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Americans Eat Almost 30 Pounds Of French Fries Yearly. Belgians Eat 1/3 More With A Mayonnaise Based Dipping Sauce

National French Fry Day on July 13th recognizes a staple food on menus across the country. It comes in so many different cuts and styles, there’s a favorite for everyone to enjoy!

  • The expression “French Fried Potatoes” first occurs in print in English in the 1856 work Cookery for Maids of All Work by E. Warren.
  • Charles Dickens, who was surprisingly something of a 17th-century “foodie,” was the first author to pen french fries into literature. Dickens wrote about dozens of breakfast foods, dinner plates and pints of beer, and included an allusion to french fries in his 1859 novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” It was the best of fries, it was the worst of fries… Dickens described the dish we now know as fries as, “husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.”
  • French Fries are one of many foods whose name is most misleading, as the origins of this fat fried food seem to be in Belgium. The story of their creation can be found in a family manuscript dated 1781, which reveals that potatoes were originally cut into the shape of fish and served in lieu of the fish normally caught in a series of small villages in Belgium. It seems the river had frozen over and the fish they normally caught and fried were unable to be caught.
  • Between the 1850s and 1930s, French fries were known more illustratively as “French fried potatoes” in America.  Around the 1930s, everybody dropped the “potatoes” on the end and just called them French fries.
  • It is believed by some that the term “French” was introduced to the potatoes when the American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and consequently tasted Belgian fries. Since French was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time, it is possible the American soldiers began calling the fried potatoes “French” fries.
  • Though French fries were invented in Europe, the potatoes, from which they are made, originated in the Americas and were imported.
  • Leaving the potato skin on French fries actually leaves in important vitamins that are lost if the skins are peeled away.
  • The first occurrence of French fries in America may have been at a diplomatic dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson.
  • North Americans refer to any elongated pieces of fried potatoes as fries, while in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of fried potatoes are often called fries to distinguish them from the more thickly cut strips called chips.
  • McDonald’s uses about 7% of the potatoes grown in the United States for its French fries. They sell more than 1/3 of all the French fries sold in restaurants in the U.S. each year.
  • To burn off the calories in a medium order of McDonald’s French fries, you would need to do: 58 minutes of cycling, 90 minutes of bowling or 47 minutes of high impact aerobics.
  • Sweet potatoes aren’t actually potatoes. They are actually swollen roots and belong to the same family as Morning Glories. But they sure do make the best French fries!
  • There is a whole museum dedicated to French fries called the Friet Museum in Belgium. If possible, celebrate National French Fry Day there!
  • The European Space Agency did a study to see how fries would be in space. As the gravity gets stronger, the fries get crispier. But since the gravity in space is less, the fries would be soggy and gross. Even though they are gross with less gravity, they were also the first vegetable grown in space because of NASA.
  • Almost ¼ of all potatoes in America are consumed as French fries. According to National Geographic, the average American eats nearly 30 pounds of french fries each year.
  • Belgians, per capita, consume a third more French fries than Americans.  And their dip/sauce of choice is mayonnaise-based.
  • The USDA actually considers frozen fries as “vegetables,” which is why you might find them in the frozen vegetable aisle at the grocery store.
  • The world’s largest ‘French Fry Feed’ is in North Dakota.   A French Fry Feed is an event wherein huge swarms of people consume french fries simultaneously. The largest in the world, the Potato Bowl, takes place in Grand Forks, North Dakota. According to their website, up to 10,000 people attend each year, which is even better attendance than some of the best food festivals in America see.
  • There are actual fry-tasting rooms at the McDonald’s headquarters in Illinois.


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