A guide to the best of chips
It is the ultimate philosophical debate of our time; chips.
What kind of chips are the grandest and the most superior? Ketchup, mayo, gravy or cheese? Peeled or unpeeled? Honestly, wars have been fought over less.
No matter your preference, chips are pretty amazing. Bordering on addictive some would say. And there’s a reason why you can’t eat just one; glorious salt.
A recent study linked a higher amount of salt in the system to less activity in the stress center of the brain. It also increases the amount of oxytocin in your system – the same effect as sexy time. Oxytocin is related to boosting feelings of love and social bonding. Can one form an emotional bond with a chip? I am living proof you can! So no wonder you love them, the magical chips with their stress-reducing, comforting feelings – like a warm crispy, salty oil-soaked hug. They understand me like no other…
History of Chips
When it comes to original predecessor of the modern chip, France and Belgium both claim to have planted their flag first. Although both agree potatoes came from the New World via Spain, apparently the Belgium dudes were frying up slices of potatoes in fat because the river froze over and they couldn’t get to the fish. So they cut potatoes wedges in the shape of little fish and thus chips were born.
The French argue that, although potatoes were merely livestock feed and generally associated with causing nice diseases like leprosy, the medical army officer Antoine-Augustine Parmentier made it his personal mission to champion the potato as the tastiest veggie of them all.
Although the French public didn’t fancy potoates despite his efforts, it took a famine for them to come round to the idea. After everyone realised the joys of a freshly fried potato strip, potatoes were all the rage. The name French Fry just caught on because of France’s gastronomic hegemony around the world. But don’t let that fool you, we could be calling them Flemish Fries if Belgium had better record keeping in the 1780’s.
All the Wonderful Chips
So what is your preference?
1. The classic French Fry
It’s common and delicious. You know the drill, you crave them, you dream them. I don’t need to say more.
2. The ‘British’ chip
Do I need to explain more? Salty and delicious, best paired with their good friends Mr. Fish and Mrs. Mushy-Peas.
Why are they so incredibly tasty!? Curly fries are made with using the whole potato, run through a special machine to give them that fun and springy shape. Usually extra spices are added, giving them a darker colour and extra bite. Because of the harder time finding them on the menu, the novelty value of these chips bump up their excitement. Also, you end up putting more in your mouth in one go because of their deceivingly curly appearance which means more salt, more crunch and more nom nom-ness.
4. Waffle cut fries
There’s a weird one at every family gathering, and taters are no exception. Half way to crisp, half way to chip.
5. Hot Chip
Enigmatic 5-piece electro-rock band from London. Mercury prize and Grammy nominees, and everybody’s favourite band for about 2 months in 2006.
6. Shoestring (or Matchstick, or Straws)
Thinner cut = more surface area for salt and oil = heaven.
7. Tornado Potato
The original spiral cut potato on a stick! And you always thought chips were so delicious but were so hard to eat on the go? Well say hello to your new favourite street food. And if you wrap the tornado around a hot dog, it becomes a sausage tornado!
8. Best potato variation: sweet potato fries!
Technically not chips because they’re not made with white potatoes, sweet potato fries are pretty close to the real thing with a sweet kick compared to their more mainstream cousin. Better served with garlic aoili than ketchup.
9. Best unconventional fried potato: hash browns
The Americans gave us a lot of really weird stuff, but hash browns are NOT one of them. The best part? It’s basically acceptable to eat chips for breakfast in America. So they do some thing right…
Now before the vein in your forehead starts throbbing because I forgot to mention YOUR all time favourite chip (how could I, seriously how could I?!?), there are a lot more variations on the potato then mentioned here. Going into skins on or off, shapes, battered, hand-cut or double fried (drooool), the possibilities are pretty endless. So let me know, did I forget a chip that deserves to be featured here? Or what’s your favourite from the list above?
Feature image via angela n.