Attendees learn about historical chef at library

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Poland librarian Annette Ahrens presented on African American chef George Crum on Feb. 19 as a part of the PLYMC's programming for Black History Month. Her presentation included details on Crum's life and how he created the potato chip, a brief history of how the potato chip became a national product and the current process in mass producing potato chips.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Poland library's "Bet You Can't Eat Just One!" program featured a blind taste test as well as a presentation. The taste test included five different types of potato chips. The attendees tasted the chips and ranked them.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Those who attended the "Bet You Can't Eat Just One!" event at the Poland library stayed and talked after the presentation to discuss the results of the blind taste test and what they liked in potato chips. Pictured, Bernadette Stafford asked her daughter Rylynn about the chips in the taste test.


The Poland library had a presentation in the library’s meeting room on Feb. 19 on chef George Crum, the inventor of the potato chip, as a part of the PLYMC’s programming for Black History Month.

Poland librarian Annette Ahrens organized and presented the “Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!“ event. She spoke about how the potato chip became to be and gave the attendees a blind taste test.

Ahrens said she was interested in doing the program because she found it interesting that Crum, an African-American man, had been a renowned chef with his own restaurant in the mid-1800s in New York state.

According to Ahrens research, Crum worked at a restaurant in the 1850s in Saratoga Lake, New York. A customer ordered french fries and asked them to be brought back to Crum to be cut thinner. Eventually, Crum’s patience ran thin and he cut the potato as thin as he could, then cooked and salted them. Instead of disgust, the customer loved it.

He continued to make the chips at the restaurant until he eventually opened his own business, Crumb’s. Each table at his restaurant received a free basket of chips. At the time, the chips were called Saratoga chips, based on where they were created.

Ahrens then explained the history of the chips that followed, such as a Clevelander’s business that first sold chips in stores and the Lay’s company that first sold chips nationally. She then played a clip from the Discovery Channel’s program “How It’s Made“ showing the process factories use to mass produce chips.

Those in attendance then went to the back of the meeting room to partake in a taste test. Each person ate five different chips and ranked them. Ahrens provided five plain chips to get a fair test.

The five chips were Lay’s brand, a generic brand of potato chip, Lay’s kettle cooked chips, Ruffles brand and Lay’s Wavy chips. The room voted that they enjoyed the crispy kettle cooked chips the best.

After the testing, the attendees stayed in the room for several minutes and talked about the results and ate more potato chips. Some tried to guess the brands of the test before they were revealed.

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