July 13th is National French Fry Day — the day we celebrate the independence of the french fry from its tyrannical oppressors. It is unclear who exactly the fries were fighting against during their hundred year war. Some say the British, others insist the Nazis. More than once I have heard that the thinly cut potatoes started battling against broccoli during the horrible and unprecedented pigeon/broccoli alliance (when pigeons — those flying garbage rats — promised to eat every other veggie, man, woman, and child besides broccoli, and the fries defended us all).
Now we spend every July 13th dressing up as french fries, scattering them around the yard for the kids to find in the morning, and having elaborate parades that end in a sacrificial human participant being dipped into a giant, man-sized fryer to commemorate the loss of potato life everywhere. Sometimes it feels as if these traditions have been in place forever, but the history of french fries is actually quite traceable and fun!
Here’s a snapshot of the big events in the French Fry Timeline!
1789- The French Revolution starts. You may say that it’s coincidence that this is the same year french fries were invented. But there are no such things as coincidences. Just like there is no such thing as bears. I’ve never seen one, and so I know they do not exist. They’ve been invented to scare me into putting my food in a tree like a damn fool.
French fries were invented by Marie Antoinette as a way to apologize for the whole “Let them eat cake” thing. But she forgot to invent ketchup and so everyone revolted anyway and beheaded her. Super sad tale. But fun fact: It’s actually why ketchup is red! It’s a gentle reminder of how a crowd could come behead us at any time. This was also the year that Paul Rudd celebrated his 24th birthday.
1802: Thomas Jefferson, noted potato thief, smuggles fries in his airplane carry on from France. That night, he served the stolen fries to all of his important dinner guests in America who had helped form our great nation, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Harriet Tubman, Cleopatra, Paul Rudd, and Mark Cuban. He called the fries, “Potatoes served in the French fashion.” And they were a big hit with everyone, but especially Paul Rudd who does not and cannot age due to a curse put on him by an old woman in the Romanian forest, after he refused to give her a piece of bread.
1832- The events of Les Miserables take place. While the musical is fictional, it is based on a real story about a poor soldier in France who was arrested for stealing french fries. Later, a lot of other things happened with singing and a chair fort!
See, in the 1830’s, people in France ate only french fries and nothing else. That was the law, and as expected, it gave them near constant scurvy induced hallucinations. During these hallucinatory states, there was often great singing and they had lots of spontaneous musical numbers in the streets (as documented in the documentary musical, Les Miserables). The singing was the final sign that all of their bodily systems were about to turn off, and they would soon die. It’s fun to think about how whimsical things were back then. Such classics like “On my own, pretending he’s a french fry” were actually sung on the streets of Paris quite often, just before the host collapsed and sung through one last, dying breath.
French fries continued to flourish in France for a few more years, and the people got sicker and sicker, until finally the rat depicted in the family film, Ratatouille, became a chef and taught people how to get proper nutrition. This is also the year when Paul Rudd took his first acting class.
April 12th, 1861- The Civil War is sparked. Brother turns against brother when Abraham Lincoln declares thin cut fries to be better than steak cut. He also ended the worst institution in the history of human existence, so… pretty active presidency. Lincoln is later assassinated tragically during a performance of Our American Cousin, starring Paul Rudd.
October 29th, 1929- Black Tuesday or the day the potatoes ran cold. Sweet Potato Fries are invented. People, in a blind panic, pull stock out of french fry companies thinking the traditional fry is over. Fry restaurants all over the country close, and the stock market crashes. The Great Depression begins and with no fries to anchor the mounds of salt in the dust bowl, the salt swirls and swirls and ruins crops and lives. Paul Rudd who is working as an adult boy newsie, selling papers on the street, is the first to announce the crash in the streets of New York.
December 7th, 1941- Japan attacks Pearl harbor. A day that will live in infamy after we refused to import french fries to Japan and they launched an attack on U.S. soil. Later, we all felt attacked again when we had to see the movie Pearl Harbor, starring Josh Hartnett. Paul Rudd was not in the film, but he did attend the London premiere in 2001.
[Side note: I recently saw Josh Hartnett in person at an animal hospital in West Hollywood. I’d like to report that he was SHOCKINGLY handsome. Like, I was not expecting how attractive he would be. He looks like a normal guy on film but no…he is like the hottest guy in the world.]
I’ve never seen Paul Rudd in person, which is good because he doesn’t show up in mirrors, and if you look him in the eyes your nose bleeds and you start having strange, horrible, death-predicting dreams.
July 13th, 2017, A time of endless french fry celebration and choice. We celebrate the amazing innovations of french fries through the years. We have thin cut, steak cut, cajun fries, curly fries, crinkle fries, waffles fries, sweet potato fries, seasoned fries, and frites all living peacefully as one. There have been challenges along the way, tragedy and triumph. But at the end of the day, fries have won out as the food of the people. And today, we celebrate that.
Plus, Paul Rudd has a new Ant Man film coming out.
Fries are amazing, but they aren’t in it alone. What is a fry plain? It’s just a salty potato without the sauce, that’s what it is. But slather some ketchup or ranch on those babies and they are a nearly perfect food. Fries would be NOTHING if not for their dipping sauces. And so, during their special week, we bring you french fry dipping sauces ranked worst to best.
Our rating system today will “The amount of ageless, handsome, sweet-faced Paul Rudd‘s that would show up to partake in your fry dipping party.” Some say there are thousands of Paul Rudd’s out there. But I’ve never believed that. I’ve only ever seen 20 0r 30 in one room at a time.