The 10 Best French Fry Cutters
How A French Fry Cutter Works
Standard french fry cutters have a blade tray that performs the slicing, and a container that holds the vegetable and pushes it through the blades. One end of the container consists of tiny steel teeth that the user inserts into the top of the potato for a better grip. Some models come with interchangeable blade trays so the user can cut different types of fries like shoe string, wedge, and steak. It’s always advisable to cut the round ends of the potato off before placing it on the blade tray, so that it sits flat against the cutting mechanism, making it easier to slice into.
These mechanisms are typically made from stainless steel, a material that has many advantages including ease of cleaning and its anti-corrosion properties. Plus, pieces of vegetable don’t stick to it the way they can on other materials. More compact varieties contain just two simple blocks — one that holds the potato and one that contains the blade tray — that fit inside one another. Advanced models resemble a deli meat slicer, with anti-slip feet holding up steel rods on which the potato holder and slicer slide towards each other. The latter usually have special handles that minimize the amount of pressure the user has to apply to cut the fries.
Some models act as general vegetable slicers and can create specialty cuts like spirals and ultra thin chips. These generally come with different sized blade trays to accommodate thinner items like carrots, as well as wider items like eggplant. Many models have either a built-in receptacle to catch the vegetable slices or are elevated to make it easy for the user to slide a tray underneath them.
The History Of French Fries
There is much debate over what country created the french fry, but most historians credit the Spanish with introducing the potato to Europe. In 1573, Spanish explorers came upon a Colombian village where they tried several native foods for the first time, including potatoes. Belgians are often referenced as the first french fry makers since they began frying thin pieces of potatoes in the 17th century. Tiny fried fish used to be a staple dish in most Belgian’s diets, but when the rivers would become too frozen, people would cut potatoes into small pieces and fry these up in place of the fish.
Since Spain controlled most of Belgium during the same years of the fried potato stories, it’s believable that the latter country had access to potatoes before the rest of Europe. However, the french fry naturally has roots in France, too. The French initially only used potatoes to feed livestock, since they believed the vegetable could make humans sick.
Potatoes were even once banned in the country for human consumption. After a French doctor named Antoine-Augustine Parmentier became a prisoner of war in Prussia and was forced to eat only potatoes, he realized the many benefits of the food. In the late 1700s, when Parmentier returned to France, he started spreading the news about the potato as a viable food source for humans.
To build intrigue around the vegetable, Parmentier hired guards to stand around his potato patches. This plan worked and some French individuals would offer the guards bribes to try the potato. Once the potato became popular, street vendors began selling french fries out of push carts in major metropolitan areas, like Paris.
How Fries Are Served Around The World
French fries have very different reputations and are associated with quite diverse types of foods, depending on where one eats them. In the United States the french fry isn’t considered very healthy, and typically accompanies fast food like hamburgers and hot dogs. In Scandinavia, where eating fish is an age-old tradition, french fries might accompany low-fat catches like plaice, or even a more high-end item like an entrecote, which is a premium cut of beef. Many countries in Europe, like parts of Scandinavia and France, have street vendors selling french fries on their own out of carts.
Belgium has entire shops called friteries dedicated to french fries. The item comes with several Belgian sauces and is eaten alone or with Belgian snacks like the frikandel — a minced meat sausage — or burgers. The large variety of sauces includes aioli, sauce Andalouse, sauce Americaine (which is a tomato-based, buttery dressing), curry mayonnaise, peanut sauce and even tartar sauce. Belgians also like to eat their fries with hot sauce or gravy.
Canadians are known for their famous poutine, which comes from the french region of Quebec. The dish features french fries smothered with cheese curds and topped with gravy. The item is so popular that major Canadian cities like Montreal and Toronto regularly host a Poutine Week, during which time restaurants and chefs can showcase their greatest items featuring the food. Dishes range from sophisticated plates like meatball stew poutine to unexpected creations like chocolate breakfast poutine. La Poutine Week recently went international and can be found in Australia, Brazil, and the United States.