Food & Drink

Joe 'Spud' Murphy: The Man Who Gave Potato Chips Flavor

04/20/2012 09:12am ET | Updated February 28, 2014

Life before the 1950s was an unseasoned existence -- one without Sour Cream & Onion, Spicy Thai Barbecue, or Fully Loaded Baked Potato. Before Joe "Spud" Murphy got into making potato chips (or crisps as they call them in Ireland), chips only came in one flavor: plain. They weren't even salted; instead, they came with a small salt packet to sprinkle on yourself.

Lucky for us, "Spud" Murphy felt that an unseasoned life was a life not worth living. To use his words, he found plain salted chips to be "insipid." In 1954, he set out with his company Tayto (the phonetic spelling of the way his child pronounced the word potato) to add seasoning to chips -- and he revolutionized the world of fried potatoes.

Tayto's first potato chip flavor was Cheese & Onion (which is still a big seller in Ireland today) and then he released Salt & Vinegar. These flavored golden potatoes were an immediate hit, and other potato chip manufacturers were soon ready-ing their fryers with their own flavor inventions. In the U.S., the first seasoned chips were Sour Cream & Onion and Barbecue (which as we know, are still popular flavors today).

Thankfully, the inventiveness of chip flavors has not stopped there. With varieties boasting Nacho Cheese and Pizza flavors, there's a chip for every kind of adventurous cruncher. There are even flavors that some of us might not be brave enough to try (seaweed chips anyone?). What's your favorite classic potato chip flavor? Vote in the poll below.

Do you like a more creatively seasoned potato chip ? Leave a comment.

WATCH: How Potato Chips Are Made

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