The Best Chip? The First One Out of the Bag
Quintessentially American, a part of the daily life of millions, and a $6.3 billion industry, the potato chip has achieved superstar status. And now, Jim Leff – a self ordained foodie, claims he has identified the best potato chip in the country.
Jim Leff, who helped start the food-obsessive Web site chowhound.com, fried his first chip at age 9. He figures he has tasted more than 400 chips, and he has written extensively on his methodology and results.
His favorite is a brand seldom seen outside of Hawaii, the Original Maui Kitch’n Cook’d potato chips. The large mahogany chips are delicious, but getting a bag requires sending a check and hoping the family that makes them has extra chips to ship off the island.
Like most significant events, there is a dispute as to the origin - was it a fluke of history or a brilliant idea? Who knows, we're just happy to be crunching these tasty snacks.
the potato chip began as an upstate New York specialty. In the mid-1800s fried potatoes were on menus in the resorts around Saratoga Springs. One day in 1853 a customer at Carey B. Moon’s Lake House complained that the potatoes were soggy and tasteless. The cook, George Speck Crum, became angry and sent out extra-salty, thinly sliced potatoes so crisply fried they crunched. That’s one story.
Mary Ann Fitzgerald, the Saratoga Springs historian, who last year starred in a German public television special on the potato chip, said another version of the story was floating around. This one involved the chef’s sister, Catherine Speck Adkins Wicks, who was frying doughnuts and slicing potatoes at the same time. A slice fell into the fat and the chip was born.