I recently realized that with all the places I have traveled to around the globe there's a spud of a common thread to all those destinations. You could say my common thread is the chip, or crisp if you are in the UK and parts of the EU. I’ve de-bagged a couple in Greece, flavored with rosemary; very tasty. An interesting twist was the peri-peri version I noshed on in the outback of South Africa. And of course have nibbled on a few, purely for research in the US. Ahem. Sorry, those pre-formed spuds in a can don't make the cut.
So what makes this the unique link to my travels? The seasoning usually becomes very localized, like ketchup or pickle flavored - a favorite up in Canada. Mostly, I like them plain-n-simple like the way they were origially made.
The original potato chip recipe was created in Saratoga Springs by another Chef George; George Crum and they were called "Saratoga Chips". It’s said Chef George came up with this crispy thin chip when soggy potatoes kept being returned to the kitchen from a Mr. Vanderbilt. The chip was such a hit they made it on the menu full time. See sometimes good stuff can come from a flop!
In 1920, Frank Smith was one of the first to season a slice. Smith's crisps were originally packaged with a twist of salt in grease proof paper bags - and sold in London. Smith’s today is known as Walker’s Crisps. Other than salt, the potato chip remained unseasoned until an innovation by Joe "Spud" Murphy, the owner of an Irish crisp company called Tayto, developed a way in the 1950’s to produce the world's first seasoned crisps. Flavors; Cheese & Onion and Salt & Vinegar.
You may be asking, George I thought you only ate healthy? I Sure do, but part of a healthy eating regemin is moderation, not sacrifice. I enjoy a few. I don't suggest parking in front of the TV with a 6 1/2 gallon can Grandma Utz’s Chips (one of my favorite’s made in the US).
So far Utz has me sold for chips in the US. What’s my top travelled chip? Without a doubt the original "Cheese and Onion" made by Tayto. My crew recently introduced me to Taytos when filming in Ireland for GH Living it UP!. It's time to go back, I finished my last bag.
images: Hirsch Productions