Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oh, to the French fry

I love French fries. Crispy and greasy on the outside, soft and moist in the middle, a good French fry is one of my all time favorite foods (second only to pasta). I'm a connoisseur of the fry - once I dreamed of having a French fry website, where I would list the best fries to be had (alas, I may have been too busy eating the fries to write about them.) I love fries dipped in ranch, tartar, thousand island, gravy. I love the soggy, fresh potato fries at Dick's Drive In and the garlic-y, overpriced fries at Safeco Field. Red Robin has excellent French fries, as did Wendy's (they've since changed their recipe and I've not tried them.) A good fry is a work of art.

I'm pretty much a fan of fried potatoes. Fries are my favorite, but I like potato chips, too. Kettle chips are the best - crunchy (but not too thick-cut) and greasy and just salty enough. Crispy hashbrowns and home fries are pretty amazing, too. Yeah, you get the point.

So, when I decided to cut simple carbs from my diet, I chose to eliminate the potato as well. I don't think potatoes are necessarily bad for you. They aren't refined sugar, by any means. But my fondness for them, especially in fried form, was not a good thing. There was more to my decision to stop eating potatoes, but essentially it boiled down to the fact that I couldn't see that they did me any good, so they had to go.

A funny thing happened within the first month of being white-carb-free. I was eating some roasted brussel sprouts, which were quickly becoming one of my favorite foods, and it occurred to me that what I really loved was greasy, salty and crunchy - not necessarily potato-y. Brussel sprouts (or carrots or asparagus) tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven until soft in the middle and crispy and caramelized on the outside fit the bill perfectly. Kale chips are pretty good when I want the crispness of a chip. And when I really want to dip a fry, I'll splurge and have sweet potato fries. In the last seven months, I've had a total of five French fries. I've had hundreds of brussel sprouts. And while I miss the fried potatoes from time to time, and occasionally even indulge (hence the five fries), it's not as much of a sacrifice when I find some filler in healthier snacks. Yummy.

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