Transitions, Ink

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Sribblings #25 Google Magic

Sunday Scribblings asked us to research something on Google. I do a lot of research for a living, so I was initially resistant. But I LOVE google. I decided to research something way out of my usual range. French fries are my favourite food, but other than that they’re deep-fried potatoes and they taste good, especially with ketchup and vinegar (the Canadian way), I don’t know a lot about them. So I set out to get some information. Here is what I found:
  • The French claim that fries (or frites) originated in Paris in the mid 19th Century on the Pont de Neuf.
  • Belgians also take credit for inventing fries. Belgian historian, Jo Gerard, claims to have proof that fries were invented in 1680 in the Belgian region of the Meuse.
  • In Belgium, they call them Belgian fries.
  • In Belgium, as in the Netherlands, they like to dip their fries in mayonnaise.
  • Some people think that french fries got their name, not because they're actually french, but because when something is cut into lengthwise pieces it is "frenched" (as in french-cut green beans). So, "french fries" are "frenched and fried potatoes."
  • Fries are called by a variety of names throughout the world and in different languages, including: fries, frites, chips, friet, pommes frites, patates frites, papas fritas, pomfritter, papas a la francesca, batatas fritas, cartofi prajiti, man fa rang tod, piniritong patatas, patat, patat frites, vlaamse friet, pom fri, kentang goreng, gamza reekim, frytki, freedom fries
  • Different cuts include: waffle cut, shoestring, curly, thick cut, chunky
  • In Quebec, French Canadians invented poutine, which is a dish with fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy.
  • Until 1990, McDonalds' fries were fried in 7% cottonseed oil and 93% beef tallow, making them higher in saturated fat than the hamburgers. When public pressure moved them to switch to vegetable oil, they had to add "natural flavor" to them (see Eric Schlosser's, author of Fast Food Nation, article in Harper's).
  • And this amazing fact, not exactly about fries, but probably the most facinating piece of information I came upon in my research: 90% of the money Americans spend on food buys processed food.
Among the best fries in Canada are available from chip trucks. I'll leave you with my own recipe for oven-fries: if you want to make your own, you don't have a deep fryer and/or you're health conscious, I suggest that you pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees F, cut 4 or 5 medium potatoes (skins on) into lengthwise thirds and then cut each third into four slices, toss them in olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons), and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet (a silpat works best for this). Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and crispy, turning once. Enjoy!


Bug said...

I got hungry just reading your post! And it intriugued me b/c I know what a health nut you are. The end recipe saved your reputation. :)

TI said...

Am I really a health nut? It's funny becuase i don't really think of myself that way.

Bug said...

I meant it in the best sense--anyone who gives up sugar is quite into healthy eating in my book!

dorinny said...

how can anyone eat fries with mayonnaise??? aaaaggh! interesting factoids! I always thought they originated in France, until i saw a travel documentary about Belgium, but now I'm just confused :)

Bibi said...

That's interesting! And BTW, I left a very secure senior management career with excellent money and a lot of perks etc, and have never regretted it for one moment. Everyone thought I was having an early midlife crisis ... don't to listen to them ;-)

TI said...

Thanks Bibi. I love to hear from people who have done what I am setting out to do. I will take your advice and not listen to THEM!

my backyard said...

"Belgian fries," huh?

This was entertaining.