The Kitchen Mistake That Changed Potato Chips Forever

May 19, 2015
by Annalise Mantz for Thrive Market
The Kitchen Mistake That Changed Potato Chips Forever

Sometimes,  accidents can be delicious—some of the most well-loved culinary inventions throughout history have been unintentional.

Ruth Graves Wakesfield accidentally baked the first batch of chocolate chip cookies in the 1930s when her chocolate cookie recipe went awry. Eleven-year-old Frank Epperson created the first popsicle when he left a bottle of soda with a straw in it outside on a freezing cold night.

And Kettle Brand potato chips were no exception. In a landscape where most supermarkets only offered two styles of chip: classic and ruffled, founder Cameron Healy unwittingly created the next big trend in potatoes.

Healy's specialty used to be making roasted nuts, which he cooked up in large fryers. One fateful day in 1982, he dropped a sliced potato in the nut fryer to see what would happen. The extra-thick, extra-crunchy chip that emerged from the boiling oil became America's next obsession.

So what makes a chip a kettle chip? True to the name, it's an industrial-sized kettle that's the key to both the unique flavor and texture.  As The Kitchn explains, when you add a large batch of sliced potatoes to the bubbling oil, the temperature drops and the potatoes take longer to cook. It's this longer cooking time creates a thicker, crunchier chip.

The Kettle brand quickly became known for having fun with flavors. The company has played with all sorts of combinations, from red pepper and goat cheese (now retired) to spicy Thai.  The salt and fresh ground pepper chips remain a fan favorite, though the newly introduced pepperoncini chips are making a run for the title of most popular. They've also introduced new popcorn options—including a maple bacon variety—to keep snacktime from getting stale.

But it's not just about taste—Kettle is committed to churning out chips without preservatives or trans fats. Every flavor is gluten-free, and made with non-GMO ingredients.  Check the label and you'll see that each bag of chips has only a few ingredients potatoes, salt, spices and seasonings, and oil for frying.

Plus, Kettle also makes good use of all that frying oil—turning it into biodiesel. Every 7,600 bags of potato chips creates one gallon of waste vegetable oil, which in turn produces one gallon of biodiesel.

Eco-friendly, preservative-free, and delicious? That's a snack we can get behind. Check out some of our favorite Kettle products at Thrive Market now!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Snacks, Brand, Potato Recipes

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