1. The Spanish forces, stationed in Columbia, South America in the 1500's, acquired their first potatoes and introduced them to the European continent.
2. A French famine in 1785 led to wide-spread growth of potatoes and the popularity of the vegetable amongst "les pauvres". Later either a Frenchman or a Belgian started preparing potatoes in long "tubes" and deep frying them in oil. Sold on the streets of Paris, these "frites" became very popular.
3. Thomas Jefferson ordered "potatoes served in the french manner" for an 1802 dinner party.
4. Belgians eat more French Fries than any other Europeans.
5. Europeans eat their French Fries with a fork while Americans consume them with their fingers.
6. Once reviled and eaten only by the "masses" in Europe, now French Fries are consumed worldwide. Eleven million tons were made in factories in 2005.
7. French Fries contain more vitamins if the skin is left on.
8. Americans eat 2 tons of French Fries per year (16 pounds per person).
9. McDonald's sells more than 1/3 of the French Fries sold in U.S. restaurants.
10. To burn off the calories of a medium serving of McDonald's fries, you must do either:
-58 minutes of cycling
-90 minutes of bowling
-47 minutes of high intensity aerobics
11. North Americans like French Fries served with ketchup, vinegar or salt. However, some Europeans like their fries with mayonnaise.
12. Canada's Quebecois make a dish called "poutine" which is French Fries served with cheese curds and gravy.
Photo crinkle-cut French Fries courtesy CanStock.