A Salute to the Last French Fry in the Bag and Why They Make Me Happy
I love me some fries, rings, and tots
My biggest weakness is my greatest strength. And that is a love for fried potatoes of all kinds, with a clear focus on French Fries.
Eating fries is not the healthiest way to ingest potatoes, and I occasionally overindulge, and that's my weakness. But loving French Fries and restraining myself from overdosing is a sign of commitment and focus, thus my strength.
I got a job many years ago by answering an interview question with my potato analogy. The interviewer was from Belgium, and they take their Fries, as she said 'Frites' seriously over there.
Fried foods raise the ire of many Dr's and Dieticians. There is no doubt, deep-fried food in mass quantities as part of a regular diet is terrible. But like eating Ice Cream, an occasional dip is not catastrophic and should be enjoyed guilt-free.
I support the notion of an occasional indulgence that defies dietary advice, and my target indulgence is a rare order of fried food.
I love French Fries, along with Tater Tots and Onion Rings. They are the ultimate snack food. They are salty, crunchy, soft and tender, hot and steamy, with the right amount of fat to carb ratio; they are the perfect go-to food for driving. Chicken Nuggets, Jalapeno Poppers, and Fried Cheese Sticks are all runners up. They are good but more expensive than fries.
Easy to order, all familiar fast-food places serve fries. There are also a lot of mid to upscale restaurants serving them gourmet style. My favorites are fries drizzled with Truffle or Rosemary Oil, embellished with garlic and parsley, and served in their own custom heated dish with homemade aioli sauce.
French fry's cousins, the Tater Tot and the Onion Ring run a close second in putting fried food on a pedestal. There is nothing more enticing than a platter of crispy Tater Tots served with spicy ketchup.
Onion Rings have become the latest in gourmet recognition. Some local restaurants have kitchen sections dedicated to making homemade onion rings. The bigger the onions, the better. They are now being served on gourmet burgers, complements to fine cuts of steaks, and are options with fish and chips at some local taverns.
Of course, there is nothing healthy about the three titans of fried foods, except that onions are vegetables with a spackling of fiber and vitamins, and potatoes are nutrient-rich. Small servings of each are healthier than eating half a pizza or three pieces of crispy fried chicken. But beware, nothing is satisfying about a small serving. Fried comfort foods can be addictive and outweigh the benefits of a morning workout.
Nothing is better on a hot day than stopping at a local burger joint, ordering medium fries, a cold limeade, and a snack size of tots and onion rings. I do that once a month. Usually, on days I'm destined to spend a long time in traffic.
I've learned over the years that once you finish a bag of fries, there is always more hiding in the bottom. Most get covered with napkins or ketchup packets. But they are there.
These are the aggressive runts of the fry order. Little potato bastards trying to hide from my hungry hands while I know they are there. Sometimes I pull into a parking lot and shake the empty bag to find them. One to five fries or tots always attempt to escape and hide, but they are ultimately found and eaten.
Once I'm done with the order and the urge is over, it will be another month before I order them.
My mother always taught me to finish what I put on my plate, and I've carried that lesson over to the food I order at restaurants, even if it comes in a bag. Thus my compelling desire to finish off every last morsel of fried deliciousness I can find.
There is no implied or hidden nutritional value in a bag of Fries, Tots, and Rings. Only a few minutes of junk food bliss to be enjoyed on a rare occasion.
Previously published on Medium.com.