Monday, May 22, 2017

Who Really Invented Potato Chips?

Monday, May 22, 2017
Loretta reports:

You find out the darndest things in the darndest places. I recently found a clipping stuck in my trusty computer-side notebook, from a “Violet Days” comic strip by Chris Monroe that appeared in Funny Times of May 2016. In it she pointed out a myth about the creation of potato chips (that would be crisps, to British readers). Naturally, I had to investigate.

I started, as anybody would, by Googling “potato chips origin.” And there, as is the case with many myths, one finds numerous sites citing a tale that happens not to be supported by historical evidence. Several sites declare one George Crum as the inventor, in 1853, and there’s a long, charming story—which very often is a clue to a historical myth—of his inventing them by accident, due to aggravation by an annoying customer.

In fact, a recipe appeared as early as 1817 in Dr. William Kitchiner's Apicius Redivivus; or, the Cook’s Oracle. In other words, our Regency heroes and heroines might have had a bad potato chip habit, just like some of us who shall remain nameless who write this blog post.
Potato Chip Recipe 1817

As Ms. Monroe pointed out in her comic, the recipe also appeared in The Virginia House-Wife in 1827, and Shilling Cookery for the People by Alexis Soyer in 1845, and continued to appear in edition after edition of the Cook’s Oracle. If you compare the clippings from the earlier and later editions of the Cook’s Oracle, you’ll notice a slight change in method, which allowed for even thinner, crispier crisps. You’ll also notice lard, which will cause many readers to grimace. Again, there’s some misinformation about lard. For one thing, it shouldn’t be confused with the vegetable shortening that comes in those familiar cans. Well, familiar to those of us who grew up in the last century. For another, it turns out to be not nearly as unhealthy as had been assumed for decades. And it does make superior pastry, among other delights.
Potato Chips Recipe 1831

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Unknown said...

Lard (and other animal fats, like butter) are the healthiest fats a person can consume. The main reason for this is: we are omnivorous, and our bodies know how to digest animal fats and turn them into energy efficiently.

Synthetic processed fats, created in a factory, like oil from soy or "canola," are not expected by our digestive systems, and more likely to cause problems.

Also lard tastes so good, let's be real.

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