Sorry to be the one to do it, but my Belgian host family would never forgive me if I didn’t set the record straight. This story is going to sound apocryphal, but only because I’ve forgotten some of the details. I’ve heard it from a bunch of different sources, including several children’s books and one Belgian history class. “French” fries would be more properly known as “Belgian” fries. The orgins are a little bit lost in the mists of time, but it all goes back to the heydays of canal-festivals in Liège (some say Bruges). Apparently, people would have a city-wide block party by the canals every year, the highlight of which was masses of fried fish sold by street vendors and taverns. One year, round about 1839, there was a harder freeze than usual, the canals were iced over, and nobody could get at the fish for a fish-fry; some inventive chef cut little effigy-fish out of potatoes, fried them up, and sold them to delighted customers. Here’s the interesting part: the French claim the chef was a French national, therefore French fries are all part of La Patrimonie, but the Belgians insist that possession is nine-tenths of the law and so claim fries as a Belgian invention. Either way, it all happened in Flanders.
Link to Staff Report: Who invented french fries? – CKDH