Who Invented French Fries?

Historical accounts do not really clearly signify the person who invented french fries. Thus, many try to claim for the glory. Here are some of the countries that were involved in the question of who really invented this dish:

Does Belgium Really Hold the Credit of Inventing this Dish?
According to Jo Gerard, a historian of Belgium, early traces on who invented french fries can be seen during the 1680s.

In Gerard’s findings, poor inhabitants of Belgium usually had small fried fish with their meals. But, when the river in that area became frozen, and most of the families were unable to fish, they used potatoes fried in oil with their meals. These potatoes were said to be cut lengthwise, and served as a good substitute for fried fish.

There was also a particular legend in this country that somehow supports the theory that french fries indeed originated in Belgium.

According to this legend, some American or British soldiers went to Belgium on World War I, and were able to taste the Belgian french fries. Since the official language of the army of Belgium was French, the term “French” was attached to the dish of fried potatoes and initially used by these soldiers.

Is French Fries a Dish from France?
France is another country thought to be the original creator of french fries. These fried potatoes are simply referred to as “pommes frites” or “frites.” Some even call it “pommes de terres frites.”
If the French invented this dish, no one can say, but there is a particular cookbook that was published during 1755 that held various recipes that one can make for fried potatoes. This cookbook was Menon’s “Les soupers de la cour.”

Also, a Frenchman named Antoine-Augustin Parmentier was the one who was known to be a promoter of eating potatoes not only in France but also throughout Europe. However, there was no real acount that Parmentier particularly mentioned fried potatoes.

But there are some accounts that many Americans believe that french fries really originate in this country. This belief is supported by a notation written by U.S. President Thomas Jefferson used during the years 1801-1809 where these words were clearly handwritten: “Pommes de terre frites à cru, en petites tranches” which, in english, means “Potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings.”

Was French Fries Invented by Spain?
Some say that the Spanish were the ones who should be given credit as the inventor of these fried potatoes.

Accounts can be seen in the New World colonies where Spain was said to be the first European country where the eating of fried potatoes started, and was a particular custom that was used as a food staple accompanied by fish dishes. This custom started in Galicia, and later spread throughout Spain to the Spanish Netherlands, and later to Belgium after a century has passed.

To find out who invented french fries and initially contributed to its early popularity, perhaps, should not be something to argue about. Credit may be given to all countries who claim to be the original creators because with all their contributions, we now enjoy this delicious dish.