Ah, French fries. Have you ever met anyone that doesn’t like them? Whether you’re eating them as a snack or as a side as part of the best burger in NYC. There are quite a few ways to enjoy fries and even more ways to make them. Whether it’s a delicious waffle fry, a basket of seasoned curly fries, wedge fries, French fries fried in duck fat, or just some classically cut French Fries with salt on top, there’s no wrong way to order up some of this popular food.
You can step out your front door and get an order of fries within minutes at your local food stand, truck, restaurant, eatery, grocery store (you have to cook them first in that case), or fast food drive through. They’re easy to eat and palatable to just about everyone. With all of their popularity, where did the French fry come from? Was it France or somewhere else? We’re about to delve into the true origins of the French fry, so read on to find out.
With the name that French fries have, you might think it’s obvious and right to assume that they come from France. Amazingly, that is not the case! The truth is that despite the title French fries are actually from Belgium. So put that beret away because this delicious dish hails from a different country and a different place, although they are somewhat close geographically.
Not only are French fries from Belgium, but Belgians have been enjoying this dish since the seventeenth century. The appetizer could have been made earlier, but that’s the earliest official recording of Belgians eating fries. As with most things, necessity was the mother of invention. Villagers were known to go to the river in the valley to fish for, well, fish to supplement their meals. Although the fish were somewhat small, every little bit helped and they contributed to Belgian villagers’ overall diet.
So where did the French fry first come to pass and why? During the colder seasons and particularly during the winter, the villagers wouldn’t be able to get fish because the water would freeze over. Naturally without their supplemental food source the villagers needed another, and around this time a certain tuber named the potato was situated to fill this niche and need. It was likely a good choice as it is known today that if you had one food to survive on, potatoes with butter could meet the majority of your nutritional needs.
As the villagers fried and ate fish, they ended up doing a similar thing with the potato. The Vitamin C and other dietary benefits of the tuber and the delicious savory taste of the French fries made them an instant hit and the cuisine soon spread. Fries became popular in America by way of WWI, where Belgium’s dish spread to the United States. The name originated from the Belgian Army’s official language being French, and the rest is history.
That’s our story on the origin of the French Fry! No matter where or how you eat them, it’s hard to beat this savory treat. Thanks for reading– now go get some fries!