The story of George "Crum" Speck is a very interesting story. According to Wikipedia, He worked as a hunter, guide, and cook in the Adirondack Mountains, and became noted for his culinary skills after being hired at Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, near Saratoga Springs, New York. Wikipedia goes on to say that During the 1850s, while working at Moon's Lake House in the midst of a dinner rush, Speck tried slicing the potatoes extra thin and dropping the slices into the deep hot fat of the frying pan. Although recipes for potato chips were published in several cookbooks decades prior to the 1850s, a local legend associates Speck with the creation of potato chip. The funny thing is that while Wikipedia states that there were several cookbooks with the recipe for potato chip "Decades" prior but fails to mention the name of these cookbooks nor the chefs. Then the article states that regardless of the recipe being published decades before all the credit goes to George Crum. As long as I have been alive, I have never seen credit voluntarily given to a Black man especially back in the 1800's.
The New York Tribune ran a feature article on "Crum's: The Famous Eating House on Saratoga Lake" in December 1891, but mentioned nothing about potato chips. Neither did Crum's commissioned biography, published in 1893, nor did one 1914 obituary in a local paper. Another obituary states "Crum is said to have been the actual inventor of "Saratoga chips." When Wicks died in 1924, however, her obituary authoritatively identified her as follows: "A sister of George Crum, Mrs. Catherine Wicks, died at the age of 102, and was the cook at Moon’s Lake House. She first invented and fried the famous Saratoga Chips." According to the Brook Side Museum, Local legend has it that a disgruntled customer at Moon’s sent back his fried potatoes suggesting that they were not crisp enough. Crum apparently did not take criticism well and shave the potato paper thin, fried them, and the rest is history. A similar story explains that Kate Wicks, who also worked at Moon’s, accidentally dropped a chip of potato into the hot fat, and Crum fished it out and tasted it. George Speck and Kate Speck Wicks were born to Abraham and Catherine Speck. George also used the name Crum, as his father did while a jockey. Most stories say that George spent his youth as a guide in the Adirondacks, but by 1953 was working for Cary Moon at Moon’s Lake House. In 1860 George purchased a building on Malta Avenue near Saratoga Lake, and within a few years was catering to wealthy clients including William Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, and Henry Hilton. His restaurant closed around 1890 and he died in 1914 at the age of 92.
So many sources and so many different versions who knows what to believe. Well I know that whichever story is the truth, we are definitely thankful and grateful for the invention because now we have the ability to add the Symphony Spices to the ordinary potato chip that makes the ordinary chip Extraordinary!