Talk:French fries

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 Definition Thin sticks of potato that have been deep-fried. [d] [e]
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I wrote 75% of this article, as shown here, at Wikipedia. I intend to expand it.
Hayford Peirce 23:28, 13 June 2007 (CDT)

Could your pictures be anymore disgusting?

Seriously, come on! Those pictures look gross...which if your intention is to discourage people from eating french fries then you can proudly say mission accomplished. Personally, I think we should have at least one decent picture just to balance the other bad ones. Mike Mayors (Talk) 00:43, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

I don't think they're gross, but they're "unappealing". perhaps better light, or better arrangement of fries would be better. Maybe even a picture of some home cooked fries, taken in good light. I may be able to provide one soon.--Robert W King 12:19, 14 June 2007 (CDT)
Well, this is certainly a perfect example of Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and can be profitably included therein when that fine article is eventually created! Maybe because these fries tasted so good after I took the pictures that they still look extremely attractive to my biased eyes. I don't really see what the objections are -- fries are cooked, you know: in these effete days in which few home cooks make their own fries, perhaps you're thinking along Disraeli's line about it being best not knowing how laws and sausages are prepared. In any case, if you can produce and upload more "appealing" and, I would hope, non-McDonald, pictures, please do so.... Hayford Peirce 14:35, 14 June 2007 (CDT)
You're right Hayford. I think we need a "neutral" image of french fries; one that conveys the stereotype of french fries. I think the cooking ones are a-okay, but the top one should be different.--Robert W King 14:35, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

Here you go: French fries - nice, tasty, delicious, incredibly unhealthy french fries :) Mike Mayors (Talk) 14:52, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

I'll get a picture tonight. I'd rather not use that one, for various reasons.--Robert W King 14:57, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

Flickr has some excellent photos of fries, see ---Stephen Ewen 17:36, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

If you're not gonna use mine, I guess this one is good enough, although its lighting is not A-100% either. I myself would add a little bearnaise sauce to it, also....
This picture is much better.--Robert W King 08:59, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
McDs should have a spot! I think it might be fun to have a "French fry gallery" - like was done with Tux. :-D ---Stephen Ewen 18:12, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

Fries and chips are different

I would like to dispute the implication that fries and chips are the same thing. Fries are sold in the UK, usually in places like McDonald's. Also, fries are thinner than chips. In any chip shop (a place to buy fish and chips) you will find thicker chips which will have been fried; whereas chips may be fried or grilled. John Stephenson 04:21, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

So, change it. :-) --Stephen Ewen 04:56, 14 June 2007 (CDT)
I have written another article in competition to this one :-) - Chip (food). I have also set up a disambiguation page at Chip. This was redirecting to integrated circuit. John Stephenson 05:29, 14 June 2007 (CDT)
Glad to learn that there is an actual distinction. In Wikipedia everyone treated the two as if they were exactly the same. On the other hand, how do you account for the very large larges sometimes served in the States called, I think, ranch fries, or something similar. They are much larger than the fries in the pictures in this article and are quite mealy inside -- I gotta say that I don't like them at all. As someone said about something else, "Fries can never be too rich or too thin...." Hayford Peirce 10:38, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

Ahhhh! John started a fork!  :-)

By the way, those big thick fries are sometimes called "steak fries" in the U.S.

At any rate, I am glad to see there is such spirited debate here over this vitally important topic.  :-D

Stephen Ewen 13:21, 14 June 2007 (CDT)

Look, they may be fat and they may be thin; they may be flat or crinkle-cut or curly -- but "french fries," "chips," "pommefritz," "fries," "ranch fries," and so on are the same basic category of food product. If we split hairs (or fries), what about US chains like Wendy's -- fat fries -- vs. BK or McD's -- thin -- are these two different things? I don't think so. Russell Potter 10:52, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

A proposal to integrate the two articles

Now that we've had our very amicable divorce, why not a reconciliation? Under the main article, French fries, couldn't we have a section called, say, Are Chips Really Different or some such? And then as many well-sourced words as are needed.... Hayford Peirce 11:03, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

No. This is like saying that Pastas and Pizza are the same because they both generally include bread, tomato sauce, meat, and cheese, when in fact pizza is something different. You can't just generalize foods. --Robert W King 11:07, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
I think they should stay separate. These are different ways of cutting up potatoes; the only way to reconcile them is to have a single article covering all potato-related matters. In the UK, we never say 'fries' unless we're buying them in an American-style place; furthermore, they look different. John Stephenson 11:08, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
Not only is it a different way to cut the potato, it's also a different way of preparing it. Sometimes fries are baked, sometimes they're actually fried. What us Americans call chips can also be fried or baked, and then seasoned or not seasoned; or even cheezed(cheezed?). Additionally, there are folks who like to eat ketchup with their french fries and I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who does the same with potato chips.--Robert W King 11:22, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
I feel strongly that the two should be merged (for the reasons I mentioned above, and also the fact that the subject, though close to the (cholesterol-laden) hearts of many {myself included) they are really only one small part of the worldwide spectrum of foods), isbut I think we could do so in a way that respects difference and variation. It seems to me that opinions may -- and do -- vary in this area as to whether or not the differences are significant, or how. I would say, how about a main entry on "Fried potato products" or even "Potatoes, cooked" -- here we could have sections for all manner of such things, including -- if needed! -- a section on "Fried potato nomenclature disputes"! Russell Potter 11:28, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
I'm going to disagree with you Russel on the grounds that I think creating an article of "Fried potato products" would end up in something absolutely colossal. I don't think it's fair to to lump everything in one category. By your theory, we might as well make a page that says "Everything that is made with eggs in it", but we all know that Cake is different from Scrambled Eggs, Pie, Pretzels, smoothies, etc. --Robert W King 11:34, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
Well, I certainly think that "Fried potato products" is NOT the way to go! Far too clunky, and, as said above, it would lead to an enormous article. So... I am willing to defer to those who feel there is a sufficient difference between fries and chips to merit separate article. I myself am going to write *separate* articles about Blanquette de veau (today) and Beef Burgundy (someday) and I am willing to stipulate that they are indeed different....Bon appetit! Hayford Peirce 11:51, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Another modest proposal

How about someone in England uploading a *photo* of what he/she considers to be quintessential Brit-type chips? And inserting it in *both* the Chips article and the French fries article, with a couple of words pointing out the significant differences? I've uploaded 3 fries pictures myself: as the wartime Brits said: "We expect every man to do his duty." Hayford Peirce 14:00, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

I concur with Hayford's suggestion. Let's have photographs! You know, photography? Wink wink nudge nudge.--Robert W King 13:59, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
But when photographs become bigger than the aggregate of text, it becomes a problem. Yi Zhe Wu 15:33, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
Don't worry about it -- check out the Wiki article on fries: eventually this one will have a gazillion words to it -- people seem to be obsessed with the subject! In any case, I'd rather see an article with too many pictures than one with not enough. Hayford Peirce 15:33, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

People find these sorts of articles a light, fun break now and then. I know I do, anyway. You know, come home from a hard day at work, and you just want to kind of do something amusing for a little while before turning back on the serious button. Think of it also like having a monthly workplace party where you can let your hair down a bit with your coworkers--those sorts of get-togethers are actually important to have to maximize productivity when it really counts. They can help coworkers "bond". At any rate, this is part of why these sorts of topics will always be popular on a wiki, I think.

Now, to reiterate, we need a French fries/Gallery, filled with photos of all kinds of fries from around the world! :-D

Stephen Ewen 22:07, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Would the gallery be a separate article or incorporated in this one by one means or another? I think that when I first joined CZ I found an article about something or other that had a large "gallery" stuck in the middle of it -- with about one dozen *empty* image boxes. I've got nothing against galleries (en principe, I think) but I'd like to make sure that there are *real* pictures there!
See Biology (click on lead image), Onslow Beach (click on lead image), and Tux (scroll down and click on third image).---Stephen Ewen 00:29, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

Chips photos

Following the proposal above, I have uploaded several images of chips, placing one at the bottom of the French fries article and two on the Chip (food) page. There is also a pic of a chip shop. I think that chips are different enough in shape, preparation and how they are served to warrant a separate article. John Stephenson 02:51, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

Chips look like french fries. Oh, wait. French fries look like chips. ;-D
How about an article French fries and Chips?
Stephen Ewen 05:17, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
Sounds fair enough! Then we could learn of the distinctions as well as the similarities. By the by, the fries shown in these images are all of the thin variety, but many US restaurants serve a variety which is a thick as, or thicker, than chips, so I don't think thickness per se is really a distinction. Russell Potter 08:01, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

In Europe and the UK, I have never seen other than thin french fries, so perhaps this is another point to be made? We await a pic of the thick US non-french fries! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 08:15, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

My own impression, having spent many months in France but not eating many fries while I was there, is that they are always pretty skinny. Living in Tahiti, a French possession, for 25 years, I ate *lots* of fries -- they were *always* skinny. (Although many of them were frozen ones imported from the States.) My own Cuisinart french-fry slicer has holes that are 6mm by 6mm. I think you can also buy a blade for larger ones, 8mm by 8mm. I myself think that 5mm by 5mm would be perfect. I made some last night, in the same pot as shown in my two pix of cooking fries at home, and I would say that the 6x6 fries, once cooked, probably shrivel down to about 5x5, which is perfect.Hayford Peirce 13:27, 17 June 2007 (CDT)
Haven't found a PD image yet -- but you can see some thicker US fries here. The older chain restaurants, such as Denny's, Big Boy, etc. tend to serve this sort of fries. Also Wendy's are considerably thicker than others; google their name and "fries" and there are images on their sites. Russell Potter 09:05, 16 June 2007 (CDT)
BIG U.S. fries

Yes, they exist!!

Stephen Ewen 14:01, 16 June 2007 (CDT)

Alright, I made a strong start to the gallery. I now officially know more about French fries than I ever thought possible to know or cared to know. :-)
But seriously, if we are going to have an article about this, let's make it the best it can be.
Stephen Ewen 05:04, 17 June 2007 (CDT)
Those pictures look great -- thanks for all the work! Hayford Peirce 13:27, 17 June 2007 (CDT)

gallery licensing

In the gallery, if any images are non-derivative licensed, it should not be put into the big picture. Also how do we handle the combination of images with different licenses? Yi Zhe Wu 09:15, 17 June 2007 (CDT)

It's basically creating thumbnails, not a new work. Stephen Ewen 12:34, 17 June 2007 (CDT)

Pommes allumettes

Do we want to mention "shoestrings" and the French "pommes allumettes" or matchstick potatoes? My impression is that shoestrings are about like the 6x6 or 5x5 that I mentioned above, while matchsticks are even thinner. Systematic as the French are, I don't believe even they have a gov't agency devoted to defining the precise width of various nomenclatures of fries. I've seen "allumettes" in France vary greatly in size.

Also, what about a mention of soaking the fries in cold water for periods up to 24 hours before drying and then frying them? And whether the starch should be washed off or not? And a method whereby a NYC restaurant noted for its great fries *insists* that they must be first cooked at low temp, then put on a baking sheet and *frozen*, then taken from the freezer and cooked, frozen, at high temp. There truly are a gazillion ways of cooking these rascals.... Hayford Peirce 18:16, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

More on sizes

I just found a Belgium company (Belgians are famous for their devotion to fries) that apparently sells pre-cut fries. Their site says that sell "frites (french fries)" that are 9x9, 12x12, or 14x14; "allumettes" that are 6x6, "steak" (in English on the site) that are 10x18, and "crinkle cut" (in English on the site) that are 17x17. So there's a pretty authoritative source!

You've got to be kidding

Sure there are a lot of variants, but which of those is hard-and-fast for 'fries' or 'chips'?

Is any one of you seriously going to try to convince me that you could do a blind taste test on the chips of differing countries and accurately label them as 'fries' or 'chips'? I've eaten many more chips than are good for me in many countries, I have an exceptional palate, and I don't think I could do it.

The most one could say is that neither really fat steak fries nor really thin french fries would pass as 'chips'. Even then, if you served either in a remote English village, the reaction would probably be something like 'strange kind of chip, those, can't say I like them much' rather than 'what kind of food is that, then? Never tasted anything like it.'

Robert, your pasta/pizza analogy is completely off the mark. Angel food cake, devil's food cake, sponge cake and pound cake are all more different from one another than fries or chips, yet we would all identify them as cake.

In fact, the only reason I can see why we can't have one article here is that you would all be arguing about where it should reside.

Aleta Curry 23:05, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

I have to agree--just on common sense, a duck by any other name is still a duck. I'd otherwise like to see credible experts on cuisine, within publications, categorize fries and chips separately.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 01:09, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
Separate categorisation is possible but unlikely given that what distinguishes fries and chips are their respective cultures, rather than ingredients etc. (there are various cookbooks out there with 'chips' in the title, with authors outside North America) - which makes them worthy of separate articles. I also think this is 'common sense'.John Stephenson 04:04, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
French fries with mayo.jpg
Does that mean we need an article Papas fritas, as they call this potato dish in Latin America, which contains the same basic ingredients prepared the same basic ways? And a seperate one for Vlaamse frites (Flemish fries) (See photo)? I don't think so. What we need is not one author writing for one culture calling them X, or another writing for another culture calling them Y, but writers writing for a global culture who actually classify them separately. Absent that, we should not.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 04:18, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
Clarification: by "author" above I am meaning expert authors of books on cuisine.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 15:22, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

We don't need separate articles for fritas - but future citizens may argue for that. We could just as easily argue that all this should be under potato, as that's basically what they are (upscale restaurants even call them 'chipped potatoes' sometimes). Besides, all of us are biased in this; no doubt you would like to merge chips under the French fries article, whereas I, as a Brit, would like to keep them separate to recognise the difference people outside North America tend to make (rather than put fries under Chip (food). John Stephenson 04:41, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Perhaps an analogy would be helpful. Take open-toed sandals, the footwear. Depending on where one is from, these may be called flip-flops (what I grew up calling them), flippers, flaps, slippers, showershoes, zorries (as in Micronesia where I've lived--some borrowed the Hawaiian term slippas, the Filipinos there called call them tsinelas), chancletas (as in El-Salvador where I've lived)--and these are just the ones I know about. It'd be just silly to create one article each based upon each cultural naming. We use the most dominant name worldwide and explain and delineate difference from there, thus making an interesting article. The same goes for Pancakes. It's just silly to create one article each for hotcakes, flapjacks, flapstacks, griddle cakes, etc.
BTW, a potato is a tuber, a vegetable, and such an article should read like Wheat. But we are talking cuisine here, right?
 —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 05:32, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
Yes, agree. John, please understand that I'm not disputing the points you're making. But, you're still saying, basically, that chocolate cake is cake. You are also saying that there are many different varieties of chocolate cake; that there are many different recipes/receipts for those varieties, and that some people call chocolate cake gateau au chocolat and write books and articles about it in French. All true, granted.
I am not going to argue that there should be only one article, nor am I going to try to force you to merge the two; I've already agreed there would be a fuss over which gets the article and which gets the redirect.
I am, however, going to repeat that a chip is a fry is a pomme frite. We cannot "just as easily" argue that they should all be under potatoe or potato. That harks back to Robert's pasta/pizza argument. To lump them all under potato would be to include mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, roast potatoes and potatoe bake in the same article. That's quite different altogether and I think you realize/se that. :)
Aleta Curry 17:00, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Well, how about I propose this: Chips (food)--sure, let it be. And I'll re-work begin a few days of research then rework the intro and a few other things later tonight and post it here.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 18:54, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Fries are chips are chips are fries???

This may help:

A study of the multicultural nature of UK cuisine suggests the meal was influenced by immigrants 150 years ago.
Professor Panikos Panayi of Leicester's De Montfort University has begun a £6,000 research project to investigate the global influence on British food.
He said fish and chips mixed "French frites with Jewish fish dishes".
He said: "In the middle of the 19th century the main concern of most sections of English society consisted of eating enough food of sufficient quality to stay alive, rather than displaying a concern about variety.
"Transformations between 1850 and 1945 included the emergence of fish and chips, influenced by both French and Jewish culinary traditions.
He said the origins of the dish were complex, but probably came about from the combination of French frites with Jewish fish dishes.
"It certainly isn't the traditional British food people might think, and of course the meal is often enjoyed with a cup of tea - the best example of the influence of the Empire on English eating and drinking habits."

Complete article at

Stephen Ewen (Talk) 21:33, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

"... whilst, in the 1870s, that glory of British gastronomy - the chip - was first sold by Belgian immigrant Edward De Gernier in the city's Greenmarket."[1]

 —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 21:44, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

'Do you want Belgian fries with that?" That's what you might be hearing at fast-food restaurants today if it hadn't been for World War I. The Belgians claim to have invented "French" fries, though no one knows for sure. The dish was first prepared as early as the 1700s and was simply called fried potatoes. Thomas Jefferson sampled them in Paris and brought the recipe home. At a White House dinner in 1802, the menu included "potatoes served in the French manner." But that's not how they got their name.
Their commercial success began in 1864, when Joseph Malines of London put "fish and chips" (French fries) on the menu. His success inspired others across Europe. But they weren't French fries until 1918 or so. American soldiers stationed in France gobbled up fried potatoes. They dubbed them "French fries" and liked them so much they wanted to have them at home, too. Americans still love French fries. Last year alone, more than 4.5 billion pounds of them were sold in the United States.[2]

 —Stephen Ewen (Talk)

Those are both interesting. Thanks. Aleta Curry 16:59, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

The hidden cost of merging

Several respondents above suggest the article "french fries" and "chips" should be merged, because (paraphrasing), the topics seem similar or identical.

By all means, let's merge articles that are on identical topics. But merging articles merely because they are on similar topics squanders what makes a wiki based compendium more powerful than their paper equivalents. Paper documents are linear. The writer of a paper document has to pick an inherent bias, when they decide what info to include, what info to leave out, and what order that info should be presented in.

Non-paper documents don't have to be linear. The writer can let the reader pick what they need to read, and traverse the hierachy of knowledge using the path that makes sense according to their need. They don't have to rely on the author's idea of the one order they think makes the most sense.

And the advantage wikis have over traditional vanilla web-pages is that the links between wiki articles are bi-directional. Www web pages have links that are unidirectional. There is no reliable or convenient way to learn what pages link to the page you are looking at. Mediawiki pages always have a "what links here" button. Being able to see what other articles link to an article is a very powerful feature. And that feature is most useful when most articles only talk about one topic. When related articles are merged we end up with links that don't make as much sense, or, sometimes, don't make any sense.

If, "Chips" and "French Fries" differ in their cultural significance, and the condiments added to them, the context of where and how they are eaten, but share the same method of preparation, nothing prevents us from having separate articles that talk about the cultural significance, condiments, context, that then both direct the reader to something like frying potatoes or fried potatoes.

Cheers! George Swan 10:57, 19 November 2007 (CST)

Holding place for some research links


The article currently says the cafeterias in the US Congress briefly renamed French Fries "Freedom Fries", following France declining to sign on board the Bush Presidency's Iraqi invasion plans. In fact it wasn't just the US Congress. And, IIRC, the Congressional cafeteria's menu adjustment lasted for several years -- hardly what I would call "brief".

Cheers! George Swan 10:18, 19 November 2007 (CST)

Be bold! :-) Stephen Ewen 21:55, 19 November 2007 (CST)

Corrected spelling added tips

Corrected the spelling for preheat and barbecue. It was pre-heat and barbeque. Added some french frying tips. I spent one long summer cooking french fries in a french fry stand. I know a lot about how to make fresh french fries from scratch.Mary Ash 21:23, 6 September 2010 (UTC)