While doing some research, I discovered that the term “French fries” is subject to debate.
For some, the origin is indeed French. It actually referred to the cooking process of immersing food in hot fat/oil, known in the newly formed US as “French frying”. Fries were first called “French-fried potatoes”, then shortened to “French fries”.
For others, it was only at the end of World War I that the term took off in the United States, when American soldiers who had tasted fries in northern France or Belgium returned home. Since the language spoken in those areas was French, they would have simply called them French fries.
For others, the word “French” used in the expression is not related to France at all but to an old Irish verb! The verb “French”, of Gaelic origin, means “to cut into pieces”! Irish immigrants would have imported and popularized the term “French fries” in the United States and elsewhere during the 19th century… This theory is however less supported than the first two by linguists.
As you can see, several theories are in conflict and I haven’t even mentioned the debate that is raging to know if les frites comes from France or Belgium…!
And you, what do you think ? How do you call les frites in your country ?