Belgian food historian Pierre Leclercq has traced the history of the french fry and asserts that “it is clear that fries are of French origin”. Fries are first mentioned in 1775 in a Parisian book, and the first recipe for modern French fries is in the French cookbook La cuisinière républicaine in 1795.
They became an emblematic Parisian dish in the 19th century. Frédéric Krieger, a Bavarian musician, learned to cook fries at a roaster on rue Montmartre in Paris in 1842, and took the recipe to Belgium in 1844, where he would create his business Fritz and sell ‘Paris-style fried potatoes’.
The modern style of fries born in Paris around 1855 is different from the domestic fried potato that existed in the 18th century. In 1673, Francisco Núñez de Pineda mentioned eating “papas fritas” in 1629, but it is not known what exactly these were. Fries may have been invented in Spain, the first European country in which the potato appeared from the New World colonies.
For Belgians, fries are holy, something you shouldn’t mess with. You might think: what can go wrong when deep frying potato sticks? Quite a few things. First of all: don’t call it French Fries, at least not when in Belgium. Then, there’s the right potato variety and special dripping you need to fry the potatoes in. Not to forget the special method of cooking the fries twice and the different sauces to choose from. So, even if French fries seem to be a simple dish at first sight, there are still some secrets to discover.– DW Food
Learn about Belgian Fries Secrets in the Following Video by DW Food
French and Belgian Debate on Origin of French Fries
- Professor Paul Ilegems, curator of the Frietmuseum in Bruges, Belgium, believes that Saint Teresa of Ávila of Spain cooked the first french fries, and refers also to the tradition of frying in Mediterranean cuisine as evidence.
- The French and Belgians have an ongoing dispute about where fries were invented. A Belgian frites shop The myth of Belgian fries dates from around 1985. From the Belgian standpoint, the popularity of the term “french fries” is explained as “French gastronomic hegemony” into which the cuisine of Belgium was assimilated, because of a lack of understanding coupled with a shared language and geographic proximity of the countries.
- The Belgian journalist Jo Gérard claimed that a 1781 family manuscript recounts that potatoes were deep-fried prior to 1680 in the Meuse valley, as a substitute for frying fish when the rivers were frozen. Gérard never produced the manuscript that supports this claim, and “the historical value of this story is open to question”.
- In any case, it is unrelated to the later history of the french fry, as the potato did not arrive in the region until around 1735. In any case, given 18th-century economic conditions: “it is absolutely unthinkable that a peasant could have dedicated large quantities of fat for cooking potatoes. At most they were sautéed in a pan”.
” Famously disputed between France and Belgium, fries have made an impact worldwide. From Canadian poutine to South African slap chips, Explore the multitude of toppings and condiments that make fries unique around the world ” – Foodie Insider