Curly fries, shoestring fries, thick-cut fries or crinkle fries; all these varieties and many more should be on the menu today. Whether you are from Britain and call them “chips”, Spanish and call them “patatas fritas” or French and call them “pomme frites”, today is the day to whip up a whole batch of these fried potato delights. Looking at these slender strips of potatoes, you could have never imagined that they were the product of a fat, stodgy spud. French fries bring out the beauty of the rather odd looking vegetable, hence the cartoon figure, Mr. Potato Head.
There has been much debate and dispute with regards to the history of french fries. The Belgians claim they invented the fries in 1680, whereas the Americans believe french fries were first eaten in France as annotated in Thomas Jefferson’s 1801-1809 manuscripts. Whoever it may be, they should be saluted for creating such a delicious yet fatty side dish.
French fries are available at street hawkers, fast food chains, cafes, diners and even gourmet restaurants. Each having their own tastes and variations;
My Variation: I prefer thin-cut fries where you can hear the crunch with each bite. My recipe is definitely not for the faint-hearted. For your next gathering to watch a sports game, add an extra bit of zing to your french fries to have smoke alarms ringing.Thinly slice the potatoes and deep-fry. Place them on an old newspaper to soak up the extra oil. Squeeze the juice of a lemon generously on top of the fries and sprinkle some red chilli powder. Perfect as a side dish or also to be enjoyed on their own with a chilled drink
Poutine: This Canadian variation is very popular among the folks of Canada. These fries are of medium thickness, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside and covered with cheese curds, brown gravy, made from chicken or beef stock. Roadside Cabanes à Patates are crowded with people trying to get their very own poutine.
Mexican Chilli Fries: Similar to poutine, these fries can be found in most Mexican restaurants and cafes. Thick-cut fries are doused in a lavish helping of Mexican Beef Chilli, salsa, guacamole and topped with jalepeno slices. This is a complete meal on its own and usually cannot be eaten as a side order. These fries are rich in flavor and spices, with the jalepenos adding the final kick.
McDonald’s Fries: By far, these are the most popular fries throughout the world. There is something about the McDonald’s french fries that make them extremely addictive; one medium packet will surely not be enough. The success of these shoestring fries lies in the oil that they are cooked in. They are fried in vegetable oil and a secret ingredient that helps bring out a beefy flavor in the fries. Hence they are known to be more profitable than the hamburgers. The secret behind the “natural flavor” may never be divulged, but its an open fact that McDonald’s fries reign supreme in the fast food world.
Gourmet Fries: It is hard to imagine fries being tweaked to serve the gourmet palates of connoisseurs visiting fancy restaurants, but this too has now become a reality. My first attempt at gourmet fries has left a lasting impression on my taste buds. After a long day of shopping in Bicester Village, UK, my aunt insisted we made our way to a French Restaurant called Villandry. To my surprise, she ordered a salad and Aspen Pomme Frites. I did not understand why we had to venture inside a fancy french restaurant just to eat fries. All my thoughts dissipated with the first bite. It was definitely not love at first sight, as they looked like normal shoestring fries in a wooden basket but love at first bite it surely was. The Aspen fries were doused with truffle oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. The earthy flavors of the truffle oil mixed with the creamy taste of parmesan and crispness of the fries was enough to warrant that the basket was finished in a matter of minutes. Safely said these gourmet fries were par excellence.
Enjoy your own version of french fries today on National French Fries Day, either with a nice juicy hamburger, crispy fried fish or simply with ketchup.