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Black History Month – Food Innovators & Pioneers

Friday February 4, 2022

We celebrate Black History Month by honoring and recognizing pioneers in the food industry and their achievements in innovation. 

While working in a Pittsburgh hotel, Alfred L. Cralle noticed ice cream servers having difficulty scooping ice cream with one hand and holding the cone in the other. His invention kept the ice cream from sticking and was easier to operate with one hand.

In the summer of 1853, a customer visited the Moon Lake Lodge resort in Saratoga Springs wanting extra-thin French Fries. Then chef George Crum sliced potatoes as thinly as possible, fried them in grease, and served them to the customer. The chips became a big hit and became known as “Saratoga Chips”.

The next best thing since sliced bread: breadcrumbs. Restaurant owner and former bakery worker, Joseph Lee wanted a way to minimize bread waste by inventing a machine that would convert day-old bread into breadcrumbs. His other notable inventions include the automatic bread maker that mixed and kneaded dough that is still used today. 

Food chemistry pioneer Lloyd Hall’s main area of work focused on the development of techniques to preserve food. Some of his most revolutionary patents include using “flash-dried” salt crystals that revolutionized meatpacking. He also introduced the use of antioxidants to prevent the spoilage of fats and oils in baked goods, and developed a process known as “Ethylene Oxide Vacugas,” which could control the growth of bacteria and molds in food.

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