Visiting Belgium through “french” fries

8 Mar

I could eat all of these by myself

French fries are a highly debated food item. Because of the name, you would think they originated in France, but Belgium, Spain, and Great Britain have all laid claim to their origin as well.

I think Belgium is the mostly likely contender, so today we explore Belgium! It’s a small country between France and Germany, often called a crossroads of Western Europe and a melting pot of cultures. You can see this clearly by Belgium’s multiple languages. Northern Belgians speak French, while southern inhabitants speak Dutch and central inhabitants speak a mix. A smaller group in the east speak German.

Belgium boasts of the best chocolate and beer in the world as well as premium fries. Food is a huge part of the culture, and there are more than 5,000 frietkot (fry shops) in the country! Not to mention the fry museum and the chocolate museum. Mmm!

Another attraction of Belgium is the deep history. In Wallonia, one of the French-speaking cities, visitors have the opportunity to take a route to the past by going from villages to monuments to museums, all commemorating World War II.

Belgium has more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Imagine living in Belgium and passing four or five castles on your morning run. Just another day for the average Belgian, where modern cities are situated side-by-side with rural villages.

I also found a couple unique things about Belgium. First is the Chinese pavilion located in Brussels. Oriental architecture is not something you expect in Western Europe! Another is called the Atomium. It’s a huge structure made of tubes and spheres that you can walk through. As a musician, I found the Musical Instrument Museum interesting as well. They feature more than 1,200 instruments, both antique and modern.

But, back to food…if Belgians are truly responsible for french fries, I am thankful to them! Whether fries are curly, steak-sliced, spicy or made out of sweet potato, I am a fan. I don’t know why I didn’t try making them until recently! It’s simple enough if you have the time to wash, peel, dry and slice potatoes. True Belgian fries are then deep-fried in fat, but I used a big pot of vegetable oil instead. For some reason, I just couldn’t make myself buy fat, and I think I’m OK with that!

Slightly random info: while researching the french fry, I came across some interesting history about the potato. Until a few hundred years ago, most of the world considered potatoes inedible. They were thought to cause leprosy or other diseases. In some cases this could have been true, as eating potatoes raw is dangerous. However, the danger of potatoes was exaggerated, and even today, school-aged kids in Europe believe eating a raw potato will give them a high enough fever to skip school over!

So I’m curious – where did you eat the best french fries you’ve ever tasted? (it doesn’t have to be outside the U.S.)


7 Responses to “Visiting Belgium through “french” fries”

  1. allthingsgoodandwise March 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Oh sooooo yummy. You had me at french fry. We make home fries at my house. My kids ask for them all the time.
    Love that I learn something new with each of your posts. Thanks

  2. Gwyn March 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    The best fries I had came from a little cafe in downtown, Fort Madison, Iowa, of all places. It was the first time I ate sweet potato fries, and I was hooked! You may make a dish full of those, & I’ll help you eat them!

  3. Emily March 9, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Thanks for linking to my blog! And more importantly, thanks for spreading the love about fries. Although, I have to be partial and say that clearly fries started in Belgium! 😉

    What a great idea for a blog! Keep it up, I’ll definitely be checking back again!

    • cabergthold March 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

      Thank you so much! I love writing about the things I love 🙂

      And your other post about the friteries seriously made me drool!

  4. Confessions of a Quotaholic March 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I really like this blog and the interesting ways you describe food. (I’m a fry junkie.) I think that we mostly just look at the food and not the cultural background of the country or place of origin. Great blog! keep it up.

  5. C.Hayes March 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    This is a super fun blog! Always enjoy reading what you have to say. Im a fry lover myself so this post was great! I’ll help you eat that plate of fries up there. Keep up the good posts!

  6. nb March 15, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    I might go to the Atomium and I learned about it from your blog. Good job teaching the old dog.

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