May 5th, 2007

Random Violin

Would you like fries with that?

When we think about the inventions that changed the way we live, it's usually the big, earth-shattering things we think of, like electricity, and motor cars, and the internet. But there are many smaller, unheralded inventions, whose impact may not be as great but are still worth noting.
Take for instance the oven fry. When I was growing up, having chips (never fries; they were always chips!) with dinner meant a trip to the local greek fisho, or an elaborate affair involving the peeling of potatoes, painstakingly chopping them to size, then heating half a bucket of dripping in the deep fryer (or in a frypan if you didn't have a deep fryer), waiting for the dripping to reach the right temperature then dropping the potato slices in one by one. They'd sizzle and spit, and you couldn't take your eyes off them for a moment or they'd be sure to burn.
Once they'd reached the desired colour and texture - and how hard was it to get them crispy golden on the outside, white and fluffy within! - then you scooped them out and drained them on newspaper or paper towel.
Then along came the oven fry. And with the fry came the knowledge that they're really not good for you. They're so much easier to prepare but we're not game to eat them.
*sitting here thinking of hot chips just out of the fryer, on fresh white bread liberally buttered, with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Maybe a drop or two of vinegar. yum....*
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    well there was ham and there was turkey, there was caviar, and long tall glasses