Sometimes, in the age of avocado toast and unicorn Frappuccinos, where I can’t tell a Whole Foods reality from a Whole Foods parody anymore and sushi — the ’90s most exotic cuisine — is considered basic, I begin to fear that we’ve lost our culinary priorities. What happened to fish sticks, you know? Remember when pizza was sleepover food and not fodder for memes? Do kids eat PB&J anymore? Do people still bond over tacos? Do people chew and swallow their Instagram meals or are these photogenic treats secretly holograms?
It is the french fry, during these trying times, that calms me down. The french fry is universal and unwavering; as cool a move (order fries and a martini on a date, I dare you) as it is safe; as classic as it is exciting and as delicious as it is fried. Because of this, I honor the french fry, despite my general aversion for bullshit Internet holidays. In honor of National French Fry Day, 20 truths about about the most grounding of foods.
1. The question should never be, “Should we get french fries,” but always, “How many orders of french fries do we need?”
2. When in doubt, you need more.
3. For every soggy french-fry lover, there is a friend who will eat your french fry crispies.
4. French fries have a longer germ-blocking floor life than your standard edibles with ten-second-rules. It’s the grease.
5. French fries are a wholly acceptable meal replacement.
6. Although, you should know that in their company, it’s considered rude to think of fries as “replacements.” Fries are a meal.
7. They are also a burger and burrito condiment.
8. If you balked at number 7, we have a saying in the old country called, “Don’t knock it until you try it because it’s life-changing.”
9. Speaking of condiments, there is no wrong condiment for your french fry, no matter if it’s ketchup, mayo, sweet-and-sour sauce or Frosty. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
10. That said, malt vinegar on steak-cut fries is a bold move that must always be respected.
11. “A basket to share for the table” is not enough. You need to get your own.
12. Hash browns, breakfast potatoes, potato latkes, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes are not french fries. As such, there is nothing excessive or unnecessary about ordering a side of fries in addition to the starch already on your plate.
13. Similarly, sweet potatoes are also exempt from any sort of french-fry quota. If there’s a choice between sweet potato fries and french fries, get both.
14. You don’t have to be hungry to eat or order fries.
15. Waffle fries and ranch are an underrated combination.
16. Old Bay spice is nice; truffle oil is the big leagues.
17. French fries will never give you bad breath!
18. French fries will never get stuck in your teeth.
19. French fries will never make it home if you drive with them within an arm’s-distance of your lap.
20. You will never regret eating a french fry. In a world full of uncertainties, you can be sure this is your best decision.
Want fries in NYC? We photographed these fried delights from Jack’s Wife Freda, by Chloe, SoHo Park, Delicatessen, Balthazar, Lafayette and Mother’s Ruin.
Photos by Edith Young.