12:04 PM CDT, July 13, 2012
It may be Friday the 13th, but there's nothing scary about today - it's National French Fry Day!
While its name would suggest we have France to thank for fries, that honor might actually belong to the country's northern neighbor, Belgium. Because both nations speak French, the name mix up might have occurred when American World War I soldiers were moving through the smaller country and encountered pommes frites, or fried potatoes. Thomas Jefferson also had "potatoes served in the French manner" on a trip to Paris and brought the recipe home with him.
No matter the origin, it's safe to say that fries are one of America's most popular sides.
Fries come in all shapes and sizes - waffle fries, thick-cut steak fries, curly fries, tornado fries. They also can get topped with a variety of sauces and condiments, depending on where you are.
In Canada, you're likely to find poutine, a humble dish of French fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. It's a stick-to-your-ribs staple that'll warm you up on even the coldest of days.
Then there's the gourmet fry, cooked in duck fat and served with Parmigiano-Reggiano truffle cream.
For making your own version of this classic, choose your potato wisely. You're looking for a high starch, low moisture potato like russet or Idaho spuds.
Once you've picked the perfect potato, cut your fries into a uniform thickness so they cook evenly. Try double-frying your fries, first at a low temperature to cook the middle, then at a higher temperature to get a crispy exterior.
Season them right as they come out of the fryer, and you're on your way to tater transcendence!
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