Originally published Friday, July 6, 2018 at 02:55p.m.
You see them from across the room; a heaping plate of golden sunshine.
The crispy outside yields to a light-as-air center when you bite into it. After you dip it in ketchup that is, or mayonnaise or malt vinegar. Whatever you dip them in, it’s hard to beat the cooked to perfection French fry. But are French fries really French, or are they Belgian?
The Belgians seem to have a more compelling story as to their creation. The Belgians enjoyed catching local tiny fish and then frying them to golden perfection. But when winter came they were unable to catch their fish because of the rivers freezing over, so as a substitute someone decided to slice potatoes into a shape resembling the fish and fry those instead.
Voilà! The French fry, or Belgian fry, was born.
Of course, it could be that the term French fry has more to do with the shape than the origin, and the Belgians do love their fries. They eat the most of them and they even have a Frietmuseum dedicated entirely to the French fry.
The debate continues, and while both countries may take credit for creating the tasty morsel, we should probably give some credit to the Spaniards, too, because they introduced potatoes to Europe in the first place. Wherever they came from, the world is most appreciative of their existence, and since July 13 is National French fry day, go out with a friend and have yourself a big plate of fries. However, don’t steal them from your friends plate because that is the number one reason people quarrel in restaurants.
But you and I both know the fries they have on their plate always taste better than the ones we have on our own.