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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, December 2

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Random Sat May 12 2007

Towards a New Manifesto

I was well on my way to posting a short piece about some tasty fish-n-chips I enjoyed at the newly opened (and super crowded) Gage on Friday night when I noticed that my young Flickr account was taking on a definitely golden brown hue. I was about to complete a coveted deep-fried blogging hat trick! First, the flaky rich empanadas from Nandu, second, a crispy tempura battered soft-shell at Shaw’s, and to complete the cycle, a plate loaded with deep fried cod and thick and tasty French fries! My pants were starting to feel tight around my waist.

What can make a fresh piece of local asparagus, just plucked from the fertile spring soil taste even better? Dip it in a light batter; drop it in some roiling peanut oil, just a touch of kosher salt when it comes out, and voila! You can come at me with a bunch of comments and say “NO, the best way to enjoy fresh asparagus is standing barefoot and slightly high in the sweet, dew covered fields at Krug’s as the sun comes over the just blossomed tops of the cherry trees, wiping dirt from the stalk before popping that tender young thing in your mouth all naked and raw” and I would agree, that sure, that sounds great, but I think I’ll go for the deep fry.

Let’s stop demonizing the fryer. Let’s all agree to stop, just for a moment, trying to convince ourselves that simple is better, that we can do without the panko bread crumbs and the lard. I believe it can be done. I bring to the witness stand those items that are fried with tender loving care; a tasty oyster po’boy sandwich at The Local Option, the infamous duck fat French fries from Hot Doug’s, the afore mentioned empanadas at Nandu (please tell me and my dusty scale that there are any baked empanadas in town that even come close and I will run out and try them!)

Maybe someone needs to come up with a fried food manifesto.

The Fried Foods International Manifesto
(Draft Version)

After decades of exhausting self-criticism and guilt, the normally independent foodies of these United States have become victims of a crushing impulse to turn up their noses at all things fast and fried.

We will not let the production speed of a deep fried meal deter us from relishing it slowly and with much pleasure and with intellectually stimulating conversation (while also recognizing that this stuff tastes so great that we are literally shoveling it into our collectively gaping mouths before it even hits the table even after you loudly warned us twice that “Dude, its SUPER HOT”!)

We will take perfectly round heirloom green tomatoes and crust them with locally produced cornmeal breading. We will gently lay these precious gifts of the soil in trans-fat free non-genetically modified oil, and finish them with a loving pinch of organic Fleur De Sel de Camargue. In this way, and others, we will return the ancient art of deep fat frying to a respected and honored place in our kitchens.

We will vociferously defend the golden brown citizens of bar menus across the world. We will order corn dogs with pride and we will not lower our voices when asking for “that one in the back. No, THAT one”. We will scoff at the steamed version of the spring roll, and we will go back for a second funnel cake even though we kind of feel like puking.

We will not be afraid to deep fry at home, even if we sold our Fry Daddy at a garage sale in Tinley Park in 1982. We will dig out our biggest pots and we will empty 2 bottles of canola oil into them (even if one of them belongs to our roommate and he wrote his name on it in blue sharpie). We will wow our reluctant friends with homemade mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers during the Super Bowl, and we will smile smugly as we glance at plates empty of everything but a greasy paper towel gracing our buffet table (next to the uneaten pile of room-temperature dolmas).

I leave you with this; a guy I work with told me a great secret (he worked at McDonalds for years). What you do is you order you fries with no salt - that way they have to take them all hot and fresh directly from the fryer ‘cause the ones in the basket under the heat lamp have already been salted. Then, you just salt them yourself. Brilliant! It is sharing these crafty tricks of deep-fried nation that we can work together to not eat more fried food, but to eat better fried food. Even at McDonalds.

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USAgreasey / May 12, 2007 1:15 PM


don't forget the wings!!

best recipe:

Gino / May 12, 2007 1:42 PM

I knew I was not crazy to ask for no salt on my fries at McDonalds, I just knew it.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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