Why Are In-N-Out's Fries So Terrible?
Dear In-N-Out's French fries,
I know it must be hard to share a tray with one of the most beloved burgers in history. That Double-Double -- triumphantly peacocking its melty patties -- is the mustard-grilled star of the fast-food world. So much care goes into it, meanwhile you're piled haphazardly to the side like a blooper reel of stubby, talentless starch.
Why -- for the love of all things crispy -- can't you just be like all the other fast-food fries and taste good?
You sure do look like something I'd want to super size, but like a Decepticon, you are more than meets the eye. The first time I bit into one of these fries I felt the same way I did when I watched Optimus Prime die on screen in Transformers: The Movie. Do you have any idea how traumatic it is for a 5-year-old to watch their hero die at the hands of Megatron's laser beam?
You don't, and you never will. The USDA developed your Kennebec potato family specifically for snack-food applications without any capacity for emotional empathy. You are a freak of nature.
From birth you were groomed for greatness, but instead you've wasted your gifts. Ever since you were a young spud lounging in a field in SoCal it was clear that you'd end up dunked into a paper ramekin of ketchup, but you are unworthy of the condiment.
What would those USDA scientists think of you now, strung out and skinny, living at the bottom of a trash can? They would think you deserve to be doused in backwashed root beer and blanketed with grease-slicked napkins used by someone with a saliva-transmittable disease.
How is it that you're hand-cut by the happiest staff in all of fast food and still your insides are stiff and cold and devoid of the lush, velvety texture of your craveable contemporaries? I don't know how those kids in the paper hats can look people in the eye and serve you. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were made of yuca.
Where is the playful kiss of salt and the sassy coating of canola oil? You are roughly as flavorful as the puff of air that optometrists use to check eye pressure.
Am I supposed to tear open a salt packet and coat you in even more sodium? Anyone who needs to add salt to fast food should start shopping for bigger shoes and a fashionable satchel for their future swollen feet and insulin needles. In-N-Out French fries, do you want me to get diabetes? That is a serious condition that I shouldn't even be joking about. Do you want Internet commenters to use their caps locks to tell me how insensitive I am?
And I don't want to hear your excuses about Animal Style or any other lipstick-on-a-fry “secret menu” solutions. I shouldn't have to order them "well done" and get a packet of your secret sauce on the side just to make you palatable. You are a potato, dammit. Don't you know that your ancestors basically sustained the entire country of Ireland? And your baked cousins proudly share plates with dry-aged steaks? You can't even hang with beef patties drenched in delicious not-quite-Thousand Island.
“Do you want fries with that?” is one of the easiest questions of all time, but you turn it into a Mensa-level paradox. Have some self-respect! Ordering a burger without fries spits in the face of American culinary tradition, but you've left me no choice.
Don't bother writing back, which shouldn't be difficult because you're inconsiderate. Also because you're French fries.
Guy Who Is About to Be Banned From In-N-Out
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. If you're ever in Austin, he suggests that you try the fries at P. Terry's. Follow him to lots of angry In-N-Out fans at @Dannosphere.