You may have eliminated potato chips from your diet as part of a healthier lifestyle, but as is the case with other “bad-for-you” treats that taste so good, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t hurt.
According to historic culinary references, the potato chip’s “birthday” is tomorrow, having been invented in 1853 by an acclaimed Black/indigenous chef who was born George Speck in 1824.
Speck made a name for himself when working at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a noted getaway for the wealthy families of Manhattan.
Like many accounts of culinary firsts, whether Speck actually invented the potato chip has been the subject of debate through the years. Recipes for thin-cut potato slices appeared in cookbooks of the early 1800s. Specks’ own sister even laid claim to the distinction, and Speck more or less corroborated her version.
But Speck received widespread credit because he cooked the chips at Moon’s Lake House, and guests returned home to the big city gushing about the delicious “Saratoga chips.”
Later, Speck opened his own restaurant in Malta, N.Y., and that’s where you’ll find an historic marker that states in no uncertain terms that George “Crum” Speck was the inventor of the potato chip.
Crum? That’s the name Speck used professionally because it was the name his father used as a jockey. It had nothing to do with what was created when one bit into one of his tasty, “bad-for-you” snacks.
To commemorate the invention of the potato chip, pick up a bag of your favorite brand (opt for unsalted or lightly salted), top the chips with crème fraiche and dill, and serve with a glass of Prosecco or “unoaked” Chardonnay.
For an even more celebratory snack, add lox to the chip toppings and open a bottle of Albariño, a wine with saline and bright citrus notes that always works well with seafood.
Then raise a glass to George Speck… or George Crum… and enjoy a special indulgence.
Just don’t eat the whole bag.
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