“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, said Dickens. I say, it is the worst of times ordering chips and getting fries! Why don’t the English know the difference?
A Tale of Two Cities made the first documented mention of chips, “Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil”. But did Dickens mean to say fries? Probably. Yes, I just corrected Charles Dickens.
Chips, as we know them in America, were invented in Saratoga Springs, New York (so the story goes).
One fateful night on August 24, 1853 a demanding customer at the Moon’s Lake House Resort sent back his fries and said he liked them crisper. After sending them back a few more times, demanding each time that they be thinner and crisper still, the Native American cook George Crum, exacerbated, sent out what we now recognize as potato chips. This was meant as an insult, as they were too thin and crisp to even be eaten with a fork. But the diner was satisfied and the rest of the restaurant was soon requesting these ‘Saratoga chips’. It has been rumored that the guest was Cornelius Vanderbilt, but this is probably where the story gets exaggerated.