Potato Chips

English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 5
Audio file: 2:25 min
Story length: 335 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.


Potato Chips

People love potato chips. They’re one of the world’s favorite snacks. How did this sliced vegetable become so popular?

The history of the potato chip involves three main individuals.

The first was an American named George Crum. In 1853, he was a chef in a New York resort restaurant. The resort was famous for French fries. One day, a customer came in, scanned the menu and asked for fries. George made the fries, but the customer was dissatisfied. The fries were too thick he said. George quietly returned to the kitchen and cooked it again. This time he cut them a little thinner.

The customer glanced at the food on his plate and was not pleased. George went back to the kitchen. He sliced the potatoes as thin as possible. He added lots of salt. The customer loved them. Surprisingly, the hotel became famous for salty potato chips.

Over the next two decades, potato chips became popular across America. But, there were two challenges.

First, peeling the potatoes. At this time, the skin was removed by hand. That was a time consuming task. In the 1920s, an unknown person invented a machine to remove skins. We do not know who that was, but he or she changed the food business. Now it was possible to make chips fast.

Second, keeping chips fresh and ready for sale. In the 1920s, chips were sold from a glass box or large can. The chips regularly broke into small pieces. After a few days, they became soft. These chips could not be sold.

In 1926, Laura Scudder solved that problem. She made a bag that prevented air from going in or out. She took two pieces of wax paper and melted them together with an iron. That sealed the bag and blocked air from going in or out. The food stayed fresh for a long time.

The story of potato chips teaches us a lesson. Starting up a business does not always require an original product. Sometimes, we can create a new product by putting existing ideas together in a new way.

1 thought on “Potato Chips”

  1. My class loves your lesson on Potato Chips!! Lots of activities to do. Awesome!! Odessa College/ESOL Level 5.
    Thank You,
    Mrs. Cisneros


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