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Book review: Delving deeper into fries

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Frites: Over 30 Gourmet Recipes for All Kinds of Fries, Chips and Dips by Anne de la Forest (2014, Jacqui Small LLP, $29.99 U.S., $32.99, Canada).

The French fry, in all its iterations, is a food rich with history, social culture and of course flavor. It’s hard to think of bar food or burgers without thinking of fries.

There’s also a science side to frites. In the book’s preface, Molecular Gastronomy co-author Hervé This notes that understanding how a frite is formed is a scientific process. “Couldn’t we simply make frites as we always have, by throwing sticks of potato into hot oil? Yes, but the issue is how to make perfect frites.”

In the pursuit of excellence, Frites includes guidelines and tips for selecting types of oil and types of potatoes, as well as techniques for cutting and cooking. Frites also includes history, and recipe ideas for traditional fries and spins on tradition, such as Caramelized Honey Frites. Also included: feta frites, polenta fries and versions featuring carrots, asparagus, parsnips, pumpkin and celeriac. You’ll find dessert ideas, too, such as banana and brown sugar frites, and frite-compatible sauces.

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