Fred Fries

Fred doesn’t really cook, but when it comes to frying he has finely honed instincts that rival that of the greatest chef. Here he is holding the fabulous French fries he made on Saturday.

That’s his grandmother’s Dutch oven to the left, which seems to help in the process.

Here’s what he does:

1. Peel and cut potatoes to desired size and shape. Place in pot of water to rinse off starch. Drain.

2. Heat oil until very hot. Place potatoes in hot oil and cook until just soft but still light in color.

3. Remove fries from oil. Drain. Replace in oil and fry until light brown. Or, as Fred puts it: “You have to observe the surface texture of the fry, ” he says. “You wait until the texture ceases to be smooth and becomes a little granulated. It’s more about the texture than the color.”

Fred’s art also got mentioned in Access Atlanta. And I made stock. The excitement never stops.

There is a young turkey thawing in the refrigerator, along with some butterfly pork chops. Things should pick up next week in the cooking realm.

It’s 1974. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Today I reach back into time, as I don’t want to think about today, what with work being a huge headache I want to go away.

So, because a reader with vegetarian children wanted some good cookbook suggestions, I’m going to hearken back to a kinder, gentler period in my life when I did not eat animals. It lasted about six months. It ended when one day, driving past a Krystal and catching a whiff of the fatty oniony odor, I realized I couldn’t live a life where I never had another Krystal again. (See “I have no discipline whatsoever,” below.)

Unfortunately in looking over my cookbook collection I realized that my vegetarian cookbooks are sadly outdated. My favorites, The Vegetarian Epicure and The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two, by Anna Thomas, have been updated by a new edition, The New Vegetarian Epicure, with sleek photography rather than the homey hippie drawings on the older version.

I suspect that the following sentences from the 1974 version–describing a “two hours later course” you can offer guests who linger after a meal–have also been deleted:

“This two-hours later course is especially recommended if grass is smoked socially at your house. If you have passed a joint around before dinner to sharpen gustatory perceptions, you most likely will pass another one after dinner, and everyone knows what that will do–the blind munchies can strike at any time.”

On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t show this to the vegetarian kids. Try some tofu.

Mayday

Today it came to me, in a blazing revelation, that I have no self-discipline whatsoever and that I don’t want any. Somehow I seem to have gained back every ounce of the 15 pounds I lost a couple of years ago, although I suspect that about five pounds of that comes from various secrections that are bloating up my allergy-ridden body–wait, I mean, the body bloated up from the cold that FRED GAVE ME.

Fat people, take heart: I now realize that thin people are like recovering alcoholics, struggling one day at a time not to wolf down an entire package of Girl Scout Tagalongs along with a quart of milk–or my personal favorite, a giant bag of barbecue potato chips with a pint of French onion dip.

Life is starting to look like a perpetual Weight Watchers pep session, complete with smiling women in jogging suits laughing at some insipid witticism and biting into waxed apples.

I’m going to go eat some lard.