Have I ever mentioned my deep and abiding love? ...Don't worry, I'm not about to trick you into reading some soppy Valentine's story about true love or anything like that. Not for a person, at least - this deep and abiding love is for the potato. Now, granted, I can trace my roots clear back to Ireland, so a love for potatoes is basically genetically guaranteed, but still.

Let it be said: I am head-over-heels for potatoes.

When I was younger, my favorite way to eat them was either mashed or baked and slathered with butter and ranch dressing. (Though the latter did not come about until I was in high school; potato skins weirded me out before then. I know I've mentioned I was a picky eater. It knew no bounds.) And, of course, French fries.

There was a point in my tenure at high school when my mother would pick me up from school every day, we would go through the drive-thru at McDonald's, and I would get fries. I would empty them into the bag, sprinkle them with more salt, and eat them from the bag. There is something about the specific combination of starch, grease, and salt that is absolutely irresistable. I remember one of the only cravings I got while I was abroad was for fries - though it wound up being sated later at a McDonald's near the train terminal in Rome. (The other was, unsurprisingly, cinnamon rolls.)

I won't get into any of the arguments against McDonald's - you've heard them all before, at this point, I'm sure - but part of the reason they have such wild success is that they hit on that key combination. I've since stopped eating at McDonald's, but even now I will still get wild cravings for French fries that are, for the most part, unable to be filled. Sure, every so often I will get them at a bar, but it's not like I am able (or willing) to go to a bar every time I want French fries.

So it's a good thing they're super-easy to make. I may have eaten about three-potatoes-worth of French fries over the weekend. They're also delicious.

French Fries
adapted from The Naptime Chef

I split up the fries and did three different toppings - cayenne pepper, shredded cheddar, and grated parmesan. They were all super-delicious, though I think I prefer the ones with cheese. I guess I'll have to keep experimenting. Darn.

2 potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
(a couple dashes cayenne pepper)
(cheddar cheese, shredded)
(grated parmesan cheese)

Make sure the potatoes are clean. Slice down the longest side of each potato, about as thick as you want your fries to be. (These are best a little thicker, though, to be honest.) Cut each slice along the longest side again to make the fries.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the strips in a pot full of water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes; they should be tender. While the potatoes are boiling, pour the olive oil and salt into a bowl. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. When the potatoes are done, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss them in with the oil and salt until covered.

Line the fries on the baking sheet. If there's any leftover oil in the bowl, pour that over the potatoes. If you're adding cayenne, go ahead and sprinkle some over the fries.

Bake for 40 minutes. If you're adding cheese, pull out the fries and sprinkle the cheese on them, then bake for another 5 minutes. These are best hot-out-of-the-oven. Enjoy!


  1. awesome. grilled cheese and french fries was your old cafeteria standard.

  2. also why does it feel like im getting a full FBI background check when i try to post a comment on here?

  3. haha, you know, I had totally forgotten about that! I think I have tried to repress most of the memories about the caf. (Though now it's all coming back - ah, memories.)

    I'm not sure!