Wednesday, March 14, 2012

National Potato Chip

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By Diane Forrest

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and ordered something that wasn't cooked the way you wanted?  Steak too rare?  Chicken too burned or eggs too runny?  This has happened to me occasionally, and it would always embarrass my husband and my child when I would send it back.  I would explain to them that I work hard for my money, and I don’t want to pay for something that I can't eat.  I can make bad food at home; I go out to eat so that I can have something better.  I know I’m not the first to send something back, and I won’t be the last.  About 159 years ago a customer at a restaurant in Sarasota Springs, NY had complaints about his potatoes.  He complained that they were too thick, too soggy, and too bland. Too greasy.  The chef by this time was completely aggravated and sliced the potatoes so thin and fried them, that they could not be eaten with a fork.  Then out of what must have been spite, he covered with salt, probably wanting to give the patron a "taste" of his own medicine.  But, to the surprise of the Chef, the customer (who some think to be Cornelius Vanderbilt) Loved them, and the history.

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At first you could only get them in restaurants, but then they started putting them in bags made out of wax paper that were folded and ironed or stapled, and selling them in mass production.  In the 1950's Joe "Spud" Murphy decided to try some seasoning on the chips.  They had been unseasoned until this time, well except for the salt.   The first seasonings were cheese and onion, and salt and vinegar.  Today there are dozens of different flavors to choose from, as well as plain, wavy, baked, thick cut or kettle cooked.

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I love potato chips, and have been doing extensive research for this article.  I like to eat them with sandwiches, or just with dip or alone.  I practically lived o ruffles and french onion dip when I was pregnant, and still prefer the wavy ones with dip, because they hold up under the weight.

Today is National Potato Chip day, so why not spend the day with some research of your own to see which one is your favorite.

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Ten Potato Chip Facts you may not know:

  1. Potato Chips date back to 1853. An unhappy customer at a restaurant in Sarasota Springs, NY kept returning his fried potatoes to the chef, requesting they be prepared much thinner. The chef sliced them so thin that they could not be eaten with a fork. Thus was born the potato chip.
  2. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that potato chips expanded from restaurant food and started selling in bags.
  3. Flavored chips were born in the 1950′s by a small independent manufacturer who then sold the concept to the larger corporations.
  4. As junk food goes, potato chips contain only ingredients (potatoes, oil, salt) and are considered by some nutritionists the lesser of savory evils.
  5. Potato chips sales are over $15B (!!!) a year worldwide. They tally up about one third of all savory snacks.
  6. While we call them potato chips, our overseas friends use the word crisps.
  7. A single serving of potato chips, 1 ounce, contains only 150 calories, 10 grams of fat and 180mg of salt. That’s less than 10% of the daily calories of most people, about 15% of the fat, and 8% of the maximum sodium intake.
  8. Problem is that most people don’t stop at one serving. Honestly, are 11 chips enough for you? People can wolf down 5 times that amount in sitting, dip not included…
  9. One of the most popular flavored potato chip varieties is Sour Cream and Onion. Compared to just 3 ingredients in the original version, this one has 20 ingredients including MSG, Palm oil, and artificial coloring's.
  10. Just in case you were wondering, this national holiday does not appear in congressional records. It’s just another made up holiday by snack food industry marketing geniuses.

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