Friday, July 16, 2010

French Fries - Who Invented These Damn Things?!

With the power to cause rampant obesity in villages, towns and countries both small and large, I got to thinking over a box of Biggie Fries today; who invented these little monsters? I eat my Biggie fries knowing that I'm gonna do Biggie time on the running track later to pay for this moment of weakness, but most people consuming them will eat them and just let it ride - straight to their bellies... Anyway, back to the fries... There are varying accounts of who really invented the french fry, but I bet they had no clue what havoc it would wreak on many a waistline centuries later. Those first credited with cooking and eating fries are.....

the Belgians, who are said to have been seen frying potatoes as early as 1680. They would eat fish and to go along with these meals of fish, they'd fry up some potatoes, cut into small pieces. Hey, sounds like a meal to me! However, I guess that the name "Belgian Fries" was too much of a mouthful for folks at that time. Perhaps it wasn't catchy enough. "French fries" does just roll off your tongue (and they ain't too hard sliding down your esophagus either). However, we have NO problem whatsoever saying Belgian Waffles, eh? I know I sure don't ;)! Anyhow, since French was the main language of Belgians at that time, they somehow got named "pommes frites", or "french fries" as we now know it.

Now, by some accounts "frites" is said to be a word honoring some guy named Fritz. Fritz, a Belgian entrepreneur selling French fries at fairs, was referred to as "le roi des pommes de terre frites". However, according to "The verb "to french", though not attested until after "French fried potatoes" had appeared, can refer to "julienning" of vegetables as is acknowledged by some dictionaries,[11] while others only refer to trimming the meat off the shanks of chops.[12] In the UK, "Frenched" lamb chops (particularly for serving as a "rack of lamb") have the majority of the fat removed together with a small piece of fatty meat from between the ends of the chop bones, leaving mainly only the meat forming the "eye" of the chop attached." Okay. I like the Fritz story much better. Anyhow, there ya go on how they got their name.

The Spanish also claim to be the originators of French Fries since the first European country in which the potato appeared via the New World colonies was the Spanish Netherlands, which became Belgium more than a century later. The Spanish had first seen potatoes in Peru, and thereby, had access to them, although were not as fond of them as they would later become.
The Irish also later embraced the root, but they are mainly known to have eaten them roasted or in stews.

Fries are said to have first appeared in the US during the early 1800's, most notably at a White House dinner during presidency of Thomas Jefferson. They began their rise in popularity then and it hasn't stopped since. Here in the US, there is more than adequate evidence of this, as french fries are found in every restaurant under the sun, and in all cuisines. You can even find french fries on a Chinese food menu. Every man, woman, child and dog knows what a french fry is. We all love french fries, and we're stickin' to 'em! ....while trying to figure out how to not let them stick to us!

Anyhow, I know that it's not the fault of the french fry that so many people are obese. I'm not going to pile all the responsibility of that on the poor little french fry. It's those damn cheeseburgers and the super size soda that do it! lol! Nope. Still not true. What's making us fat is the fact that we want to eat these things unrestrainedly and not within the structure of a balanced diet. I was just on a message board where a 12 year old girl was upset that her Mom doesn't cook and just gives her money for McDonald's and Wendy's rather than turn on the stove, and she's gaining weight because of it. She's being picked on at school and being called fat. THAT's the problem. I'm not going to become preachy here, because that would ruin an otherwise fun post. But you all know the deal..... ;) We all need to get our butts in the kitchen and start cooking again. Fast food should be an occasional treat, not a mainstay of your diet.

Love the fry, but just don't worship it. That means don't eat it all the time, folks! And kudos to whoever first decided to cut potatoes into tiny little strips and throw them into a vat of boiling oil! ;)


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A True Master Never Stops Being A Student

This is true no matter what profession you're in, or what you're an expert at. There is always something that you don't know, and there is always something new to learn. To stop learning is to become stagnant and obsolete.

Taking the class of a colleague of mine today reminded me of that, and of why every now and then I take the time to see what my professional peers are doing by dropping in and taking one of their classes. My colleague teaches such a different style than I do, and just experiencing something different for a change really opened my head up a bit, and I'm always excited when that happens. We're all learning and evolving as teachers, and I always come out of the situation with new ideas and a fresh perspective on at least a couple of things. That makes my own creative juices start to flow again, I begin to experiment with new methods, and my own techniques become that much stronger.

I think that those who are the absolute best at their craft have this same philosophy. You are never that great and accomplished that you can't still learn something from someone else. Even someone with less experience than you can teach you something, simply because of the fact that we all think differently.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


The past holiday got me to thinking about 'independence' and what it really means. If you ask me, it should be my middle name. My Mom will tell you, I started fighting for my independence when I was only 4. I finally gained it totally when I left my parents house on my 18th birthday and got my own place. Yep. I had to have it THAT bad! ;)
I've always been a person who needed to do it on my own, and I have. I just really don't see any other way to live, and I thank God daily that I am a woman that was born in a country that allows me to be who I want to be and to plan and live my own life, good or bad. There are so many people, especially women, in the world who are not fortunate enough to have such freedom, and I'm aware of that constantly. I make the most of my complete freedom, and live my life to the utmost.

One thing I've never been able to understand is codependency. People who are unable to do anything at all by themselves! I don't think I'm superior to such folks or anything like that, but I just don't get it! I have traveled the world both on my own and with company, and either suits me just fine. In the meantime, I have friends who wont even go out to have dinner or to get something to eat unless they have someone with them. These people hear me talk about how I went to Spain or Italy all by myself, and they react as if it's as amazing a thing as going to the moon. I laugh at that! I think it's hilarious. I see people that can't even go to the store to get toilet paper alone -- they have to bring the whole family! I have jokes about that, and if I ever get to do standup comedy, you'll hear 'em! I know that part of that is cultural upbringing, but still, don't get the need to be in a group of people all the time. Hell, on occasion I even go to see a movie by myself. Have you ever done that? Even though I have friends that will go with me, sometimes I just feel like doing what I need to do without rounding up the troops. Ya know? I like to be around people when I feel like it, and not a moment before! That's crazy in its own way, because when I go to work, I'm usually dealing with a room full of folks. But then, I'm teaching and having fun, and I'm also the boss of the's pretty cool in its own way! Hate crowds, love solitude. That's me! :)

I have been both married and single, and let me tell ya, single is IT! I love coming home and not have to worry about what anyone else wants, needs or thinks. My home is my haven, and when I feel like it, I'll let someone in! lol! Until then, I'm as happy as a clam doing my own thing the way I want, when I want. I'm guessing that being an only child until I was 6 (when my brother was born) must have helped shape that independent mindset. Even as a child, I had my own room, and all I needed was some crayons, paper, my television and my window to look out of. I always jokingly say that I could live in a cave as long as it has internet access and I can get food delivered!

Anyway, even though Independence Day in America is now over, I have to say I sooooo appreciate all the wars and struggles that have been fought here to make sure that I get to have this freedom! I appreciate every person that stood up and did what they had to do to gain it. God Bless them all! ;)

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