French Fries
Garlic fries are displayed during a media food tour at Yankee Stadium in New York, April 15, 2009. Reuters/Eric Thayer

To celebrate the love for fries there is National French Fry Day and it falls July 13 every year. French fries are a comfort food for many people, and the versatile, salty snack is a bestseller in many countries, including the U.S.

The origin of the fries is debatable, with Belgium, France and Spain each claiming it was made in their country first. According to the Belgians, they call fries as “French fries" as Belgian food has been appropriated by the French.

The French, on the other hand, say street vendors on the Pont Neuf bridge were the first to sell fries in 1789, making them the inventor of the beloved snack. Meanwhile, Spain claims since it was the first European country to bring potatoes back from the New World, they should be given credit for inventing the fries.

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Following are some facts about fries, gathered from BuzzFeed, the Daily Meal and Encyclopedia.com.

  • An average Americans eats about 29 pounds of fries every year.
  • Belgium has a museum dedicated to fries. It is called the Friet Museum in Bruges in northwestern part of the country.
  • In the Philippines, one of the condiments for fries is banana ketchup.
  • Frozen fries were sold at R. H. Macy in New York City in 1946. Long Island City’s Maxon Food Systems introduced the fries. However, the company failed.
  • Fries, which are called chips in Britain, are thicker there than in the U.S.
  • About 7 percent of all the potatoes grown in the United States are turned into McDonald’s fries. The chain sells more than one-third of all fries sold in restaurants.
  • When starchy food is prepared at a high temperature, a chemical compound called acrylamide is formed. This compound is considered a potential carcinogen by the U.S. government, and several researches showed it can lead to tumors in the adrenal glands, thyroid, and lungs when consumed in high concentrations.
  • McDonald’s fries reportedly contained seven ingredient — potatoes, vegetable oils, salt, natural beef flavor, citric acid, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate.
  • The Guinness World Record for the largest serving of fries (1,003 pounds) was made by Twin Oaks Farms, Inc. in Eagle, Idaho, on Sept. 20, 2014. “The weight of the raw potatoes used is [1,256 pounds] and [110 gallons] of cooking oil was used to fry the chips,” according to the Guinness World Record Website.

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  • Initially, the taste of fries was simple. “But now with the advanced french fries flavoring machine, it can reach diversification. People can also dip it in sauces and condiments. For example, french fries are often topped with gravy and cheese curds in Canada,” French Fries Machine states on its website.
  • Potatoes reportedly fry faster at higher levels of gravity
  • In 1960, people in the U.S. consumed 81 pounds of fresh potatoes per capita and about four pounds of frozen fries. However, by 1971, the consumption of processed potatoes was more than of fresh potatoes.
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