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Farmers Almanac
The 2017 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Be Captain of Your Own Chip!

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Be Captain of Your Own Chip!

Ripple or thick cut, wafer-thin or traditional, baked or fried, what’s a beach, park or lakeside picnic without a perfect pile of crispy potato chips?

Craving salt and vinegar? Sour cream and onion? Tangy cheddar cheese? How about lime and pepper — popular in Australia, or sweet barbecue flavor: a real treat with or without the burgers! And what would you add if you could make your own?

For chip aficionados, the secret of the quintessential potato pleasure–rumored to have been born in 1853 in Saratoga Springs, New York, to satisfy the rarefied palette of Cornelius Vanderbilt–lies as much in its golden color and robust crunch as in its definitive flavor, of which there are many to savor. In fact a quick culinary trip around the world will yield delectable displays of garlic chips (Austria), wasabi chips (Canada), stuffed vine leaves-flavored chips (Egypt), and soy sauce and butter chips (Japan). In Russia, fruit chutney-flavored chips rule, while Swedish chip champions complement their meals with hot, sweet chili chips or those made of unpeeled potatoes, known as lantchips.

Called chips, crisps or chippies, depending on your national designation, the ubiquitous potato chip has earnestly embellished everything from tuna casseroles and sandwiches to hot dogs, fried fish, and grilled cheese for generations. In fact while growing up, my little sister’s favorite poolside sandwich consisted of Wonder bread spread thick with yellow mustard and crushed potato chips…period. (Oh, for those carefree days when a balanced diet was three squares and better nutrition simply meant a diet cola instead of the real thing!)

Whatever your flavor preference, who can imagine a fun day by the sea, lake, pool, in the mountains or at the amusement park without that cache of crinkly chips? With specialty stores and supermarkets featuring dozens of varieties, including sweet potatoes which make for slightly “healthier” chips high in beta carotene, or varieties with roasted garlic, spinach, olives, chilies, and black beans, making your own with exactly the ingredients you choose is an even more exciting way to fill that chip gap in your day. Courageously infusing fruit into your chips, and sprinkling them with a little brown sugar while just fried or baked and still warm, can in fact turn something savory into its confectionery cousin (try dipping these “dessert” chips in ice cold yogurt and honey for a truly refreshing treat).

If chocolate covered chips are a favorite family delicacy, why not make your own with a chip-dipping party–a fun cold weather activity for kids to break up a snow-bound day. When they harden, you have a salty-sweet snack that goes great with cocoa or hot cider.

Try these simple, delicious recipes for lip-smacking chips that will wow family and friends, or better yet make them together!

Basic Potato Chips
Peanut oil for frying
2 potatoes thinly sliced with or without skin (use a mandoline or food processor if possible)
Salt to taste
Grated parmesan cheese and/or herbs like sage, oregano, dill, etc. if desired

In a large heavy saucepan, fill oil no more than halfway and heat the oil to 350 degrees. Add potato slices in batches. Fry until light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels, season with salt, parmesan cheese, and/or herbs and serve.

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1 Michelle { 03.14.16 at 8:28 pm }

Canada is famous for its Ketchup chips – not Wasabi!!!

2 DeborAnn { 12.05.12 at 9:32 pm }

Oh! My Goodness. Hope these turn out as good and simple and easy as they sound.
Bought 30 lbs of Big steak fry sized potatoes today for 4$. As much as I like Potato Soup, this does sound very “doable”! For slicing, I will have to rely on a large butcher knife, but, I’m thnking that it will be worth the trouble… Do wish that I could make the “ruffled” type chip.

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