Shoestring, waffle, curly, or thick-cut: However you slice it, nearly everyone loves a deep-fried, golden-brown piece of potato. But that’s where the agreement ends and the battles begin. While Americans call their fries “french,” Belgians claim that they, not the French, invented the perfect fry. Who’s right? This episode, we take you right into the heart of the battle that continues to be waged over who owns the fry: Who invented it, who perfected it, who loves it the most? And then we take you behind the scenes into another epic fight—the struggle for the perfect fry. Can food scientists create a fry with the ultimate crispy shell and soft inside, one that can stay that way while your delivery driver is stuck in traffic? Plus, the condiment wars: Does mayo really have the edge over ketchup? Listen in now to find out!
Potatoes were domesticated in what’s now Peru approximately 10,000 years ago, but fries—sticks of potato cooked in oil so that a crispy shell surrounds a creamy interior—are a European invention. Exactly where and when these crispy delights evolved, however, remains a matter of debate. The Spanish brought potatoes to Europe from their South American colonies in the 1500s, but even though they undoubtedly fried pieces of potato in olive oil, the results wouldn’t have been fries as we know them. It took northern Europeans, with their animal-fat-based deep-frying, to create the true fry. But which northern Europeans: the Belgians or the French?