Saturday, July 7, 2012

The History of and Enjoyment of French Fries

It’s no secret that Americans love fried food, especially French fries. French fries can be found served at almost every restaurant and summer fair or festival. Even though the basis of the french fry seems simple: fry a potato and then sprinkle on salt, there are many different variations to this seemingly simple recipe. As well as the various unique recipes, many American may be surprised that our modern French fry barely resembles the french cut potatoes to which Americans were originally introduced.
The first recorded “french fries” were the potatoes that Thomas Jefferson had served to him in 1802 at the White House, reportedly served in a “French cut manner”. These potatoes probably resembled a traditional British chip (a large chunk of potato that is fried) instead of the thing fried pieces of potatoes that have become known as French fries today. The modern french fry was first mentioned in an 1856 cookbook, and the title of the recipe was “French Fried Potatoes”. In this recipe, the potato was to be cut into thin pieces (not chunks) and then boiled in fat until golden brown. At the golden brown stage the potatoes were to be removed and sprinkled with salt. During the 20th century, the popularity of the French Fried Potatoes continued to spread, and the name was shortened to French Fries.


During the 1940s, the J.R. Simplot Company began to sell French fries commercially. However, the popularity of the french fry skyrocketed in 1967 when McDonalds asked the J.R. Simplot Company to supply them with French fries (replacing the tendency to cut the fries in restaurants). American based fast food chains, such as McDonalds, Burger King and Arby’s have continued to spread the popularity of the American version of the French fry around the globe.
Although the basis for the French fry is to deep boil it and then sprinkle on salt, there are many variations on how to design and season the fries. Americans use a variety of different cuts for their fries, depending upon the region, resturant and personal taste. Some cuts include: steak fries, thick-cut fries, wedge fries, curly fries and tornado fries. Although curly fries can be found pre-packaged and made at home, they’re traditionally bought in pizzerias and at food carts at fairs. These fries are not straight, but instead curl. This shape is made possible by the potato being cut by a special slicer. Curly fries are often popular among children. Tornado fries are a larger version of curly fries. They are made by skewering the entire potato, and then slicing it with a special slicer. The potato is then spread evenly among the skew and deep fried.         
No matter how you enjoy your french fries: deep cut, wedge, curly or tornado style, French fries are enjoyed with a variety of seasoning and dipping choices. Most commonly Americans add additional salt (if necessary to taste preference) and then dip the fries in sauces such as mustard, mayo or ketchup. French fries can be enjoyed by the young and old, in homes, at restaurants and at summer festivals.  

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