Human innovation sure is amazing. We’ve managed to figure out how to count, tell time, use (and abuse) nature’s resources to our advantage, and develop complex social structures… so complex that it boggles the mind to look back and try to imagine how we did it. Much like the way looking at your nose in the mirror for too long will make you feel like a surreal assortment of fleshy blobs, thinking about our longest-unquestioned customs will make you wonder just how our ancestors decided on that over the generations.
But who has the patience to think about such existential questions? Not you, you may think as you get up to get a snack, contemplating the impressive variety of salad toppings, sandwich fillings and sweets we’ve also managed to come up with as a civilization.
Here are some tweets cursing and praising the ingenuity of the "inventors" of the simplest concepts we take for granted. There may not be much historical accuracy to be found here, but sometimes it’s easier to blame some hypothetical guy.
There are a lot of funny stories throughout history of how these old inventions came about, but it’s hard to tell which ones are rumors and which ones are true sometimes. While there’s a widespread legend that potato chips were accidentally invented in 1853 by a cook who felt like he couldn’t please a customer who demanded improbably thin fries and sent out what he thought were ruined crisps in frustration, investigation of the historic restaurant that claims this legend turns up some inconsistencies.
Historians did manage to find a New York Herald article praising an unidentified woman who worked at the restaurant and had a knack for frying potatoes a few years earlier than that, so it may be more likely that this great idea came to a potato pioneer who knew exactly what she was doing.