Since the breakup, I've been discovering who I am, what I love, what I want. This won't be the only entry about that.
After watching the second episode of the first season of The Practice after lunch (I need to send the disc back by Friday, even though Netflix gives 7 days to return outstanding discs after you cancel your account, but I'll be done with it by then and I want to get it off my hands), I spent the rest of the afternoon reading Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story by John T. Edge. There was much more about hamburgers than there was about fries, and that's probably as it should be, being that a burger is always the main focus. The fries are an afterthought. "Done with the burger. Oh look, fries!"
While reading about Edge's quest for good fries in Philadelphia, I thought about what kind of fries I like. Shoestring? Crinkle-cut? Thick? Thin? I'm good with any kind of fry, as long as it's crisp enough and doesn't give in easily to the potato interior. Even together, there has to be a separation of sorts between the outside and the inside. Each has to be distinctive.
Then I read this, on page 161, and I immediately knew what I like:
"But the highlight comes at a friend's birthday party, when I meet youngster Ben Robling. He's a staffer at Di Bruno's, the city's premier vendor of fine Italian cheeses. When I broach the subject of fries, I expect him to grab a wedge of Gorgonzola dolce and beat a hasty retreat. But he beguiles me with the story of a night he spent at his neighborhood diner, tucked into a corner booth, drinking a bootlegged bottle of Alsatian white, and digging into an aluminum pail of fries smothered in mozzarella and checkered with bacon. "Everything I've learned about how food and wine are supposed to work together was on that table," he says. "At that moment, you could have offered me a slab of foie gras and a glass of Sauternes and I would've turned you down flat."
I can't eat like I used to. I have memories of my knees hurting often, my feet hurting after very few errands, no real center of gravity. I was top-heavy and gut-heavy. But I also have memories of chili-cheese fries. I'm not sure where, but I remember baskets of them, and I regret to say that I only shoveled them in. I vaguely remember the mild spices of the chili, my joy at the melted cheese, and the weak and soggy nature of the fries under the chili and the cheese. I didn't mind. They were chili-cheese fries!
When fries merely accompany a dish, such as wings at Wing Stop, I use mustard, whenever I can find it, though Wing Stop doesn't have it. But no need for that there, since they have blue cheese dip. But when there's the opportunity to have fries covered in something, I go for it now only if I've been so good with my diet that I can afford one day of transgression.
Nevertheless, when I'm a resident of Henderson and have full access to the Las Vegas area, I want to find a diner or some place that has chili-cheese fries or fries covered with some other tasty combination. But I'm also looking for fries that can withstand a barrage of chili-cheese. I know that if enough chili is dumped on an order of fries, the fries get soggy because of the heat of the chili and the weight of it on the fries. I'm hoping there's a place in Vegas that has a balanceable ratio, and crispier fries that can handle that balance.
I also hope that I'll find some interesting combinations on top of fries. Maybe mozzarella and bacon pieces. I like the exploration that comes with chili-cheese fries, those cheesy crevices, that perfect combination of chili and cheese on top of one fry. This is how I prefer fries, and I will search. I won't search often, for the sake of my weight, but it's going to be fun.