The Origin Of The French Fry

  • Though the name is French Fries, the dish originated in Belgium, according to one story.
  • When the frozen lakes of winter deprived its inhabitants of their favourite dish: fried fish, the villagers started frying peeled potatoes instead. During World War I, American soldiers tasted this new dish and named it ‘french fries’ as the main language in the southern Belgium area was French in those times.
  • Today, Belgians have the most vendors of French fries, consuming it as a mainstream food, and even considering making it an official icon of their cultural heritage.
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The French Fry

A favourite of most people across the world, french fries come in many shapes and sizes and are loaded with additives to add that irresistible taste. A regular serving of fries has 500 calories, while the same serving of regular potatoes has about 150.

The average American consumes 29 pounds of french fries in a year, and is home to the famous fast-food query: You want fries with that?

  • While French fries are consumed globally, different cultures consume them with different toppings or condiments.
  • Americans have them with ketchup, while the French with mustard. Japanese have their fries with green curry or soy sauce, while Malaysians eat them with chilli sauce.
  • The Belgians, who consider themselves as the place where french fries originated, eat them with mayonnaise.

For a few years, French fries were renamed as Freedom Fries in the United States, as a way to protest against France’s refusal to give them political support in the Gulf crisis.

This was later restored in 2006, and Freedom Fries became French again.

Alternative stories of the origin of the famous fry:

  1. First sold in France, by street vendors on Paris’s Pont Neuf in 1780.
  2. Invented by the Spanish, as Spaniards were the first Europeans to encounter the famous South American Potato, and were famous for frying food in oil.
  3. Bought to American by Thomas Jefferson, who went to France during the 1780s and had his slave collect recipes for vanilla ice cream, cheese and macaroni, apart from fried potatoes.

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