RE: French fries: Are homemade fries worth effort?
Bassrocker, I am a lover of French Fries and admire you that you are thinking of having "homemade" fries rather than frozen, processed ones. In my family, I am the one that makes French Fries and try to maintain a consistent flavour and quality.
Remember, I am not a real French Fry maker, but I play one in my family.
1. I've discovered that the age of the potato really determines the quality of the fries. New potatoes have a different flavour, texture, and even a different amount of time to fry them to get just right taste than middle-aged potatoes or older ones. I am serious that the age of the potatoes produces different results and need different frying techniques. I prefer older potatoes.
2. The same can be said as far as the age of the oil, lard or whatever you fry the potatoes in. I hate new oil. The fries have a different flavour with the age of oil, which I am sure you already know.
3. I am sure you know that the type of potato also determines the taste, texture, frying time, etc., but which would you pick that would create a "brand" flavour for you eatery. Certain potatoes tastes better with certain foods. I prefer Yukon Gold, while my family prefers Idaho. Eating out, I may not be able to determine where the potato came from, but when I make them at home, I can tell the difference, (and so can my family) where that potato came from.
4. I hand peel and slice, but of course you would have to purchase equipment to peel and slice the potatoes in order to lessen labour intensity. Personally, the lack of uniformity gives homemade fries a certain charm, but also can increase waste.
As I said, I just make them at home. It boggles my mind how a busy eatery can make homemade fries without charging more because of the labour involved. But I just cook at home and do not use French Fry peelers or cutters.
And also, to go or delivered fries do lose charm when they are cold. You can't really enjoy homemade fries cold or microwaved.