This question asked today caught my attention because it's only somewhat related to cooking and preparation. The OP is asking about the history of french fries, as opposed to asking a specific question about how best to cook them, a potential substitution, etc.
It seems like there's been some discussion about this before, and Aaronut offers some persuasive arguments about why "historical trivia" should be considered off-topic, unless it directly relates to being able to prepare a dish or item in question. But it doesn't look like this was definitively resolved, and the meta thread is fairly old.
As a fairly new user to the site, I'm unclear whether the linked question would be considered off-topic enough to merit closure, and where to draw the line in practice.
EDIT: I missed a more recent meta thread that implies that anthropological investigations of food culture are generally allowed. Is there consistent agreement on this or is the debate an ongoing one?