We all know the not-so-secret recipe for Belgian fries: we double fry. But do you know where we serve them? At one of the many frietkots found on main highways and town squares (reportedly over 5000 in our little country). These traditional fries shops are slowly disappearing from the street view due to strict food regulations and urban planning. Luckily we have the paintings of Gillis Houben to remember us of the strange beauty of a patched up van alongside the road.
Back in the early seventies Gilles, an autodidact painter, started to paint these persistent symbols of a certain Belgitude. The series, titled Home Frit' Home, depicts fries stands in an almost contradictional way: clean and rigid visuals represent the mishmash of many elements adding up to the quirky charm of a frietkot. Gilles describes his own work as "future nostalgia". This description may be more accurate then we think, as the majority of the over one-hundred painted fries shops already disappeared.
Let's not panic yet, Belgium still has the highest density of fries stands in the world (at least we think so). And if there ever would be a time where the term frietkot only raises question marks, then we have the painting of Gilles to remind us of this quirky Belgian landmark.