Origin of French Fries

The origin of French fries is somewhat mysterious. Many people have wondered over the years where do they come from and how could anyone managed to create such an interesting food. They are eaten in the United States and also in many countries all around the world.

If you have visited fast food restaurants you must know that French fries are an essential part of almost every menu.

Fries may come in different shapes and sizes; of course this may cause some confusion on what exactly is a French fry.

What is a French fry?

Americans typically use the name French fries to refer to long pieces of potatoes that have been cut and fried. In other countries such as the United Kingdom that is not the case; as when people say fries they are normally talking about a thin slice of a fried potato which are quite similar to chips (which are what people normally call French fries). The main difference is that chips are slightly thicker than what they call fries.

Where do They Come From?

- Spain is one place where the fries might actually come from.

It was the Spaniards who first brought the potatoes to the European continent after the South America exploration. Some believe the dish was first served in Galicia and its popularity grew until it reached Belgium which was known as the Spanish Netherlands at the time. This could explain the rumor that “fries” became popular in Belgium after the Spanish brought them there.

- Some people believe that potatoes were fried in Belgium before the XVII century.

Fishing was very common in Namur and Andenne; the people used to fry and eat fish on a regular basis. When winter arrived, it caused the rivers to get frozen so fishing was a very difficult task, in order to survive the inhabitants of the area decided to cut potatoes in long strips in such a way they looked like fish and fried them.

- There is another theory mentioning that during World War I American soldiers came to Belgium and experienced their fries.

They were impressed and started to refer them as French fries since the Belgian army were speaking French at the time. Even today there are some areas in Belgium where they refer to the French fries as Flemish fries. This story could be a bit farfetched as the term French fries was used at least 100 years before WWI.

- Thomas Jefferson was an enthusiast of the fries as when in 1802 he had dinner at the white house he asked for “potatoes served in the French manner”.

That implied he attributed to the French the origin of French fries. This is quite common as most people are convinced the fries were invented in France. There could be some truth in that statement.

- It has been said that a French cook cut potatoes in long pieces and fried them as a joke to a demanding client.

Strangely they turned out to be a huge success and spread all around the country in such a way than within a short period of time there were vendors in the street selling “frites” which is term for deep frying, later they became known as French fries.
These are some of the theories about the origin of French fries; any of them could be true although it is very possible the answer will remain a mystery.

Just in case all this history made you hungry here are the directions to make some crispy fries.

cheesy fries