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Friday, July 13th is the one designated day of the year to celebrate French fries; America's beloved, deep-fried, starchy slices often served oil-soaked, salt-dusted, and gleaming with a potent aura of temptation in its purest form. Whether they are thick-cut, thin-cut, extra crispy, extra droopy, curly, spicy, baked, or slathered in a cheese sauce of a yellow hue not found in nature, French fries lack the ability to be resisted by humans.
After noshing on a plate of golden tuber slices, one may gaze at the very last fry on the plate and ponder, “Little fry, who made thee?” Unfortunately, for the common ponderer, there is no legitimate documentation of the very beginnings of the fried spud. It was not until the 1700s that the potato gained a widespread embrace from countries all over Europe, such as Ireland, England, France, Scotland, Holland, and Austria, according to stim.com's Secret History of French Fries. Before that time, the potato was regarded as an “edible stone” and at one point was thought to be poisonous and even unholy.
One day, as potatoes were finally commonplace in homes and dining establishments, a curious fellow (the French held that it was a countryman) dropped slices of potato into boiling fat and viola! He frenched a fry. The French fry was engendered and became a hit collation all throughout France and Belgium. Their becoming a fast food staple in America did not take place for another 100 years, stim.com's Secret History of French Fries continues.
Seeking out a spot to chow down on French fries is not a difficult task. The continuous growth of fast food joints in America increase your chances of obtaining such a savory treat. However, not only establishments such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's have hopped on the French fry bandwagon to provide one of America's favorite side dishes. Local restaurants offer variations of French fry dishes, topping heaps of deep-fried spuds with balsamic vinegar, cheese sauce, chili, chile peppers, and even bacon.
As they have become a global phenomenon, one will find French fries as “pommes frites” in France, “chips” in England, and “patatas fritas” in Spain. In Canada, one may discover the deliciousness that is poutine: an assemblage of fries, fresh cheese curds, and a surge of hot gravy. See picture below for ultimate, deep-fried eye candy.
So, if you find yourself latterly being summoned, “would like you fries with that?” consider the history and worldwide infatuation of this fried snack and maintain a plain and simple answer: “Abso-frickin-lutely.”
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