George “Speck” Crum
b. July 15, 1824, Saratoga County, NY
Yesss, let’s all take a moment to thank George Crum and his sister Catherine Speck Wicks for this best edible invention yet!! They are both responsible for those extra calories we put on when we scarf down a big bag of potato chips! Calories don’t matter, when they taste sooo good!
George Crum was a chef at a popular restaurant in the Adirondack Mountains called, Moon’s Lake House. Renowned for his culinary skills, his specialties were wild game usually venison or duck. Local legend has it that one day, a very rude customer paid the restaurant a visit and insisted on some “crispy fried potatoes.” Crum fulfilled the order, but the customer complained about how thick the potatoes were cut. Keeping his calm demeanor, he instead cut the potatoes really thin and fried them in his effort to teach the customer a lesson for his uncouth attitude. Oh, he also added a great amount of salt to the batch of potatoes he made. To Crum’s surprise, the customer didn’t hate the potatoes, but in turn loved them! They became the most requested item at the restaurant. A few years later George Crum opened his own restaurant and a basket of potato chips were added to every table as a “starter or appetizer” similar to how dinner rolls are offered at certain restaurants today. Crum never patented his invention. The reason being, that there is another story behind the snack’s creation.
George Crum’s sister Catherine Speck Wicks claimed that the invention happened by accident. A thinly, sliced potato fell into the frying pan, she retrieved it using a fork and placed it to the side. George Crum tasted it and liked it. Therefore, the chip was used on the menu. Sources say that his sister has the stronger claim as being the inventor.
I say, either way, the invention was all in the family! Both deserve credit for this delicious treat!