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Potato Chips


Potato batons, fried.

Cooks have been frying small pieces, 'chips', of vegetables in oil since time immemorial, so it is reasonable to assume that the experiment was tried with potatoes not long after they arrived in Europe in 1536, though the first actual reference to fried potatoes in an English cookbook is not until May's 'The Accomplisht Cook' of 1660, and there just in passing as an accompaniment to small birds; "and some artichocks, and potato's boil'd and fried in Butter."

Fish and Chips
Photo: Andrew Dunn

Most earlier receipts for fried potato tend to be of a long, ribbon-like, pared form (see: Potato Ribbons), and even the first usage of the actual phrase "potato chips", in the 'English Cookery' of Walsh 1859 has "pare them, ribbon-like, into long lengths ... and fry them a light brown", the same year as Charles Dickens 'Tale of Two Cities'; "Husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil".

See: Hannah Glasse's Potato

Original Receipt from 'The English Cookery Book' edited by JH Walsh Walsh 1859;

641 Potato Chips.
Wash and peel some potatoes, then pare them, ribbon-like, into long lengths; put them into cold water to remove the strong potato flavour; drain them, and throw them into a pan with a little butter, and fry them a light brown. Take them out of the pan, and place them close to the fire on a sieve lined with clean writing paper to dry, before they are served up. A little salt may be sprinkled over them.

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