The earliest known recipe for something similar to today’s potato crisps is in William Kitchiner’s cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, first published in 1817, which was a bestseller in England and the United States. The 1822 edition’s version of recipe 104 is called “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings” and reads “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”
However, some people insist that the potato crisp/chip was born on August 24 1853, when George “Speck” Crum, chef at Moon’s Lake House at Saratoga Springs, New York, was so annoyed when a diner complained that his French fries were “too thick” that he took a new batch of potatoes and sliced them as thin as sheets of paper before deep-frying them until they were dry and crisp right through.
He was convinced that the irritating diner would find them completely inedible—but, to the contrary, the man found them quite delicious. And so potato crisps—or chips as the Americans insist on calling them were born.
The global potato crisp/chip market is huge and is estimated to be a staggering 20 billion dollar a year industry.