Friday, April 26, 2024

What Goes With a Hamburger?

 By Cindy Regnier

Because I have a French sounding last name, someone once asked me if I had any good French recipes. All I could think of was French Fries. But who doesn’t like fries? One source says the average American eats around 40 pounds of French fries per year, and the golden arches claims to sling about nine million pounds of them per day. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that 25% of all potatoes consumed in the U.S. are eaten as fries. So – how did “French” fries come to America? From France, of course. You might be surprised. Let’s take a look.

The country that actually claims to have invented fries is Belgium. According to the story, the dish was born in Belgium in 1680. Apparently, the people here loved tiny fried fish, but had to find something else to cook in the wintertime when the rivers froze. They substituted potatoes cut in long segments to resemble their fish portions, fried them, and you know the rest. Admittedly, this is lore and not a proven fact, but Belgium natives will assure you that their country invented French fries.

But why call them “French” fries? Belgian researcher Pierre Leclercq discovered that a German-born and Paris-trained cook, Herr Krieger, was traveling from town to town in Belgium in the early 1800s, selling sliced, fried potatoes which he described as Paris-style fried potatoes that he had begun cutting in sticks to cook them faster. Born in Belgium, but with roots in France? Maybe.

 The story about the frozen river has been disputed by Leqlercq, who asserted that potatoes weren’t introduced there until the 1730s and so French fries could not have been discovered in 1680. Further, he claimed the majority of the population would not have had the means to deep fry potatoes in fat as that would have been much too expensive. Fat of any kind would not have been wasted on frying since it was difficult to obtain and was generally consumed by ordinary people on bread or in soups.

Anyway, calling them french fries is uniquely American. In France and Belgium, they are simply "pommes frites" or fried potatoes. Chunks of fried potatoes in Spain are patatas fritas, and the Brits know them simply as chips. Ironically enough, the Americans are actually believed to have popularized the fried potatoes by the name French fries from their interactions with Belgians and not the French. It seems that American soldiers arriving in Belgium during the war presumed that the dish was French since that was the language that the Belgian army spoke. Thus, they called the dish French Fries. True story or not, there are indications that it was called French fries in English even before the American soldiers arrived in Europe.

Who really invented French fries? That is a hotly disputed debate they may never be solved. Suffice it to say, French fries is the name associated with those delicious golden sides in America while the Belgian name is relegated to Brussels Sprouts. Hmmm. Sounds to me like France wins on that point.

What do you think? If you love fries like most Americans, does it matter where they originated? Would the American hamburger be the same without our favorite fast-food side?

 Rand isn't looking for true love. What he needs is a wife to help care for his orphan nieces. Desperate, he sends an advertisement and hopes for the best.
Fleeing her former employer who would use her to further his unlawful acts, an advertisement reads like the perfect refuge to Carly. Hiding herself on a Kansas cattle ranch is her best shot for freedom.
But its sanctuary comes with a price. While marrying a man she doesn't know or love means sacrificing her dreams, it's better than being caught by the law.
Or is it?


  1. Thank you for posting today. I love French fries but nowadays don't eat them often. You are right,, though...some main dishes scream for a side of fries.

    1. Hi Connie - I agree completely! Although my waistline doesn't let me eat those fries without guilt, I cant help snitching a few now and then.