Thursday, 4 December 2008

The Chip Thesis

As a student with not much money, I am forced to eat in some pretty poor places. While I love a good lunch, the places near uni that are a) cheap and b) cheap aren't always the most inspiring. There are exceptions, and I have a theory for how to find (some of) them.

A lot of the places we end up in serve burgers. I do like burgers, but the combination of mince and lots of sauce means it is easy to disguise poor quality ingredients and bad cooking. Burgers usually come with chips. Chips are theoretically quite easy, as you just chop up some potatoes then fry them. However, bad chips are very common and possibly one of the most disappointing things ever. I'm thinking of on the way home after a few drinks, and you buy a bag of chips and tuck in... and they're so bad.

The perfect chip, in my opinion anyway, should be chunky. That way you get more of a contrast between the crispy outside and the soft centre*. No matter how fat the chip is, it is imperative that the outside is crispy and the centre is soft and smooth. Also, you can nearly always tell if the chips have been frozen as they go floury inside, and have an almost metallic taste. If they are not crispy then the oil wasn't the right temperature. Chips represent a bellwether for the rest of the food. If they can be bothered to use fresh chips in the right oil, then they've probably got good meat in the burgers and won't disguise it with rubbish sauce.

So the moral of this story is always steal one of your dining partner's chips before you commit to lunch...

*I will devour a plate of shoestring chips if necessary.