Smothered in chili or covered in cheese; crinkly cut or shaped into tots; eaten as a complete meal or as a side dish at a popular fast food chain - the world seems to have been fascinated with the many ways to enjoy a fried potato since they were first introduced centuries ago.
Who would've thought a relatively plain root vegetable would carry such culinary nuance? Popular throughout the world with seemingly endless variations in serving suggestions and cut styles, the fried potato holds a coveted spot in historical records and modern cuisine. From its legendarily humble beginnings to its debut at White House dinners and eventual adoption as a street food favorite, this list features everything we learned about how people eat french fries.
- 1170 VOTES
Fish And Chips Come With A Squeeze Of Lemon, Malt Vinegar, And Tartar Sauce
In Great Britain, there are entire restaurants dedicated to serving fried fish with a side of widely cut french fries. Known as “chippies,” these popular fast-food stops serve a modern take on the dish introduced by Jewish refugees in the 17th century.
According to legend, the group began frying potatoes when it was too cold to catch fish. Once the surrounding icy waters thawed out, they mixed the two together to create the delightful takeaway meal now recognized throughout the world.
To provide extra flavor, most fish and chips are served with lemon, malt vinegar, and tartar sauce.
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There Are At Least 15 Different French Fry Cuts
From the time french fries hit the culinary scene, chefs, cooks, diners, and their respective consumers have developed strong opinions over how to make the world's best fry. Now, the world boasts at least 15 different french fry cuts with a style, size, and texture for everyone.
When it comes to enjoying fried potatoes, foodies can eat them as waffle fries, curly fries, steak fries, tater tots, crinkle fries, straight-cut fries, Belgian fries, garlic fries, standard-cut fries, shoe string or matchstick fries, British “chips,” sweet potato fries, and chili-cheese fries.
- 3164 VOTES
Poutine Is Considered The National Dish Of Canada
First hitting the diner scene in the 1950s, “poutine” eventually became unofficially known as Canada's national dish. This style of french fry offers a basket of greasy fried potatoes covered in brown gravy and topped with cheese curds.
Though it originated in Quebec, the meal is such a popular menu item that patrons can now order it at fast food chain restaurants like McDonald's all over Canada. If fry lovers are looking for a larger array of topping choices, there are also restaurants with entire menus dedicated to different versions of the classic poutine dish.
- 482 VOTES
Fries Most Likely Come From Belgium, But France Wants Some Credit
No one knows exactly when the first french fry made its culinary debut. Before the 16th century, the potato wasn't even considered edible. While legends in France maintain that street vendors introduced the cuisine on the Pont Neuf bridge in the late 18th century, Belgians insist that their own town of Namur invented the fired potato during a particularly cold winter in 1680. According to their legend, local fishermen chose to fry potatoes for a meal when the river was frozen over, and they weren't able to catch fish.
Either way, it was the French who introduced fried potatoes in multiple varieties to world cuisine. To draw attention to the undervalued spud, French army pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier began serving multiple dishes, including potatoes, to extensive guest lists at extravagant parties two centuries later. Among these rumored guests include American founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
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Curly Fries Were Made Mainstream By Arby’s
Though curly fries have technically been around since Thomas Jefferson began serving them at the White House during his presidency in the early 1800s, they weren't a popular cut of fry until Arby's mainstreamed them in 1988.
To create the iconic curl, a massive machine powered by water moving 60 mph holds each individual potato in place as a knife moves around the spud's circumference. This provides diners with food that serves a dual purpose: not only are the seasonings and texture satisfying to the palate, but the inevitable springiness of the french fry allows playful foodies the ability to stretch one fry over 2 feet before it bounces back to its original shape.
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Charles Dickens Talked About Fries In One Of His Novels
As a poor child growing up in London, the young Charles Dickens often found himself daydreaming about the food he couldn't afford while working in a shoe polish factory. His fascination with good cuisine trickled into his novels, which often include rich, detailed meal depictions.
Dickens's attention to culinary detail was also ahead of its time, as he described modern British fish in chips (which weren't marketed until 1863) in his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities. His love for the food is clearly recognized in his words, describing:
husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.