Why are French Fries Called French Fries?

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Why are French Fries called French Fries
Photo by Marco Verch Professional on Flickr

French fries, often known as finger chips, chips, French-fried potatoes, or just fries, are deep-fried allumette-cut or batonnet potatoes that originated in Belgium. They are made by cutting the potatoes into even slices, drying them, and then deep-frying them in a deep fryer. But, why are French fries called French fries?

It is evident that almost everyone is aware of certain things about French fries, but there are a few facts about why are French Fries called French Fries, and the answer to this question will astonish you as well.

French Fries
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When you ask why are French fries called French fries, the fried part can be explained easily. Fried potatoes are usually served hot, soft, or crunchy, and are widely found on the tables of diners, pubs, fast food restaurants, and bars. They are typically consumed as part of dinner or lunch or as a refreshment.

They are usually salted and presented with vinegar, kitchen, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, or other ethnic favorites. French fries can be topped with more toppings, such as gravy or chili cheese fries.

Why Do People Love Pommes De Terre Frites?

Many eateries provide French fries as a common side dish for chicken, burgers, fried eggs, grilled steak, and fish. People also frequently travel to great lengths to obtain hot, delicious French fries as fast food.

People don’t seem to be able to have enough fries. So, why are French fries called French fries and what is it about French fries that makes them so addictive?

French Fries
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French fries are very addictive, according to scientists, since they are so tasty and easy to consume. Dopamine, the ‘feel-good’ hormone, is released when individuals eat French fries, which makes them crave more. So, not many people seem to think why are French fries called French fries and simply eat them before any thought pops up.

A craving for starch on the tongue has also been discovered, which could lead to an increase in fries consumption. French fries are salty, greasy, and incredibly tasty. Every bite is pure bliss, and regardless of how many you devour, you will not be disappointed; it is the ultimate comfort food.

But many people eating fried potatoes topped with gravy and cheese curds or melted cheese wonder why are French fries called French fries?

Who Invented First French Fries?

The Belgians and the French have a long-running debate over who discovered French fries and why are French fries called French fries, with both claiming the title. Though potatoes are now a staple dish of much of Europe, the potato was not widespread for the initial few hundred years.

French fries were not even offered to Europeans until the 16th century when Spanish armies returned to Spain with the potatoes from Peru. It found its way to Italy from there, and subsequently to the surrounding nations. Spain was the dominating nation when the potato was first brought to Europe.

As a result, the residents of Europe were likely among the first on the globe to get their hands on this food and not wonder to name it. They left the task in the hands of the French to stoop in and let them wonder for later why are French Fries called French Fries.

Many people claim that Belgians presented French troops with fried potatoes during the Franco-Austrian War around 1859, hence the dish is called French fries. Therefore, after knowing why are French fries called French fries, let’s delve deeper into the history of this delicacy.

Even though France did not originate fries, this idea claims that the nation promoted chopped and fried potatoes all through the rest of the globe. Potatoes were not always simple to incorporate into French meals. The exotic vegetable was scorned by the majority of the population, and it was only regarded edible by pigs. The country which seemed to hate potatoes now wins the debate of why are French fries called French fries.

The people of France were not ready to embrace potatoes until a crisis in 1785. Sometime later, chefs in Paris started cutting potatoes into strips and deep-frying them. The famous street dish, known as ‘frites’ was immediately adopted by push-cart vendors as well.

Importance of World War I as Freedom French Fry

In Belgium, the poor villagers living near the Meuse River used to eat fried fish. This food is supposed to have been discovered by American soldiers in the Belgian capital amid World War I. They labeled the exquisite potatoes ‘French fries’ because the primary language in southern Belgium is French.

According to some historians, what people now know as French fries may have originated in Belgium rather than France. Potatoes were cooked in Belgium in the late 1600s, as per them. Belgian villagers used to thinly chop their fish, fry it, and eat it as a snack, but they never named the dish.

However, during the colder months, when the river froze, fishing became difficult for the residents. What began as an experiment eventually led to the development of the favorite French fries.

The people around the river Muese took the potato, sliced it, and fried it. They did in the same manner like they fried their fish, giving rise to the first iteration of French Fries in Belgian cultural heritage.

According to one version, the answer to why are French fries called French fries, concerning the name ‘French fries’, is when the American Expeditionary Troops entered Belgium amid World War I. They believed that chips served in the town’s chip shop were a French delicacy because the Belgian Forces spoke French.

However, long before 1917, the word emerged in English and the phrase ‘why are French fries called French fries’ prominence did not arise until decades after 1917.

The word ‘French fries’ was becoming more common at that time – it was first used in the United States of America in 1899, but were unsure whether it alluded to batons (chips) or sliced deep-fried potatoes.

Benefits Of French Fried Potatoes

Everyone has heard of all kinds of weird things over the years, like ‘Don’t eat fatty food’, ‘Drink plenty of water, and ‘French fries are harmful to your body.’ There is no correct explanation why you shouldn’t eat French fries. But, here are a few of the benefits of eating french-fried potatoes:

1. Your Body Gets All The Nutrients It Needs

Carbohydrates (usually in the form of starch), proteins from the potatoes, as well as fat extracted during the deep-frying phase, are the main components of French fries. Sodium-containing salt is almost typically used as a surface flavor. What more could your body ask for?

2. A Perfect Comfort Food

Salty foods like tasty French fries or delicious potato chips increase the formation of oxytocin, a hormone that makes you feel good, warm, and fuzzy when you hug or are hugged.

Simply stated, what you consume has a direct impact on the function and structure of your brain, as well as your mood. Many studies have figured out a relationship between a refined sugar-rich diet and lowered brain function, as well as between treating depression and uplifting your mood instantly.

3. Doesn’t Need Much Gassle to Prepare

French fries take at most 8 minutes to prepare, and it depends on how many potatoes are you cooking. Making french fries by yourself at your home in the oven is the ideal method to enjoy them while also reaping the advantages of potatoes. With this method, you can keep track of the ingredients and cut down on sodium and fat.

You can utilize several techniques. Preheat the deep-fryer oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius. Cook, stir occasionally, until the potatoes are golden brown, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Using paper towels, absorb excess liquid. According to taste, season them with salt and peri seasoning.

4. You can Find these Everywhere

It doesn’t matter which country you are in, you can find French fries all across the world. Even if you cannot find a local restaurant that serves fries topped with your favorite toppings, you can surely get a hold of McDonald’s, as it has set its base in 120 countries, and operates 37,855 restaurants worldwide.

Even if you are in a situation, where you are craving fries but cannot find any in the local area, you just need potatoes, oil, and salt to make these by yourself.

5. Helps in Early Brain Development 

Potatoes provide vitamin B6, which is necessary for optimal brain development. Therefore, french fries are good for the brain, heart, and stomach.

6. Reduces Stress

Have you ever wondered why French fries, Belgian fries, fish, and chips appeal to you when you are in depression or stress? According to a new study, increased salt levels in the blood reduce stress levels and increase oxytocin, a hormone associated with love and other social bonds.

French fries, on the other hand, are a great source of fiber. Potatoes have a higher resistant starch concentration when they are fried. As a result, French fries can be a nutritious and tasty supper for reducing stress levels.

7. Budget-Friendly 

In the United States, a small portion of French fries costs about $1.39, and an 8-ounce quantity of French fries is about 30 cents. Handmade frozen French fries are less expensive than store-bought frozen French fries.

Hence, no wonder French fries are so close to the hearts of students trying to save some extra cash. If you like to pick a quick coffee along with fries, have a look at Where to Find the Best Coffee in Los Angeles.

Are French Fries Really from France or Are British Chips?

Steak and Chips
Photo by Henry Burrows on Flickr

Many possible answers can be found as to why are French fries called French fries. A group of historians argues that French fries are from French. The thin potato fritters had first been offered by street food vendors on Paris’s Pont Neuf in the late eighteenth century and were one of the most famous items before the French Revolution.

Potatoes were a source of nourishment for residents who did not have access to the same privileges as the priests or aristocrats. In France, potatoes were advertised as a poor man’s diet.

Fried potatoes are known as Pommes de Terre Frites in France as well as other French-speaking nations, but they are also known as Pommes Frites, patates frites, or just frites in the United States.

Antoine-Augustin Parmentier encouraged the consumption of potatoes for subsistence in France, but he did not address fried potatoes specifically. If you are a potato snack lover, you must be wondering how did French fries get their name.

Interesting Facts About Frenched Potatoes

1. Charles Dickens, a remarkable 17th-century ‘foodie’, was the very first writer to write about french fries in literature. In his book of 1859, ‘A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens mentioned lots of breakfast meals, dinner plates, and cans of beer, as well as a reference to French fries.

Dickens characterized the food people now love and know as fries, as ‘Husky strips of potato, deep-fried with some reluctant drops of oil’.

2. French fries have now become a staple food of the Western diet of Americans, but who introduced them to the nation? Presidents have a wide range of dietary interests, and Americans’ fry eating is attributed to American Minister Thomas Jefferson.

He discovered them while serving as the American Ambassador to France and brought them to the attention of the public. After they came back to the United States, his slave James Heming resumed preparing them for the president.

3. Belgians are so offended by the supposed misattribution of French fries that they have been attempting to claim the credit back from France for this world-famous crispy delicacy ever since. Belgium officially petitioned UNESCO to declare fries and mayo as a national dish.

4. Though you may consider fries to be amongst the worst things you can eat, they do provide some important nutrients. They have all of the vitamins that vegetables have, notably vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium because they are made from potatoes- a healthy vegetable in themselves.

5. The delicacy of French fries can be found in many forms and sizes. There are at least 15 various varieties of fries, including regular, thick-cut, Belgian, waffle, steak, francophone fry, curly, shoestring, sweet potato, crinkle-cut, cottage, tornado, wedges, side-winding, happy face, and tots. And they are all incredible.

6. Why are café and fast-food eateries French fries so much tastier than homemade French fries? One of the several possible explanations is that eateries fry their potatoes multiple times. Chefs will let the fries cool after the first deep fry then fry them again, sometimes twice. These additional attempts produce a fatter, crispier finished version.

7. You would think that fries and chips are the same things except for the title, but a trip to a classic British chip eatery will show you that they are not. Due to their thickness, chips are sliced much thicker, are somewhat soggier, and contain fewer fats than American fries.

8. McDonald’s fries account for roughly 7% of all potatoes farmed in America. Well over a third of all French fries served in eateries are sold by the chain.

9. Stealing French fries off a loved one’s or your date’s plate is said to be one of the most likely causes of dining fights between lovers.

10. Vending machines may deliver a variety of unexpected items, along with a hot dish of perfectly cooked French fries, all over the world. Mr. French Fry was the first and most unique of its kind, and it was launched in Australia in 1982. It takes less than a minute to prepare and serve French fries. Several companies have adopted the design ever since.

11. Earlier in the day, eggs were a dime a dozen, but now, French fries are a dime a dozen. As per a 1950s McDonald’s menu, if you had a dime, you could get a little fry. Consider how many French fries a dollar you could have bought in the year you were born, and how many meals a dollar could get.

12. The lower the fat concentration, the thicker the fry. This is because the majority of the fats from deep frying are retained on the crispy rim of the fries. A fry is primarily starch within the mushy potato center.

Potatoes aren’t all made equal. Some have a higher amount of starch than others. A starchy potato is a perfect choice for fry as it prevents the potato from giving a bitter taste. The most prevalent variety is russet, which is usually invariably the one used to create the tastiest French fries in the United States of America.

What are French Fried Potatoes Also Called As?

How can just one dish have so many names and so many countries fighting for its origin story?

So when talking about why are French Fries called French Fries, what Americans call French fries are referred to as ‘chips’ in the United Kingdom and Ireland and are typically served with fried fish. Fries and curries to meaty chips and gravy are among the many types served with vinegar and salt.

The name ‘frites’ is a short form of ‘Pommes Frites’, which is an adaptation of ‘Pommes de Terre fries, meaning fried potatoes, and is used in French-speaking nations such as Belgium and France.

Due to the global appeal of French cuisine, you have seen Frites in restaurants as part of items like grilled steak-Frites (steak and fries) and Moules-Frites (mussels and fries). Because the British call fries ‘chips’, they started calling potato chips ‘crisps.’

After knowing why are French Fries called French Fries, the title ‘French fries’ is frequently capitalized as French fries or simplified to fries. People apply this to all fried long chunks of potatoes throughout the United States of America and most of Canada.

Shoestring fries, curly fries, and other shapes and sizes have their names. Canadians serve French fry with cheese curd in small slices or sometimes in a paper cone.

‘Chips’ are commonly used in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland South Africa, and New Zealand, although thinly cut fried wedges are sometimes referred to as French fries or skinny fries to differentiate them from chips, that are cut thicker. Determined by the shape, these thicker-cut chips may be referred to as steak fries in the United States or Canada.

What Kind of Dips Can You Eat With French Fries?

Types of dips
Photo by Dennis Wong on Flickr

What could be greater than a plate of French fries? Of course, French fries can be offered with a choice of toppings and dipping sauces. If you are a flavor connoisseur, you must never settle with ketchup-only French fries. And there is nothing bad with ketchup, but the appropriate dipping sauce can elevate fries to new heights.

Cajun seasonings, melted cheddar, brown gravy, cooked curry sauce, curry ketchup, mayonnaise, béarnaise sauce, barbecue sauce, and other seasonings can be eaten or served with fries.

Though on their own, French fries are a true gift from the cosmos, you have to match them with any of these sauces, beverages, and with desserts like vanilla ice cream to make them tastier.

How Famous Are These Deep Fried Potatoes?

In the United States of America, French fries are among the most beloved delicacies, frequently eaten as a side dish to meals and seen in fast food joints. Every year, an average American eats roughly 30 pounds of French fries. And French fries account for around a quarter of all potatoes consumed in the United States.

McDonald’s is another bewildering way to put these figures into perspective. The business is famous for its excellent fries. It uses 7% of all potatoes farmed in the United States to make its French fries. McDonald’s, on the other hand, only serves around a third of the entire amount of French fries sold in eateries.

After knowing why are French fries called French fries, you would be amazed to know that as per Grit, Americans consume over 4.5 billion pounds of fast-food French fries every year. In addition, two billion purchases of fast-food French fries are placed every year.

However, when it comes to how many tons of fried potatoes Americans consume each year, French fries come in second. Potato chips are the most popular snack, with 6.7 billion pounds eaten each year, followed by 75 million tater tots.

Americans enjoy crispy, crunchy potatoes. Like the pizza sauce is considered a ‘fruit’, similarly, French fries are considered a ‘vegetable.’

Fried potatoes, on the other hand, are the most often eaten vegetable by children aged 2 to 4, as per a research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Although Happy Meals have become healthier, a serving of fries does not provide a child with the same amount of nutrients as a salad on the side or other alternatives.

The city of Florence Ville-Bristol in Canada, where McCain Foods is headquartered, bills itself as ‘the French fry hub of the world’ and is home to the ‘Potato World’ exhibition. McCain Foods is the major supplier of frozen French fries as well as other potato delicacies around the world.

Poutine, a Québécois/Canadian delicacy consisting of fried potatoes coated with cheese curds and brown sauce, is made with French fries as the key ingredient.

You surely must have developed a craving for French fries because you have read the whole article. Now that you know why are French fries called French fries, how historians claim potatoes unique idea, what else French fries are called, what kind of dips you can try with them, and much more, you can now proudly say you are a foodie as well as a historian.

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