Development of French Fries

Potatoes originated in North America but was soon taken by the Spanish Conquistadors to be in Europe as people loved this food item. It soon spread to many locations in Europe. However, in those early years in France the was potato was grown and feed as animal feed, especially to the hogs.

It was Antoine-Augustin Parmentier while in a prison in Prussia was fed potatoes. Despite the unpleasant circumstances he was in, Antoine liked the potatoes and saw their potential as a cheap source of food. Once back in France he encourage people to use the potato in their cooking either, baked, boiled or fried.

For the potato to be fried in America it was a chef named James Hemings, who was one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves and he was given the chance to reside in Paris and receive formal training in French cuisine. Once his training was complete, James came back to Virginia with a pommes frites recipe. Jefferson was already familiar with potatoes fried in France and Belgium having been the American Minister to France from 1784 to 1789. The orginal ones did have a round shape. This would eventually serve as the inspiration for the French fries we know today in America.

Hemings prepared a version of Pommes Frites for the menu at Jefferson’s Monticello. There were truly loved by all. Since Jefferson was considered a cultural trendsetter, from there, French fries became a popular menu item throughout America.

In France, fries are “frites,” or pommes frites. If you live in the New York area, you can get a taste for the term, and the Belgian-style fries, at the aptly named Pommes Frites Restaurant.

Think of all the times you have fixed French fries, eaten them or watched your parents or grandparents fix them for the family. Now you have some of the background on French Fries.

Photo: Plate of French Fries.

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