Both the Belgians and the French claim themselves to be ones who invented French fries. French fries have got a long history in these countries. The Belgians claim the people in the valley between Dinant and Liege used to eat fried fish from the local river. Around the year 1680, the river froze in the winter and the locals couldn’t fish. They cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals. Thus the French fries were born.

The French use the name “pommes de terres frites” for French fries. Honore Julien, a French chef, whose manuscript, which comes from the 1800s expounds on how to make fried potatoes. The rest of the world learnt about the French fries from the French and that is where the name ‘French fries’ originates from. Belgians, however, argue because French is also an official language in Belgium, ‘French’ in ‘French fries’ refers to the French language and not France. The name ‘chips’ is more common in Britain and Commonwealth nations.

French fries have a number of variants, most common include: thick cut fries, steak fries, jojo fries, curly fries, crinkle fries, shoestring fries and oven fries. The French equivalents are pommes pont neuf (thick cut fries), pommes allumettes, pommes pailles, pommes gaufrettes etc. The health-risks associated with French fries are well known. They contain harmful fats and are a major cause of obesity in the developed world, particularly the United States. There are companies which are trying to woo customers by claiming that their French fries are safer. Instead of using normal oil, they fry chips either in canola oil or peanut oil or something similar which would pose lesser health risks.

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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.