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To some, french fries are the perfect fast food treat. Hot and crispy, a delicious french fry can melt in your mouth. But, have you ever stopped to wonder about the history of this salty snack? From the potato and beyond, here is the origin of the french fry.

The Andean Incas first discovered potatoes growing in the South American regions of Chile, Ecuador, and Peru around the year 750 B.C. Potatoes were used as a primary source of food, as well as treatment for injury and illness, and for telling time. The Incas would not fry their potatoes, however. Their preferred potato entree involved laying the potatoes in the sun for weeks at a time, and then stomping them with their feet to relieve the juices.

Fast forward thousands of years to the 1830s. It was in this decade that pomme frites or “fried potatoes” arrived in France. The identity of the great chef who decided to ultimately slice potatoes into long, slender pieces and fry them is unknown. It has long been disputed by the French and Belgians on which of their countrymen was the famed creator of the french fry. Nonetheless, these delicacies became instantly popular, and were soon being sold on the Paris streets by vendors.

The french fry did not arrive in the United States until about 100 years later. It was American soldiers who had been stationed overseas that brought back a taste for the fried potatoes that they had sampled while fighting in France during World War I. Some argue, however, that Thomas Jefferson may have served them in Monticello as early as the year 1802. So much controversy over a little fry!

French Fries Heat Up China.

Presently, french fries account for over one-fourth of all potatoes sold in the United States. In addition, the average American is reported to consume approximately 30 pounds of these savory snacks each year. And in Belgium, the french fry is considered a national treasure. The potato sure has come a long way hasn't it?