French Fry

French fries are among the most well known side dishes around, and can be found in many places throughout the world. In the United States and pretty much most of Canada the term fries implies the dish being served will consist of some form of fried elongated potato pieces.

The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand typically call French fries chips unless the fries have been thinly cut, in which case they might be referred to as skinny fries or shoestring fries to differentiate them from their larger cousins.

When I first heard the term ‘fish and chips’ I didn’t realize it referred to French fries as opposed to the thin fried circles we know here as ‘chips’. I would love to try some fish and chips one day, minus the fish. And maybe some extra malt vinegar too.

Varieties of French fries include curly fries (Arby’s fast food chain is well known for these), steak fries, shoestring fries, crinkle-cut fries, waffle fries, and even sweet potato fries. I’m not sure if ‘home fries’ could be considered ‘fries’, however they are fried in oil; just not deep fried.

Fries are also used in chili cheese fries, poutine, on some really strange pizza creations, and I don’t understand this, but a few adventurous people even like dipping French fries in their milkshakes. That one’s new to me.

French fries are typically served hot (cold French fries aren’t very good) as a side during lunch or dinner, but sometimes they are simply eaten by themselves as a snack. They are popular items found on the menus of most fast food establishments, diners and pubs.

Most often fries are salted and accompanied by some form of dipping sauce; almost always ketchup. However, it’s not uncommon to see people dipping their French fries in mustard, barbecue sauce, vinegar, ranch dressing, mayonnaise or a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise known as fry sauce.

Real homemade French fries begin by peeling the potato, and then slicing the potato into ‘fries’ of roughly equal size. They are then fried in fat in two stages. The first ‘bath’ is done at a lower temperature. After 7-8 minutes, the fries are removed and allowed to cool on a wire rack or something similar.

The final deep fry – perhaps done 30 minutes later, is performed at a higher temperature but doesn’t last as long as the first. This method crisps the outside of the fry but leaves the inside nice and soft.

I have a post that goes much more into detail about French fries and how to cook them. It also talks a bit about the history of the French fry as well as the origin of this popular food item. You can check that out here: Steak Fries