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The origins of fries
The origins of fries date back to the region of the river Meuse. People living along the shores of the Meuse had a habit of frying little fish. During the 1650âs the winters were very harsh, which led to the freezing over of the Meuse. As a result fishing was impossible. An alternative was quickly thought of: now that there werenât any fish in stock, the people simply replaced them with small potato strips. When fried these looked a bit like the little fried fish they knew so well.
The origins of crisps (potato chips)
It is said that crisps are an influence stemming from America, where they are called potato chips. In 1852 George Crum (1822 – 1914), chef in restaurant Moonâs Lake House, a resort in Saratoga Springs, New York, may have invented this delicious snack by accident. Crum got angry when a customer sent his âfriesâ back to the kitchen, because they were âtoo thickâ. In a bit of a fit Crum sliced a potato into very thin slices and fried them. To his great surprise the difficult customer was suddenly delighted to see such wafer-thin potato slices. Crum has been known as âthe inventor of potato chipsâ ever since.
The discovery of the potato
The origin of the potato lies in South-America. Archaeological findings have shown the potato has had its roots in Peru for over 8000 years: the Indians (Incas) witnessed llamas dig up small tubers. The basic food of the Incas consisted of potatoes, as well as maize (corn) and beans.
Nutritional value of the potato
The leaves of the potato plant are poisonous, but the thickened parts of the roots underground are edible and highly nutritious. These tubers are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibres and starch.
200g (Â± 7oz) of potatoes contains:
- 40% of the RDI of vitamin C
- 10 to 15% of the RDI of magnesium and iron
- 50% of the RDI of potassium
Why do people call it ‘French fries’?
The expression ‘French fries’ is said to have developed during the First World War. French was the official language of the Belgian army. Supposedly some Belgian soldiers offered their American colleagues a portion of fries. But because of the language these men spoke, the Americans assumed these hospitable soldiers were French. Hence the name âFrench friesâ.
The first sauce
Until the early 20th century you could only get a pack of fries with salt when you visited a chip shop. Apparently the first sauce was… an onion. The onion was sliced very thinly and then fried. It was combined with beans, vinegar, a bit of flour and possibly a few spoons of cream. Other sauces werenât combined with fries until 1950.