The Secret History of French Fries


Few things get the mouth salivating like a plate of deliciously crispy French fries. Whether you’ve enjoyed salty, mayonnaise-covered fries from a ‘Patat’ stand in Holland, where the potato is revered almost as much as the Dutch royal family, or had a go at making them yourself, they’re a staple that both food snobs and ready-made fans can agree on.

But the history of the golden French fry is complicated. There have been rows over which nation invented them (it would be too obvious if they were French right?), wars that made them popular, and even a marketing campaign fronted by Marie Antoinette.

So here’s our whistle-stop tour of the secret history of French fries. We’ll take you from the discovery of the potato, right through to how the likes of McCain French fries became so popular today.

Read More

Europe Does It Right

As I stood in the butcher shop, or macelleria, in San Cassiano, Italy, staring at the meats hanging along the wall and what looked like a family working behind the counter, I wondered, why is the food here so good?

Back in America, I live in a place where the ground is fertile. Things can grow. It’s Nebraska for goodness sakes. If you drive through the state, you will be tired of corn after the fourth hour of looking at the continuous rows. You also might be nauseous from the smell of the cattle feedlots as you drive through Ogalalla, NE. The food tastes different in Europe. The yogurt is better. The cheese is better. The meat is better. What is different about the land on which the cows graze and the vegetables grow?


Read More

If Only I Could Have Eaten My Way Through School

That cartoon light bulb sometimes appears over my head when I eat certain things; food is strongly connected with my memories. Ask me anything about high school calculus and I will probably stare at you blankly. But let me eat my way through Little Italy in NYC to find that amazing, hole-in-the-wall joint where I had that lasagna on our high school trip to the city, and I am sure I could tell you (or I would at least have fun looking for it).

Most of my memories of eating studying around Europe are connected with food. It was not only the food itself, but what was happening around us, the weather, how we were feeling, the people we were with, whether we were upset or happy or sick or drunk. Cantaloupe gelato in Bergamo, Italy. Proscuitto wrapped melon in Venice. And I can’t forget the bus ride out of Venice and the urgency with which I asked the bus driver to stop at the next exit. Too much vino and partying the night before? Of course not. I just needed some air. Ah-em.

I remember the potato soup and “mean green bean salad” (as I called it) that I cooked at a friend’s apartment while her French host parents were on vacation. American girls shopping for ingredients and cooking in a French kitchen. Yep, dream. What I learned in school that day? I couldn’t tell you. But every time I make potato soup, I think about that French apartment. It’s a memory so clear, it was like it happened yesterday.

Read More