Story last updated at 2/6/2013 - 3:06 pm
In my years of cooking, I can honestly say I’ve never asked anyone “Would you like fries with that?” Well, not professionally. I never desired to wear a headset, stuff fries and burgers in to paper bags and try not to argue with the cranky gentleman who didn’t want ketchup on his burger, even though he never clearly said that. I sing the praises of America’s fast food workers. They aren’t rude, the customers are. They are kids learning to provide service and the customers are giving them fierce on the job training. They also take a lot of flak for our inability to drive past the drive-through.
Perhaps this is a primary reason I never wanted to work in the food industry. I have tried hard not to. Also, because once I do then it becomes work and is no longer fun. Food is fun for me. I like to eat it, cook it, shop for it, read about it and write about it. Now, if I could get paid to do all that full time, I’d be in career Nirvana.
Similar to most Americans, my husband and I have decided that we would start the year off eating better. I told him that means no more drive-through fast food and he grudgingly agreed. Of course, he loves those fries, so I’m keeping my eye on him.
Like Grant, I miss is French fries, too. There is something delectable about a crispy French fry dipped in cool ketchup or, in to my particular favorite, BBQ sauce with a dollop of mayo. Weird I know, but trust me it’s delicious.
Giving up fast food burgers and fries doesn’t mean we’re giving up the food entirely. It means all things in moderation. Also, why not cook them at home where you can control the ingredients, particularly the fat and the salt? This also gives you the option of getting really creative in the kitchen.
One of my favorite foods is French fries. I like steak fries, waffle fries, sweet potato fries, and shoestring fries. But the ones I love the most are the matchstick fries. They are thin and crispy and cook in a flash. In fact, they are so easy to make, I sometimes fry a quick batch as a snack. I try not to do that too often, because it defeats the purpose of not eating fast food as much. Oh the dilemmas of life.
The fun thing about making your own fries is that you can control the flavor. Like them spicy? Try sprinkling a mixture of chill powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Looking for something a little more robust? Top with chili and cheese. My personal favorite is simple and savory. Flash fried so that they’re crispy and then sprinkle salt, parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. They pair great with steaks, burgers and last night quite well with a buffalo chicken wrap.
Again, I sing the praises of the fast food crew. You work hard, long hours and smell like grease — all the time. Thank you for providing those non-nutritious, but essential treats we Americans crave. Thank you for taking the heat for our own lack of willpower in eating such treats three times a day, seven days a week. Most of all, thank you for providing a reason for me to learn to cook fries at home.
This week I present an easy to make side that stands alone or pairs with burgers and sandwiches perfectly: Crispy Parmesan Fries.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Crispy Parmesan Fries
2 large red potatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Slice potatoes into thick slices. Cut each slice into thin strips. In large skillet, preheat oil, approximately ½ cup, to 350 degrees. Place potato sticks in oil in even layer. Don’t stack or over fill the pan. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. While potato sticks are warm, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and parsley. Best served warm and crispy.
A variation on the recipe can be adding Cajun spices or fresh minced garlic as toppings.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@