Known to the world – save France (where they are simply called pommes frites, patates frites, or simply frites) – as “French fries” the fries are in fact a Belgium specialty, arguably their national dish.
The confusion comes, according to some, from the First War American soldiers who were stationed in the Wallonie, the southern French speaking region of Belgium and who called the fries…French.
Other believe that it is the French gastronomic hegemony that overstepped the national boundaries and assimilated the Belgium cuisine.
The latter bring as a proof the “Cookery for Maids of All Work” cookbook printed in 1856 that contains a recipes for chips: “French Fried Potatoes: Cut new potatoes in thin slices, put them in boiling fat, and a little salt; fry both sides of a light golden brown color; drain.”
Still other opinions hold that the term is referring to the way the potatoes are cut. In old days anything cut thin and long was called “frenched”.
And there are still others that say it was Thomas Jefferson who coined the name “French Fries” when he was the US ambassador to France between 1785 and 1789.
Belgian fries are usually 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide and 2 1/2 to 3 inches (CM) long, rectangular, and fried twice in beef fat.
They are served topped with ketchup, mayonnaise, aioli (mayo with garlic), melted cheese etc.
Several days ago the news came that the French and German-speaking communities of Belgium are backing up their Flemish co-nationals in their attempt to gain an entry for the fries in the UNESCO’s List of Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Flemish have been militating since last year for this recognition.
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!