Aluminum foil was first developed at the beginning of the 20th century, with early commercial uses as bands for indentifying racing pigeons and later as packaging for LifeSavers candy.
My mother tells me that after WWII, aluminum foil became the hottest item every homemaker wanted and used in her kitchen. So popular, that for one of the local women's clubs luncheons, she and her table decor committee covered bread loaf pans with aluminum foil (for the sparkle effect) and filled them with fresh flowers, causing resounding oooo's and aaaaaaah's. This was also about the time that aluminum trays were designed and frozen dinners became another must-have household item. Aluminum became an American household institution.
I have a love/hate relationship with aluminum foil. I, too, have used it for reasons other than cooking and storage purposes. I've made crowns and stars by covering carboard with the stuff. I've put it on the end of an antenna to get better TV reception and wadded it into balls for cat toys. I have even made little frilly aluminum leggings for a crown roast of pork.
Many restaurants purchase bulk potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil. There is no question that Idaho or sweet potatoes are tastier when roasted in the foil. But, invariably, the restaurants will never take the time to remove the foil before serving them. Even worse, the cook will slice the potato open while the foil is still on it, delivering slivers of aluminum into the potato opening to be found only after taking one's first bite.
Now an American restaurant chain, Cracker Barrel, is serving dinners in foil to their customers.
No thanks. If I'm dining out, I want real plates. And if I want heavy metal, I'll go to a concert.