Wednesday, January 1, 2014
It's a very familiar scenario to those of us who haven't given up on greasy, spectacularly unhealthy fast foods: You step up to the counter of your preferred burger joint and, thinking only of how extremely hungry you are, you order the large fries. You are given a disturbingly huge mound of french fries that any normal human would be extremely unwise to consume at one sitting, so you either throw out the leftovers or -- since throwing away food is wrong because of all the starving children in Africa/China/India -- you take the uneaten fries home so you can stick them in the fridge... and throw them away at a more convenient time. The fries are inevitably destined for the trash because, as everyone knows, cold, leftover fast food french fries taste like rubber. This raises the question: Is there another way this scenario might play out?
You could just stop buying french fries because they're nothing but empty, fat-laden, delicious calories that won't get burned off because your exercise routine is pretty much just a figment of your imagination... but who are we kidding? What's really needed is a strategy for rescuing those cold, dead fries and making them tasty again. The first thing a fry-rejuvenator might be tempted to try is simply sticking them in the microwave for a few seconds, but if you know anything about frying, you'll already know why such a plan is destined to yield less than appetizing results.
There is, in fact, a huge amount one might know about frying. Humans, starting with the Chinese, have been deep-fat frying for the last 3,600 years or so and we still don't know all there is to know about the process. When raw potatoes hit sufficiently hot oil, so much goes on at the molecular level that one could easily spend an entire semester of college studying the subject. Let's see what I can do in about a thousand words...