Press kit for Crunch!
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Crunch!Almost as American as the potato chip and this well-packaged history of it is the question, why should I care about this?
A History of the Great American Potato Chip
Publication date November 2008
LC: 2008011962 HD
208 pp. 6 x 9
8-page color insert, 17 b/w illus.
Jacketed cloth $26.95 t
Just look at this author photo. As a green assistant, I have never met Dirk Burhans, but he's already the coolest person I know. He has fearlessly volunteered to subject himself to a blind taste test of any chip you put in front of him. Also, he's done several interviews with regional media, most recently with the Charleston radio station WTMA.
A little background on the author: Dirk grew up in the heart of potato chip country in eastern Ohio. He is a past publisher of the magazine Greasy Spoon and has been a frequent contributor to many newspapers and magazines on what some might call junk food. He lives near Columbia, Missouri and has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Missouri.
Crunch! traces the best and worst of times of the chip (which dates back to the mid-19th century), its salad days and its cutthroat rise to the top of the corporate ladder. Some companies have nearly survived it all; Tri-Sum Chips of Massachusetts turns 100 this year. But despite being the iconic symbol of indolence, the potato chip business can be deadly serious. In fact, the feds investigated the industry in the 1990s (during the "Great Chip Wars") for widespread monopolizing and price fixing.
Illustrated with images of early snack food paraphernalia from the glory days of American advertising art, Crunch! is an informative tour of large and small business in America and the vicissitudes of popular tastes.
“Crunch! is the appealing tale of how the pedestrian potato was transformed into America’s favorite snack food. It is complete with battles over regional brands, national marketers, and endearing hometown favorites. Dirk Burhans has served up a filling analysis of why Americans are crunching chips morning, noon, and night.”—Margaret Engel, coauthor (with Allison Engel) of Food Finds: America’s Best Local Foods and the People Who Produce Them
“Dirk Burhans has a knack for seeking out cool, interesting businesses and, more importantly, the people who make them hum. You’ll have no better guide through the little-known but fascinating world of regional potato chips.” —Brian Butko, author of Klondikes, Chipped Ham, & Skyscraper Cones
"Every such aspect of popular culture deserves to have such a thorough study. Burhans does an excellent job of revealing what is going on inside the bag. Just be sure to have some potato chips handy to munch on while you read, because you will be craving them by the time he finishes." —Tom Hollis, author of Selling the Sunshine State: A Celebration of Florida's Tourism Advertising
"New Book Tells Story of Potato Chips
The potato chip has been one of America's favorite snacks since its accidental origin in a nineteeth century kitchen. Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip tells the story of this crispy, salty treat, from the early sales of locally made chips at corner groceries, country fairs, and cafes to the mass marketing and corporate consolidation of the modern snack food industry. . . . Crunch! is an informative tour of large and small businesses in America, and the vicissitudes of popular tastes."—The Badger Common'Tater 60:7
"Dirk's put together a comprehensive account of the history and development of America's favorite snack food. Look for this book in your local bookstores." —The Roadside Napkin Notes E-newsletter
"Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip (Nov. $26.95) by Dirk Burhans takes a historical look at one of America's favorite snack foods."—Publishers Weekly
"The United Nations has declared 2008 to be the Year of the Potato, making it very timely that the University of Wisconsin Press is bringing out Crunch! A History of the Great American Potato Chip by Dirk Burhans. Scheduled for November  it promises to uncover the "dark side of potato chip history, according to the catalog. Alas, its purview does not extend to an analysis of Funyuns, which have always stuck me as far more sinister."—Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
Dirk Burhans grew up in the heart of traditional potato chip country in eastern Ohio. He is a past publisher of the magazine Greasy Spoon (previously known as Burger Boy) and has been a frequent contributor to many newspapers and magazines on the subjects of potato chips, soda pop, and hamburger chains. Burhans has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Missouri and has worked as an avian ecologist, graphic artist, and part-time musician. He lives near Columbia, Missouri.
Dirk Burhans has a web site about his book. See his web site Crunch!, which gives fascinating information about the book and the history of the potato chip.
For more information, in addition to this press kit, contact our publicity department, phone: (608) 263-0734, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This cover image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a larger version for use in print publicity, click here.
This image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. The photo credit is: Mike DeSantis at Mike@DeSantisphotography.com
For a larger version for use in print publicity, click here.
"In the summer of 1853, George Crumm was a chef at Moon's Lake House of Saratoga Springs, New York.
The Adironacks were full of summer hotels catering to middle-class and wealthy New Yorkers, but Saratoga Springs was prime. Located on the southeast edge of the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs if you could afford it, was the closest and swankiest location for New Yorkers looking to escape the summer heat and humidity in the days before air-conditioning. Crum, an American Indian, but apparently with some African-American ancestry, was reputedly a colorful charactor. Legend has it . . ."—Crunch!
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