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Archive for the ‘fun facts’ Category

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When in Rome…say ‘patatine fritte’

Learn how to say ‘french fries’ in other languages at Belgianfries.com

There is also a recipe there for cooking fries the Belgian way.

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From the Alamagordo Daily News:

The Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of frozen potato products,vandelay.jpg accounting for more than half of world trade in the tuber.

They aren’t going to the United States, which exports more potatoes than it imports. The Dutch frozen potatoes are in demand from American fast food chains in Europe.

But in America, frozen fries are being imported from Canada, “due to lower cost of production and lower tariffs and the exchange rate.”

We’ve moved from eating potatoes boiled and mashed to eating processed potatoes. Now, Aguayo said, only 28 percent of the total crop is sold as fresh table stock.

“In 1959 only 19 percent of the crop was processed,” she stated. “In 1997, 61 percent of the processed potatoes were frozen, mostly as fries.”

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Spud lovers month

farnsworth.gifGood news everyone. February is ‘National Potato Lover’s Month’…. Spudtober perhaps, but I guess, if you want to get all technical, Spudruary might be more appropriate.

potato-ricer.jpgThankfully our friends at Amazon.com have a few products available to help us celebrate. Like this potato ricer for instance. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t rice potatoes.

Love for the spud doesn’t end with February however. August 19th is ‘National Potato Day’ and August 24-25th are ‘Potato Days’ in Barnsville Minnesota. And if you think that’s the cat’s pajamas, get a load of this. The United Nations has declared 2008 as the ‘International Year of the Potato‘, in Resolution 4/2005 of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, adopted on 25 November 2005. So when will there be a ‘French Fry’ day?…well, everyday is a french fry day in my opinion.

And there was much rejoicing…

one last thing…here’s a list of other food related holidays

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From an article in the Roseville Press Tribune:

It’s amazing the popularity of the French fry in this country. The average American consumes more than 140 pounds of potatoes annually, and 51 pounds of those are French Fries. More than 6 million pounds of potatoes are processed into frozen fries every year.

If you think McDonald’s and Burger King are waging a war for your burger buck, think again.The success of fast food chains is not about big burgers. Instead, it’s all about the small fry.

In 1997, Burger King – the nation’s second-biggest hamburger chain – invested $70 million in marketing might behind its new and improved French fries, claiming they were tastier than those from McDonald’s.
The public disagreed, and McDonald’s fries remain at the top of almost any poll on the subject.

McDonald’s, in its early years, spent countless hours in search of the perfect French fries. In 1957, the company opened a research lab dedicated to turning the production of French fries into a science.

A potato computer – still used to this day – was developed. The device monitors the temperature of the frying oil and notifies the operator when a batch of fries is cooked to perfection.

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Time well wasted.

Wikipedia’s list of unusual articles.

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…and yes, this material will be on the midterm.

From UC Davis Magazine:

Metamorphosis

The most important factor that distinguishes a potato from a french fry is its layers. A raw potato is 100 percent “core,” with no crunchy crust to please the palate. A potato chip, on the other hand, is 100 percent crust, crisp all the way through. Somewhere in between lies the fresh french fry.

Once a potato strip is immersed in hot frying oil, a crusty front immediately forms on the raw fry’s surface and begins moving inward, like the hardening crystal edges of a lake in early winter. From that point on, drawing the line between the crust and the core of a frying potato is like shooting at a rapidly moving target. It’s nearly impossible.

On a typical day at McDonald’s, oil temperature in the fryer averages about 340 degrees F. So when a cook grabs strips of icy potatoes out of the freezer and tosses them into hot oil, water in the potatoes immediately begins to evaporate. Bubbles and steam emerge, creating an enormous cycle of heat transfer between the oil and the potato. The process, Farkas says, may be the most important factor in producing the texture of the final fried product.

Heat transfer between potato and oil happens rapidly at first. As water evaporates from the surface of the potato, pores form on the potato that act as windows for the penetration of oil into the food. The more water the food contains, the more oil it will absorb, because more water evaporation opens more windows for oil to penetrate.

Temperatures at the crust quickly rise and approach the temperature of the surrounding oil. Protected by the crust, however, the core’s temperature hovers at about 212 degrees F, the boiling point of water, even in the midst of much hotter deep-fat frying oil.

After exactly three minutes in the fryer, the crust of a McDonald’s fry measures between one and two millimeters thick, about the same thickness as a paper clip viewed from the side.

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Belgian Fries

From Wikipedia:

Jo Gerard, a Belgian historian, recounts that potatoes were already fried in 1680, in the area of “the Meuse valley between Dinant and Liège, Belgium. The poor inhabitants of this region allegedly had the custom of accompanying their meals with small fried fish, but when the river was frozen and they were unable to fish, they cut potatoes lengthwise and fried them in oil to accompany their meals.”

The Belgian way of cooking frites is generally in two stages.

First fries are ‘pre-fried’ (‘voorgebakken’ in Dutch) for about 6 to 10 minutes in oil or – traditionally – beef fat preheated to about 130 to 160 °C, to cook the inner part without burning the outside, while most of the moisture is driven out. Then they are taken out, tossed to avoid clumping, and generally allowed to cool down. This intermediate product can be either frozen for “instant” deep-frying later, or as several batches of “pre-fried” fries prepared (e.g., when fries stands are opened for the day, or at home ahead of a company of guests) for rapid frying and almost simultaneously serving later.

The second stage involves frying for about two to four minutes in oil or beef fat preheated to 175 to 195 °C (as high as the oil or fat can safely stand: a too high temperature breaks it down to rather poisonous compounds).

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