French fries are potatoes cut in short sticks and deep fried. They are also known as chips, fries, finger chips, or French-fried potatoes and are one of the most popular types of fast food. They are prepared with salt and can be served soft or crisp, usually with ketchup or with other condiments or toppings.
History of French fries, as fries themselves, begins with potato which was known in South America since the 8000BC and was a staple food of territories where corn didn’t grow since then. Sailors brought potatoes, among other things, to Europe in 16th century, more precisely - to Spain and Italy. Over time, people cultivated potato variants that could be grown in Europe and that could grow larger. In 17th century, Belgians invented French fries.
Yes, it looks weird but the name of French fries is said to come from so-called "French gastronomic hegemony" and assigned to this Belgian cuisine. Belgian journalist Jo Gérard says that he has a family document dating from 1781 that in turn says that people deep-fried potatoes in late 17th century on a territory that was known as “Spanish Netherlands” (which gives some credibility to the text because potatoes came to Spain first). He said that poor people of that region used to catch small fish and deep-fried it for nourishment but in winter, when the water of rivers freezes, they would cut potatoes in the size of small fish and deep-fried it instead.
One idea is that British and American soldiers gave this cuisine name “French” when they tried it during the First World War. Second origin story says that French fries were invented in 1789 by street vendors in Paris. Third one gives invention of French fries to Spaniards. Professor Paul Ilegems, curator of the Frietmuseum in Bruges, Belgium said that the first French fries were prepared by Saint Teresa of Ávila from Spain in 16th century. U.S. President Thomas Jefferson mentioned French fries in one of his texts dating between 1801 and 1809. American cookbooks from 1813 also mention French fries and give recipes for their preparation.
Today, French fries are popular around the world. In Belgium, they are sold in shops called “friteries” and eaten with Mammoet-sauce (mayonnaise, tomato, onion, glucose, garlic, and soy sauce), peanut sauce, tartar sauce and other sauces. British have their “fish and chips”, battered fish with thicker cut fries. Canadian popular dish is “poutine” - French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy. After the French fries came to United States they were popularized by fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Arby's.
In the 1960s appeared pre-made French fries that were been pre-fried, frozen and sealed in a plastic bag to be prepared at home. Variants of French fries differ in the way they are cut. They can be cut thin, thick, in spring-like shape or with a specialized spiral slicer (Tornado Fries).
French fries are mainly carbohydrates from starch and fat from the deep-frying. Healthier variants are prepared in unsaturated oil and vegetable oils.