Wednesday, January 23, 2008
This post is follow up of this post. Enjoy..)
The Dutch, however, cannot take responsibility for inventing the fry.
Neither can the French. That honor goes to the Belgians, where fries are cherished even more than they are in Holland.
The fry culture in Belgium is similar to that of Holland—fries are everywhere, the thick slabs of potatoes are freshly fried and served in paper cones, and they are offered with a variety of toppings, the most popular being mayonnaise—but the Belgians have also developed a wide variety of specialized fries shops, called, in Belgium "frietkots" or "fritures". These range from small stands, to sheds, busses and caravans, to shacks or quaint chalets.
It is only in the United States that the nomenclature of fried potatoes insinuates a French connection. In England they are called "chips," in France "pommes frites" (which means, literally, "fried apples"), and in Belgium and Holland "patat" (not the word for potato, which is "aardappel").
The French fry has little to do with France other than the fact that it's popularity spread to that country as quickly as it did to others. In fact, the French, like most of Europe, eyed the potato with suspicion until the last century or two.
While living in the USA, I have been known to go out of my way to obtain fries similar to my beloved Dutch "patat," and have found in the past a few places in America where they are served.
In Santa Monica, on the Third Street Promenade, there is a fast food joint called "Benita's Frites" where geniuine Belgian fries are served, along with all the appropriate toppings.
Also, I once travelled to the outskirts of Boston just to sample the promised Belgian fries with sate sauce at a small restaurant, but was deeply disappointed when the fries I was served were clearly of the frozen variety, and the peanut sauce was nothing like what I was used to.
As luck would have it, just as I was in the middle of researching this article, I noticed a new shop being redone in New York City which promises to serve nothing but Belgian fries. Called "Pomme Frites," the shop is opening on Second Avenue, between 7th Street and St. Mark's Place.
If it is all that it promises to be, I will no longer have to travel to the Pacific coast when I want to spend some time in the USA, or cross the Atlantic, to get a taste of my favorite greasy snack.
Soon, a Dutch snackbar will be open its doors here in Istanbul.