There is a very rational argument for today being National Pie Day, due to the coincidental correlation of today being 3.14. My fake holiday website, however, lists today as National Potato Chip Day, so as sensible as it may be that I should enjoy pie today, my dedication to the task at hand deflected any indecision I might have experienced on the matter.
The thing that did cause me to mud wrestle with myself a bit, was the fact that European countries call a potato chip a potato crisp, and they call an American french fried potato, a potato chip. So, to be true to the holiday, was I to incorporate the UK’s “crisp” or their “chip?” One of them should most definitely not be associated with today. I just hope I chose Wisely. <– See what I did there?
The American potato chip actually has a pretty colorful past, one I am very drawn to because of something my 6th Grade Western Civ. teacher, Mrs. Smith (I’m not trying to be generic, that was really her name) used to say.
“A sarcastic answer is always a wrong answer, Jim.” — Mrs. Smith, 1985
This must have been why she never taught a lesson on the potato chip, because without sarcasm, the first batch of potato chips might never have been made at a diner in Saratoga, NY. There a cusomer complained to the cook that his french fries were too thick. The cook, who history is fairly vague on, was in no mood on that day to deal with one of those kinds of customers, so he pulled one of these,
“Oh, so this jerk says my french fries are too thick, huh? Alright! Let’s see how he enjoys his flippin’ french fries when they’re so thin you can freakin’ see through them!” — Some Guy, 1853
Needless to say, he did enjoy them, as did everyone at the table.
Since then, the industry has grown a bit. Today, according to the SFA, the potato chip is a $6.1 billion business in the U.S. And if you think we’ve got issues, you should see England with their crisps. Although their industry is a mere £2.1 million, that 2.1 equates to the entire population eating 100 personal sized bags of crisps per year.
In the states, there are very few items on the chip aisle labeled as “crisps,” but the few we have are some of the best. There is, of course, the “pop the top, and you can’t stop” Pringles. Very light. Very delicious. But there was one magical time in my life when I discovered a crisp that I have many times tried to come back to, but it refuses to come back to me. It is a brand called Mackie’s, and as awesome as the combined flavor innovations American potato chip companies have invented (I’m particularly fond of the cheese burger flavor by Lays), none is more amazing to me than Mackie’s angus steak and haggas flavored crisps. If you see these on your grocer’s shelf, do grab yourself a few bags.
See you Thursday for National Peanut Lovers’ Day!