One of the most popular foods in the United States has its own special day: July 13 is National French Fry Day. It’s as good a day as any to enjoy the yummy deep-fried potatoes, whether they’re steak, string, waffle, curly, or crinkled fries.
If you’re attending a county fair or a festival this summer, you might try tornado potatoes. That’s a whole potato cut into thin swirls, put on a stick, then—of course—deep fried.
Potatoes are the most consumed vegetable in the country, with Americans eating an average of 115.6 pounds of white potatoes each year. According to a 2018 U.S.D.A. statistic, two-thirds of those potatoes are in the form of French fries, potato chips, and other frozen/processed potato products. Sweet potato fries have also gained a following in recent years.
The expression “French Fried Potatoes” may have first been used in print in the 1856 book Cookery for Maids of All Work. However, some historians believe the term began to gain popularity after American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and tasted Belgian fries.
Since French was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time, American soldiers began calling the delicious fried potatoes “French” fries.
You can do a lot with French fries besides just frying them, sprinkling them with salt, then dipping them in ketchup.
How about trying fries with ranch dressing, vinegar, mayonnaise, honey mustard, or grated Parmesan cheese?
Many folks prefer the ubiquitous fry sauce, which is usually created by blending one-part ketchup to two-parts mayo. Seasonings can also liven up fries. Garlic, curry or onion powder; sea salt; pepper; and red pepper flakes are just a few of the possibilities. You can also spoon chili or jalapenos on your fries, or pour on some “nacho” cheese sauce. Get creative!
In Canada, fries are an integral part of “poutine,” which is said to have originated in the province of Quebec in the 1950s. Today, though, poutine is practically a national dish. It consists of French fries and cheese curds (sometimes grated mozzarella cheese) which are topped with a warm brown gravy.
Conflux Brewing Company in Missoula, Mont., has created its own version, called Cajun Poutine. For this tasty dish, cheese curds, chorizo country gravy, and Tabasco aioli are piled on top of fries or tots (or cauliflower). Check out CBC’s website at confluxbrewing.com or call (406)926-3589.
Another unusual dish incorporating fries can be found at a popular Sandpoint, Idaho restaurant. Joel’s Mexican Restaurant’s “California Burrito” is composed of French fries, carne asada, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, salsa, onions, and cilantro, wrapped up in a flour tortilla. So good! Joe’s Mexican Restaurant can be found on Facebook, or you can call them at (208)265-8991.
Here is one breakfast recipe for French fries. Enjoy! ISI
Fries for Breakfast
Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people)
- 1 bag frozen fries (I prefer Alexa’s but any good quality fries will do)
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sea or kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- Optional: l/2 lb. frozen breakfast sausage patties (I prefer vegetarian or chicken sausage), cooked according to package directions. Crumble and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel
- Bake fries according to package directions.
- While fries are baking, shred the cheeses and mix them.
- When fries are done (crispy), remove from the oven, then set the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, place about a third of the fries in a single layer. Top with about a third of the mixed cheeses. Repeat process twice more with remaining fries and cheese.
- Put the skillet in the oven and bake fries and cheese until the cheese melts and the fries are even crispier (about 15 minutes). Remove and turn off the oven. (If using the breakfast sausage crumbles, sprinkle them over the fries now.) Cover immediately with aluminum foil, and put them back in the still-warm oven.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then fry the eggs (keep them as separate from each other as possible). Cook until the whites are set (about 4 minutes). Sprinkle with sea or kosher salt and pepper to your taste, then sprinkle with just a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Serve warm.