George Crum – Yes, A Black Man Named “Crum” Invented The Potato Chip!


Crum was not the original surname of George, a talented chef and restauranteur. However he adopted the name not because of his idea for the potato chip but because it was the name his father used in his career as a jockey!

Crum was born as George Speck in 1822 in Saratoga Lake, New York. His father was Black American and his mother was Native American. He was first a guide in the Adirondack Mountains and an Indian trader but he always had an extreme knack for culinary arts!

By 1853 he was working as a chef at Saratoga Springs’ elegant Moon Lake Lodge resort. At this time french fries (or french friend potatoes as they were known back then) were very popular. Potatoes would be cut into long tubes, lightly fried and eaten elegantly with a fork!

Now the story / legend around the invention of the potato chip is a funny one!

Kate, George’s sister worked as a prep chef alongside him. One day a customer complained the fried potatoes were cut too thick. His sister was agitated and Crum responsed sarastically by sending extremely thin sliced ones back out….

The rest is history! Everyone wanted to try Crum’s “Saratoga Chips”.

Crum opened “Crumbs House,” near Saratoga Lake in 1860. This upscale restaurant placed a basket of chips on every table.

Crum closed the restaurant in 1890, he never patented or tried to widely distribute his chips.

He died on July 22, 1914 at the age of 92.

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PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.


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