Fall is in the air, well at least it is for a little while given our fickle weather here, but what’s really important is that football is back. And so pretty much every weekend my wife Marge and I settle in to catch the games of our favorite teams.
But the scores aren’t going our way. Our beloved Purdue Boilermakers got walloped by Maryland 50-7 a couple of weeks ago, and some wag on ESPN had the audacity to write that “the Boilermakers never bothered to show up.” Ha! I just may have to point out to him that the most lopsided victory in college football history took place on Oct. 7, 1916, when Georgia Tech defeated Cumberland University 222-0 in Atlanta.
And then the Cleveland Browns are 0-4. It’s a given that if you’re from Northeast Ohio you will remain, regardless where you live, a Browns fan forever. But that’s the same story year in and year out. It was pointed out well when a few years ago coming home from a Caribbean cruise, boarding the shuttle to the parking lot the driver looked at by Browns sweatshirt, shook his head, and said, “I feel your pain…”
So what’s left? Snacks, snacks and more snacks to dull that pain.
So as you help yourself to another handful of chips, did you ever wonder how that crispy, tasty, delicious treats came to be? Well, here’s the story. And if you’re not interested, the story will still be here, but feel free to flip right over to the sports pages.
It all started with a cranky restaurant guest and an even more irked chef.
The man who invented potato chips was George Crum, who was both African-American and Native American, a chef employed at Moon Lake Lodge, which happened to be a pretty elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. And the invention was not intentional. It was by accident.
After getting continued complaints from the guest about thick, soggy fried potatoes, Crum decided to teach the guest a lesson. He sliced a new batch of potatoes as thin as he possibly could, and then fried them until they were hard and crunchy, topping them off with a generous heaping of salt. To Crum’s surprise the dish became a hit with the guest and a new snack was born.
Crum was so successful with his invention that he opened his own restaurant in 1860, called “Crumbs House.” Served on each table was a basket of potato chips, again a big hit with his upscale clientele.
But some 150 years ago people of color were not permitted to take out patents on their inventions. Crum never attempted to patent his potato chips and the snack was eventually mass produced without giving him any credit.
Now fast forward now to the 1920s, where a traveling salesman named Herman Lay was peddling potato chips to out of the trunk of his car to grocers in the southern states. His exceptional salesmanship popularized the snack and Lay’s potato chips became the first successfully marketed national brand.
In 1961 Herman Lay merged his company with Frito, the Plano-based snack food producer. Frito-Lay was born and the rest was history. Today potato chips are the most popular snack food in America and are devoured at the rate of 1.2 billion pounds annually.
So if the scores are not to your liking, just shout, “Pass the chips, please…”