Wednesday 18 October 2017

No need to get chippy: 'Heavenly' Belgian fries tradition won't be banned

A regional Belgian minister recently alarmed the nation with warnings that the EU would force fries to be blanched before they hit the fat to remove cancer-causing elements. The EU reported yesterday that it had no intention whatsoever of banning Belgian fries. Photo: AP
A regional Belgian minister recently alarmed the nation with warnings that the EU would force fries to be blanched before they hit the fat to remove cancer-causing elements. The EU reported yesterday that it had no intention whatsoever of banning Belgian fries. Photo: AP

Raf Casert

The European Commission wants all Belgians, and the world at large, to know: your famous fries are safe.

A regional Belgian minister had alarmed the nation with warnings that - sacrilege! - the EU would force fries to be blanched before they hit the fat to remove a cancer-causing element as much as possible.

It would fundamentally change the family way of doing fries, which are raw, then dunked twice in fat of increasing heat. The result should be soft on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside with enough fat to make sea salt - and slathers of mayonnaise - stick.

Blanch it first and the time-honoured process would become impossible.

"It would be an enormous impoverishment of our fries culture," Flemish Tourism Minister Ben Weyts wrote to the European Health Commissioner. "It would be a shame if the EU would ban this heavenly tradition," said the letter.

Have no fear, EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said yesterday. "The Commission has no intention whatsoever, I repeat, no intention, to ban Belgian fries, or any other type of fries."

Mr Schinas fully knows the EU had burned itself before when trying to meddle too meticulously in the way its 500 million citizens eat.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will certainly smile. She escaped an EU summit last year, especially to head to the nearest fries stand.

Irish Independent

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