One thing that Americans can’t seem to get enough of is French Fries! These tasty little treats are made out of potatoes, although they come in different ways depending on where you go in the world. In Canada, fries are frequently dipped into malt vinegar or covered with gravy and other toppings to make poutine. In England, french fries are referred to as ‘chips’ and frequently come with fish, while they are served next to steak in France. Even in Japan, fries are popular– you can even get special edition French fries with chocolate and white chocolate packets to drizzle over at McDonald’s!
No matter where you go in the world, from Africa to South America, you’re likely to find somewhere that is serving French Fries. They’ve become a diet staple and a fast food specialty of millions of chains. Whether it’s Animal Style from In-N-Out or spiced cajun French Fries from Five Guys, there are enough varieties out there to keep everyone satisfied. So where did French fries originally come from– was it France or somewhere else? We’re about to blow your mind– and tantalize your taste buds– with this brief history of where the French Fry came from and how it came to be.
Are French Fries From France?
The French may have given the world plenty of things, including the Statue of Liberty and the bikini! Sadly, France cannot claim credit for the invention of the French fry. You would think that since ‘French’ is in the name, it’s a no brainer! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and France cannot claim to be the country of origin for this delicious fried snack. So where did this instant classic come from? No other than Belgium. Yes, Belgium!
Historians assert that the Belgians have been frying this dish ever since the late 1600s. That’s over 300 years of French Fries! The story goes that poor villagers living in a valley would often fish in the river for their meals. The fish would be small, but contribute to the food sources. However, in the winter the river would become frozen and impossible to fish on, so the villagers had no choice but to develop other sources of nutrition to get them through the winter. As you might guess, this led to a little-recognized root vegetable coming to their attention.
The potato was a viable option, and the villagers were said to have sliced it and fried it up just like they did the fish. With plenty of Vitamin C and enough nutrients to sustain them through the winter (not to mention it being delicious), French fries were forever integrated into Belgian cuisine and history.
It was also Belgium that largely made the French fry happen in the United States during World War I. American soldiers introduced to the dish called them ‘French fries’ due to the fact that the language used by the Belgian Army was French.
Whether you’re searching for the best fries in New York City or the best fries in Shanghai, French fries area a global treasure. They can be dipped into so many delicious sauces– ketchup, chipotle mayonnaise, maple mayo, barbecue sauce, Ranch dressing… the list goes on and on. Don’t forget the seasoning! Knowing the history of the French fry is the perfect excuse to go grab a friend and try to find the best fries around you and let them know all about the origin of this delicious fried treat.