Mar 14 - Geezer's Blog - National Potato Chip Day

The Bottom Line: Delicious facts about potato chips!

The Full Story:

  • Americans own the naming rights to this beloved snack (though there is an 1822 British recipe for “potatoes fried in slices or shavings,” but those were sliced a quarter of an inch thick, or just shaved into the oil). Chips really do trace their roots back to Saratoga, and so all successive iterations were crunched from “Saratoga chips,” which eventually reached a national audience thanks to one Nashville-based Herman Lay.
  • During World War II, potato chips were declared a “nonessential food” – and therefore, production was halted. But the protests that followed convinced the War Production Board to back off. The snack was saved and sold like gangbusters.
  • Flavored chips were born in the 1950′s by a small independent manufacturer who then sold the concept to the larger corporations.
  • Before potato chips were mass-produced, they were sold in bulk in mom-and-pop shops – generally served out of wooden barrels or scooped from behind glass counters. But it was one enterprising California woman who came up with the concept of pre-bagging the chips, for freshness and transportability. The woman in question – Laura Scudder - had opened a potato chip company in 1926, worked hard to perfect her idea. Originally made of waxed paper that was ironed by hand into grease-resistant packets, those first potato chip bags were the forerunners of today’s crinkly foil sacks.
  • Pringles are NOT potato chip – they’re potato crisps. Traditional chipmakers went bonkers when Pringles first arrived on stores shelves in 1968. At issue? The facts that they’re made from dried potatoes – as opposed to fresh taters. Taking up the fight? The Potato Chip Institute International, who represented hundreds of chip makers. The “potato chip war” stayed crispy for nearly a decade, with the Institute standing by its definition that a potato chip was a “slice of fresh, raw potato, deep fried in vegetable oil, salted, and packaged.” Eventually Procter & Gamble – who makes Pringles – gave up the fight and started calling Pringles “potato crisps.”

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