Home Fries

  I'm a pretty decent cook, if I do say so myself. Most of my facebook updates start with "making (insert decadent treat here.)" People ask me for recipes. I've been asked to cook for events. My husband loves my food and sometimes even my kids do too!

But after tonight, I'm thinking of hanging up my apron.

It should have been a simple enough meal. I thawed some hamburger meat so I could make my special hamburgers, and by special I mean doused in Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Worcestershire Sauce and cooked on a George Foreman Grill. I bought buns earlier in the day at the Lewis Bakery. On Tuesdays you can buy day old bread buy one get one free. I got there right as the store opened and I had to PARK ACROSS THE STREET. There were at least 10 people ahead of me in line, and they didn't have any of my fancy health bread that is so hearty it could get up and walk out by itself. But I got out of there with three bags of bread and buns for $5 so it was worth it, even with a fussy baby on my hip. We had a new jar of pickles, and a giant jug of peanut oil just so I could fiddle around with the deep fat fryer. I was looking forward to my simple, classic meal.

My first mistake came when I only thawed out one pound of ground beef. Somehow in the last couple of years we have gone from being a family with three small children who keep happily eat one pound of ground beef to a family with three fairly big kiddos, plus a baby and two pounds of ground beef  is a given. Except when I conveniently forget and keep cooking like half of us are picky toddlers.

I patted out 5 meager but well-seasoned burgers and then proceeded to scrub and slice the potatoes for home fries. I thought about doing scallop cut but decided that wedges were really what I wanted. I dreamed of a huge pile of crispy golden wedges, piping hot, stacked so high only my children's wide, glowing eyes would show above them. We filled a large mixing bowl with ice water to soak them in so they'd be ultra crisp, no small sacrifice because like everything else in our kitchen these days the ice maker had slowed and was spitting out just a few paltry half-moons every couple of hours. One round of lemonade and the supply was wiped out.

While the potatoes crisped I set up the deep fryer, first on the kitchen counter where it kept tripping the surge protector, then I unplugged the dishwasher and sat the fryer there. I poured an entire jug of peanut oil in it because I always seem to skimp on the oil in my fryer and then it's shallow frying and that's not what I want it for! I quickly realized that I must have overshot the fill line because the oil started rolling as oil is want to do, and when I added the potatoes it started spilling over the side. I grabbed some rags and remembered how many times I had set fire to the kitchen, and unplugged the frier.

I checked the potatoes after a few minutes and while they seemed cooked they also seemed very...white. I mentioned to my husband that commercial french fries are sprayed with sugar to create the golden brown color we associate with deep fried foods. Hmm.

I took the potatoes out and sprinkled them with white sugar and returned them to the basket. And that's when I remembered I had unplugged the fryer. I plugged it back in and let the potatoes swirl in the hot oil for several minutes. Finally I figured they were done and I took them out. They were golden alright. And...sticky. Instead of home fries, I had made sugar glazed russets.

My husband tasted one. "It's like eating a slice of Kool-Aid." I tried covering the sugar with copious shakings of seasoned salt. After all, what can beat the salty/sweet combo? These potatoes were quickly becoming the number one cause of adult onset diabetes. Hugh tasted another one. "It's like straight whiskey. It's good and terrible at the same time."

I finally gave up and called the kids to the table, warning them that the potatoes were...off. Only my adventurous four year old daughter opted to try them, and politely said nothing negative, thought I noticed she didn't eat seconds. I caught my husband sneaking potatoes OFF his plate and back on to the bowl.

I thought about turning them into a breakfast casserole. I mean, they make maple flavored sausage right? Might pair well. Or might pair well with the garbage bag too. Tomorrow I'll have to contend with the fryer, which currently has strands like candy spidersilk running from the lid to the top of the dishwasher. Guess I'll have to discard the oil too unless I decide to deep fry some circus peanuts.

So, how do you make YOUR home fries?