July 13th is National French Fry Day!
Some people believe that the designation “French” was applied to the potatoes when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and began eating Belgian fries. Since the Belgian Army at the time spoke French as its official language, it was suggested that they call them “French” fries.
Frozen French fries were commercialized during the 1940s. By 2004, 20% of the United States’ potato crop was used to make frozen fries. 90% of those fries were then distributed by the food services sector.
Unfortunately, French fries contain many carbohydrates as well as fats that are absorbed into the food during the frying process. Fries also contain acrylamides, which are chemical compounds that may impact people’s risk of getting cancer. For this reason, French fries are best left to occasional snacking, such as on this special holiday.
To celebrate, consider taking an international approach to your French fry consumption. Around the world, people enjoy different toppings on their French fries such as ketchup, ranch dressing, vinegar, mayonnaise, honey mustard, cheese, gravy or chili. Some areas even use French fries as toppings on sandwiches, such as in Greek gyros or on a mitraillette (a Belgian sandwich made from a baguette that is filled with meat and topped with fries and mayonnaise). For more ideas, try cooking a dish of poutine (a popular Quebecois fry dish topped with gravy and cheese curds), or serve French fries alongside some fish as is popular in England.