President Thomas Jefferson was renowned for many things. But his love for a plate of hot, crisp French fries does not make it to the top of most historians’ lists. It should and we say that with a knowing smile.
Jefferson developed his penchant for pommes de terre frites a cru en petites tranches during his stint as US Minister to France in the late 1780s. He imported his infatuation with potatoes fried in small slices upon his return home.
However, we are not here to talk about Jefferson. We do thank him, but we are here to celebrate, elevate and salivate over plates piled high with glorious, golden fried strips of fresh potatoes. July 13 is our nation’s unofficial French Fries Day and we happily raise our ketchup bottles in salute.
Despite their Gallic name, these delicious bite-sized bits of fried glory are very American. They are diverse and versatile. Consider their multiple profiles – steak, shoestring, curly, crinkle-cut and waffle, just to name a few.
Is there any other veggie that can spiral on a skewer, hit the hot oil and emerge as a visually stunning and mouthwatering French fried tornado? We don’t think so.
Top them with spicy chili and grated cheddar. Toss them with tender pastrami and crunchy slaw. Dip them in garlic aloi, fiery queso, ranch dressing or Dijon mustard.
They add wake-up power to scrambled egg breakfasts. They serve as powerful sides to sizzling sirloin steaks. Are fried sliced potatoes perfect? They are on July 13. If you have any doubts, just check out the free promotions at national restaurant chains and local burger joints.
The restaurant industry does not give away customer favorites without a very good reason and French Fries Day is that reason. We believe Jefferson would be pleased, proud and hungry.