Before I discovered food history, I used to think that just because there’s French in ‘French fry’ meant it came from France. Or maybe it did?
So, it’s National French Fry Day and this means it’s time to serve up some hot tasty history.
It began in Belgium. Historians claimed that the Belgians were frying potatoes as early as the late-16oos thanks to poor villagers living in the Meuse Valley. The villagers, were known for eating fried fish, but when the harsh winters came and the rivers froze over, it forced the villagers to turn to potatoes which they started frying just like their fish. And French fries were born! Well, according to local Belgium legend.
So, why did the French lay claim to the French fry?
If the French really invented the wonderful French fries, I think it had to do with the fact that French was the official language of the Belgian army. The soldiers were responsible for nicknaming the snack “French fries” and the name stuck. However, the French seem to be the ones that caused French fries to spread to Britain and America like wildfire.
The French are really good at taking something and perfecting the method, hence the reason why they’re the Kings of Gastronomy. I’ve come to a few conclusions as to who really invented French fries:
^ The French came up with the idea on their very own.
^ The Belgium came up with the idea on their very own thanks to some villagers.
^ Maybe, just maybe, the French soldiers were introduced to fries by the Belgians during the Franco-Austrian war and years later when the potato became a household name in France (Yes, the potato was once considered unclean and germy in France, but that’s another story by itself) a few soldiers remembered the tasty fried potatoes they had in Belgium and decided, “Hey, let’s see if we can perfect the preparation method, and introduce these suckers to the public, oui?”
^ The French were responsible for spreading French fries throughout Belgium, just like they did in America and Britain. Thomas Jefferson had a French chef and he liked to have “potatoes served in the French manner” at dinner parties.
I don’t know who was responsible, but what I do know, is the fact that Belgians consume the most French fries (per capita) of any country in Europe.
I like French fries, but now I only eat it once a month. They can be curly, regular, seasoned, chili cheesed, waffle, shoestring, steak-cut, paprika-dusted etc.
My favorite is the crinkle-cut ones that I enjoy straight out the fryer.
Slap on some ketchup, garlic sauce, and/or mustard and dig in!