GEO 10 Section 2378
February 15, 2009
French fries have been one of my favorite foods since I can remember. From
when I was a kid I would always request fries whenever the choice was mine. No meal
was envisioned without french fries accompanying it, making the meal complete.
When I think of french fries, I think of good old American McDonald's, Burger
King or Wendy's. Or even K.F.C. for a different variation called "potato wedges." But
America isn't the only place that serves up this type of food. Matter of fact, you could
probably get french fries in almost every country in the world.
Of course, depending on which country you are in, fench fries are prepared in
different ways and are called by different names. For instance, if you were in the United
Kingdom you would call them "chips," which is also the case in Australia and Ireland. If
you were on our side of the world, however, you would call them "french fries" or just
"fries" for short.
This food is usually deep fried in oil and is created by slicing potatoes into long
thin strips. French fries have been changed into different types of fries and have been
named accordingly. A few of these different styles have names such as "thick-cut fries",
"curly fries", "shoestring fries", "jo-jo fries", etc. Each name pretty much represents the
way the fries look and are prepared. French fries can also be prepared with bread
crumbs and sometimes different spices.
Now you may ask where this wonderful food originated from. Probably even
assume it would be French since the name seems to imply that. However, depending on
who you ask, you would get much debate on that fact.
If you were to get an American opinion you would most likely get pointed in the
direction of France. This is when this trip takes an unexpected turn. Eventhough
"pommes fritas" or french fries have been seen in French cookbooks as far back as 1755.
It is mostly common knowledge in France that french fries originated in Belgium.
Though no solid evidence can be presented on thie origin of the french fry,
Belgium historian Jo Gerard claimed that potatoes were being fried in the 1680's in the
Spanish Netherlands, almost a century before its appearance in France. These people
would usually cut fish into long strips and fry them, but when their river was frozen and
fish were not available, they would cut potatoes in this fashion and use these as a
Another contender would be Spain. They claim that fried potatoes were first
created by them and were spread through the New World colonies. They say that its
first appearance was a side dish to fish in Galacia, then spread to the rest of the country
and continued on to the Spanish Netherlands over a century before Belgium was
So you see, the so called "French Fry" is a subject of much debate and cloaked in
a shroud of mystery on where exactly this food was first created.
To tell you the truth, regardless of where the french fry originated from or whom
exactly created this masterpiece, is not even important, nor will it diminish my never
ending quest for the perfect french fries.
I hope this journey through the alleged originators of french fries has been
enlightening and imformative. Eventhough there is no definitive proof on where or
whom made the french fry, what I do know for sure is that this world is a better place
with them in it!
"French Fries." Wikipedia. 14 February 2009. Wikipedia Foundation. 14 February 2009
Geo 10 Section 2378
April 5, 2009
" Oil Crisis in Iraq "
Kirkuk is a town located in Iraqi Kurdistan and home to about forty percent of
Iraq's oil fields. The Kurdish people estimate in the four millions and are about ninety
percent of those are Muslim. This northern part of Iraq has been known as " The Cradle
Of Civilization, " and is home to such ancient cities as Babylon and the Garden of Eden.
After World War I, the country was released from Ottoman control and given to
the British empire. Occupied by the British goverment until 1932, this land was then
turned over to a monarchy. Short lived, this goverment was overthrown and replaced
with a republic in 1958. hopefully for the benefit of all Iraq.
Though this was not the case, Iraq went through the years being tossed back
and forth from one military dictator to the next. From these ranks rose Saddam
Hussein and his corrupt regime. Saddam is well known for his political ambitions,
cruelties to people in and around Iraq and corrupt state policies.
Saddam Hussein was eventually overthrown in a U.S., British invasion of Iraq in
2003. Though it was too late for tens of thousands of Kurds who were displaced during
Saddams " Arabization " program in the late 1980's in Kirkuk. Saddam replaced these
undesirable Kurds with pro-goverment Arabs from southern Iraq. The displacement of
these non-arabs is what is to be the cause of much violence as they return home after
the fall of Saddams regime.
The area of Kirkuk is ethnically diverse and is considered home by Turkmen,
Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, and Kurds alike. The Kurdish people have a strong
sense of national pride and feel that Kurdistan should of never been split up by England
when they held the territory. The Kurdish people have been thrown off their land and
betrayed by goverments who sold empty promises.
During a filmed visit by one of the kurdish exiles named Kuzan Sherabazani, the
opinion of the general public was one of mixed feelings. Most were open U.S. and
british supporters who were happy the invasion that wiped out Saddam took place.
Still other locals were convinced that much of the violence that is directed towards them
is done because they are allies of the U.S. and Britain.
The security in Kirkuk and neighboring cities has fallen apart so much that car
bombings and insurgent attacks seem to be a part of your typical day in Iraq. The area
is thrown back to the stone age it seems due to the water, gas and electricity shortages
that are now common place around most of the city of Kirkuk and most of Iraq.
The two borders that are most widely used for oil purposes are the Turkish
border and the Iranian border. These borders are two very different scenes working
towards the same goal, to feed Iraq's fuel consumption needs of about elleven million
liters of petrol a day. This gap was left due mostly to the fact that most of Iraq's oil
refineries were either sabotaged or destroyed when Saddam fell from power. Now
most of Iraq's oil is shipped crude out of the country to be refined. Then it is shipped
back by truck to be sold throughout most of Iraq. This is the scene on Iraq's turkish
border, an endless stream of trucks and tankers at a stand still as far as the eye can
see. Patiently waiting for the weeks long process of oil transfer, which is an inefficient
process at that. The film maker is amazed by the sight and is left dumbfounded by his
A completely different scene is painted at Iraq's Iranian border. Here is a place
where smuggling has run so rampant that the smugglers make no hesitation with
conducting daylight runs across the border. Smuggling has become common place
among young Kurds trying to make money in their hard economic times of crisis. A
dangerous profession that has attracted many to its way of life where being mamed or
killed was a very real possibility.
All this effort is being put forth to fill the gap that was left by the destruction of
Iraq's oil refineries. The fuel shortage has left a great demand for gas and where there
is demand there will be people willing to supply that demand and risk their lives in the
process. This source of income would be known as an informal economy, which is
defined as a money generating resource that is at most times illegal and not reported to
or taxed by that area's goverment. Much of Iraq is in economic meltdown and is in
great need of reform. Until order is restored and safety is ensured, the people of Iraq
will continue to live in economic strife and constant fear of violence.
The film director has shown me many great points on the economic collapse of a
country and the waves of deterioration that follows. Until, eventually, a country with one
of the worlds most precious resource can't even fuel their own cars. Not to mention
being thrown back as human beings for lack of bare human essentials such as water,
When posed with the question of building my future in this war torn country, I
would have to say definitely not. What kind of life could I provide for my family when we
could probably be killed by any number of different occurences that have become so
common place in Kirkuk.
It is just not safe, the whole place needs a major overhaul and accompanying
security forces need to be put in place. To tell you the truth I would probably still not
risk it. Everyone wants the oil under your land and who knows what would be done to
obtain it. He should most likely stay in England and wait it out until things sort