Originally published July 13, 2017 in the Suffolk News-Herald
In our continuing quest to make sure our readers have the most important information for their day-to-day lives, we at the Suffolk News-Herald feel we cannot let the opportunity pass to let you know that today marks a significant celebration of one of the linchpins of modern civilization.
Today is National French Fry Day. All day long.
That’s right, folks. Some enterprising person (probably a potato grower or a fast-food chain social networking manager) has finally recognized the important role that the lowly french fry has played in uniting people of all social strata, of nearly every ethnic background, of every religious persuasion and political inclination.
Your neighbor who voted for Donald Trump eats french fries. So does the one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Police officers eat french fries, and so do the people they arrest. Whether you earn $10 an hour hauling trash or $100,000 a year selling stock options, there’s a good chance you’ve had french fries sometime during the past week.
We might argue over how french fries should look — after all, what would America be without some minor point of distinction that sets people apart from one another. Some folks swear by waffle fires, while others will slam on the brakes for an order of crinkle-cuts. Skin-on or curly? Them’s fightin’ words. But we can all get behind the idea of sliced potatoes fried until they’re golden brown and crunchy.
Wikipedia tells us — so you know it’s got to be true — that Thomas Jefferson presented “potatoes served in the French manner” at a White House dinner in 1802. Jefferson loved the French, so it’s not surprising he attributed the new delicacy to them, but there’s actually an ongoing debate between France and Belgium about which country invented what has become one of America’s favorite foods.
According to the USDA, 29 percent of this nation’s potato production in 2004 went into making frozen fries. We’re actually surprised the number was that low — must be the health kick of the new century coming into play here.
We know you want to be healthy, so we’re not going to suggest that you celebrate this day — do people in Idaho get a paid holiday for it? — by gorging yourself with golden deliciousness. But there’s almost certainly a fast food drive-through on your way home….
— R.E. Spears III