The Perfect Complement: The Fascinating History of French Fries

history of french fries

Did you know that potatoes are the most commonly consumed vegetable? Considering how many people love french fries, this fact shouldn’t surprise you.

But as popular as everyone’s favorite side is, most people don’t know the first thing about the history of french fries.

Are french fries really French? When did fries become a classic American side dish? We’re answering these questions and more in this post.

What Is the History of French Fries?

In 2014, Belgium petitioned UNESCO to include french fries as a cultural Belgian dish. Why? Legend has it that the world’s first fries were born in Namur, a city in central Belgium.

The story begins during a particularly cold winter in 1680, long before the invention of hamburgers. It was so cold the nearby river froze, restricting access to fresh fish. That was bad news since the Namurois loved fried fish.

Though we don’t know who, exactly, came up with the idea, someone in Namur decided to fry up some potatoes instead. The fry became a staple side dish in Namur. Its popularity spread to other Belgian cities, and the rest is history!

Where Do French Fries Get Their Name?

There are many theories behind how french fries received their name, but only three have any meat to them.

The first theory is that the name comes from a method of preparation called frenching. Frenching is a cutting technique similar to the julienne. It creates a long rectangle that’s equal on all sides, so basically a fry.

Another theory goes along with the Belgian origin of fries. Proponents of the view that french fries come from Namur claim that American soldiers visited the region during World War I and dubbed the invention “French fries.”

Others believe the moniker refers to the humble fry’s true origin: France. Those who argue for this theory say that french fries actually originate in 18th-century France and are a descendant of pomme Ponte Neuf.

When Did French Fries Come to the US?

Thomas Jefferson may be best known as the third president of the United States. He’s also rumored to be the hero who introduced french fries to US culture in the 19th century.

But it wasn’t until the 1940s that french fries became synonymous with America. The J.R. Simplot Company started selling french fries on the frozen aisles of local supermarkets.

A few decades later, McDonald’s entered the scene. It was then that a hamburger and fries became an integral part of the American diet.

Need a Hamburger for That Side of Fries?

The history of french fries may be confusing, but the reason why everyone loves this side is not. Fries are the perfect way to fulfill your craving for something hot, salty, greasy, and crunchy.

Are you searching for ‘the best burger near me’? Burger Republic has locations across middle Tennessee. Find a Burger Republic in your area and stop by for a burger to go with your favorite side of fries.