Perhaps Gerard Depardieu's recent defection to Russia makes sense... both France and Russia have taken the simple potato and turned it into magic, and dude definitely likes his taters. But in terms of diversity, the French fry beats the crap out of vodka. Straight, curly, crinkly, the French fry proves that you can do anything w/ a potato, some oil, and some knife work. That's why we've ranked the glorious French fry's many different faces from best to worst. Luckily, even the worst is still delicious.
Whether you refer to them as wedges or the second half of the group that sang "All My Life", they're a gargantuan take on the fry, usually consisting of a quartered potato dunked in batter and deep-fried, then typically served alongside a pile of fried chicken. It's basically like a deep-fried baked potato, and something of a meal unto itself if you let it be.
8. Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins and cultivate healthy blood cells... so let's deep-fry them! This southern favorite has gained traction under the pretense that they're healthy, but it's also an acquired taste that, for some, brings back memories of Thanksgiving dinners gone awry.
7. Steak Fries
These thick-cut taters are designed to sponge up all the blood and juices that come out of your steak (unless you order it well done, which you shouldn't, you maniac
), making them essentially the Brawny of the fried world. Outside of a steakhouse, they can be a bit too heavy on the potato, but as long as you have something red on the plate, these are your best friends.
6. Crinkle-Cut Fries
In some miracle of knife-maneuvering (that's how they do it, right?), the crinkle-cut manages to add a certain extra layer of crispiness to these suckers that not even generations of lunch ladies have been able to take away. As a result, they're a mainstay of diners everywhere, and a veritable accordion of crunchy/soft awesomeness.
5. Waffle Fries
Combining the greatest elements of France and Belgium (minus Timecop), the waffle fry manages the not-easy task of combining the crispy exterior with an interior that, as you go toward the middle, increasingly takes on the consistency of deep-fried mashed potatoes. Sadly, these beauties are sometimes hard to find, so if you come across them, fill a backpack with them and mail them to friends.
4. Regular Old Fries
The sexiest instance of hot julienne-ing since Boogie Nights, this is what you obviously think of when you think of French fries, thanks to pretty much every fast-food restaurant ever. Perfectly straight, perfectly crispy, and perfectly delicious... even the ones you used to find in the seat of your parents' car when you were a kid retain their flavor, which is at once terrifying and heartening.
3. Shoestring Fries
For some reason, whenever a restaurant offers shoestring fries, you get about 10x more than you do with any other order. The mushy potato here goes out the window for a fully crispy, extra-long potato strip that's equally delicious swabbed in ketchup, covered in chili, or piled on the top of a burger. Since you get so many, do all three ways.
2. Tater Tots
Purists will disqualify them, but all the components are there. The potato. The frying. The outright deliciousness. But tots are a different beast, mainly because of the magic of the crisp outside paired with the way little squares of greasy potato goodness come apart like crystals. Transform them into totchos or wrap them in bacon, and you've got an absolute miracle of human engineering.
1. Curly Fries
Like snowflakes -- if snowflakes were submerged in grease and didn't just taste like water -- no two curly fries are alike. Some are long, glorious, tightly-wound coils. Some are overcooked half moons. Some are shaped like JWOWW's earrings. No matter what, though, a bag of curlies is a bag of wonder -- seasoned-salt-flavored, crunchy, smooshy wonder.