To avoid the confusion let’s call it a chip, as it’s called in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. It’s favour neither the French nor the Flemish. They are called French fries in the United States, and thanks (or no thanks) to McDonald’s the name has spread around the world but only in the fast food outlet of the same name. So let’s get the great debate of the French/Flemish chip started.
Vlaamse Frieten vs French Fries
A visit to Belgian and you’ll find a different name. They are called Flemish fries and it’s only there and maybe in the Netherlands that you’ll find this term used. And they are proud of this fact. Flemish? Like a story I read while researching it “What the heck is Flemish”? Shame on you for not knowing! They are the Belgians who speak the Dutch dialect of Flemish, very closely related to the Dutch spoken in the Netherlands.
Where could the confusion come from? Belgium shares a border with France, so considering the distance, French visitors to Belgium could have tried them and taken the idea over the border. There are not many places on the internet not even the Wikipedia French fry page that will even give claim to the invention of the chip to the French. There is more evidence that it was first created in Flanders (where Flemish is spoken).
The big difference between most countries is how they are served. In Belgium and the Netherlands the main condiment is mayonnaise. Yuck! Each to their own. Also they have a lot more other condiments that they serve with them like peanut sauce, with pickles and the list goes on, but the rest sounds yummy.
Chips were apparently not well-known in the United States until soldiers from the war brought back the idea with them, and the name French was applied to them because they were in contact with French-speaking Belgian soldiers (maybe they wanted to call them the Walloon fry).
The Flemish claim that they maintain a national standard of how to prepare and cook their fries, that make them better than you would eat in places like England, Spain, the United States and anywhere else. It’s the oil they are fried in and that they are cooked twice.
Historical facts have not proved to be 100%, but even the French are agreed that the chip was invented in Belgium, hence their nickname for the Belgians “the frites”. The source that makes the claim has been said to have doubts because of the year that he states 1735. There is also a thought that since the first European entry point of the potato that came from the American continent, the Spanish had a tradition with frying their food in particular the Galicians, something that didn’t exist beforehand in northern Europe.
It’s true the Spanish have a great love of frying food, so why shouldn’t they be called
The link between Spain and Flanders is that Spain around the 1700’s administered a country called Spanish Netherlands which includes Flanders with Netherlands. The Spanish present in the country at the time could have brought with them the potato and the idea of frying them and it caught on with gusto to the point where it was more popular than in the country of origin.
So I propose the winner of the debate is Galicia and they should be now called Galician fries
Feel free to weigh in on our great debate