French Fries Origin
To begin with, french fries are not French. For centuries, poor villagers in the Meuse valley in Belgium would catch small fish in the river and fry them.
However, during the winter months, the rivers froze, and villagers would then need to find other food sources.
So they would turn to potatoes, slicing them into long strands that resembled fish, and frying them, and adding salt.
So, French fries originated in Belgium, where the language spoken happens to be French.
President Thomas Jefferson, in a journal, relates a dish he called “pomme de Terre Frites, en petite tranches,” which translates to small sliced potatoes that are deep-fried.
In the 1850s, several American cookbooks had something called french-fried potatoes.
Another bit of lore regarding the origin of french fries is that American and English soldiers serving in Belgium during World War I tried these potato delights and brought them back home after the war.
The Americans call them french fries; the Brits call them chips. Despite whatever they’re called, everyone adores them.
They are so revered that national french fry day is celebrated on July 13th every year in the US.
And Belgium, which is the undisputed origin of french fries, has the only french fry museum.
There is even a French Fry song on YouTube that proclaims- Live Life, French Fries.
Potatoes for French Fries
Even though there are many varieties of potatoes, not all potatoes are destined to become french fries.
The best potato varieties for French fries are high in starch and low in moisture and create that wonderful texture that’s so needed for a perfect French fry.
Some varieties are two waxy, high in moisture, or don’t have a good texture.
These three varieties to best create perfect French fries are:
- Yukon Gold
Not to be left out are some of the new alternatives to potatoes. Some are for the taste, and some are for the health factor.
Although we acknowledge the fact that potatoes are supreme in the creation of a perfect French fry, there are some alternatives to classic potato french fries:
|Substitute for Potatoes|
Green bean fries
Artichoke hearts fries
Sweet potato fries
How To Make French FriesDifficulty: Easy
Although there are many ways to cook French Fries, baking, frying pan in a reasonable amount of oil or butter, and air frying, there’s only one way to achieve classic French Fries.
10 Russet potatoes
Vegetable or peanut oil
- Peel off the skins on the potatoes.
- Slice the potatoes in french fries sizes.
- Soak them in Cold Water for about 1-4 hours(or you can leave them overnight in the fridge); the longer, the better it’ll be because the starch will remove and make more crispy fries.
- Rinse them off 3-4 four times with cold water.
- Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel or a clean dishcloth and pat them dry.
- Heat the vegetable oil to 330°F in a large pot.
- Fry 2-4 batches of the potatoes for 4 to 5 mins per batch.
- Put the cooked potatoes on a new paper towel and continue to fry the rest of the remaining batches.
- Once all potatoes are fried, refry them at 400 degrees F until it’s golden and crisp.
- Please remove them and put them back on a new dry paper towel. Be sure to sprinkle with sea salt as soon as you take it out.
- Great to serve with ketchup or any other fry sauce.
Not only are these fantastic french fries are amazing, but they also can transform when various things get added to them, from mere condiments to meals styled and draped over the fries.
The next thing that transforms French Fries is the condiments drizzled, sprinkled, dunked, or dipped.
These flavors transform the mere potato into something divine.
- powdered ranch dressing
- cheese sauce
- tartar sauce
- ranch dressing
- truffle oil
- garlic aioli
- Ginger wasabi
- chili sauce
- diluted tamarind paste
- soy sauce
- barbecue sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Parmesan cheese
- truffle salt
- sea salt
- chili sauce
- sour cream
- marsala seasoning
- dry rub seasoning
- hot sauce
- malt vinegar
- plain salt
Styles of Cuts and Shapes
Another element that transforms the potato is the kinds of cuts and styles.
It’s mind-boggling how many different styles and cuts of fries that there are.
These different styles often go along with different kinds of toppings, condiments, and dishes they accompany.
|Types of Fries|
|Standard-cut fries||Standard-cut is the most popular and most well-known it’s often served with burgers and is the one that’s most commonly used in drive-thrus. |
It’s deep-fried tossed and salt, and often just comes with ketchup.
|Tornado fries||This fancy fry originated in South Korea as street food. It’s a potato and a stick. |
Potatoes are twirled and cut in a continuous chip, this tornado is then put on a stick and deep-fried.
It’s the perfect walk-around, one-handed fry. In South Korea, this is often accompanied by honey.
|Pommes souffle or twice fried||Pommes souffle or twice-fried potatoes are puffed-up delights that look like little golden brown balloons are fried, then cooled, then refried. |
This creates a crunchy, crisp outside and a soft, delicate inside. They’re usually made in small rounds.
|Wedges||Wedges are big chunks of potatoes that still have their skin on. |
Usually, potato is sliced lengthwise into quarters or eighths. These large fries are amazing with a thick juicy steak. In Australia, they are known as JoJo’s.
|Steak fries||Steak fries are similar to a wedge steak fries have a thick cut and they get their name as they’re served with steak. |
They’re a little bit thinner than the wedge and don’t have the arch that the wedge has. They’re flat but hefty.
|Shoestring, Matchstick, or Haystack Fries||Shoestring, Matchstick, or Haystack Fries are all names for a very small, crisp fry. Shoestring potatoes are cut into very thin and resemble matchsticks. |
These long pieces are then fried. These crispy crunchy little delights are like a haystack of crisp.
They’re often toppings for sandwiches in Cuban cuisine. Oddly these are one of the few potatoes that can be served cold and still retain their deliciousness. And often they can be found in cans.
|Curly fries||Curly fries are the slinky of potatoes. Are they toys to be eaten? |
They’re created by cutting the potato using a spiral slicer, this gives them a unique shape and an amazing taste.
They’re also called Goldilocks fries and Susie Q fries. And so they retain their shape they’re often seasoned and breaded.
|Smiley fries||Smiley fries are a relatively new shape and their circle-shaped potatoes with a smiley face cut out. |
This is made from a mashed potato mix and run through an extruder to make the shape.
This fry is the one to most charm small children. Although many say that it is an inferior taste of fries because it’s basically potato paste that is formed and fried.
|Cottage fries||Cottage fries are cut to make round, thick shapes. They are cut on the diagonal. |
Cottage fries are similar to potato chips but they’re much thicker.
They come prepared with or without potato skin. And they’re either deep-fried or baked or sputter in a pan with oil.
These are often eaten with Ketchup or Dijon Mustard.
|Home fries||All cottage fries can be called home fries but not all home fries can be called cottage fries. |
Some home fries are cubed. Home fries traditionally accompany breakfast with eggs.
They are often cooked on a griddle with ample amounts of oil, onions, and green peppers.
|Crinkle fries||Crinkle fries have been around since the ’60s. These machine-cut fries have the same shape and texture as the standard fries but with a little crinkly edge. |
The advantage of this edge is it scoops up more ketchup or mayonnaise or whatever it is you dip your French fry in.
|Tater tots||Tater tots originally came from the Ore-Ida Food Company. They found when they were peeling potatoes and preparing them for other dishes, that they had mounds of potato skins and bits of potato. |
So they reform them into little nuggets. They’re deep-fried and they’re very crispy and light.
Another advantage is because of their cylindrical shape and creation, they’re easily frozen.
So it’s something you can toss in your freezer and have on hand and on-demand. This seems to be the millennial favorite and a great toddler bite of goodness.
|Waffle fries||Waffle fries are a taste sensation. These elegant-looking fries are lattice-shaped and resemble a classic waffle.|
Created in 1979 the holes in these fries give a crunchy overall taste, and a lovely look.
|Sidewinding fries||Sidewinding fries are another new shape with an interesting look. |
It’s similar to curly fries but when the potato is spiraled it’s cut into smaller pieces.
Dressing up and Transforming French Fries
Now we come to the gourmet and regional element of French Fries, how to dress them up and transform them into an amazing complex side dish or transform them into a meal.
This is where the wheels come off the bus, people get crazy, and some get adamant about what should be with their fries.
Cheddar versus Parmanesan and what is cheese can become fighting words among some fans.
French fries can be turned into a glorious side, a thrilling snack, or an entire meal. At this point, they can be eaten with fingers, sometimes with very gooey results, or stabbed with a fork.
Personal preferences can get heated about what is best to put on your fries. These additions bring a whole new level to what we know as French fries.
The Animal style french fries
Animal-style french fries come out of California and are a cult favorite.
They are topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, and a signature fry sauce that resembles Russian dressing or a thousand Islands.
The Cheese fries
Cheese fries are the most well-known. But even those become a little bit crazy.
The classic cheese fry is cheese whiz or cheddar cheese sauce liberally dousing the fries.
Nevertheless, there are also parmesan fries, blue cheese fries, and other cheeses like Gouda and American cheese that grace these classics.
The Philly cheese fries
Philly cheese fries are a twist on a Philly cheesesteak. But instead of a bun, you layer the shaved steak and the cheese on the fries.
The classic Philly cheese fries are made with cheez whiz; however, in alternatives, American cheese is used, cheddar cheeses are used, and sometimes green peppers and onions are sauteed and tossed on the top. This one is truly a meal.
The Barbecued chicken waffle fries
Barbecued chicken waffle fries sound like the mouthful that they genuinely are.
Barbecue chicken leftovers tossed on top of the fries with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles and drizzled with barbecue sauce is a gustatorial thrill.
Whether it’s sweet barbecue sauce or something spicy and fiery, this is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Poutine is a classic that comes out of Quebec. Fries are floating in excellent brown gravy with cheese curds bedecking the top.
The warm gooey gravy is a subtle contrast to a mild cheese.
The Short rib poutine
Short rib poutine is a twist on a classic; this has all the beautiful delights of gravy and cheese curds, but with that added special hearty, spicy flavors of slow-cooked short ribs.
This is a stick to your ribs kind of winter meal; it brings a smile.
The Louisiana cheese fries with crayfish and gravy
Louisiana cheese fries with crayfish and gravy is a southern classic. It takes Canadian poutine. And add spicy pimento cheese instead of the classic cheese curd.
And the gravy is made from andouille sausage. Add to this some crawfish, crab or shrimp, or a combination of all three. Laissez les bon temps ruler!
The Korean bulgogi Fries
Korean bulgogi fries are french fries topped with bulgogi.
A beef dish typical in Korea, and caramelized kimchi, drizzle it with some sriracha mayonnaise and have a fiery meal.
The Korean tornado fries
Korean tornado fries are already mentioned above. But to appreciate their spiraling wonder is to add what makes them genuinely Korean.
They are tornado fries with honey and sometimes added sweet chili pepper sauce.
The Egyptian french fries
Egyptian french fries come with cumin and turmeric and are cover in wonderfully sauteed chicken livers.
The Greek fries
Greek fries are laden with feta cheese, olives and are drizzle with aromatic olive oil and sometimes balsamic vinegar.
Thank Greek salad substituting fries for lettuce.
The Hawaiian french fries
Hawaiian french fries make you smile and laugh, just like the Hawaiian people.
Pan-fried pineapple, spam, and green pepper grace the top of french fries, giving an interesting sweet and savory combination.
The Chili fries
Chili fries are another classic. These come in many forms, but the basis is chili with a sharp cheese melted over it.
Now, people’s chili preferences are as vast as fry styles, from meat-laden chilies to kidney bean chilies, to pinto bean chilies and every kind of heat in between.
Choose your chili, choose your cheese, and deck your fries with this fantastic combination classic.
The Curried wedges
Curried wedges are a crispy, spicy surprise. Add some Curry powder or Masala or Tikka spice to your French fries and toss.
Have a little bit of mango chutney on the side for a tasty dip.
The Ruben waffle
Ruben waffle fries make you wonder if it is fry or if it is a sandwich.
After frying up, the potatoes put them individually on a baking sheet, put some corned beef and some and sauerkraut and some cheese on the fries and lightly broil them.
This is in pop in your mouth appetizer that will make anyone who loves Rubens smile.
The Waffle fry nachos
Waffle fry nachos are another excellent way to enhance the crunchy and structurally sound waffle fries.
Once the fries are made, toss them in a pan and add nacho fixings like salsa, olives, taco beef and taco refried beans, and of course, scallions.
A few dollops of sour cream and some avocado slices make this the queen of nachos.
The Loaded waffle fries
Waffle fries are meant to be accompanied by extraordinary things.
They can be part of cheese fries, but in this instance of loaded waffle fries, it’s a blend of savory cheeses, sour cream, and bacon.
It’s like a baked potato with a crispy twist.
These are some of the more common variations of french fries. But it seems every day a new kind of french fry meal is being created.
Elements are some meat and something gooey to trap everything together.
Or something that can dust the outside of the French fry, like a spice or a dry cheese.
There are so many variations of french fries that you could spend a year trying each one and enjoy the goodness.
What isn’t there to love about French Fries, whether it’s crispy, tangy, spicy, gooey, or plain?