“Still too soggy.”
Speck wiped the sweat from his brow with a quick sweep of the arm. This 24th day of August, 1853, was already sweltering but now his blood too began to boil. It was the second time the house specialty had been sent back.
“Okay...” Speck said as he peeked out the kitchen door at the fussy troublemaker sitting at table #3. He was sipping at a glass of iced water and fanning himself with a menu. “He wants ‘em thinner, I’ll cut ‘em thinner...” The waitress squeezed by him and went back out to the floor.
Speck flipped the plate of golden French fries over the garbage pail and tossed it into a soapy tub. He grabbed his sharpest knife and leaned over a large potato. Within two minutes, he had cut the potato into a pile of incredibly thin slices. He scowled as he scooped them up in his hands and turned to the waiting frying pan, already writhing with bubbling oil.
“Oh, Speck, he says they’s too bland too,” the waitress said through a half-opened door, “wants ‘em saltier.”
Speck looked up at her and winked.
He dropped the handful of potatoes back on the chopping block and reached for the salt-shaker. Then he stopped. Instead, he grabbed the big bag of salt on the shelf and poured it out on top of the spuds. He laughed quietly to himself. Each slice shone like a sliver of quartz as he pulled them from the crystalline mound and dropped them into the pan.
By the time the doors closed at Moon’s Lake House in Saratoga Springs, New York, not only had the fussy customer ordered a second serving, but every diner in the restaurant wanted to try George “Speck” Crum’s new culinary creation – the potato chip.