Friday, August 17, 2007

Ode to the Fry

My life long weakness has been french fries. I love them. Give me a gallon of Heinz ketchup (I always wondered why anybody else even bothers to make ketchup) and a super sized fries and let me go to town.

As for preference, the thicker the cut the better. Steak fries or country fries are the best. When I was in seventh grade, I'd occasionally walk home from school, about 2 miles, and stop at this dark dingy restaurant/bar and order up a large country fries and a full bottle of ketchup. Man, were those good! Mmmm mmm.

Fast food fries have to give the nod to Wendy's. Ever dip those babies into a Frosty? To die for.

And then, there's the beach. As we pack for our beach trip, my mind wanders to the mecca known as Thrasher's. Thrasher's is an Ocean City, Maryland institution. It's been at the end of the boardwalk forever. Thrasher's fries are fresh cut, about 1/4" sides and maybe 3-4" long. I believe they're fried in vegetable oil until they're crispy brown. It's an unassuming stand right next to some carnival games and the serve fries and Cokes. That's it. (Kinda like the old Saturday Night Live skit about the Cheeburgers and Pepsi's.) I'm not sure when this picture was taken, but on a normal afternoon or evening, the line will stretch out to 100+ hungry beach goers.

You can't see it in the picture, but there is one sign of note on the left wall. In big black letters it says: NO KETCHUP.

What, no ketchup? That's what I said on my first visit when I was about four years old when dad brought me to mecca for the first time.

Nope, the Thrasher's way is to eat them doused in apple cider vinegar. Admittedly, it's an acquired taste, but once you get used it, you learn to enjoy the flavor of the bitter sweet vinegar mixed in with the just-out-of-the-fryer ocean fries. I learned to love them as a kid and now my kids are learning. (No hope for Deb, though, we've always had to have two tubs. One with vinegar, one without.)

I'm preparing myself for our first trip down the boardwalk, probably tomorrow night. As we get to within a block of mecca, and the smell begins to waft over the concrete part of the board walk, what will I do?

Fit Day says one cup of french fries is just 154 calories but Wendy's puts a large fry at 540 calories. I'm sure that a small order of Thrasher's is at least an order and a half of a Wendy's large.

I'm thinking that if we walk the 20 blocks from our hotel to Thrasher's, I'll burn a couple hundred calories on the round trip. (I won't even mention the cost of walking by every crappy t-shirt story along the way and my kids getting a bad case of the I-wanna's.) That doesn't even include all the calorie burning playing in the ocean and in the pool. Logic seems to point to take the plunge.

The problem is the mental part. Over the past 13 months, I've avoided french fries. It was the one item, before South Beach, that I was cutting out. It's not that I've had none in the past year, but maybe just a couple. Certainly no full orders. Certainly none from mecca. So this will be a challenge. I can just about smell them now!

Have a great week all!



Pat said...

They sound great. Skip 'em.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, my 2 cents worth is that you should order them. I will bet that they won't taste the same as you remember them - that they will taste very odd/strange and you will wonder why you liked it. This happened to me - I LOVED fries like you. When I removed it from my diet, and then I had some at my favorite restaurant, they didn't taste so good. It's like I lost the taste for them.

I love your blog! Keep up the great work with blogging and with your health plan. You are an inspiration and motivation to all.

Gayle in Seattle

Dyan said...

Thank you so much for giving me a taste of home. I grew up in Baltimore, and now live in Charlottseville. Haven't been to Ocean City (HON!) in so long. I remember Thrasher's fries and waiting in the line. Did you ever have the chocolate-covered salt water taffy from Dollie's? Nothing like it.
Thanks for the memories and continued success on your weight loss.

Anonymous said...

You have to re-walk the same 20 blocks to get the extra calories you would need for the Dumser's Chocolate Banana Milkshake. If it were me I would get a small and enjoy them and then try to cut corners elsewhere throughout the day. If I didn't eat them I would end up overeating something else trying to fill the whole that denied craving left behind. Somebody brought a tub of Fisher's popcorn to work the other day and put it in the cube next to mine. It wasn't a pretty sight. :/

Unknown said...

Tough call.
I love the fries though so I wouldn't be the best one to give advice.......
PS I love Heinz ketchup. My mom swears she hasn't had to buy any since I left home 20 years ago.

Pat said...

I know I said skip 'em, you know I wouldn't. but, you're a stronger man than I.

And that heinz ketchup is from Pittsburgh. If you support heinz, you're supporting the Steelers. I tell my wife, no heinz in our house.

Anonymous said...

Pat - Thanks for the more Heinz in my house. Being a Raven's fan myself, Steelers are BAD!

bigmike600 said...

My thoughts are that we are still people living life. Certain things in life give us great pleasure and it is wrong to deny yourself the things that give you pleasure. But moderation is key. Eat a few of them and then chuck the rest in the trash before you go overboard. Then you still get a chance to taste them and get the pleasure from them. I read about this one guy who loved cheesecake. He would order a slice for dessert and cut it in half and immediately pour salt on the other half to wreck it. Then he could not be tempted to eat more than just a taste. Do not deny yourself the things in life that make you happy. Just be careful.

Jeff said...

Thanks, all, you can see the results of my temptation on Thursday's post.

btw, Mike, Deb is a bread a holic and will douse unwanted bread in water to avoid the temptation. I've done that once or twice myself.

Anonymous said...

I think the small Thrashers fries is about 600 cal. They use peanut oil.

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs don't have many calories.

Roc in Baltimore