Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Is it a Sin to State That I Enjoy Soggy Fries?

The Mr. Dave family has a small and infrequent tradition of going to Five Guys to share one small order of fries. My darling daughter Giblet, whose darling little mitt is in the picture (she would ask that you note and appreciate the lady bug motif of her nail polish), is a great connoisseur of the French fried tattie. Even the intrepid 9 month old Mr. Dave Jr. gets in on the party and gnaws on a fry or two with his wee nubbin teefs. Mrs. Dave and I mostly just sit there and grin at the wondrous progeny that we have brought fourth into this world, but we have been known to enjoy a few Five Guys fries ourselves.

Here is the deal. I have a very strong childhood taste memory of French fries that is tied to Jack Diner in Albany (I have spoken of this before). My Dad would get me an order of fries to go from Jack's (this is in the late eighties). They came in a paper bag and I remember watching the grease stains grow on the brown paper bag just like what happens at Five Guys.

The fries from Jack's were crinkle cut and greasy in a sublime sort of way, I have really never found a good replacement. I haven't been to Jacks in at least 20 years so they could still be just as good for all I know (I doubt it). 

Here is the rub though. I like soggy fries. There is a glorious 2 to 3 minute window when freshly fried French fries that have steamed themselves inside of a brown paper bag have become one of the true culinary delights known to man, all unctuous and soft. Miss the window and the fries become horrible and limp, eat too early and they are all "crispy." I never understood the obsession with "crispy" French fries. There should be some crispy edges, to be sure, but I revel in the properly soggy bits.

Anyhow, this blathering was spurred by a review I read of the "best" restaurant French fries that annoyingly held "crispness" as the deciding factor for judging. I can't remember where I read it right now... 


  1. That reminds me of Nathan's crinkle cut fries in NYC. They have that slightly crispy but still kind of squishy thing. And you can get them with day glo cheese. I will always have a place in my heart for them.

    1. Although as an adult I revel in the meat sauce/mustard/onion dogs at Gus'?Hot Dog Charlie's/Famous Lunch, my childhood order at Hot Dog Charlie's was 3 dinky dogs with day glo cheese. I regret nothing.

  2. Young Master Fussy also prefers the "juicy" ones.

    What's really funny is that I do the same thing with my kids, but I tuck into the fries as well, and we split a large. However, the first thing I do is dump the fries out of the cup and onto the brown bag.

    I'm one of those crispy fry lovers. An occasional "juicy" fry is fine in the mix. But I'm eating my deep fat fried foods as hot and crisp as I can stand them out of the oil.

  3. Mr. Dave,
    Perhaps Jack used a different variety of potato ? There were recent articles in the NYC press about Nathan's. They always use Maine Kahtadin ,and due to a shortage in supply this year had to use Russet temporarily. Customers have complained. They state 95% of fries n the US are Russet and they have a starchier quality.


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