"French Fried Potatoes" myth (from Paris, Texas of course)
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Dec 7 23:51:28 UTC 2006
Tomorrow, I'll take a ten-mile trip to San Marcos and Texas State University
and check out Frank Tolbert's Dallas Morning News columns on Fletcher Davis
(of Athens, TX) and the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and the supposed
invention of the "hamburger." Then, I'll tell the Texas legislature the story.
I noticed that I can no longer get "19th century U.S. newspapers" through
CUNY because that trial subscription ended. Any "hamburg(er) sandwich" there?
The cites below are interesting. Fletcher Davis, from his stand at the 1904
fair, was supposedly serving some fried potatoes the Paris (TX) way, the New
York Tribune reporter thought they were Paris (France) way to make potatoes,
and that mistake gave us "french fried potatoes." "The name stuck," it's
reported. Never mind that I found "french fried potatoes" in the 1880s.
These food myths never end!
INVENTING THE HAMBURGER
by Bob Bowman
He was interviewed by a New York Tribune reporter who was intrigued by the
hamburger and the fried potatoes he served with the sandwich at the World's
Fair. Fletcher told the reporter the sandwich was his idea, but said he learned
to cook the potatoes that way from a friend in Paris, Texas. Apparently the
reporter thought Fletcher meant Paris, France, and reported that the hamburger
was served with wonderful "french-fried potatoes."
The name stuck, and history has forever given the wrong Paris the credit for
June 16-22, 2002
(Bob Bowman is author of Pioneers, Poke Sallet and Politics with Archie
McDonald. It is available through the East Texas Historical Association,
Another story about the origins of the ubiquitous burger states that in the
late 1800's Fletcher Davis, a potter in Athens, Texas, wasn't selling enough
pottery. Therefore he opened a lunch counter. His specialty? A ground-beef
patty served between slices of home-made bread. In 1904 Davis went to the
World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, with his recipe, which was, of course, a big
hit. At the Fair the ground beef sandwich was deemed the hamburger, because in
Hamburg, Germany, ground beef patties were popular, though the patties there
are more like meat loaf and lack a bun. (It is believed that 19th-century
German sailors learned about eating raw shredded beef, “Steak Tartare,” in the
Baltic Provinces. A German cook eventually had the idea of cooking the
Fletcher Davis is also credited with serving fried potato strips at the
World's Fair. A friend in Paris, Texas, had given him the idea, but a reporter
thought that Davis said “Paris, France,” and those potatoes are forevermore “
FRENCH FRIED: FROM MONTICELLO TO THE MOON
A Social, Political and Cultural Appreciation of the French Fry
By Charles Ebeling
Presented on October 31, 2005
At the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904, a potter from Athens, Texas named
Fletcher Davis, who wasn’t selling enough pottery back home, opened a lunch
counter. He served potato strips there, an idea from a friend back in Paris,
Texas. But a reporter thought he’d said “Paris, France,” and thus another legend
took root regarding the origin of the name.
href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=80R&Bill=HCR15">Texas Legislature Online</a>
Bill: HCR 15 Legislative Session: 80(R) Council Document: 80R
access this feature.'))
Last Action: 11/13/2006 H Filed Caption Version: Introduced Caption
Text: Designating Athens, Texas, as the Original Home of the Hamburger.
Author: Brown, Betty Subjects: Resolutions--Official
HAMBURGER, ORIGINAL HOME OF THE (N4817)
Actions: (descending date order) Description Comment _Date_
Time Journal Page H Filed 11/13/2006
12 July 1979, Chicago <i>Daily Herald</i>, Sugar 'n Spice, pg. 4?:
DALLAS (UPI) -- Texas historian Frank X. Tolbert says the inventor of the
American hamburger was the late Fletcher "Uncle Fletch" Davis of Athens,
Henderson COunty, Texas. No questions allowed.
With that swallowed whole, Tolbert staged a contest to celebrate the 75th
anniversary of the event. The contest might -- but, emphatically, not yet --
come to rival Tolbert's own chili cookoffs and world championship in the fall.
"Historians have long agreed that the first hamburger sandwich was
introduced by an 'unknown purveyor' at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair," said the
contest announcement. "Not until Frank did his research in Athens was it
positively established that Uncle Fletch was the man."
Tolbert said the original recipe included a half-pound meat patty on a
toasted bun with mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato and onions.
<i>OTHER CLAIMS EXIST.</i>
Yankees in New Haven, Conn., are convinced Louis Lassen served the first
burger in America at his establishment there in 1895.
Tolbert admits Lassen served something -- but not a hamburger.
"That was sliced beef," Tolbert said. Kenneth Lassen, who now presides over
the cubbyhole that is Louis' Lunch -- seating capacity, 28 -- emphatically
says it was not sliced beef. He says the burgers served there today were cloned
from the 1895 mode.
In Albion, Ohio, people attribute the invention to Frank Menches. They say
he ran out of sausage at the Summit County Fair in 1892 and substituted the
If the two foregoing claims are to be believed, Uncle Fletch's effort comes
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