In the United States we eat well over one billion pounds of potato chips every year. That makes chips themselves (not even the potatoes they come from) one of the more popular vegetables in the country. But the now endlessly riffed on snack came to be thanks to a picky eater and a disgruntled restaurant owner in upstate New York.
The guys from the Great Big Story went to the archives in Saratoga Springs, New York and uncovered the story of the supposed first potato chip, created at the Moon’s Lake House in 1853 by George Crum. Frustrated when a customer (who may have been industrialist and second richest person in American history Cornelius Vanerbilt), kept sending back French fries he deemed too soggy. Sick of having his work sent back to the kitchen, Crum decided to slice the potatoes so thin that they couldn’t possibly fail to meet anyone’s crispiness standards. However, in order to eat the fried potatoes, the man who may have been Cornelius Vanderbilt had to eat with his hands, a major faux pas at the time. Once he and the rest of his table got over that etiquette breach our great national love affair with potato chips began. Crum even opened a restaurant featuring everyone’s new favorite food on every table. Check out the video above for the whole story.