Commentary: Keep your government hands off my french fries

The Bellevile News-DemocratSeptember 23, 2011 

I am bravely stepping forward to defend the besieged french fry.

This delectable morsel of fried tuber is under attack from all quarters these days. Even the president's wife is badgering restaurants to, if not delete entirely, at least offer substitutes for french fries.

Some point to health studies that show that eating large numbers of fries over years can be hazardous to your health. But as usual in medicine, there are competing studies that show little or no effect.

As a baby boomer, I can't imagine a life without french fries. They are the mother's milk on which we were raised. We rate restaurants based on their fries.

I can understand the need for healthy choices. But many times, convenience wins out. Some people are into whatever works. The other day I was in a store where a woman was trying unsuccessfully to corral a toddler.

Finally, she simply said "ice cream," and he was right there. "Works every time," she said.

Have some nice broccoli, you might tell me. Thank you, I say, and put some cheese sauce on it. Then give some fries.

My doctor frequently lectures me about frozen fries and how the manufacturers spray lard on them to make them tastier and to make them fry up golden.

Sad, but delicious.

He also tells me to envision that lump of chocolate I am about to eat as a big lump of lard because it is equivalent. I make the effort but it doesn't work. It doesn't taste like lard. It tastes like delicious chocolate.

Sure we all want to be healthier. But we are like the federal government and the budget deficit. We want to be healthier without giving up anything, particularly french fries.

Fries have been around for well more than 100 years. Regardless of the style, thick cut, steak cut, shoestring, crinkly, curly, or tornado (an idea brought over from Korea), all fries are fine to me. Except the shoestring ones, which are my least preferred.

I know that someday fries will kill me. But I can only hope that the afterlife is like Chickie's and Pete's Crab House and Sports Bar in Philadelphia where they have something they call crab fries -- which indeed are heavenly.

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