Put Some Respek On My Fries 🍟

I always tend to judge a Diner, Fast Food Restaurant or Gourmet Burger joint by the quality of its fries. If the fries are dead best believe I have no time for the place in question. Let’s face it, the only reason you see me in places like McDonald’s or Morley’s is because of the fries. I don’t like the food much, I detest the smell of McDonald’s from a distance and I haven’t ordered a piece of chicken from Morley’s in near on ten years but I’d happily go in and order a portion [or several] of fries.

As a [type 2] diabetic, starch and excess carbs is probably the last thing I should be ingesting due to their complexity and what it does to blood sugar levels but there’s something about fries that I can’t resist. Whether it’s a cheeky Nando’s portion doused in peri-peri salt, Morley’s fries fresh from the deep fryer into the box and sprinkled with salt and pepper fresh from the sachets or a mammoth Five Guy’s spicey fries portion.

I take my fries mainly dry, just a sprinkle of salt and pepper, although if I happen to find a traditional Fish & Chip Shop I’d order a portion and soak them in Salt, Vinegar and Onion Vinegar. There’s something about the sharp taste of traditional British chip shop chips that I love more than fries however there aren’t many outlets that serve them as they used to. Maybe its because in the early 2000’s the Fish & Chips became less desirable due to their price point as the rise of Morley’s et al came in with a lower price point.

Who could resist a small box of chicken and chips for £1.00?

Me and my mates couldn’t. There was only a handful of Chippy’s which served up quality traditional chips in my local area. Blackburn which was on the top of Watson St, it blew up sometime between ’99 and ’02, a Chip Shop across from Cash and Carry on Deptford High St which I used to visit after primary school between ’95-96, and maybe Perfecto’s at the north end of Deptford High St. Perfecto’s stuck around the longest as a traditional chippy. They offered a lunchtime special of 50p chips between ’99 and ’02 to cater to school kids like me who couldn’t really afford a full portion. I used to get 50p chips and two hot wings for £1.00 backs then. It’s a shame that Perfecto’s ain’t the same anymore, it’s a shame that there’s not really anywhere that’s stayed traditional and true to its roots because these would be the very places I would go to just to get a quintessential slice of Britishness.

When I had the idea to write about fries I didn’t think I’d get so nostalgic or realise how much I actually love Chips. Who knew something most people regard as an unnecessary side would have so much reverence in regards to choice when picking where and what to eat.

It wasn’t just the fries or the chips, it was the atmosphere, the memories, the decor, the taste, the texture, the look, the smell. Fries are everything to me when it comes to food, it’s probably the primary reason I go to some of the places like Diner, Five Guy’s, Morley’s and McDonald’s. I don’t even like burgers that much come to think of it, it’s either fries or hotwings when I determine what I choose. I somehow feel as though fries deserve so much more respect than they actually get.

What’s your take on fries, an irrelevant plate space filler or quintessitial part of any culinary experience?

Originally published on Up In The Ear, Oct 2016 and Whatever Innit, June 2018.

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