When it comes to popular cuisine, the french fry holds a place close to my other favorites, such as tacos and pizza. But how much do you actually know about this tasty treat loved by foodies the world over? Did you know, for example, that the french fry isn’t even French?
The origins of the french fry can be traced to Belgium. This is where historians believe that the potato first met the fryer, way back in the 1600s! According to NationalGeographic, it is believed that Meuse Valley villagers caught small fish in the river which they then fried before eating. When the river froze in the winter, the villagers turned to the humble potato—cutting it into slices and frying it in the same manner as the fish. Thus the french fry was born.
So, where did the name come from?
According to Wonderopolis, World War I was the first exposure Americans had to the french fry, with the name coming from a linguistic misunderstanding between American and Belgium soldiers. When the Belgian forces shared this winter food the American soldiers associated it with the language rather than the nationality. The name “french fries” was born.
Something I find most interesting is the number of french fry serving restaurants who found their place on the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants list for standing out in the world of sustainability. Here are five restaurants with sustainable spuds to celebrate National French Fry Day:
EVOO, Cambridge, MA
EVOO may be best known for their mouth-watering food, but this Cambridge favorite actually pioneered its local sustainable restaurant movement seventeen years ago! To achieve sustainability, EVOO is located in a LEED-certified green building, their ingredients are delivered by bicycle, and they source their food from local farms—including their own rooftop garden.
These are just a few of the measures that have landed EVOO on the Good Food 100 Restaurants list as a restaurant that “uses its purchasing power to support ecologically minded practices.”
“Good food means that we are preparing food for the community with ingredients from the community. We strive to be a part of our sustainable community and we want to make a difference.” – Chefs Collaborative Member
POTATO FEATURE: French Fries with Alex’s tangy Ketchup
Farmhouse Chicago, Chicago, IL
When you have access to a 140-acre Wisconsin farm and a wonderful supply of local farmers, getting sustainably-sourced ingredients for your restaurant is easy. That is just what Executive Chef Jason Jones takes advantage of to keep the Farmhouse Chicago’s menu fresh.
This popular destination for Midwestern cuisine has a dedicated local following (part of the reason they can keep their carbon footprint in check). Farmhouse made the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants cut because of this sourcing and their “dedication to supporting every link of the food chain with its purchasing power.”
“Good food means knowing the source of your food, and having knowledge of how it was produced at every step of the process from producer to consumer.” – Green City Market Board Member
POTATO FEATURE: Tavern Fries with Garlic Mayo and Housemade Ketchup
Blackbelly Market, Boulder, CO
While restaurants can practice sustainability, there are a few that start before the food even gets to their kitchens. One of these origin-conscious restaurants is Blackbelly Market. This scrumptious eatery gets its 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants nod for their relentless commitment to the promotion of sustainable agriculture.
They do this by using seasonal and local ingredients in every dish, grown by farmers who strive to reduce water usage and practice earth-friendly agricultural techniques. Another way Blackbelly stands out is through their on-site butcher market. This is where they cure their own meats and commit to using the whole animal to reduce food waste.
“Good food combines sustainable and local sourcing with responsible treatment and presentation of the product to deliver it on the plate in the most inviting way.” – Eat Denver
POTATO FEATURE: Local Fingerling Potatoes with Scallion Pesto and Pickled Peppers
Cookshop, New York, NY
The Chelsea neighborhood in New York City is a hotbed of culinary achievements. One restaurant that not only offers a true flavor experience but also the comfort of knowing they are focused on sustainability is Cookshop. They source from local producers in Long Island, Ithaca, and even Brooklyn, and you have a truly local and minimally footprinted dining experience.
Cookshop is another restaurant that earned a spot on the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants list for “investing their purchasing power in the local sustainable food movement.”
“It’s invaluable that the consumer has a way to evaluate restaurants based upon the quality of their ingredients and impact on the environment. If they are lead to make decisions based upon such criteria, it will bring about greater support of farmers and food producers doing the right thing. Many customers I speak with are frustrated because they want to support good food, but don’t know how. This provides that outlet.” – Slow Food Member
POTATO FEATURE: Crisp Potatoes with Chimichurri
Tiny Diner, Minneapolis, MN
Don’t be fooled by the name; the Tiny Diner is taking big steps to sustainably showcase
seasonal produce sourced locally (including what they grow themselves). But that’s not all. The Tiny Diner also produces some of their own energy via solar panels on their roof, works to develop urban soil fertility, and actively creates natural habitats in their own backyard for pollinators and urban wildlife.
In their own words, the Tiny Diner made its way onto the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants list because, “From its hardscape to its landscape, this Diner was designed to provide a renovated example of whole system design: low impact, educational, and tangibly tasty.”
“Food that supports clean air and water, healthy soil and regenerative oceans.” – Slow Food Member, WCR – Women Chefs & Restaurateurs Member
POTATO FEATURE: Cajun Fries
Read more tips and tricks on how to reduce your food waste with our organics recycling guide.
Editor’s Note: References made to businesses/companies in this post are not meant to convey affiliation with or endorsement of Rubicon by those companies in any way.