My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
|You have to admit, that dirt covered ball of starch you dig out of the ground sure doesnâ€™t look like anything youâ€™d want to put in your mouth, let alone chew and swallow. Still, over the years it has proven itself to be a veritable cornucopia of culininary possibilities. While thinking about todayâ€™s blog I quickly thought of a number of ways I like to eat potatoes. I wonâ€™t bore you with the complete list but here are a couple of my favorites. Boiled potatoes with hot lettuce or dandelion salad on top. Yummmm. Roasted in the coals of a campfire until the skins are charred and crisp. And last of course, and the subject of todayâ€™s blog, French-fried.
I donâ€™t know who the guy (or gal) was that first thought of throwing a bunch of cut up potatoes into a pot of boiling oil was, but my hat is eternally doffed to that individual. I believe my first experience with anything vaguely resembling a French fry was when my mom would cut up potatoes and toss them into a cast iron skillet filled with hot oil. They were sort of a cross between potato chips and fries, and they were good.
Try as I might I canâ€™t remember getting French fries in any of the local restaurants when I was a kid. Iâ€™m sure they mustâ€™ve had them but I just donâ€™t remember eating them so they mustnâ€™t have been anything spectacular. In high school French fries from McDonalds were my favorite. They were tasty, greasy and salty. I did have a dilemma though. I didnâ€™t like their hamburgers. So I would buy the fries and go next door for a BK whopper. Sometimes Iâ€™d add in a Wendyâ€™s Frosty. Sort of a combo meal taken to extremes.
I became a French fry snob. They had to be thin. Didnâ€™t like those slab fries at all. They had to be crisp, light brown in color tending towards medium brown on the edges. They had to have lots of salt. They had to be piping hot. They had to come in the little paper envelope. Sometimes I would buy two or three and that would be my entire meal. Imagine my glee when I could finally supersize!
Ketchup was and still is optional. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didnâ€™t. If I do, it has to be Heinz ketchup out of the bottle and I never, never, put it on the fries. Itâ€™s to the side, for dipping.
It was on a trip to Idlewild Amusement Park that I discovered the ultimate in fries. There, in a building, with a sign outside that simply says French Fries, is my potato heaven. Inside are huge piles of washed spuds. When you order up some fries, they take the whole potato, skins and all, force it through this French fry maker thingy and dump it into the hot oil right before your eyes. Several minutes later they hand you a greasy brown crisp mess of fries and ask if you want cheese on them. Nix, the cheese. Go â€śau naturalâ€ť. You wonâ€™t be sorry.
The skins are what make them special. They enhance that potato flavor. Besides that, the skins are where the vitamins are and Iâ€™m told eating fries with the skins on will automatically negate all the bad effects of the pound and a half of lard you consume with themâ€¦at least thatâ€™s the word on the street.
I have since found these same fries in several other locations (not yet in Harrisburg)
My favorite fry location?
Italian Village Pizzaria in Ebensburg, PA. Just think, Pizza and French fries, in one location!
â€śHeaven, Iâ€™m in heavenâ€¦"
(Joe dances away happily)
unashamed self promotion. My Writer's Cramp Entry