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Do You Have Any Fun History Tips On Potatoes In The USA That I Could Share With My Class?
We are covering fruits and vegetables in our classroom this season. Of course, I am going to use Idaho® russets for the potato section to have the students make a working clock and we are showing how to grow a potato just from the eyes. However, I need some fun historical tidbits to share. Got any?
Sure, here are a few to get started:
- Who invented the thin potato chip?
- What kind of potato items were served on menus of restaurants in the early 1900’s?
- 1910 – First foil wrapped baked potato (and why this is not such a good idea unless putting it on the BBQ grill)
- 1930’s – Who was responsible for creating a market for giant baked potatoes – Toffenetti restaurants (Chicago, NYC and later Miami)
- 1942 – US Army Chicago Quartermaster requests contract for dehydrated potatoes (after successfully using dehydrated onions earlier)
- 1944 – Simplot starts producing dehydrated mashed potatoes commercially
- 1953 – First commercially successful frozen French fry invented by Chemist Ray Dunlap for Simplot corporation
- 1953 – Tater Tots® created, first sold in stores in 1954 by Ore-Ida founders F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg (see also Tator Tots Variations)
- 1964- First potato skins on menus, The Prime Rib Restaurant in Washington DC and then TGIFridays
- 1970 – Curly fries at Arby’s (note: this replaced a mashed potato pellets version that was extruded and fried)
- 1983 – Wendy’s introduces the fast food baked potato with a choice of toppings (but far outshadowed by their campaign in 1984 for “Where’s The Beef?”
- 2011 – McDonald’s reduces portion of kid’s meal fries to two ounces (note original portion size of McDonald’s fries was a Large 2 ounce fry)
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