Food & Drink

The Quintessential French Pastry, The Croissant, Isn't Actually French

And neither are French fries.
A line of croissants on a baking tray.
A line of croissants on a baking tray.

When people dream of France, often times images of baguettes, wine and croissants float through their heads. There’s something about these foods ― along with cheese ― that feels quintessentially French. But, one of them isn’t French at all. It is actually Austrian, it’s the croissant.

That’s right, if you’ve been living with the misconception that the croissant was French all this time, your whole life has basically been a lie. The croissant was conceived of in the 17th century in Austria and was introduced to France sometime during the 18th century. The French actually call the croissant and other morning pastries viennoiserie, which in French basically means “things from Vienna.”

The croissant isn’t the only food with origins that most of us are confused about. Here are a few more:

1. French Fries

French Fries are another food that many people assume are French, when in fact they hail from the smaller country to the north of France, Belgium. That’s why Belgian fries are so insanely good, because they’re old pros.

2. Ketchup

Ketchup ― although it may be as American as condiments get ― actually owes its origin to China. Ketchup comes from the Hokkien Chinese word, kê-tsiap. The original sauce was made from fermented fish, and went through many iterations as it traveled across the globe before becoming America’s favorite condiment. And then there’s the other favorite snack food...

3. Nachos

Nachos, while technically invented in Mexico, were the result of trying to please American palates. They aren’t a part of traditional Mexican cuisine, but definitely hold a beloved spot in Tex-Mex.

Just a little reminder that we really do live in a global food world.

French Fries