A crisp (British English) or potato chip (American English) is a thin slice of potato that has been deep-fried or baked until crunchy.
The origin of crisps is unclear. One story says that they were invented by George Crum, a African American, half Native American cook in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1853 as a joke because a customer kept sending his chips back complaining that they were too thick.
There are similar recipes in Shilling Cookery for the People by Alexis Soyer (1845) and Mary Randolph's The Virginia House-Wife (1824). The 1822 Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchener includes a recipe for ‘Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings’, which instructs readers to ‘peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping’.
Crisps are the UK's third most popular snack after fresh fruit and chocolate.
Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London in 2004 noted that a small ‘bag of ready-salted crisps’ contains less salt than a serving of Special K, All-Bran, Golden Grahams, Cheerios, Shreddies and every brand of cornflakes on sale in the UK.
The Smiths Potato Crisps Company Ltd, formed in 1920, Frank Smith packaged a twist of salt with his chips in greaseproof paper bags, which were sold around London.
The potato crisp remained otherwise unseasoned until an innovation by Joe ‘Spud’ Murphy (1923–2001), the owner of an Irish crisp company called Tayto, who in the 1950s developed a technology to add seasoning during manufacture. After some trial and error, Murphy and his employee, Seamus Burke, produced the world's first seasoned crisps: Cheese & Onion, Barbecue, and Salt & Vinegar. This innovation was notable in the food industry. Companies worldwide sought to buy the rights to Tayto's technique.
In November 2010, Tayto, a crisp manufacturer in Northern Ireland, opened a theme park, ‘Tayto Park’ in Ashbourne, County Meath. Highlights includes Mr Tayto’s Crispy-Trail, the Potatohuntus Native American Village, Crunchy Maze, and the Spudhara Desert.
The park runs a special discounted Communion Package for the newly Catholic.
During the 2007 Irish General Election, company mascot Mr Tayto stood as a ‘candidate’. His ‘election agent’ was actor Frank Kelly – better known as Father Jack Hackett in Father Ted. Campaign posters depicted Mr Tayto as 'your only man' and urged voters to give him their Number 1. The billboards were a bit more puzzling - one referred to the candidate and his mahogany cabinet. Another said - 'Mr. Tayto on gay marriage (He is remarrying, does Kathleen know?)'. There is some evidence to suggest that he polled quite a few votes.
However, the company was ordered to remove the posters as only registered candidates in the General Election were given an exemption from the fly-posting laws.
Mr Tayto was the number 1 Google search in Ireland during the first quarter of 2007.
I despise formal restaurants. I find all of that formality to be very base and vile. I would much rather eat potato chips on the sidewalk.
Research carried out by Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at University of Oxford, found the bag colours for Salt and Vinegar, and Cheese and Onion crisps can affect the product’s taste.
It’s a common misconception that Walkers cheese and onion crisps used to be in green bags but now are in blue. Actually the confusion comes because
in the 80s, the biggest brand in the UK was Golden Wonder who do have the green packaging for cheese & onion.
Golden Wonder played on this misconception with the tongue in cheek campaign: ‘Why our competitor decided to put Cheese & Onion crisps in blue bags and Salt & Vinegar crisps in green bags, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that customers get frustrated with the confusing colour scheme. The time has come to restore the natural order and address the issue. We want crisp lovers nationwide to stand up and help make a change. Enough is enough.’
Golden wonder is a variety of potato that is very floury and disintegrates on boiling but is very good for baking, roasting and frying. It was developed in Arbroath in Scotland and is the preferred potato for making crisps.
The Golden Wonder company is named after the potato.
Approximately 80% of salt on chips is not sensed by the tongue before being swallowed.
The crunch heard when one eats a crisp is a mini sonic-boom.
Hugh Heffner has his crisps pre-selected so he doesn’t get any broken ones.
The inventor of the pringles can, Dr. Fredric J. Baur, had his remains buried in a pringles can.
A single crisp production line uses as many potatoes as can be planted, grown and harvested from a full-size football pitch in one hour.
The world's smallest primate is the Pygmy Mouse Lemur that weighs a few grams more than a packet of crisps.