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21 Weird and Interesting French Fries Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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French fries facts

Admit it! You know you love it! French Fries have more fans than world’s most popular political figures, world’s most popular cars, world’s most popular movies and world’s most popular sportsmen. These lovely sticks of potatoes, fried to perfection and bathed in a golden brown hue – they are just yum. So, let us skip our ridiculous attempts of being poetic and straightaway jump to the list of 21 weird and interesting French Fries facts. Trust us when we say, ‘you will be blown away by these facts!’

Interesting French Fries Facts: 1-10

1. Let’s start with the weirdest one. French fries were not invented in France. We don’t claim that. Many people believe that. The credit is mostly given to the Kingdom of Belgium.

2. Considering that Belgium indeed gave the world it most favorite potato dish, here is the story of how it all started in that small sovereign state that is almost invisible on world map:

“Belgians kinda loved small fish captured from river. They fried them and ate them. Unfortunately, the rivers froze during winter months, cutting off the supply of fish. Belgians could barely stand the thought of not eating their favorite water creatures and ended up slicing potatoes into long slices to mimic the shape of those small fish and frying the sliced potatoes. They ate them as replacement for fish and this practice began all the way back in 1600s.”

3. Some say that the French were the ones who invented the French fries. Assuming that French were right, what is the French side of the story? Here, it is something like this:

“French really hated these bloody potatoes and held the view that they were riddled with diseases. So, people in France did not eat them. Potatoes that grew in France were all fed to animals. It once happened that a medical officer from French Army was thrown in prison as a Prisoner of War. Now as a punishment, he was forced to eat potatoes. Surprisingly, his punishment led him to make an interesting discovery! The potatoes were not riddled with diseases! Something happened and he came out of prison. Once released, he started advertising potatoes and advocated that potatoes should be eaten. It was difficult to get rid of the long-nurtured belief. However, he continued and ended up farming potatoes on his own. In late 18th century (exactly in year 1785), a terrible famine struck France. Driven by hunger and running short on food supply, they started devouring potatoes. Guess what? The veggie that was thought to be disease-riddled became a lifesaver and they loved it. That’s when they learned different uses of potatoes and learned out to fry them. The fried potatoes were sold as frites.”

4. While the argument between Belgium and France on who invented the French fries will never end, there is something more interesting. Some claim that the fries were invented in Spain. What the hell?

5. We really don’t care who invented the French fries but we surely love the fries so much that there is a whole museum dedicated to them. It is the French Fries Museum known as Friet Museum. It is located in Belgium.

6. In entire Europe, Belgium tops the list countries with high per capita French fries consumption.

7. According to legends, in 1802 Thomas Jefferson, the then President of United States returned from a tour of France and that’s when he, during a state dinner, introduced French fries.

8. According to a book on food history of Britain, French fries were introduced from France into Britain in 1870.

9. However, Brits call the French fries as chips while what is known as chips to North Americans is called as potato crisps in Britain.

10. Remember the medical office we talked about in point #3? His name was Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. There are potato dishes that are actually named after him!

Interesting French Fries Facts: 11-21

11. It is said that French fries taste best when they are first half-cooked at low temperature and then removed from heat. They are then recooked in hot fat. This time, the fat needs to be at a very high temperature.

12. Many experts on potatoes that the best French fries in the whole world are not made in France, not in Belgium and not in America. It is rather best-made in Netherlands.

13. Nonetheless, Belgium is still on top of the list because this is the country where the pommes frites (or the French fries) are eaten more frequently than in any other country.

14. Belgians are known to eat French fries during meals, as snacks and even with coffee. They consume the fries as staple.

15. In Paris, France, the French cooks are not famed for making tasty fries. In fact, French cooks are overshadowed by the Greeks, Turks and Algerians.

16. In United States, frozen fries are made using a potato variety known as Russet Burbank. Since this potato variety is grows well only in US, frozen fries made from this variety is exported worldwide. Nearly one-half of a million metric tons are produced exported each year from US.

17. The taste of the French fries is greatly dependent on the fat that is used for frying the potatoes. McDonalds for example, used a mixture of beef tallow and vegetable oil. However, widespread complaints about the saturated fats forced McDonalds to stop the usage of beef tallow from 1990 onwards.

18. McDonalds later started using natural beef flavor to get closer to the taste that was produced by the beef tallow. However, there was a widespread resentment among vegetarians who opposed the addition of any animal product in the French fries.

19. Belgians on the other hand make use of beef kidney suet to achieve a unique taste. Some may use horse fat, some may use duck fat along with bacon. The preparation procedure differs widely across the world.

20. Just like the preparation methods, the eating methods also differ significantly all over the world. For example, Vietnamese sprinkle sugar on fries and serve them with soft butter, Americans use ketchup, mayonnaise is popular in Belgium, malt vinegar and salt is popular in Britain.

21. 37% of all women who eat French fries prefer to have their fries look perfect. Men are less picky with only 25% of men going for perfect looking fries.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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1 comment

Sarah-Jane Louise Sullivan September 5, 2019 - 10:04 am

COOL!!!!

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