Eet Ees Zat Day, Again!

June 14, 2009


I’ve always had a lot of fun with Bastille Day for some reason. It’s just something I do. “Bastille Day” is a term used in the English-speaking world mostly. In France, their holiday is known as the “National Celebration” and, officially, the “14th of July.” Alors, it has come to my attention celebrations in France, usually lavish, will be scaled back severely this year because of the pandemic. As for the A&J comic running today, I will use the occasion to update a discussion we’ve had here before: French fries and, specifically, how to cook them. For the longest, I struggled trying to achieve crisp golden shards of potato. They would always be greasy and limp. I blanched them in oil, I blanched them in boiling water, I froze them, I soaked them. I risked my kitchen and more by cooking them in oil so hot it began to smell like plastic. Nothing affected the disappointing outcome. Finally, I found the answer. Frozen fries. Yes, I gave up and cheated. Frozen fries have themselves been blanched in oil already, but the French-fry industry apparently knows something I do not. However, when I purchase frozen fries, I do read the ingredients, etc., and try to find a brand that is minimally processed and contains little more than potatoes. And I am rewarded with tasty frites!


33 thoughts on “Eet Ees Zat Day, Again!”

  1. The secret to golden, crispy fries from scratch is 2-fold – blanching (or pre-cooking) in either oil or water… I usually do a 4-6 potatoes in a microwave (in a bowl of water deep enough to cover the fries) for about 10 minutes. The idea is to have the potato partially cooked so they don’t need to be in the oil as long. The second, most important part is – don’t leave them in the oil in one shot to cook them. Put them in for 2-4 minutes (judged by how quickly your oil drops in temperature) and make sure to shake them a lot so they don’t stick together, then take them out of the oil and allow the oil to get back up to temperature. (New potatoes, i.e. freshly picked, will stick together more than older ones, and newer ones will also tend to not brown as much even when they are cooked.) Once the oil is hot again, repeat the process. Do this until the fries are done.

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      • You can speed the cooking and increase crispness with frozen fries with a quick preheat in the microwave, too. If they are thawed, the moisture starts cooking out more quickly and it doesn’t cool the oil as much.

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    • I’ve started using the microwave to blanch my country-style fried potatoes, too. It helps them get crispy and not just cook to mush in the pan.

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  2. I have, of necessity (one small miscalculation involving the level of oil, the number of fries, and the volume of the deep fryer, and She freaks if I even look at it now….), developed a pretty good second-best method; I cut the spuds, coat them in oil, put them on a cookie sheet, and bake at 425° F.

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  3. Milwaukee has an ethnic festival called Bastille Days with a miniature Eiffel tower, food, music, “Storm the Bastille” fun run, etc. around this time every year. It was rightly cancelled this year along with all our other summer festivals due to the pandemic.

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  4. Catching up: My MBH’s eye [surgery on the 6th instant] is doing so well that she is now allowed to drive, and she is totally thrilled! We cannot yet know when a corneal transplant will be possible, but, if we can get this one eye in good shape yet this year, it’d be a great Christmas gift for us both. Thanks be to God.

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  5. Re 7-15-20 real-time cartoon: Arlo with his water hose reminds me of Farmer Ghost, out watering Jackie’s crops for her. While doing so yesterday morning, FG observed a here-to-fore unobserved and important element of gardening…honey bees! Yep, they finally showed up, in squadron strength. Hopefully, this will fix the problem we’ve had with numerous squash blossoms appearing but not producing any baby yellow squash.
    Also, I observed two quarter-sized green tomatoes on one plant, with many other plants having blooms. So perhaps there will be “Arlo Tomato Sandwiches” this year after all. (Or “mater sammaches” as they are sometimes called in my neck of the Deep South.)

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    • Later, Pepino Garcia, the hired hand, came by and found a perfect-sized squash.
      No, her name is not “Pepino Garcia”. And I’m probably the only one that remembers “The Real McCoys” on television. And from “The Sand Pebbles” to “First Blood” to “And the Sea Will Tell”, I never saw Richard Crenna (whose career began in radio and spanned 65 years as actor and director) in anything without thinking of Luke McCoy. Also, Walter Brennan, as Amos McCoy reminded me of my paternal grandfather.

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  6. For Jacqui, Ghost and anyone else intrigued with Oklahoma history: Currently, eBay has available an envelope hand-addressed to Stand Watie, a noted chief of the Cherokees, in his capacity as [the main?] Chief. The spelling of his name isn’t exactly the same as Google has, but unmistakable, as is his title. The post office to which the item is addressed is long and difficult to read, but [I’m guessing] it may be a forerunner of Tahlequah – having a few more syllables, though. It dates from ca. late 1860s to mid 1870s.

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