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Bastille Day Celebrations in France


Le 14 Juillet - France's Independence Day

July 14th is often thought of as France's Independence Day.

More accurately, it's the French National Day — called La Fête Nationale in French — commemorating the day in 1789 when crowds stormed the Bastille, a fortress used as a prison in Paris. The event marks the beginning of the French Revolution.

So what does it have to do with the USA? A lot, actually.

The French royal treasury had essentially run out of money, largely due to the funding it provided to the colonies during its revolution, as well as a French tax system that favored the aristocracy.

The financial crisis prompted King Louis XVI to convene a meeting in Versailles. During the meeting, the king fired a popular finance minister.

This news prompted a young writer named Camille Desmoulins to call on the people at Palais Royal — a square where citizens went to speak their minds — to march to the fortress. By July 14, a crowd of 80,000 had amassed outside of the Bastille.

The military significance of the storming of the Bastille was small. There were only a handful of prisoners in the fortress at that time.

But the day remains a symbol of people overcoming "monarchical despotism, censorship, oppression of people who spoke up. Its fall carried enormous symbolic power,"

The French recognize Bastille Day as the end of the monarchy and beginning of the modern republic. The lasting significance of the event was in its recognition that power could be held by ordinary citizens, not in the king or in God.

Today, Parisians celebrate this national holiday with a grand military parade up the Champs Elysees colorful arts festivals, and raucous parties marking the holiday. Uncork a bottle of wine, pop in a Jacques Dutronc  CD, and join the celebration!

To symbolize the solidarity between France and America - we feature the French Fry.  The French fry, recently dubbed the" Freedom Fry" during times of disagreement in government policy between the two nations, needs to be resurrected as our common bond -  not only in liberty for the people but in our love of food.

So in celebration of Bastille Day, we feature:   THE FRENCH FRY

The trick to french fries is double-frying. First, flash-fry the potatoes to eliminate moisture, then fry them again to ensure crispness. Eating them with mayonnaise will take you to Europe - guaranteed!

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings




  • About 8 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds medium baking (russet) potatoes, peeled
  • Equipment: a deep-fat thermometer; an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with french fry or large (1/4-inch) julienne blade
  • Accompaniment: mayonnaise


Heat 1 1/2 inches oil to 325°F in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium heat. While oil is heating, cut potatoes with slicer into 1/4-inch sticks.

Fry potatoes in 5 batches for 1 1/2 minutes per batch (potatoes will not be golden) and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 325°F between batches.)

Heat oil to 350°F. Refry potatoes in 5 batches until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes per batch, and transfer to clean paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.)

Season fries with salt.




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