Thinking about – Potato Chips


 

We’ve all heard the adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. No statement could have been more true for Chef Crum.

It was a warm summer evening, and by all counts Chef Crum was having a bad night. One of the patron’s had sent back his meal complaining that the fried potatoes were too thick, soggy and bland. After sending the same meal back multiple times with the exact same complaint the highly agitated Chef Crum decided to end the meal volley that had once again been lobbed his direction. ‘If he wants to complain, I’ll give him something to complain about!’

So, he took some fresh potatoes, sliced them as thinly as possible and fried them until they were so crisp that the patron could no longer eat them with a fork. If that didn’t make them inedible enough, he seasoned them with extra salt. So much salt that he was certain the patron would push them away in disgust and leave his establishment for the night.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction…the patron LOVED those crisps. Chef Crum was eventually catapulted into the annals of food history and you and I can be forever grateful that he popularized a recipe that appeared in two cookbooks prior to that now famous night in 1853; Shilling Cookery for the People by Aleix Soyer (1845) and The Virginia House-wife by Mary Randolph (1824).

The idea that the modern house-wife of 1824 had a potato chip recipe is absolutely incredible! The fact that they had such a recipe and ONLY had good unrefined sea salt available to them makes our mouths water almost instantly. While we prefer our chips fried in oil, there is now a “healthy” oil-less option too… if you don’t mind microwaving your chips to a crispness! Either way, a small flake sea salt is usually best suited for potato chips. Don’t dispair, we’ll have one in stock shortly! (Until then, try some of our truffle salt on your next chip making foray – potatoes and truffles were made for each other.)

Today, if you go to your local grocery story or gas station, you’ll find a veritable plethora of both potato chip types and manufacturers. Each and every one of them hold two things in common. Potatoes (of course) and salt. From there, it’s all down hill. Some are actually sliced potatoes, (with and without ridges) some are extruded potato mash and some have only potato flavoring (really). There are myriads of flavors actually, most of them entirely chemical in nature. Frying oils that can only politely be described as unhealthy, and salt that is so refined it should probably come with an MSDS form.

March 14 was Potato Chip Day. Did you enjoy a bag of crispy, over salted potato slices?