George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

By Booklist

Part Native American, part African American, George Crum coped with prejudice as a boy in New York State during the 1830s. As a young man, he became an excellent cook and was hired as a chef at a renowned restaurant in Saratoga Springs, frequented by high society. Once, responding to a persnickety customer, Crum retrieved the dish of French fries, whittled them into very thin slices, and cooked them in hot oil, creating the forerunner of the potato chip. Later in life, Crum opened his own restaurant, where everyone was treated equally, regardless of skin color, gender, age, or economic status. Providing just enough historical explanation for younger students, this picture-book biography describes dramatic moments that reveal Crum’s inspired creativity, artistic temperament, and relentless pursuit of perfection. Buoyant acrylic illustrations accentuate the absurdity of situations, depicting the jaunty chef, all angles and energy, surrounded by a stuffy, hoity-toity clientele. Sources are cited, and an appended author’s note adds more facts. An excellent choice for multicultural and invention units, this zesty biography adds spice to library collections.