Friday Photo: Bruges and the Belgian Friterie
I was fifteen when I first tasted it: French fries “drowned in” mayonnaise, as explained by Vincent Vega in the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction. It was a Sunday afternoon in Holland in July 2000; my brother Chris and I were visiting my three cousins, and my uncle allowed us to watch TV while munching on our lunch of oven-baked fries and slim finger-length sausages. My cousins eagerly dipped their food into mayonnaise that they’d squeezed from a tube, and I tried it, too — the greasy, salty fries pleasantly warming the sweet mayo into an altogether-new taste sensation.
Little did I know that years later, I’d be back in Europe in 2008, sharing the double-fried fries with my boyfriend from a paper cone on the street of Bruges, Belgium, as mentioned Friday, February 24 in the New York Times. This time, however, I was more adventurous, choosing the curry sauce, the mayo and relish, and pickles on the side. I love the picture above not just because the shopkeeper of this Belgian friterie is … er … clearly gearing up to make our order; I love the photo for its imagery. The colorful array of French fry condiments are in large glass jars in the case next to raw meat patties, pre-rolled for frying; on the left side of the case is the line-up of cold drinks including Jupiler beer. The offerings of sandwiches and fried fricadelles are written in Dutch on the back wall.
While Dutch and Belgian food can be elegant, this photo shows another side of Europe — the one that is not built up by our imagination into something too pretentious to handle.
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