July is the month we celebrate National French Fry Day, so it makes sense to take time to celebrate those skinny fried white potatoes. We honor the ‘French fry’ and its origin!
It may come as a surprise, but the ‘French fry’ really isn’t French at all. According to Nationaltoday.com, it was the Belgium people who started frying fries. At least that is what Belgium historians believe and they are sticking to their story.
While we may not know its true origin, we do know ‘French fries’ came on the scene in the 1700s. But it took an entire century before potatoes would be accepted as food. The term ‘French fries’ refers to how the fries are prepared. They are deep-fried slices or strips of potatoes.
And Americans seem to have no issue consuming them. It’s estimated Americans eat some 30 pounds of French fries per person each year. Though they can be a good source of carbohydrates, French fries are high in calories and fat. Just 10 fries have 214 calories. (Source: USDA)
Even though people from Belgium say they invented the French fry, it’s the French who should take credit for making ‘fries’ so popular. Since the mid-1700s, the French were known for frying foods and selling them in public on street carts called ‘frites.’
And just how did the French fries get in America? Well, there are two versions of that story. The more popular and accepted one is that Thomas Jefferson brought the dish to the United States. While he was serving time as an ambassador, Jefferson spent a lot of time in France and would serve “potatoes like the French” at a White House dinner in 1802.
The other theory is that World War I soldiers stationed in Belgium liked the finger food the locals would serve called ‘pommes frites’ and took the idea back with them. Not long after, French fries would take off and become mainstream in the U.S.
Its’ popularity continues. These are some of the spots in the Carolinas serving up the best French fries. I had intern Mariah give us her top 10.
Mariah Mitchell, a Communications Arts student at Johnson C. Smith University contributed to this article.