The history of Belgian fries

The history of Belgian fries starts around 1680. The inhabitants of Namur, Andenne, and Dinant, cities in the Belgian Ardennes, had the habit of fishing in the rivers Sambre and Meuse They would separate and collect all the smaller fish they caught and fry them in refined beef fat or horse fat, which were quite expensive and rare in those days.

Picture by Pixabay

Catching fish was not always possible. During periods of frost or dangerous currents of the rivers, they found it too risky to fish and looked for an alternative because the beef fat or horse fat they had was not long-lasting and had to be used quickly.

Picture by Harry Fabel

Therefore they started using parsnip that they cut into the shape of little fish. Parsnip was widely eaten and was easy to find. With the introduction and cultivation of the potato around 1727, the parsnip was replaced by potatoes. From then on the fries as we know them were born and they got even more popular than the fried fish.