March 14, 2013 - National Potato Chip Day

Today is the day to buy bags of your favorite potato chips and munch and crunch, guilt-free.

(Just don't eat chips every day!)

I didn't know that potato chips started as a joke. A kind of a huffy “I'm mad at you” joke!

The year was 1853. Chef George Crum was cooking in a restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a customer kept sending back the fried potatoes (what we now call French fries) because they were too thick and soggy.

Crum was annoyed and decided to show the customer potatoes that were anything but thick and soggy. He sliced a potato paper-thin, and then he fried these thin slices in oil. He fried them so hard, they became so crisp, he knew that the potato slices would shatter when the customer tried to pierce them with a fork. To add to the insult, Crum over-salted the potatoes.

Then he sent what he considered inedible food to the customer.

You probably guessed that, instead of hating these thin, crisp, salty potatoes, the customer LOVED them (and didn't mind at all having to use his fingers instead of a fork). The new potato “dish” was an instant success, and soon appeared on the Saratoga Lodge menu. The restaurant became famous for the chips, and soon it was shipping “Saratoga Chips” all over New England. Eventually people could buy them in grocery stores.

Now potato chips are one of the most popular snack foods in the world.

Flavors Galore!

In England what Americans call French fries are called “chips,” so what Americans call potato chips are called “crisps.”

And some companies offer some pretty crazy flavors on their crisps! Can you imagine Lincolnshire sausage and brown sauce crisps? How about Birmingham chicken balti crisps? There are crisps flavored like chargrilled steak, cheeseburger, steak and onion, smoky bacon, roast chicken, prawn (shrimp) cocktail, pickled onion, tomato ketchup, BBQ rib, Worcester sauce, cheddar cheese and bacon, and sweet chili chicken. (These flavors are offered by Walkers brand crisps.)

I guess it's a real meat-and-potatoes country!

American chips are offered in lots of flavors, too, although with fewer meat references: there are Cajun herb and spice, chile lemon, chipotle ranch, dill pickle, garden tomato, sweet southern heat barbecue, tangy Carolina, Parmesan and Tuscan herb, southwestern ranch, creamy Mediterranean herb, spice rubbed BBQ, Maui onion, jalapeno, mesquite BBQ, and spicy cayenne and cheese. (These flavors are offered by Lay's brand chips.)

Pringles offers fewer flavor choices but claims that their flavors are Xtreme, and have named them accordingly: Blastin' Buffalo Wing, Screamin' Dill Pickle, Ragin' Cajun, and Sizzlin' Sweet BBQ. This brand also sells pizza-flavored chips.

One of my favorite stores, Trader Joe's, offers milk chocolate covered potato chips!

I personally like salt and vinegar chips, sour cream and cheddar chips, and sour cream and onion chips. Oh, and just good old normal potato chips!

Squidoo has articles about even more flavors of potato chips and recipes for making potato chips.  Maybe you can make this yummy snack a bit more healthy!

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