If you’re anything like I am, you probably thought that French fries were invented by the French, hence the name French fry. When I found out it wasn’t a French creation, I thought it must be an American invention, right? Nope! The kind of French fries that North Americans and the British have come to know and love actually originated prior to 1680 from the Meuse valley which was located in what was then the Spanish Netherlands. Nowadays, the Meuse valley is located in the south of Belgium. During the winter months, the river that the inhabitants of the valley used to fish for their food would freeze over. To keep themselves from starving, they turned to potatoes. Because they were so used to preparing fish, they would prepare the potatoes in a similar way by cutting the potatoes into the size of small fish and frying them as if they were meat.
Since Belgium played such a significant part in World War One, the country was flooded with American, Canadian and British soldiers who became rightfully enamoured with the tasty fried potato sticks. In the south of Belgium where the Meuse valley is located, French happens to be one of the more popular languages of Belgium’s three official languages. The Belgians called the dish “Les Frites” but the English-speaking soldiers nicknamed them “French fries”. Since then, this poor man’s dish has become one of the most popular foods in the world and have become a staple in many restaurants and households.