National French Fry Day is my favorite underrated holiday. I consider myself a connoisseur because fries have been a major staple of my diet since what feels like day 1. Until writing this, I was only an expert in what I think makes the best fries. After doing some research, let’s ketchup on a brief history of the French fry.
French fries don’t actually originate from France. According to todayifoundout.com, most people agree that the Belgians started frying “thin strips of potatoes” sometime around the end of the 17th century. However, the French, specifically an army medical officer and #1 fan of potatoes Antoine-Augustine Parmentier, convinced America and Britain that potatoes are amazing, especially when fried. That’s why the name “French fry” stuck (sorry, Belgians).
Now that we’ve gone through the brief history, I’m sure you’re wondering what makes fries so fantastic. Well if you ask me, a huge reason why is that they are the perfect accompaniments to many main courses -- burgers, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, steaks, and so many more. They are the perfect side dish because they very rarely overpower the main course, but definitely compliment different seasonings depending on the style of fries (salted, garlic, cajun, etc.). The other major strength is that they’re a great shareable item. The density of the potato calms some hunger pains, so you don’t have to feel inclined to eat the whole basket yourself (but absolutely no judgment if you do) and you can share with others at your table. Plus, they’re usually quick to make, so they’re a solid item to order when you’re in a hurry.
Let’s talk about what makes a good order of fries. I’m a fan of the classic style. Fries should be hot, crispy, and salty. “Soggy” fries have their own strengths and are good once in awhile, but I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted a whole basket of soggy fries. I’m also not huge on “fancy” options, like garlic-parmesan fries. I just want a classic style with salt, seasoned salt, or maybe cajun seasoning. The cut is not a huge factor for me, but I’m usually inclined to go for crinkle-cut or steak fries. As for condiments, I have mixed feelings about them. I love ketchup but I think of ketchup with fries the same way I think of A1 with steak -- you shouldn’t need it. I’m a huge advocate for nacho cheese, ranch, and chipotle mayo as condiment options, but I will still always hope that the fries are good enough on their own to stand without any dipping sauces. However, that rule of thinking does not apply to poutine because poutine is incredible and completely underrated here in the states for some bizarre reason.
Whew! I think we covered everything. I never thought I would write so thoroughly about my love affair with French fries, but here we are. So, dear reader, I hope that you have a wonderful day celebrating the perfect side dish. Go take advantage of this beautiful holiday -- find some deals and try some fries. Happy National French Fry Day!