Tuesday, December 9, 2008

History of French Fries

French Fries, at least in the U.S. seem to have been first named “Potatoes, fried in the French manner”, which is how Thomas Jefferson described a dish he brought over to the colonies in the late 1700s. He served this to guests at Monticello and it became popular dinner fare.

The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language makes first mention of them in an 1857 quote from Dickens about a plate of potato sticks cooked in oil. There are also a couple references in the late 1800s.

It is interesting to note that the French Fry was the precursor to the potato chip. According to “The Interesting History of Ordinary Items” in 1893 American Indian George Crum was the Chef at Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York. Some quest started complaining that the fries were too thick, so Crum made a thinner batch. Still no good, Crum got fed up and made ultra-thin fries that couldn’t be picked up with a fork (which was the custom then) and would break if one tried to. The guests loved them! Not one to dwell on a failure Crum gave in and made them regularly. They were on the lodge’s menu as Saratoga Chips. Crum opened up his own place and specialized in the “fries gone wrong.”

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