french fries

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The most contentious thing on the internet this week is a french fry listicle

One woman set the internet aflame with a simple ranking of french fries.


David Covucci

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 13, 2017   Updated on May 23, 2021, 3:16 am CDT

Unlike dogs, not all french fries are good. They can arrive on your plate undersalted, super soggy, and generally bland. But when they are good, we can all agree they are great. There’s not much better joy than eating a perfectly crispy, piping hot, properly seasoned potato slice.

But fries come in many fashions. Cut thin, cut thick; fried once, fried twice, fried thrice; regular salt, seasoned salt. Which one is the best? Is it even an empirical question that our society has the capacity to answer?

Well, no. If you thought the 2016 election was the new standard for divisiveness and vitriol, you’d be wrong. Because welcome to the Great French Fry War of Last Weekend on Twitter. It began when @CriminelleLaw tweeted an infographic with a bold promise. All styles of french fries, ranked.

That’s just… it’s not even that it’s wrong; it’s all over the place. Half the things are fries, half the things are not fries, and half the things are just toppings on top of fries. It was received with absurdly harsh sentiments. Like, to the point you’d have thought she’d slapped a #MAGA logo on top of it before declaring Bernie fries, if given a fair chance, would have finished first. People were pissed.

The ranking actually wasn’t new, but rather from March 2016, compiled by Jess Kapadia, an editor at Food Republic. It was contentious back then, too.

“I’ll admit that I put waffle fries as my first pick,” Kapadia told the Daily Dot. But people instantly disagreed with her. “Our editorial director almost went so far as to change the final result because he just doesn’t have that kind of love for waffle fries. We had as much conflict among ourselves as we’ve seen in the comments, both when it originally posted and now. I had chef friends spamming my Facebook page alternately with praise and hate.”

The rankings were composed by informally polling chefs, servers, food writers and editors, as well as Kapadia’s own mom, to try and create as complete a portrait as possible of french fry love in the world.

Which it apparently turned out not to be. Curly fries instantly emerged as a clear point of contention.

“Curly fries ARE ranked too low,” Kapadia said, “and it’s a crying shame. … curly fries were definitely #2. Curly fries landing at #6 even made me mad.”

Not everyone feels that way.

Curly fries do tend to work better in concept than in execution. How many times have you lifted a soft, limp, dangling one up out of your container, disappointed by what you are about to consume? They don’t stay crisp. But a hypothetically perfect curly fry probably does belong in the the top three. At least ahead of tater tots, which was another whole fight. Are they fries? Are they not fries? Is our own belief in the inherent evil of mankind an outward reflection of our innermost self?

Haters gonna hate was Kapadia’s response to those specific complaints, which she delivered in the form a GIF that conveyed that sentiment with a delightful pun.

Sweet potato fries emerged as another flashpoint, which is expected: The people who love them really do love them, and the people who don’t believe they are more akin to a roasted vegetable side dish than anything worthy of the title of a fry. (Also, it should be noticed that the floor for sweet potato fries is much lower for regular fries. A poorly cooked sweet potato fry is not a good thing.)

“Our [Food Republic] team poll was split 50-50: half of us think they’re garbage and that people who like them are just pretending for health’s sake,” said Kapadia. “The other half genuinely prefers sweet potato over regular fries. Something about sweet potatoes and ketchup just don’t do it for me.”

Me neither. Now, look, you’ve made it this far, and I know exactly what you are thinking: This is the most pointless waste of my time and I actually have work-related things I could be doing instead of reading a round-up of snarky internet commenters affecting faux outrage over sliced up potatoes and their ranking in a list that doesn’t affect their or my enjoyment of fries.

But also what the hell is a potato tornado?

According to Kapadia, “a potato tornado is one huge curly fry. Its edges are potato chip-esque, so you’re actually getting two kinds of fried potato in one aesthetically pleasing package. Plus, you can walk around with it. You can’t eat curly fries on the go, trust me, I’ve tried.”

Here’s a video on how to make one. It’s kinda like a spiraled hasselback potato. I would rank it higher if it were a thing that really existed.

The outrage over this even went international. Canadians were stupefied poutine was left off this list. They have a legitimate gripe. Poutine is good as hell.

But there’s one stance Kapadia has that at least most of the internet should be able to agree on.

“I’m a ketchup fiend. That’s how I got into this mess in the first place.”

Yes, ketchup is good.


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*First Published: Jun 13, 2017, 2:26 pm CDT