You may be surprised to learn this but french fries aren’t really French at all. In actuality, they’re Belgian. There’s an ongoing dispute between France and Belgium as to exactly where fries were originated, both countries claiming ownership. From the Belgian standpoint the popularity of the term “french fries” is explained as a “French gastronomic hegemony” into which the cuisine of Belgium was assimilated because of a lack of understanding, coupled with a shared language and geographic proximity of the countries.
At least one source says that “french fries” for “deep-fried potato batons” was also introduced when American, Canadian, and British soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I. The Belgians had previously been catering to the British soldiers’ love of chips and continued to serve them to the other troops when they took over the western end of the front. The Belgians served them, and since French was the language of the Belgian Army, the name “French” was associated with the food.
By now, almost every country in the world has their version of the crispy fried pieces of goodness. Next time you’re out and about, pick up a hot, crispy salty basket of fries and enjoy their deep heritage.