A quest for the original McDonald's french fry recipe

McDonald's is not exactly known for gourmet food, but most people will agree that their french fries are pretty good- for the five minutes it takes to eat them before they get cold. But they were once better. The McDonald brothers sold a thousand pounds of fries every day even before Ray Kroc turned their operation into a franchise. So what happened to the those extra-tasty McDonald's fries?

McDonald's original french fries were cooked in beef tallow. For that fact, they were bullied out of production by a well-funded, well-intentioned businessman and self-proclaimed health advocate named Phil Sokolof, who unknowingly dethroned what many fans claim was the greatest french fry to ever meet mass production. "The french fries were very good," [Julia] Child said in a 1995 interview, "and then the nutritionists got at them … and they've been limp ever since … I'm always very strong about criticizing them, hoping maybe they'll change."

Child never lived to see McDonald's fries return to their former glory, and sadly, and there's no indication they ever will. That's why I set out on a quest to find the original recipe.

Luke Fater not only found what he believes to be the original recipe, he also cooked them to see if they were as good as he'd heard. See that and read the history of McDonald's french fries at Atlas Obscura.