubbling has almost completely subsided, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a mesh sieve or slotted spoon remove the chips to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with some of the garlic, rosemary, and salt mixture. Continue with the remaining sweet potatoes.

Transfer to a serving plate.

Next, fry 1/4 of the beets. Let fry until curled at the edges and most of the bubbling has subsided, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the beets to another paper-towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt mixture. Continue with the remaining beets.

When everything has been fried, lightly salted, and cooled, put them together on a serving plate or bowl.

~These are great with your favorite sandwich, or with fish, or as a snack~



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