Woody Allen once described Los Angeles as a city whose major cultural contribution was right turns on red lights. By that metric, Utah has SoCal beat: We have given the world fry sauce.
Salmon-pink in color, it is the most efficient way to get additional fat onto the deep-fried potatoes next to a bacon cheeseburger.
Creating a new way to up Utahns’ fat intake was a tough assignment, but local burger chain Arctic Circle was up to the challenge.
In researching the origins of fry sauce, frankly, I was hoping for controversy. I expected a blazing debate across the Internet. But alas, there is little or no dissent to the claim that in or about 1948, Don Carlos Edwards, proprietor of a then-fledgling Salt Lake City burger joint, mixed together ketchup and mayonnaise in an approximately 2-to-1 ratio and began serving it with Arctic Circle french fries. Deliciousness ensued.
There are many fry sauce variations. The original version has ingredients listed on its individual serving plastic containers as “Ketchup and Mayonnaise.”
Crown Burger’s sauce contains sweet relish. And the Training Table uses a house-made barbecue sauce in place of ketchup. Fry sauce from Greek Souvlaki and Mazza both carry the kick of exotic spices from the Near East. Green Jell-O has earned the reputation of Utah’s signature food product, but fry sauce is indigenous, and it’s spreading. Our condiment is now found throughout the Intermountain West and is encroaching on the West Coast, too. A local company, Some Dude’s Fry Sauce, sells the stuff in grocery stores nationwide.
But it doesn’t stop there. I visited Amsterdam a few years back and found no shortage of french fry stalls. The Dutch have an affinity for mayonnaise with their fries. But ketchup is also available for tourists, and I was given a choice.
When I asked for both, the eyes of the frites attendant widened with a dawning understanding and a little bit of awe. I had unwittingly introduced my favorite condiment to an entire continent. Yes, I’m taking credit for that.Rob Tennant email@example.com