Professor Hamish Chippington

Many of us takes Chips (or French Fries, for any Americans out there) for granted, but how many of us know just how chips came to be invented, or to realise just how recent an invention they actually are.

It's amazing to think that barely 40 years ago nobody had even heard of Chips, let alone eaten one with egg, fish, tomato sauce or bananas - but that is only the start of the unusual history of the humble chip.

The first thing to remember about Chips is that they were a completely accidental discovery - a serendipitous moment of amazing coincidence.

In his small bedsit kitchen in Walthemstowe in the summer of 1972, Professor Hamish Chippington was busy practising his juggling, running around in his underpants on a unicycle while his socks were busy drying in a nearby oven.

As was common custom at the time, he was juggling with potatoes and, because of the oppressive heat of the hotteset summer since records began (in 1971), coupled with the fact that the oven was on, Hamish had an electric fan going full blast. He also had the fridge door open, in a vain attempt to get bit more coolth into the room.

What he hadn't realised was that a banana had fallen out of the fridge. Rounding the billiard table for a particularly difficult pasadoble manoevre, Professor Chippington slipped on the banana, the potatoes went flying into the electric fan, where they were sliced into hundreds o' pieces that then fell into the oven.

Picking them out of his steaming socks with his teeth later that evening, he noticed how tasty they were and immediately decided to give up his aspirations of becoming a professional juggler and began marketing his new invention under the name "Chippingtons".

Later that year, under the advice of Pope Gregory III, he shortened this to "Chips" and a legend was born.