Certain people like to tell a tale according to which the potato chip was invented by two down-on-their-luck prospectors during the gold Rush years in California. Don’t believe it.
The birth of the potato chip actually took place near Saratoga, New York, not long after that town became a favorite vacation spot for the rich. The year was 1853. The chef at Moon’s Lake Lodge was a crusty fellow named George Crum. Crum disliked many things, but what he disliked most was being criticized.
One day a customer ordered some French fried potatoes. When they arrived, he took a bite and sent them back with the message that he’d like them cut a little thinner, please.
Somewhat angry, Crum prepared another plate of French fries, but these, too, were rejected. Chef Crum became very angry. He took out his sharpest knife, cut off the thinnest possible slices of potato, threw them in the frying pan until they became crisp, and then sent them to the customer. Instead of being angry, the customer was delighted. He loved this new way of fixing potatoes.
The chip was born. In the beginning, it was called the Saratoga chip. It was many years before it became known as the potato chip.