Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chip on shoulder

Not meaning any harm, but I do not really understand poutine. I don't hate poutine per se; I can eat it well enough; but when I do eat it I kind of say, "Why? Are the chips broken?"

That, by the way, is the proper term for what Americans (and certain other modern day Canadians) call "french fries". They are called chips.

And chips are not broken and they do not need fixing.

Poutine is supposed to be wonderfully decadent and homey at the same time. I find that mozza and gravy just really aren't a match made in heaven. They do not compliment so much as cancel each other.

And the chips - the poor chips, drowned in the white and brown goo! No, no, no!

Let me tell you something about chips. This is the way chips are supposed to be: you take potatoes, see. You can peel the taters if you want or you can leave the skins. It does not matter. You cut the taters accordingly to look like chips, neither too thick and neither too thin. You have a deep fryer with good fresh oil in it all hot. The best of the best is beef tallow, but that's more expensive. You fry the chips just enough. You take them out of the oil. I've heard of doubled-fried. Never tried it. Anyways, you have your hot chips drained. You salt them neither too liberally nor too lightly. And then - and this is the most fundamental part - and then you dash the chips with good healthy lashings of vinegar. Eat them with no ketchup. And don't call them french fries. If you have fried fish to go with it, then you have a meal. Hamburgers work even better.

That is all.


Enbrethiliel said...


Yes, but what kind of vinegar???

I already know that regular distilled white vinegar is not quite up to the task, though white vinegar in which some dried herbs have been steeped is a whole other experience.

I haven't tried this with apple cider vinegar yet, and I won't try it with balsamic.

Please advise.

Paul Stilwell said...

Oh, I only use white vinegar or malt vinegar. Personally, I wouldn't use apple cider vinegar on chips. I tend to use apple cider vinegar as an ingredient in cooking (where it will get cooked and/or mingled with other ingredients) rather than as a dressing.

If white vinegar is too white for you, then I would go with malt vinegar.

It's all about simplicity with chips. It's in the hot, salty, fresh, just-out-of-the-oil goodness.

Belfry Bat said...

While I'm with you all the way on chips and such, I can't help but remark that Mozarella is simply the wrong cheese. It's already too salty. Bocconcini is closer to what's used in Quebec, but even that is too fancy for the purposes of poutine. Still closer would be to take green (or cottage) cheese and drain and rinse it off. And after all that, I still suspect the whole purpose is lost in a Vancouver winter. Better to get up into the mountains, or to Banff, where it'll be so cold your eyelashes freeze together, and the hot gravy on the hot greasy chips and the melting curds are a comfort just because it's so exhaustingly chilly... but I prefer cocoa, myself, and chips in the Summer.

Paul Stilwell said...

Ah yes, of course. That's the thing I was forgetting: the cold making the dish most welcome. I will grant that it would be something terrific in those circumstances.

I am a huge fan though of gourmet hotdogs.

Enbrethiliel said...


Stilwell -- It's hard to find malt vinegar here, but I've just finished steeping some rosemary and sage in white vinegar (for my hair--LOL!) and it smells like it will be good on chips. I'll give it a try soon. =)

Bat -- Then there are the exhaustingly chilly Manila "winters" of 18 degrees Celsius at night . . .

Paul Stilwell said...

Rosemary and sage vinegar on chips sounds like it will be nice. Let me know what it's like.

owen swain said...

Can't tell you how often I arrive here only to find the post I read in my reader that I came here to comment on is gone. I didn't come here to comment on this post but thought I would since the sheep sheering one was cut.

Paul Stilwell said...

Sorry about that...I often can't stand my own writing. The post might find its way back...

I thought I would're an Eastern Canadian. What say you about poutine?

owen swain said...

I eat as little starchy, high fat, high colesteral as possible so I am a poor judge of this topic. My beloved was born and raised in Quebec and loves that sort stuff and no doubt has an opinion but she doesn't blog or social network at all so, um, yeah.

Nice to see there is something to get heated about beyond Catholic left right etc etc though 'cause I'm pretty much done there and have moved on.

Enbrethiliel said...


I bought some malt vinegar yesterday so I could take your dare. But only after the chips were done frying did I that I only had rock salt. =P I'll have to get back to you again later.

Paul Stilwell said...

Oh good! Out of curiosity, how were they without salt?

Belfry Bat said...

Into a small container measure salt, disolve in vinegar; no problem!

Then, of course, there's the question of proportion. One *can* nearly get salt:water::1:3, by weight at least; and I'd imagine (... might be wrong! ...) that with extra H⁺ you can get closer to 1:2, but that'd be pretty salty... though one doesn't need much of either vinegar OR salt, really.

Now, go forth and science!

Itinérante said...

I have no idea what poutine is (beside being a president somewhere!) but we fry potatoes the way you do chip except that we do double frying (we half cook them beforehand and just before the meal we put them in the oil again) and it's marvellous! We call them fried potatoes (how lame!)

Paul Stilwell said...

Poutine, Putin, LOL.

Poutine is chips/fries with melted mozzarella and gravy.

Sounds so good the way you do them - double fried. I've heard they're way tastier!