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Peter LaFrance



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beer and Fried Frenched Potatoes


The above illustration is a picture of an as close to the perfect deep fried frenched potato.

You, and spell-check, noticed the obvious mistake in the preceding sentence didn’t you?

Sorry folks… what you call French fries did not come from France in the first place. (They are a specialty of the Belgian cuisine.) When prepared in Metropolitan France, or in any French speaking part of the world, the preparation is known simply as “frites”… fries.

So how did the name come about? The answer is found in the usual ability of settlers of the British colonies to grasp the nuances of communicating in more than one language. At least two of the revered founding fathers of what is now the United States (Jefferson and Franklin) actually conversed in the French language. Later representatives of the new country, in a tradition that continues to this day, lacked that skill. And thus miss-interpretation abounded. One documented instance illustrates the inability to translate even the English language.

In cooking notes written in the English language, published in the 1700’s, there was a dish of potatoes sliced into long thin pieces (a kitchen knife technique known as “Frenching”) and fried in hot oil until crisp. The dish was documented as “fried frenched potatoes”. In defense of the folks at that time, cooking was very much an oral tradition even with trained chefs.

What does any of this have to do with beer?

I can think of no beer not enhanced by the accompaniment of a serving of perfectly done fried frenched potatoes.

The illustration above does more than any words I can think of to illustrate that “perfect” example.

What do I see?

I see a slice of potato in an ideal shape to render the tuber a morsel of nutty fluffy interior lightly embraced by a crisp almost caramelized brown coat.

These flavors individually would enhance most brown ale, together they allow heavier beers, flavored beers and barley wines to refresh the pallet for more of the flavors of the potato treat.

Should you prefer the lighter side of life the lagers of the world all enjoy the especially nutty flavors of the fried frenched potato.

Is it the perfect snack for beer drinkers?

Stay tuned…