People call them different names such as frites, chips, fries, finger chips and French-fried potatoes. But everyone agrees about its taste in the same voice. The crunchy French fries are among the most favorite snacks of the people around the world, despite the local varieties in shapes and flavors. The long cut pieces of deep-fried potato is a common presence of the western fast food culture.
In spite of the fact that people agree on its yummy nature, many debates are going over its history. Although it is known as French fries, Belgians and French claim themselves as its inventors in the same voice.
The phrase ‘French Fried Potatoes’ first appeared in print in 1856 in the article ‘Cookery for Maids of All Work’ by E Warren. He used the term to indicate the product made by boiling sliced potatoes in fat till they sported a brown color. But long before that, the fries had been popular in Europe.
The potato didn’t arrive in Europe until late 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors brought back numerous products from their campaigns in South America. It took many years for the Europeans to accept the potato and make it a part of their daily staple. And after a few years, the Belgians and the French were fighting for the ownership of those potato chips!
In Belgium, the French fries have a status of the national food. According to them, Pommes frites, as they call that crispy food, had their birth in Namur, a region in southern part of the country. The people of the region used to catch fish from the River Meuse and fry them. However, during winters, when the river freezes and fishing becomes impossible, they would cut up potatoes into the forms of small fish and fry them instead. Even though there is no evidence to support this story, many people believe it.
As far as the French are concerned, the fries were born there in the preceding years of French revolution. Born as fast food, the first to offer the taste of fires were the street vendors at Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris.
There is also a hypothesis, that the term French fries was made popular by the British and American soldiers stationed in Belgian places. Since the language of a better part of Belgium was French then, the soldiers might have thought they were in France and called the delicacies French fries.
Whatever its history, there is no doubt that the French fries have become widely popular. Americans, Belgians, French, Australians and all consume them with equal fervor and local culinary varieties.
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