My love for fries with mayonnaise started early. Growing up in the south of the Netherlands and pretty close to the Belgium border, eating your fries out of a cone, topped with a generous dollop of mayonnaise is part of your culinary upbringing. Special ‘snack bars’ that focus solely on fries and other deep-fried snacks can be found in every neighbourhood in both countries.
It wasn’t until later, and especially after I moved to Paris, that I understood just how strange that combination of fries and mayonnaise looks and sounds to most people. And that’s not even the weirdest. You might not be tempted to eat something called ‘war fries’, but for many Dutch just hearing the name makes them hungry. To them, a portion of fresh hot fries topped with mayonnaise, warm peanut sauce and raw onions is the ultimate comfort food, even if it does makes your breath a bit… funky.
Yes, we have our own special way of eating fries, and so do our southern neighbours in Belgium. The Belgians have their national version of war fries (spoiler: there’s a meat topping involved, which would be highly unorthodox in the Netherlands. But everything is fair when it comes to love and war fries).
Let’s dive into the wonderful world of fried potato sticks and frying culture of the low countries.
Eva Lambooij lives in two great European cities: Utrecht and Paris. She has more than 10 years of experience in PR, a food blog and travels the world to take the food and lifestyle photos that have become her personal trademark. Eva is one of the food photographers for Stockfood agency and has published her recipes and pictures in several magazines. evainthekitchen.com and evalambooij.com
Hannah Berman lives and works in Oakland, California. She loves to travel and cook, and collects everything from bird nests to antiques, and is inspired by colorful candy wrappers, vintage Paint-By-Numbers kits, and Islamic miniatures. www.hbillustration.com