It’s a very special Foodie FRY-Day today: National French Fries Day! We celebrate these crispy, salty, irresistible snacks with some fun trivia and historical facts. Yes, we DO want fries with that!
Although they’re “French” fries, the Belgians eat the most.
The people of Belgium eat more fried potatoes per capita than citizens of any other country (even the fry-loving US!) at roughly 165 pounds per person each year. The average American consumes about 48 pounds of potatoes per year (in many forms, not just fries). The Belgians love fried potatoes so much they created the world’s first and only French fry museum—known as the Frietmuseum—in the city of Bruges.
McDonald’s leads the industry with their iconic fries.
The famous fast-food chain buys more than 3.4 billion pounds of U.S. potatoes annually to make their crispy golden fries. They use the Russett Burbank variety of potatoes most frequently. Of course, McDonald’s knows that they have to deliver a consistently delicious French fry to satisfy their billions of customers, so they have fry-tasting rooms at their headquarters in Illinois. Did someone say “dream job”?
Speaking of fry purveyors whose names start with “Mc,” the world’s largest producer of frozen fries is McCain Potatoes. They make the majority of fries, cooked in factories and then heated in homes and restaurants alike. In fact, as many as one-third of all the French fries in the world are McCain fries.
American French fries have a presidential connection.
Ever the consummate Renaissance man, Thomas Jefferson has been credited as the man who introduced French fries to America. The story goes that while ordering dinner at the White House in 1802, he requested “potatoes fried in the French manner.” He likely became a fan of the “French manner” of cooking potatoes (the French had been frying potatoes since at least 1760) while serving as the American ambassador to France. According to some historical culinary research, Jefferson stipulated that the potatoes be deep-fried—the French term is “frire”—rather than pan-fried for the true French-fry texture and flavor, securing his title as the Founding Father of Fries. More recently in presidential history, the Obama family has been documented as true French Fry fans.
People get emotional about fries.
Want a happy and healthy romantic relationship? Don’t pick at your significant other’s plate. Stealing your partner’s French fries is cited as one of the biggest reasons for quarrels in restaurants.
People feel such affinity for French fries that the beloved side dish has even inspired sentimental poetry. One fry-loving poet in 1982 named John Calvi wrote an ode called simply, “French Fries” that includes this stanza:
“Some think the army, the bombs and the guns / Will one day save all of our lives, / I don’t believe it—heat up your pans / Make peace, and lots of french fries.”
If that’s not an appetizing strategy for global peace, I don’t know what is.
Enjoy some fries today and have a great weekend! Happy Foodie FRY-day!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Ever get a craving for fries but don’t see any restaurants nearby? Some enterprising fry-enthusiasts in the Netherlands cooked up an ingenious solution: French fry vending machines. Finally, someone knows how to improve convenience for what’s really important in life!
(Sources: Buzzfeed, Mental Floss, The Daily Meal, The Nibble)