A public service announcement

If the gangster were rich, he would buy billboard space throughout the city of Portland that would give all current and would-be restaurateurs solid culinary advice about things that they often fuck up. First and foremost would be french fries.

French fries or pommes frittes if you want to get fancy are, as you may know, fried sticks of potato. Usually seasoned with salt and dipped in a variety of condiments, commonly a tomato preserve known as ketchup, they are generally regarded as the epitome of simple. So why is it necessary to pay upwards of $5 for a serving of them that are both edible and not from a freezer truck? Is it because people who own restaurants are idiots? Yes.

So, listen up Mcmenamin’s brothers, Mr. Stanich, and the rest of you good- for- nothing, french fry slaughtering slobs, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the secret is to fry twice.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Select nice, fresh russet potatoes, old potatoes won’t work as won’t red potatoes or yukon gold or anything else. Only Burbank russets make really good fries.
  2. Cut your potatoes into even french fry shapes, battonet in french, and don’t try to make them too big. Smaller is better.
  3. Rinse the potatoes several times with cold water and then put them in the refrigerator covered in water and let them sit overnight. This is very important.
  4. Drain off the water and dry the potatoes as you wish to fry them.
  5. Most crucially, fry the potatoes in peanut oil, lard, duck fat or even rice oil that has been preheated to 250 degrees farenheit for several minutes until they are quite limp, almost falling apart, and the corners are begininning to brown. Hydrogenated fat may be used as well, especially if you wish to perpetuate the notion that you really don’t care about your customer and they should respond in kind. Spread the potatoes on a screen or on towels and allow them to rest and drain off some of that excess fat.
  6. Fry the potatoes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crisp and brown and season with salt that has been crushed in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle into a fine powder which will allow it to stick to the potatoes better. Now they are ready to serve to a customer who isn’t on death’s door or whose standards haven’t been mercilessly crushed by a lifetime of unfulfilled expectations.

You see, standards matter. If you’re going to serve something you should make it right even if it is just french fries. In The Gangster’s career as a preparer of quality foodstuffs, it would break his heart and kept him up at night to think of that one plate that he sent out that could have been, should have been, better. I’m surprised that some of you haven’t killed yourselves from shame.