Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Inventing Potato Chips

There are few things as aggravating as losing. Especially when losing means winning. To pour into a task all of your hostility, animosity and general disgust only to have it come out for good is about a poor an outcome as you could hope for. To have your spite washed away by happiness and joy, you lost the battle but won the war.

George Crum was a cook at the Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York. On a summer day in 1853 a customer complained that Crums fries were too thick and sent them back. Annoyed, the cook sliced them thinner and sent the plate back to the customer. The unhappy customer still persisted that the food was wrong and requested Crum to fix it, yet again. At this point Crum was mad. So in order to get back at the complaining patron he sliced the potatoes paper thin, deep fried them and sent them back.

I now have a mental image of George Crum I would like to pass on. He was an older man part African American part American Indian. He had also been a trapper and probably was a man who was a bit rough around the edges. I imagine that someone sending food back twice to his kitchen really got his hackles up.

Keep in mind too, that in 1853 you ate fries with a fork, and so for all intents and purposes, this cuisine was completely inedible. It was intended to be so. Because Crum was mad. So there he sits, on the edge of the kitchen, listening for the dissatisfied cries of the persistent patron. With a smirk of joy on his face. Sort of like the Grinch on the top of Mt Crumpet, with his hand to his ear. But what does he get?

Praise. The customer loved them. He loved them. He thought they were the most wonderful things he'd ever had. He sent thanks to the kitchen and Crum was congratulated. In his vengance, the customer found joy. In fact they were so popular Crum opened his own restaurant. This crusty old trapper with spite in his heart was soon the toast of town. And I don't have to tell you how well his invention, that he dubbed "Saratoga Chips", has fared.

Now that being said, I have to wonder, did this ever upset him? I mean really, the point, was to anger the man. Make no mistake, George had to feel a slight dissatisfaction in pleasing the man that had embarrassed him and insulted his cooking. I've often wondered if Crum ever considered the matter a loss, or if the chip was enough to console him. I wonder.

6 comments:

Ando said...

Great post. And thank you for correctly phrasing "for all intents and purposes" as many people I'm sure believe the phrase to be "for all instensive purposes" which makes absolutely no sense.

kludge said...

Ando-

Thanks. I'm both excited and a little surprised that I have correctly wielded the English language in this post...

...it certainly is not up to my normal standards. :)

Missy said...

I love potato chips!

There are a few phrases that get mixed up. I actually had a notary deed made up by a lawyer that said, by the power "invested" by the state...

The other one that I learned a few years back is that you are not nauseous, you are nauseated. To be nauseous means you make people sick to their stomach, no one gets that right. Learned it from a nurse.

Ando said...

You're welcome. Though I should mention, sense we're on the subject, that "few thing are as aggravating as LOSING" rather than loosing. Though I suppose loosing could be aggravating too, as in a person accidentally loosing the dog into the neighborhood.

Ando said...

Oh great, now I look like the idiot.

SJ said...

Potato chips are my favorite food I think