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Is there anyone who doesn’t like French fries?

There are few things better in life than the wafting smell, the golden color, the crunchy first bite, and the light fluffiness of a French fry. And believe it or not, this simple fried potato has quite an interesting history.

Skinny, chunky, crinkly, cut into wedges or steaming hot from the local fast-food joint, everyone has a favorite type of French fry. America’s ongoing love affair with French fries means we just can’t get enough of the finger-licking potato delight. We devour nearly 2 million tons every year — a demonstration of their versatility, tastiness and great value.

While French fries are eaten all over the world, every culture has its own preferred condiment. Americans dunk them in ketchup, Brits eat their chips with salt and malt vinegar, mayonnaise is a popular accompaniment in Belgium, and in Vietnam they serve their fries with soft butter and a sprinkling of sugar. And fries are so versatile, they can be topped with everything from chili and cheese to foie gras, and they can even be a vessel for s’mores (check out this recipe for s’more fries).

No matter where you live, you most likely love fries. "The French fry should be the global symbol of peace,” Paul Abraham, co-owner of New York’s popular Sticky’s Finger Joint, told us. “Like fried chicken, it is found, consumed, and loved all over the world. Salt them, season them, top them, or dip them. Have them anyway you want.”

When a food product is eaten and loved all over the world, there are bound to be some interesting facts and figures that crop up that can boggle the mind, like which famous company is responsible for a full third of American French fry sales, or the fact that there is a museum in Belgium entirely devoted to the classic fast-food snack. Read on to learn a few things that you didn’t know about French fries.

  • 1. Origin Story

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    Should they even be called ”French” fries? Belgians claim to have invented ”Frites” and there is an ongoing disagreement between the Belgium and France over its true origin. Some also believe that the fry may have first been introduced in Spain via Colombia.

  • 2. McDonald’s is the Driving Force

    Reuters

    Around seven per cent of the potatoes grown in the U.S. end up being sold by McDonald’s. They sell more than ⅓ of all the French fries sold in restaurants in the U.S. each year.

  • 3. Packin’ on the Pounds

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    The average American eats 30 pounds of French fries per year. You’re going to need a lot of ketchup.

  • 4. Dickensian Roots

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    The earliest known reference to French fries in English literature is in A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens refers to “Husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil”.

  • 5. Jefferson’s Favorite Snack

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    Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing French fries to America when he served them at a White House dinner in 1802 after reportedly requesting, "potatoes, fried in the French manner.

    Check out more fun fry facts.

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