The US has cinnamon apple fries. Slices of Granny Smith apples, tossed in sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, they fried until golden.
The term fries, or to give them their full name, French fries, is North American English. In British and Commonwealth English, we’d call them skinny fries, to distinguish them from thicker-cut chips.
Fries are served hot, either soft or crispy, and are eaten as a side dish or as a snack. They’re popular pub grub and are generally salted and arguably best served with ketchup or mayonnaise.
Fries can be skin-on or skin-off, wedged, chipped or stringy, crinkle-cut, latticed or curly. The term fries is indicative of the cooking process. Potatoes are peeled and cut, then soaked in cold water to remove surface starch, and thoroughly dried, before frying in oil or fat.
Apple fries are slightly more healthy than potato fries, but is there anything you can’t fry?
Fruit and vegetables from avocado to zucchini can be prepped ready to fry. Battered, breaded, or just naked, they too are submerged in hot fat and emerge as tempura or fritters, sweet or savoury.
Aldi has carrot and sweet potato fries in the freezer aisle, and has recently introduced a premium range of Halloumi fries.
Onion rings and calamari are traditionally served coated in light batter and deep fried, as are prairie oysters – also known as calf fries – a dish made from cattle testicles.
Deep fried peanuts are shell-on snacks that can be eaten in their entirety, shell too, and often have seasoning applied to the shells after deep frying – salt, BBQ, garlic, Salt & Vinegar, honey or caramel.
Some foods are as far from a healthy lifestyle as it is possible to get.
In the 1990s, the media told us about a Scottish novelty – deep-fried Mars bars. Deep-fried pizza is another Scottish dish, although Italy does have its own version.
Deep-fried butter is a snack of butter, breaded or battered, then deep-fried and is similar to fried butter, a recipe dating from 17th century, and with a taste similar to French toast.
Fried ice cream is a dessert of breaded, then deep-fried ice cream resulting in a warm, crispy shell round still-cold ice cream. Asian dishes use tempura batter, but cornflakes, nuts, cookie crumbs and tortillas are often used to coat the scoops.
One name that must be mentioned is Charlie Boghosian, a 46-year old Armenian who settled in San Diego. “Chicken Charlie”, or “The Man Who Fries Everything” as he is also known, is a specialist in deep fried food.
In 2002, Charlie invented the Deep Fried Oreo: dipped in pancake batter, deep-fried and served with powdered sugar and chocolate syrup, it is now a cult food and carnival favourite. Charlie regularly introduces new types of deep fried foods at state fairs across the US, such as the Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich and fried Coke.
Yes – that’s what it said – fried coke. Estimated to have 830 calories per cup (3,500 kJ), frozen Coca-Cola-flavoured batter is deep-fried, then topped with cola-flavoured syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar, and a cherry (to improve the nutritional profile). Invented by Sergio Guerrero Ble in 2006, who also invented deep-fried beer, it proved extremely popular, selling 10,000 cups in two weeks.
Fries have, it seems, come a long way since the humble potato.