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Who Invent the Potato Chips?

[ 2011-05-03 15:56]     字号 [] [] []  
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By Lisette Kerbey

皇嘉 选注

Do you ever wonder how some things come about[2]? For instance, who figured out that there was something worth eating inside a banana peel[3]? Or how desperate do you have to be to discover that an artichoke has edible parts?[4] Well, we may not know how either of those foods was discovered, but we do know how potato chips were invented.

As a world food, potatoes are second in human consumption[5] only to rice. And as thin, salted, crisp[6] chips, they are America’s favorite snack food. Potato chips originated in New England as one man’s variation on the French-fried potatoes, and their production was the result not of a sudden stroke of culinary invention but of a fit of pique.[7]

It was the summer of 1853 and Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, a wealthy railroad magnate, was vacationing at an elegant and fashionable hotel named Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York.[8] On Moon Lake Lodge’s restaurant menu were French-fried potatoes, prepared in the standard, thick-cut French style that was popularized in France in the 1700s and enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson[9] as ambassador to that country. Ever since Jefferson brought the recipe to America and served French fries to guests at Monticello, the dish was popular and serious dinner fare.[10]

At dinner one night, Vanderbilt complained that his French-fried potatoes were cut too thick and sent them back to the kitchen. Insulted by his snobby[11] guest, chef George Crum decided he would give Mr. Vanderbilt exactly what he asked for! He decided to rile the guest by producing French fries too thin and crisp to skewer with a fork.[12] The chef angrily gathered up some potatoes and sliced them paper-thin. He threw the slices into hot oil to fry, drained and salted them and then personally served the new dish to Mr. Vanderbilt.

Surprised to see the chef in the dining room, the other diners watched as Crum, barely able to contain his rage, tauntingly delivered the new plate of potatoes.[13] A hush fell over the room as everyone held their breath and waited for Vanderbilt’s reaction.[14]

Vanderbilt immediately popped a crisp potato slice into his mouth and beamed when the resounding “Crunch” shattered the silence.[15] He continued to crunch away, delighted with his new dish. The plan backfired[16]. Vanderbilt was ecstatic[17] over the browned, paper-thin potatoes. Clapping a surprised Chef Crum on the back, Vanderbilt praised him on the wondrous potatoes. And other diners requested Crum’s potato chips, which began to appear on the menu as “Saratoga Chips”, a house specialty[18]. Soon they were packaged and sold, first locally, then throughout the New England area. Crum eventually opened his own restaurant, featuring chips. At that time, potatoes were tediously[19] peeled and sliced by hand. It was the invention of the mechanical potato peeler in the 1920s that paved the way for potato chips to soar from a small specialty item to a top-selling snack food.[20]

Today, potato chips are America’s favorite snack food and come in an amazing number of varieties.[21] It has been a popular snack ever since.


1. potato chips: 炸土豆(薯)片。

2. come about: 产生,发生。

3. peel: (水果、蔬菜等的)外皮;还可作动词,意思是“削去……的皮”。

4. desperate: 令人震惊的;artichoke: 洋蓟(其花苞可食用),西方人将洋蓟心作为餐前菜,加醋及熟橄榄油生食;edible: 可食用的。

5. consumption: 消耗量。

6. crisp: 脆的。

7. New England: 新英格兰,美国东北部一地区,包括缅因、佛蒙特、新罕布什尔、马萨诸塞、罗得岛、康涅狄格等六个州;variation: 变化,变动;French-fried potatoes: 法式炸土豆条;culinary: 烹饪的;fit: (感情等的)突发;pique: (因受到轻视等的)激怒,恼怒。

8. Vanderbilt: 范德比尔特(1794—1877),美国航运和铁路巨头,经营渡船起家,创建航运公司,并经营从纽约到旧金山的客货运输业务,后又拥有纽约–哈莱姆铁路及纽约中央铁路等;magnate: 大企业家,巨头;vacation: 〈美〉度假;fashionable: 高级的;Saratoga Springs: 萨拉托加斯普林斯,美国纽约州东部城市。

9. Thomas Jefferson: 托马斯•杰斐逊(1743—1826),美国第三任总统,《独立宣言》主要起草人,民主共和党创建者。他于1785年被任命为美国驻法大使。

10. recipe: 食谱;Monticello: 蒙蒂塞洛(美国第三任总统杰斐逊的故乡);fare: 饮食,伙食。

11. snobby: =snobbish,自以为懂行的,自命不凡的。

12. rile: 〈口〉使恼火,惹……生气;skewer: (用棒、扦等)刺穿,串住。

13. diner: (尤指餐馆里的)就餐者;rage: 狂怒,盛怒;tauntingly: 奚落地,讥刺地;deliver: 送交,交出,这里指“上菜”。

14. hush: 寂静,安静;reaction: 反应。

15. pop: 突然(或迅速)行动;beam: 面露喜色,感到欣喜;resounding: 响亮的,洪亮的;crunch: 嘎吱作声的咀嚼。在下句中该词作动词,是“嘎吱嘎吱地咀嚼”的意思;shatter: 打破,破坏。

16. backfire: 产生事与愿违的结果。

17. ecstatic: 狂喜的。

18. house specialty: 店家招牌菜(特色菜)。

19. tediously: 单调乏味地,令人生厌地。

20. peeler: 去皮机,剥皮机,削皮器;pave the way for: 为……作准备;soar: 猛增,剧增。

21. amazing: 惊人的;variety: 种类,变化。