Where Potato Chips Come From

So I went this afternoon with a friend to the American Film Institute’s Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD to see the restored print they’re showing of Orson Welles’ sublimely weird 1947 film noirThe Lady From Shanghai” (great flick, btw — but then you already knew I was a lover of Wellesiana), and afterwards we stopped and got sandwiches for lunch, and she asks me, “So how do they make potato chips, anyway?” (Which wasn’t as random a question as it sounds, since the sandwiches came with chips.)

And I say, feeling all smart-like, “They take potatoes, slice ’em real thin, and fry the slices.”

To which she replies, “I knew that — I mean, what are the details? How do they choose the potatoes? Do they peel them, or fry them with the skins on? Do they season them before they fry them? There’s got to be more to it than just slice them and fry them.”

So I search my brain for a moment, and come back with, “Um… they take potatoes, slice ’em real thin, and fry the slices.” Because that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge, potato-chip-wise.

The conversation moved on to other subjects, but I felt bad for not having an answer; so when I got home, I determined to Find Out how potato chips are made. Here is what I found.

The short version? They take potatoes, slice ’em real thin, and fry the slices 🙂


Sandy Smith

July 5, 2004
11:47 pm

Ah, well you need to talk to Vivian–if you watch the food channel as religously as she, you’d see the program they have on just such questions. This week I learned how they make twin-pops.
The show is “Unwrapped.”
There is another which dives more into the history of such things as donuts and hamburgers, “The Secret Life of…”