One of America’s Favorites – Frito Pie

March 26, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Frito pie

Frito pie is a dish popular in the Southern, Midwestern, and Southwestern United States, whose basic ingredients are chili, cheese, and corn chips (especially Fritos). Additions can include salsa, refried beans, sour cream, onion, rice, or jalapeños. There are many variations and alternative names used by region. Frito pie can be prepared in a casserole dish, but an alternate preparation can be in a single-serve Fritos-type corn chip bag with various ingredients as toppings. In Mexico, a similar type of dish is tostilocos.

The exact origins of the frito pie is not completely clear. It is believed that it was created somewhere in Mexico and was popular at fiestas before it took off in other countries like the United States.

The oldest known recipe using Fritos brand corn chips with chili was published in Texas in 1949. The recipe may have been invented by Daisy Doolin, the founder’s mother and the first person to use Fritos as an ingredient in cooking, or Mary Livingston, his executive secretary. The Frito-Lay company attributes the recipe to Nell Morris, who joined Frito-Lay in the 1950s and helped develop an official cookbook which included the Frito pie.

Another story claims that true Frito pie originated only in the 1960s with Teresa Hernández, who worked at the F. W. Woolworth’s lunch counter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her Frito pie used homemade red chili con carne with cheddar cheese and onions, and was served in the bag – which was thicker in the 1960s.

A Louisiana man also claims to have invented the frito pie. William “Billy” Grisham says he invented the frito pie in the late 1950s while working as a short order cook in the town of Benton, Louisiana.

Frito pie is a simple dish: at its most basic, it is just a pile of Fritos with beef chili poured on top. It is often served right inside the chip bag, which is split down the middle; toppings typically include shredded cheese and chopped raw onion, and may also include additional items like sour cream and jalapeños.

Frito pie variant served in a single serve Fritos bag

Frito Pies are sometimes referred to by the name walking taco or Frito boat, and can be made in a small, single-serving bag of corn chips, with chili, taco meat, garbanzos, pork rinds, pepitas, and many other varied ingredients, poured over the top. The combination can be finished with grated cheese, onions, jalapeños, lettuce, and sour cream, known as a Frito boat or walking taco in the Midwestern United States. In the Ohio Valley region, this preparation is commonly called taco-in-a-bag. (“Walking taco”, however, is the more widespread term at least in the Midwest). In many parts of Southern California, they are known as “pepper bellies”. Frito pies are popular at sports venues, fundraisers, bingos, open houses, state fairs and street vendors. The term Tostiloco comes from Tijuana, and is found in California. Another term is Doriloco, after Doritos.

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Potato Chips

July 11, 2016 at 4:59 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Potato chips

Potato chips

A potato chip (American English) or crisp (British English) is a thin slice of potato that has been deep-fried, baked, kettle-cooked, or popped until crunchy. Potato chips are commonly served as a snack, side dish, or appetizer. The basic chips are cooked and salted; additional varieties are manufactured using various flavorings and ingredients including herbs, spices, cheeses, and artificial additives.

“Crisps”, however, may also refer to many different types of savory snack products sold in the United Kingdom and Ireland, some made from potato, but some made from corn, tapioca, or other cereals, just as other varieties of chips are consumed in the United States.

Potato chips are a predominant part of the snack food market in Western countries. The global potato chip market generated total revenues of US$16.49 billion in 2005. This accounted for 35.5% of the total savory snacks market in that year ($46.1 billion).

 
The earliest known recipe for potato chips is in William Kitchiner’s 1822 cookbook The Cook’s Oracle, a bestseller in England and the United States; its recipe for “Potatoes fried in Slices or Shavings” reads “peel large potatoes, slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping”.

Early recipes for potato chips in the United States are found in Mary Randolph’s Virginia House-Wife (1824), and in N.K.M. Lee’s Cook’s Own Book (1832), both of which explicitly cite Kitchiner.

Nonetheless, a legend associates the creation of potato chips with Saratoga Springs, New York, decades later. By the late 19th century, a popular version of the story attributed the dish to George Crum, a half African, half Native American cook at Moon’s Lake House, who was trying to appease an unhappy customer on August 24, 1853. The customer kept sending his French-fried potatoes back, complaining that they were too thick. Frustrated, he sliced the potatoes razor-thin, fried them until crisp and seasoned them with extra salt. To Crum’s surprise, the customer loved them. They soon became called “Saratoga Chips”, a name that persisted into at least the mid-20th century. A version of this story popularized in a 1973 national advertising campaign by St. Regis Paper Company, which manufactured packaging for chips, said that Crum’s customer was Cornelius Vanderbilt. Crum was renowned as a chef and by 1860 owned his own lakeside restaurant, Crum’s House.

In the 20th century, potato chips spread beyond chef-cooked restaurant fare and began to be mass-produced for home consumption. The Dayton, Ohio-based Mike-sell’s Potato Chip Company, founded in 1910, identifies as the “oldest potato chip company in the United States”. New England-based Tri-Sum Potato Chips, originally founded in 1908 as the Leominster Potato Chip Company, in Leominster, Massachusetts claim to be America’s first potato chip manufacturer. Chips sold in markets were usually sold in tins or scooped out of storefront glass bins and delivered by horse and wagon. The early potato chip bag was wax paper with the ends ironed or stapled together. At first, potato chips were packaged in barrels or tins, which left chips at the bottom stale and crumbled.

Laura Scudder, an entrepreneur in Monterey Park, California, started having her workers take home sheets of wax paper to iron into the form of bags, which were filled with chips at her factory the next day. This pioneering method reduced crumbling and kept the chips fresh and crisp longer. This innovation, along with the invention of cellophane, allowed potato chips to become a mass-market product. Today, chips are packaged in plastic bags, with nitrogen gas blown in prior to sealing to lengthen shelf life, and provide protection against crushing.

Traditional chips were made by the “batch-style” process, where all chips are fried all at once at a low temperature

Kettle-cooked chips

Kettle-cooked chips

and continuously raked to prevent them from sticking together. Industrial advance resulted in a shift to production by a “continuous-style” process, running chips through a vat of hot oil and drying them in a conveyor process. Consumer desire for original style chips resulted in the introduction of traditionally made “kettle-style” chips in the 2000s (known as hand-cooked in the UK/Europe).

 

 

An advertisement for Smith's Potato Crisps

An advertisement for Smith’s Potato Crisps

In an idea originated by the Smiths Potato Crisps Company Ltd, formed in 1920, Frank Smith packaged a twist of salt with his chips in greaseproof paper bags, which were sold around London.

The potato chip remained otherwise unseasoned until an innovation by Joe “Spud” Murphy, the owner of an Irish chip company called Tayto, who in the 1950s developed a technology to add seasoning during manufacture. After some trial and error, Murphy and his employee, Seamus Burke, produced the world’s first seasoned chips: Cheese & Onion, Barbecue, and Salt & Vinegar. This innovation was notable in the food industry. Companies worldwide sought to buy the rights to Tayto’s technique.

The first flavored chips in the United States, barbecue flavor, were being manufactured and sold by 1954. In 1958, Herr’s was the first company to introduce barbecue-flavored potato chips in Pennsylvania.

In the United States, popular potato chip flavorings include sour cream and onion, dill pickle, barbecue, ranch dressing, salt and vinegar, cheddar, and lemon-lime. In the Gulf South, Zapp’s Potato Chips of Gramercy, Louisiana, manufactures kettle-fried chips with regional flavors such as Crawtator, Cajun dill, Voodoo, and Creole onion.

 

 

Pringles potato chips are uniform in size and shape, which allows them to be stacked.

Pringles potato chips are uniform in size and shape, which allows them to be stacked.

Another type of potato chip, notably the Pringles and Lay’s Stax brands, is made by extruding or pressing a dough made from ground potatoes into the desired shape before frying. This makes chips that are uniform in size and shape, which allows them to be stacked and packaged in rigid tubes. In America, the official[citation needed] term for Pringles is potato crisps, but they are rarely referred to as such. Conversely, Pringles may be termed potato chips in Britain, to distinguish them from traditional “crisps”. Munchos, another brand that uses the term potato crisps, has deep air pockets in its chips that give it a curved shape, though the chips themselves resemble regular bagged chips.

An additional variant of potato chips exists in the form of “potato sticks”, also called shoestring potatoes. These are made as extremely thin (2 to 3 mm) versions of the popular French fry, but are fried in the manner of regular salted potato chips. A hickory-smoke-flavored version is popular in Canada, going by the vending machine name “Hickory Sticks”. Potato sticks are typically packaged in rigid containers, although some manufacturers use flexible pouches, similar to potato chip bags. Potato sticks were originally[when?] packed in hermetically sealed steel cans. In the 1960s, manufacturers switched to the less expensive composite canister (similar to the Pringles container). Reckitt Benckiser was a market leader in this category under the Durkee Potato Stix and French’s Potato Sticks names, but exited the business in 2008. In 2014, French’s reentered the market.

A larger variant (about 1 cm thick) made with dehydrated potatoes is marketed as Andy Capp’s Pub Fries, using the theme of a long-running British comic strip, which are baked and sold in a variety of flavors. Walkers make a similar product (using the Smiths brand) called “Chipsticks” which are sold in ready-salted and salt and vinegar flavors.

Americans’ appetite for crispy snacks gave birth to the packaged, flavored corn chips, with such brands as Fritos,

Flavored corn chips such as Fritos are an outgrowth of traditional fried tortilla chips.

Flavored corn chips such as Fritos are an outgrowth of traditional fried tortilla chips.

CC’s, and Doritos dominating the market.[citation needed] “Swamp chips” are similarly made from a variety of root vegetables, such as parsnips, rutabagas, and carrots. Japanese-style variants include extruded chips, like products made from rice or cassava. In South Indian snack cuisine, an item called happla in Kannada/vadam in Tamil, is a chip made of an extruded rice-sago or multigrain base that has been around for many centuries.

Many other products might be called “crisps” in Britain, but would not be classed as “potato chips” because they are not made with potato or are not chipped (for example, Wotsits, Quavers, Skips, Hula Hoops, and Monster Munch).

Kumara (sweet potato) chips are eaten in Korea, New Zealand, and Japan; parsnip, beetroot, and carrot crisps are available in the United Kingdom. India is famous for a large number of localized ‘chips shops’, selling not only potato chips, but also other varieties such as plantain chips, tapioca chips, yam chips, and even carrot chips. Plantain chips, also known as chifles or tostones, are also sold in the Western Hemisphere from Canada to Chile. In the Philippines, banana chips can be found sold at local stores. In Kenya, chips are made from arrowroot and casava. In the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, and Australia, a new variety of Pringles made from rice has been released and marketed as lower in fat than its potato counterparts.

 

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