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 Belgians and their French fries

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Number of posts : 666
Age : 34
Location : Germany
Registration date : 2006-05-20

PostSubject: Belgians and their French fries   Sat May 10, 2008 5:56 am

During the last days, I watched a documentation about French fries on TV. They spoke a lot about Belgians and "their" French fries. So here, I present some information about the subject:

Belgium and "their" French fries

Belgians claim that "French" fries are in fact Belgian, but definitive evidence for the origin has not been presented. Belgian historian Jo Gerard recounts that potatoes were already fried in 1680 in the Spanish Netherlands, in the area of "the Meuse valley between Dinant and Liиge, Belgium. The poor inhabitants of this region allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals."

The Dutch concur with a Southern Netherlandish or Belgian origin when referring to Vlaamse frieten ('Flemish fries'). In 1857, the newspaper Courrier de Verviers devotes an article to Fritz (assumed pun with 'frites'), a Belgian entrepreneur selling French fries at fairs, calling them "le roi des pommes de terre frites". In 1862, a stall selling French fried potatoes (see frietkot) called "Max en Fritz" was established near Het Steen in Antwerp.

A Belgian legend claims that the term "French" was introduced when British or American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I, and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them "French", as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time. But the term "French fried potatoes" had been in use in America long before the Great War.

Whether or not Belgians invented them, "frites" "quickly became the national snack and a substantial part of both national dishes — making the Belgians their largest per capita consumers[citation needed] in Europe, and their "symbolic" creators.


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