National French Fry Day
National French Fry Day on July 13 is a great opportunity to take the time to sample some golden-brown potato slices. But did you know that the origin of French fries is more than likely not French at all? Potatoes were being fried in Belgium way before the French, but more on that later. When it comes to the tastiest French fries on the planet, everyone seems to have an opinion. It’s a time-consuming decision to find your favorite because no two restaurants seem to have the same recipe. French fries do have a nutritional stigma attached to them, however, due to high-caloric and fat content. But it’s tough to say no to a hot batch — even the ones at the bottom of the bag.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY
Estimates say Americans eat around 30 pounds of French fries per person each year. That seems like a lot, but when you think about all the ways you can eat fries, it adds up quickly. They’re easy to gobble down, whether they’re straight out of a fast-food French-fry container or whether you’re an expert at making fries at home. Add in all of the different condiments, and these simple potatoes become even more popular.
The term ‘French fries’ refers to deep-fried slices or strips of potatoes. While the precise origins are unknown, the item hit the culinary scene sometime in the 1700s. It had taken an entire century for potatoes to become widely accepted as food, arriving in Europe in the 1600s.
Like most iconic foods, the French fry has an interesting folk story about how it was created. Belgians call dibs on the origins of French fries, claiming it to be an invention of their people. According to a manuscript by Joseph Gerard, the residents of the Meuse Valley, located near Dinant in Belgium, consumed a lot of fish, since they lived near the river. During winters, when the rivers would freeze and fishing would become difficult, the idea to slice potatoes like fish fillets and fry them in hot fat was born.
But all credit does go to the French for popularizing frying foods and selling them in public on street carts called ‘frites,’ in the mid-1700s. Eventually, potatoes were cut in all sorts of shapes and fried. As to how French fries arrived in America, there are two versions of that story, too. The more popular and accepted fact is that Thomas Jefferson brought the dish to the U.S.A. While serving time as an ambassador, Jefferson spent a lot of time in France and went on to serve “potatoes served in the French manner” at a White House dinner in 1802.
The other theory is that World War I soldiers who were stationed around Dinant in Belgium took a liking to the local finger food known as ‘pommes frites’ and took the idea back with them. This is when French fries really took off and became mainstream in the U.S.
NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY ACTIVITIES
1.Try them with a new condiment
Although Americans usually eat their French fries with ketchup, consider experiencing another culture’s condiment on National French Fry Day. Folks in Great Britain eat fries with malt and vinegar. You’d use melted butter and sugar on your fries in Vietnam. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite.
2.Try a new seasoning with your fries
Most people cook their French fries in salt, and leave it at that. But you can sprinkle all kinds of seasonings on French fries, giving them a unique taste. Some people like to use a Cajun seasoning with fries, for example. Find the right seasoning, and, as blasphemous as it sounds, you might even decide to skip dunking them in ketchup.
3.Consider making your own fries at home
It’s going to be tough to outdo your favorite restaurant’s French fries, but you can use National French Fry Day as an excuse to try to make some fries at home. This can be a messy process, especially the frying step, but you can try a few different variations and seasonings this way. And even if you don’t succeed, you’ll have a much greater appreciation for the fry cook at your favorite local restaurant.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY
A. Some restaurants provide free French fries
The best way to find some free French fries on National French Fry Day is to follow the social media accounts of restaurants. A few different places offer free fries with a meal purchase or by using a digital coupon. We’re not sure people need an excuse to eat more, but free certainly works.
B. French fries go great with almost anything
Sure, the pairing of French fries and hamburgers is ingrained in the American diet. But fries taste great with many different kinds of food, including sandwiches, steak, and even eggs. And although most people will dip their French fries in ketchup, you’ll find people also dipping fries in plenty of other condiments, including ranch-flavored salad dressing, mustard, and even milkshakes. Heck, as strange as it sounds, some people even eat them plain.
C. There are so many variations
The thin French fry sticks, often called shoestring fries, that are popular with fast food restaurants are the most common type of fry variation, but you can’t stop there. There are waffle fries, steak fries, curly fries, crinkle-cut fries, home fries, and wedge fries. We wouldn’t recommend trying every variation on National French Fry Day, but we won’t discourage those of you who like a challenge.
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