One weird holiday on April 20 is National Cheddar Fries Day. Check out the other weird April holidays!
Imagine a plate piled high with golden, crispy french fries, smothered in a generous blanket of gooey, melted cheese. The combination of crunchy and creamy textures, coupled with savory and salty flavors, is nothing short of irresistible
This indulgent treat has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world and earned a special day of celebration – National Cheddar Fries Day. Observed annually on April 20th, this delectable holiday pays tribute to the mouthwatering joy that is cheddar fries (aka, cheese fries).
In this article, we’ll delve into the history of cheese fries, explore various regional and international variations, and share tips on crafting the perfect plate of this beloved comfort food.
When Is National Cheddar Fries Day?
National Cheddar Fries Day is celebrated each year on April 20th.
Who Invented National Cheddar Fries Day?
National Cheddar Fries Day, celebrated on April 20th each year, pays homage to a beloved comfort food: cheddar fries. While the exact origins of this food holiday are not as widely documented as some others, it’s likely that it arose through the collective appreciation of cheddar fries by food enthusiasts and establishments specializing in this delightful dish.
One significant contributor to the popularity of cheddar fries in the United States is Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar. Established in 1978 in Dallas, Texas, by Pat Snuffer, this iconic restaurant has played a pivotal role in elevating cheddar fries to their current status as a cherished American comfort food.
Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar is renowned for its dedication to creating the perfect plate of cheddar fries. They’ve become a go-to destination for cheddar fry aficionados, and many credit Snuffer’s for popularizing this cheesy treat.
The signature dish at Snuffer’s features a generous serving of hand-cut, crispy french fries smothered in melted cheddar cheese. These cheddar fries quickly gained a devoted following due to their irresistible combination of textures and flavors. As a result, Snuffer’s has become synonymous with cheddar fries, and their dedication to perfecting this dish has inspired countless imitators and admirers.
While Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar has made a significant impact on the cheddar fries scene, it’s important to note that cheddar fries have found their way onto menus at various eateries across the United States. This widespread popularity likely contributed to the establishment of National Cheddar Fries Day.
The Birth of Cheese Fries
The origins of cheese (cheddar) fries, much like other comfort foods, are not attributed to a single inventor or a specific date. Instead, this delectable creation evolved over time through the fusion of two culinary staples: french fries and cheese. Here’s a brief journey through the history of these two components:
1. The Birth of French Fries:
- The origins of french fries can be traced back to the late 17th century in Belgium and France. Potatoes, initially introduced to Europe from the Americas, were sliced and fried, creating what we now know as french fries.
2. Cheese’s Culinary Journey:
- Cheese has a storied history dating back thousands of years. Various civilizations, from the ancient Egyptians to the Romans, have embraced cheese as a versatile ingredient, enjoying it in countless forms and dishes.
3. The Marriage of Two Classics:
- The concept of combining cheese with fries likely emerged organically as people experimented with different toppings for their fries. The marriage of crispy potatoes and melted cheese was a match made in culinary heaven.
While the precise moment of this delicious union remains elusive, cheese fries have become a cherished comfort food enjoyed across the globe.
How to Make the Perfect Plate of Cheese Fries
The appeal of cheese fries lies in their simplicity, but achieving perfection requires attention to detail. Here’s how to craft the perfect plate of cheese fries:
- Russet potatoes (or your preferred variety for fries)
- Cooking oil (such as vegetable or peanut oil)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated cheese (common choices include cheddar, mozzarella, or a blend)
- Additional toppings (bacon bits, green onions, jalapeños, or chili, if desired)
1. Prepare the Fries:
- Peel and cut the potatoes into thin, uniform strips. Soak them in cold water for 30 minutes to remove excess starch.
- Drain and pat the fries dry with a kitchen towel to ensure they crisp up during frying.
- Heat the cooking oil in a deep fryer or a large, heavy-bottomed pot to 350-375°F (175-190°C).
- Carefully add the fries in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the fryer or pot. Fry until they turn golden brown and crispy, typically for 3-4 minutes per batch.
- Remove the fries with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Season the hot fries with salt and pepper immediately to enhance their flavor.
2. Melt the Cheese:
- Preheat your oven’s broiler or grill to high heat.
- Arrange the cooked fries on an ovenproof platter or baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the fries, ensuring each fry gets a delicious cheese coating.
- If you’re using additional toppings like bacon bits or jalapeños, add them at this stage.
3. Melt and Brown the Cheese:
- Place the platter of fries under the broiler or on the grill for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and begins to bubble and brown.
- Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning. The exact time may vary based on your oven or grill, so monitor them closely.
4. Serve and Enjoy:
- Remove the platter from the oven or grill, and serve your cheese fries immediately while they’re hot and gooey.
- Feel free to add a dipping sauce like ranch dressing, ketchup, or even a dollop of sour cream for extra indulgence.
Regional and International Variations on Cheddar Fries
As cheese fries have gained popularity around the world, regional and international variations have emerged. Here are a few notable examples:
1. Disco Fries (New Jersey, USA):
- In the Garden State, cheese fries are elevated to “disco fries” by smothering them with brown gravy in addition to the melted cheese.
2. Poutine (Canada):
- Canada’s beloved poutine consists of french fries topped with cheese curds and drenched in rich, savory gravy.
3. Chili Cheese Fries (USA):
- Chili cheese fries combine the best of two worlds, featuring crispy fries loaded with chili con carne and melted cheese.
4. Loaded Fries (Australia):
- Australians enjoy “loaded fries,” which are topped with everything from melted cheese to sour cream, bacon bits, and barbecue sauce.
5. Kimchi Cheese Fries (Korea):
- In South Korea, you’ll find kimchi cheese fries, where spicy fermented cabbage (kimchi) meets melted cheese on a bed of crispy fries.
National Cheddar Fries Day Celebrations
National Cheese Fries Day is an excellent occasion to revel in the simple pleasure of this comfort food favorite. Here are some delightful ways to celebrate:
1. Create a Cheese Fries Bar:
- Host a cheese fries party and set up a DIY bar with various cheeses, toppings, and sauces, allowing guests to build their dream plate of cheese fries.
2. Explore Local Variations:
- Try regional or international variations of cheese fries. Whether it’s poutine from Canada or loaded fries from Australia, these versions offer new flavors to savor.
3. Cook at Home:
- Experiment with homemade cheese fries. Create your version by adding your favorite toppings and cheeses for a personalized twist.
4. Share Your Creations:
- Share photos of your cheese fries creations on social media with the hashtag #CheeseFriesDay to connect with fellow enthusiasts and inspire others.
5. Visit a Local Eatery:
- Support your local restaurants or diners known for their exceptional cheese fries by visiting them on this special day.
National Cheese Fries Day invites us to indulge in the satisfying and comforting combination of crispy french fries and gooey melted cheese. This beloved comfort food has a rich history and has evolved into regional and international variations that cater to diverse tastes.
Whether you’re savoring classic cheese fries or exploring inventive twists, this day is a perfect excuse to enjoy a plate of this savory delight. So, on April 20th, gather your friends and family, or treat yourself to a hearty serving of cheese fries, and relish in the sheer pleasure of this timeless comfort food.
Ideas for National Cheddar Fries Day
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