French Fries: A Rant

This post is part of the Blogging from  A to Z Challenge.

There’s nothing worse than limp French Fries. Well, yes, actually there are about a million and one things that are worse, but for the purposes of this rant there’s nothing worse than limp French Fries. I would rather have cold, stiff fries, than fresh-from-the-fryer, perfectly salted limp French fries. It just ruins the whole experience.

This afternoon I friend and I went out for our usual mid-afternoon walk to get away from our desks. We usually go a block or two, or dip into the nearby Staples, CVS or sometimes LensCrafters. He suggested we swing by Wendy’s. I agreed.

I’m a stress eater who sometimes keeps my cravings at bay, but today I gave in to them. Even though I had my usual breakfast smoothie—today’s was made of strawberry, kiwi, banana, spinach, flaxseeds, almond milk and coconut water–before leaving my apartment, on the  my way to the office from Grand Central, I stopped at Bocca Bliss and crammed a spoon of scrambled eggs, several strips of bacon, one sausage link, and tater tots into a clear plastic to-go container. The restaurant charges by weight and my total was over $5.

Later in the afternoon, when my friend suggested that we go to Wendy’s, I ignored the tiny voice reminding me that I had binged this morning and could get back on course by eating the grapes and a pear at my desk for snacks.

I decided to get chicken nuggets. I assuaged my guilt by telling myself I’d get the 4-piece instead of 6, and would not get fries. Guilt resurfaced when my friend said the nuggets were his treat and told the cashier to add fries. I did not protest.

It was one of those days for the both of us. We knew we should have headed back to the office, but ate there. Having said that, there was absolutely no acceptable reason for my fries to have been as soggy. It’s not as if the condensation from the steam of bag being sealed during the walk back to the office caused them to go limp. The small order of fries looked like a sad soggy mess. So much so that I ate all my nuggets before I ate even one fry.

The fries were so limp I had to tug a bit to get the first bite. To add insult to injury, they were over-salted. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love salt. People who love sweets are said to have a sweet tooth. I have no idea what I’d be called. When I was younger and no one was looking, I poured salt into the palm of my hand and licked it. But this was ridiculous. It seemed like after this batch was boiled, not fried, the person sprinkled it with salt, forgot, then sprinkled some more.

I don’t know what kind of salt they used. The salt crystals were clearly visible. They felt like tiny pebbles lodged beneath my fingernails. When you’re a stress eater, you want to be comforted by your food. This was not it. I couldn’t help but to think of all the times I had had perfect, or at least good fries, even from Wendy’s. When it comes to fast food, I prefer Burger King fries, even though I’ve heard people rave about McDonald’s fries. Five Guys fries are seasoned well, but too limp for my liking. Funny thing is both McDonald’s and Five Guys fries have their own distinct smell. When someone walks into the office with either, you know it.

Most non-fast food restaurants do a good job with their fries. It’s an even better treat when they offer steak fries that are perfectly seasoned and crispy. I hold the same standards for sweet potato fries as I do for regular fries. I want them to be salted and to to the point of crispy that they stand at attention. If they’re seasoned just right, there’s no need for ketchup, French or Thousand Island dressing, or mayonnaise, all of which I’ve used to doctor gross fries. Because I don’t like soggy fries, I can’t stand chili cheese fries. I don’t know if I’ll ever try poutine.

I prefer for any of my potato treats to be fried or baked to golden perfection. Fries, hash browns, tater tots. Goodness gracious I love a tater tot. Even as I ease into my late(r) thirties, at any given time you can find a red bag of Ore Ida tater tots in my freezer. No children in sight. I bake them in my oven or toaster oven as a side for dinner and sometimes breakfast on the weekends. I like for them to be nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The sign of a good crispy fry is if it breaks or snaps when you fold it. Today’s Wendy’s fries curled as if doubled over in pain. I want to savor and prolong the process of eating good fries, but these fries looked so pathetic, I had to put them out of their misery.


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