Friday, March 27, 2009

Fat & Milk: Thin is the new impossible

Eating hot french fries showered in salt at your own kitchen table is an ecstatic experience, especially if you allow yourself fries as seldom as I do. A dish of mayonnaise would have made it even better, but I like to be able to see my feet when I look down. 

I fried half the potatoes in lard, which is what Jennifer McLagan recommends in Fat, the other half in peanut oil, then asked the kids to do a blind taste test. 

Owen declared himself a fan of the fries on the left (lard) while Isabel and Juliet preferred the fries on the right (peanut oil.) I wanted to back the lard, but have to side with the girls. Though it wasn't in any way offensive, lard (this lard, anyway) contributes a faint flavor to a fry that I am at a loss to describe. It's just there. I'm sure oil has a flavor too, but we've come to believe, perhaps wrongly, that oil is just the flavor of french fries.

Hardly matters. All fries disappeared in fifteen minutes, lard and peanut oil versions both. No one bothered with subtle distinctions.

I also served mango "milkshake" which was actually mango lassi made from Anne Mendelson's Milk. Like all mango lassis I've made (which is to say, one, thirteen years ago) this one involved blending yogurt, fresh mango, ice, and a little sugar. Delicious. I probably oversold the drink by promising "milkshakes" but 2/3 of the children present ended up drinking all their lassi. This was the vegetable course.

The shortbread: good, but too soft. I've put it back in the oven this morning to see if it can toast up a little bit. Maybe a wedge before spin class?

Speaking of traditionally-built women, this is very exciting.


  1. despite the flavor, were the lard fries in any way crispier than the peanut oil ones?

    btw i once used unrefined coconut oil to deep fry sweet-potato chips and was pleased with the results. i wonder how regular potatoes would cook up..

  2. No, the lard fries were no crispier than the peanut oil ones. I had thought they might be. I considered pulling out the coconut oil, but didn't have enough. I really wish I'd had duck fat. Overall my conclusion is, french fries are great no matter what the cooking fat.

  3. Could you try to make fries just like a fast-food restaurant's? Those are double-fried, right? Also, I think a lot of times homemade fries get soggy because they aren't handled properly after being fried. Was this an issue?

  4. Smoyer: These WERE double fried, I think all proper french fries are. And they weren't soggy at all. they were great. They were, in fact, very much like fast-food french fries.