(Roughly) Daily

“The highly motivated people in society are the ones causing all the trouble. It’s not the lazy unmotivated folks sitting in front of a TV eating potato chips who bother anyone.”*…

Americans consume about 1.85 billion pounds of potato chips annually– around 6.6 pounds per person. A history of our favorite snack…

When Covid-19 forced people to stay home, many of us found solace in a snack: potato chips. The crispy treats enjoyed around a $350 million increase in sales from 2019 to 2020. When the chips are down, it seems, Americans gobble them up.

Any search for the origins of this signature finger food must lead to George Crum (born George Speck), a 19th-century chef of Native and African American descent who made his name at Moon’s Lake House in the resort town of Saratoga Springs, New York. As the story goes, one day in 1853, the railroad and shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt was eating at Moon’s when he ordered his fried potatoes be returned to the kitchen because they were too thick. Furious with such a fussy eater, Crum sliced some potatoes as slenderly as he could, fried them to a crisp and sent them out to Vanderbilt as a prank. Rather than take the gesture as an insult, Vanderbilt was overjoyed.

Other patrons began asking for Crum’s “Saratoga Chips,” which soon became a hit far beyond Upstate New York. In 1860, Crum opened his own restaurant near Saratoga known as Crum’s House or Crum’s Place, where a basket of potato chips sat invitingly on every table. Crum oversaw the restaurant until retiring over 30 years later; in 1889, a New York Herald writer called him “the best cook in America.” Crum died in 1914, but today’s astounding variety of potato chips, from cinnamon-and-sugar Pringles to flamin’ hot dill pickle Lay’s, are a tribute to the man American Heritage magazine called “the Edison of grease”…

George Crum, whose exasperation with Cornelius Vanderbilt reputedly helped spark America’s craze for potato chips

A fussy magnate, a miffed chef and the curious roots of the comfort food we hate to love: “How the Potato Chip Took Over America,” from @SmithsonianMag.

* George Carlin

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As we try to eat just one, we might might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that a storage tank ruptured and three million gallons of soybean oil flooded streets in Mankato, Minnesota, then flowed in the Mississippi River.

Stan Eichten was working in the office of Honeymead Soybean Products [the largest oil-processing facility in the world at the time]… when one of the biggest environmental disasters in state history hit.

“There was a roar, like an explosion,” said Eichten of the rupture of a soy oil storage tank that sent millions of gallons into Mankato streets and the Minnesota River. “It was almost like a tsunami. There was oil 2 or 3 feet deep all over.”

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