I regret that I only have one order of fries to eat for my country.
Of the many things I did not expect to hear in the year 2020, here’s a big one: we apparently aren’t eating enough fries.
Restaurant closures have left potato farmers without one of their biggest markets.
This is a particular problem in Belgium, where 750,000 tons of potatoes are at risk.
The government has responded with a campaign to urge citizens to do their duty and order frites, as they’re known there, at least twice a week.
There are multiple origin stories for fried potatoes, but the Belgians make one of the strongest cases.
At the very least, they’re home to the Frietmuseum, in the town of Bruges.
The Belgian story goes that a small village was known for catching and frying fish to eat.
When the lake froze, making the fish inaccessible, their plan B was to fry up strips of potatoes instead.
It’s said that American soldiers in World War I associated the frites with the French-speaking Belgian soldiers, and dubbed them “French fries.”
This long stretch of culinary history is what led Belgian authorities to petition UNESCO to formally recognize their country as the one and only birthplace of the frite.
But, like I said, there are plenty of other origin stories for both the food and the name.
France, as you might expect, has plenty to say about where they come from.
Me, I’m just going to stay home and eat potatoes.
It’s a sad but important day in the history of potato-based foods.
Fredric J Baur passed away today in 2008, at age 89.
In case you’re wondering, Fredric J Baur was the inventor of the Pringles Can.
He filed the patent in 1966 to store those curvy chips in a tall tube.
And he was proud of his contribution, given that he asked that his ashes be buried in one of the cans he made possible.
In case you’re wondering: original flavor.
Belgians asked to eat fries twice a week (Brussels Times)
The Humble Origins Of The French Fry Might Surprise You (Food Republic)
Photo: People in Belgium eating frites, by janmennens via Flickr/Creative Commons