America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:34 am

Mike Filigenzi wrote:On the surface, these would seem to be an abomination, but they can be pretty darn good.

How so? It's just fun with the mandoline.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Hoke » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:23 am

Don't know quite why---and tell the truth I've never thought about it before---but I've never gotten excited about waffle-cut fries.

Don't get a whole lot of flavor expression or distinction out of waffle fries. They also seem dry to me, the ones I've had.

I'll reserve judgement until Grossman makes some up for me though.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:04 am

I'm kind of with Jeff in that "fries are kind of like pizza"....I don't care much for either. I will eat a slice of pizza, if that's all that's available. I will eat 4-5 fries because they usually come with the ,,, whatever. But, I don't order either and seldom cook them. Never quite understood the American fascination with either. :?
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Lou Kessler » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:31 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:I'm kind of with Jeff in that "fries are kind of like pizza"....I don't care much for either. I will eat a slice of pizza, if that's all that's available. I will eat 4-5 fries because they usually come with the ,,, whatever. But, I don't order either and seldom cook them. Never quite understood the American fascination with either. :?

I can understand your attitude about french fries, I wouldn't feel deprived if I never ate another one. Now pizza is another story, a well topped thin crust pizza is fit food for the Gods. Now throw in a bottle of a good Chianti Riserva. Perfection has been attained. :D
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jeff B » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:51 pm

The only problem I have with French Fries is that their magic fades so quickly upon the slightest cooling. With most foods, I will actually let them slightly cool before I eat them. But with fries, you have to catch them in that 15 minute span or the magic fades.

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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Hoke » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:18 am

Jeff B wrote:The only problem I have with French Fries is that their magic fades so quickly upon the slightest cooling. With most foods, I will actually let them slightly cool before I eat them. But with fries, you have to catch them in that 15 minute span or the magic fades.

Jeff


Gnocchi is the same way. Even if it hurts your face, eat it as quickly as you can, so the magic doesn't wear off when it cools down. If it's potato, it turns into a lump; if it's ricotta, it turns into a gluey mess. But for 10 minutes it's incredible.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Howie Hart » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:56 am

On a somewhat related theme, the best potato chips I ever bought are Grandma Utz's Kettle Chips. The first time I tried them, I was amazed at how good they were, so I read the ingredients on the label: potatoes, lard, salt.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Bill Spohn » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:14 am

Really good French fries (whether done in Belgium, France, or elsewhere) are roughly comparable to what fast food outlets in North America call fries, as fresh green peas in season are to British mushy peas (see, it isn't only North America that takes decent ingredients and turns it into hideous mush!)
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Hoke » Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:52 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Really good French fries (whether done in Belgium, France, or elsewhere) are roughly comparable to what fast food outlets in North America call fries, as fresh green peas in season are to British mushy peas (see, it isn't only North America that takes decent ingredients and turns it into hideous mush!)


Nope. The British have shown a particularly consistent flair for that too.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Mark Willstatter » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:28 pm

Hoke wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:Really good French fries (whether done in Belgium, France, or elsewhere) are roughly comparable to what fast food outlets in North America call fries, as fresh green peas in season are to British mushy peas (see, it isn't only North America that takes decent ingredients and turns it into hideous mush!)


Nope. The British have shown a particularly consistent flair for that too.



You can have both your fries and food with British "flair" in the form of what they call a "chip butty". Just Google that to see what I mean. I could hardly believe it the first time I encountered this in a pub.

Just trying to help tie this thread together :wink:
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Lou Kessler » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:14 pm

Howie Hart wrote:On a somewhat related theme, the best potato chips I ever bought are Grandma Utz's Kettle Chips. The first time I tried them, I was amazed at how good they were, so I read the ingredients on the label: potatoes, lard, salt.

I remember the time for one of the Sunday concert picnics at the Mondavi winery my wife provided for our group Southern fried chicken she had prepared fried in lard. Wow! it was a big hit but most people looked a little sqeamish when she told them how it was prepared. :roll:
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Hoke » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:06 pm

Lou Kessler wrote:
Howie Hart wrote:On a somewhat related theme, the best potato chips I ever bought are Grandma Utz's Kettle Chips. The first time I tried them, I was amazed at how good they were, so I read the ingredients on the label: potatoes, lard, salt.

I remember the time for one of the Sunday concert picnics at the Mondavi winery my wife provided for our group Southern fried chicken she had prepared fried in lard. Wow! it was a big hit but most people looked a little sqeamish when she told them how it was prepared. :roll:


Growing up in Georgia I thought that was the only way you could cook fried chicken. First time I had "Kentucky Fried Chicken" I thought two things: Kentucky knows more about breading than chicken, and why do they think they have to pile all that stuff on perfectly good chicken.

I bet few people these days have any idea what the "drippings pan" on the back of the stove was for.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:18 am

What in the worlld is wrong with lard? It is no worse for you than butter, or crisco.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:17 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:OK, now let's get real: When we say "french fries" do we mean potato wedges, steak fries, wavy-cut batons, shoestrings, or something else altogether?


I meant deep-fried potatoes. They could be cut however, but wedges would not be typical.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:19 pm

Hoke wrote:
Growing up in Georgia I thought that was the only way you could cook fried chicken. First time I had "Kentucky Fried Chicken" I thought two things: Kentucky knows more about breading than chicken, and why do they think they have to pile all that stuff on perfectly good chicken.

I bet few people these days have any idea what the "drippings pan" on the back of the stove was for.


Ever eat at Ezell's Fried Chicken in Seattle? I was an Ezells virgin--until yesterday. YUMMM!
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:47 pm

Jenise wrote:
Hoke wrote:
Growing up in Georgia I thought that was the only way you could cook fried chicken. First time I had "Kentucky Fried Chicken" I thought two things: Kentucky knows more about breading than chicken, and why do they think they have to pile all that stuff on perfectly good chicken.

I bet few people these days have any idea what the "drippings pan" on the back of the stove was for.


Ever eat at Ezell's Fried Chicken in Seattle? I was an Ezells virgin--until yesterday. YUMMM!

Yes, and I don't care for Ezell's. The pieces are too large (almost like turkey thighs), and there is just a tad too much moisture remaining in the bird after frying. I think they must marinate it in some kind of brine. Frying just another 30 secs would remove most of the moisture from the bird and it would be at just the right doneness, juiciness and tenderness. But, there is still that size problem. Flavor is pretty good though!
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby wnissen » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:45 pm

Sorry, fry girls (and guys), but McDonald's fries are superior to 90% of midrange restaurant fries in the U.S. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Give me some mayonnaise for dipping and I'm in heaven. Ten minutes later, just tip any uneaten fries into the garbage...

I look forward to having Belgian frites some day, but I've had steak frites at otherwise good restaurants in France where the exterior was soggy, or the interior was grainy, or both! Give me McDonald's (fries) any day.

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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jeff B » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:54 pm

wnissen wrote:Sorry, fry girls (and guys), but McDonald's fries are superior to 90% of midrange restaurant fries in the U.S. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Give me some mayonnaise for dipping and I'm in heaven. Ten minutes later, just tip any uneaten fries into the garbage...

I look forward to having Belgian frites some day, but I've had steak frites at otherwise good restaurants in France where the exterior was soggy, or the interior was grainy, or both! Give me McDonald's (fries) any day.

Walt


Glad to see I'm not alone.

I also love the skinny nature of McDonald fries. It might just be a perception issue, but skinny fries typically taste more...flavorful to me than thick-cut fries. Granted, I likely havent had some of the finer thick-cut fries.

I have a similar taste with onions - love them diced or caramelized, but not when they are thick or in rings.

Somehow, the fat and flavor seem "closer" to the taste buds when eating (good) skinny fries.

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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jenise » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:05 pm

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:Yes, and I don't care for Ezell's. The pieces are too large (almost like turkey thighs), and there is just a tad too much moisture remaining in the bird after frying. I think they must marinate it in some kind of brine. Frying just another 30 secs would remove most of the moisture from the bird and it would be at just the right doneness, juiciness and tenderness. But, there is still that size problem. Flavor is pretty good though!


Wow, my experience was so different. Mind you, I only got the white pieces (Bob ate the dark), but the breast was if anything a little overdone, and the breast meat that came attached to the wing even more so. No sign of brining on what I had.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jenise » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:08 pm

wnissen wrote:Sorry, fry girls (and guys), but McDonald's fries are superior to 90% of midrange restaurant fries in the U.S. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Give me some mayonnaise for dipping and I'm in heaven. Ten minutes later, just tip any uneaten fries into the garbage...

I look forward to having Belgian frites some day, but I've had steak frites at otherwise good restaurants in France where the exterior was soggy, or the interior was grainy, or both! Give me McDonald's (fries) any day.

Walt


Any restaurant fry that came from a frozen potato, well, forget it. And 90% are which is more or less the reason for my post, though what I was hankering for was not so much fries on the side with my burger but the big illustrious fries you'd make a meal out of from a stand where all they make is french fries. Do you like In n' Out's? I love them, but timeliness is SO crucial that we eat them first because if you wait until you finish your burger, they're already too cold.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jeff B » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:38 am

This is only a bit off-topic, but I also stand guilty of enjoying McDonalds hash browns on the rare occasions that I get a breakfast/coffee there.

I think it's the grease. I sure don't think it's doing the arteries any good but I'd be lying if I said they don't taste great.

Heck, how can you not like a hash brown that's in the shape of an oval pattie...:)

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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby wnissen » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:53 pm

Jenise wrote:
wnissen wrote:Sorry, fry girls (and guys), but McDonald's fries are superior to 90% of midrange restaurant fries in the U.S. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Give me some mayonnaise for dipping and I'm in heaven. Ten minutes later, just tip any uneaten fries into the garbage...

I look forward to having Belgian frites some day, but I've had steak frites at otherwise good restaurants in France where the exterior was soggy, or the interior was grainy, or both! Give me McDonald's (fries) any day.

Walt


Any restaurant fry that came from a frozen potato, well, forget it. And 90% are which is more or less the reason for my post, though what I was hankering for was not so much fries on the side with my burger but the big illustrious fries you'd make a meal out of from a stand where all they make is french fries. Do you like In n' Out's? I love them, but timeliness is SO crucial that we eat them first because if you wait until you finish your burger, they're already too cold.

Dear Jenise,
I will admit to not much caring for In-N-Out fries, especially the default, which are pale rather than golden brown and undersalted. Ordered well-done they're adequate, better than Wendy's but nothing at all special. I have always had my suspicions that In-N-Out only fries once, and this Chowhound thread seems to confirm it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752513 While I'm blaspheming, the burgers are also adequate, better than the dreadful fast food standard but nowhere near as good as their reputation. And yet obviously I'm missing something because the line for the drive through is five deep (at least) morning, noon, and night. It's a few miles from my house so I pass it often and marvel at the crowds.

I have had a superb fry that was crispy inside, the "haystack" fries at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. Excellent to have with a side of oysters (cockles or periwinkles, too, if you're feeling adventurous) and a glass of Muscadet or other Loire beauty.

And on the other spectrum, Five Guys makes a very good thick-cut fry, similar to the kind sold on the beach at my childhood vacation spot of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. These fries are necessarily thicker and less perishable, since one must carry them, fighting off filching seagulls and scalding beach sand, back to one's family, waiting expectantly under the umbrellas. A splash of malt vinegar, and then, bliss.

Where is the french fry epic poetry, anyway?
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:15 pm

Dear Jenise,
I will admit to not much caring for In-N-Out fries, especially the default, which are pale rather than golden brown and undersalted. Ordered well-done they're adequate, better than Wendy's but nothing at all special. I have always had my suspicions that In-N-Out only fries once, and this Chowhound thread seems to confirm it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752513 While I'm blaspheming, the burgers are also adequate, better than the dreadful fast food standard but nowhere near as good as their reputation. And yet obviously I'm missing something because the line for the drive through is five deep (at least) morning, noon, and night. It's a few miles from my house so I pass it often and marvel at the crowds.


I readily agree with you about In and Out. They are very popular here in Redding, as well, however I find their food horrible. I can't stand the fries and any burger I have ever had there was awful, even in our capitol city of Sacramento. I introduced our grandkids to fast food at In and Out. They ordered a regular burger, with just lettuce, and the patty was half the size of the bun and dried out, they would not eat it. Frankly, I've never understood waiting in line for a burger through those long lines makes good sense.
Now, to say why I possibly dislike them, may be because we have some great locally owned burger joints here in town....after all this is the land of many cattle ranches and cowboys.. I frequent the local places and the burgers are juicy, and fill up the bun generously. The fries are big, crispy and buttery and hold up past the end of eating my burger. Now that is what I like!

Why the long lines at our In and Out I cannot say...other than that it is in a very busy part of town, right off of two hiways, the mall, strip malls and movie houses and perhaps the "herd" mentality that some folks have. See a long line...."oh, the food must be good there, let's go!"
I am sure that not all of them our like the one here in our town, and since I have only been there three times, perhaps we hit bad days.
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Re: America and French Fries--why don't we get it?

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:49 pm

Piling on... I've only been to In 'n' Out once and that was more than enough. Small over-cooked burger, soggy under-cooked fries. Feh.
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