Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 10, 2008 09:04 PM

Home Fries are Good Again!!!!

This may be the most important posting I've made in years to I am ecstatic with this news, and awestruck by the sense of uplift and liberation it will surely trigger in my fellow food-lovers. I know it sounds a bit zany and overblown, but it's true, every word of it. Really true. I've detected a tectonic adjustment in the space/chow continuum and...home fries are good again.

I mean it. After decades of horrendous decline into vestigiality, delicious pure home fries are starting to blossom, like post-apocalyptic wildflowers. Everywhere I go these days, it's as if the tuber fairy has waved her mottled wand over the grill. Home fries are good again.

Yes, during the preceding Dark Ages there were regions where home fries never got that bad. In such places, home fries are now nothing short of galvanizing. In the NY tristate area, where home fries had metasticized into a cruel joke - a needless, gratuitous tamping down of the inherent goodness of fried spuds, they are resurrecting. They are shaking off their cynical debasement with bell pepper chunks. They are divesting themselves of their fake orange hue. They are casting aside their sog and their funk. Home fries are good again!

They're even good at night, now! They're just good! Go see if it's not true. I'm not saying that every plate is perfectly socko. No, as we transition from those bad, bad times, and rub our eyes in the newfound sunlight, there will remain pockets of unrepentant badness. These pockets will, soon enough, be illuminated. It's only a matter of time. It is inevitable.

It's safe, everyone, really. It's been like a bad dream, but it's over. Yes, I know you haven't ordered home fries in years. In diners and coffee shops, you have been meekly accepting the freezer-burnt mealy steak fries with your burgers, because there is no longer reason to request home fries, which would likely be worse still, in their stead. You have forgotten all the ways in which you may have once sought out home fries, back so very long ago. You have closed that book. You have turned your back. You have moved on.

But just as Quisp came back, so have home fries.

Home fries are good again.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, I know I'm excited. I've been following an extended detox regimen after I overdosed on that nasty orange glow substance.
    I love potatoes. Especially home-fried potatoes... I'll have to order them again soon.

    1. >Everywhere I go these days, it's as if the tuber fairy has waved her mottled wand over the grill. Home fries are good again.

      Can you send that fairy over to the metrowest Boston area please?

      1 Reply
      1. re: LStaff

        Have you TRIED home fries there? I mean recently? Or are you just coasting on opinion inertia from years and years of bad experience?

        We're all going to have to unlearn so much.

      2. Agree. One of the simplest yet most rewarding forms of The Exalted Spud have embraced their former glory. In interior that is light and fluffy with a golden cripsy exterior. Who needs ketchup ?

        1. What to your taste makes the perfect home fries? Just curious.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lisavf

            lisavf, I've been praying all this time not for "perfect", but for decent. You may be too young to remember when home fries were things people actually ate with gusto.

            As to my aesthetic, I'm pretty open. anything spuddy that's chunky or sliced and fried, with both crusty and moist components.

            But, man, I hope this thread doesn't degenerate into a sprawling thread where 500 people chime in on what their idea of perfect home fries is! :)

            1. re: Jim Leff

              Mr. Leff,

              You do realize how ironic your post is, given that the recipe teaser immediately next to it is for some "Southwestern Chile Home Fries"?

          2. I need a ruling from the judges on this. Canonically speaking, what ARE home fries?

            Where and when I grew up, home fries were the subset of hash browns that were neither shredded nor cubed, but made from sliced boiled potatoes, usually with the skin on. Not everything I've seen on a menu that's called home fries fits under this description.

            5 Replies
            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              You are close, but home fries are definitely not a "subset" of hash browns any more than scrambled eggs are a subset of omelettes. You have described the basic ingredient correctly - cold boiled spuds (usually cooked the day before), sliced irregularly, fried on a griddle or in a skillet (most authentically in bacon fat or butter), with optional additions such as chopped onions, chopped up (real!) bacon, and Jim Leff, I'm sorry, but Mom would put in some bell peppers if she had them around. (Hey, I put beans in my chili too; sue me.) The thing that distinguishes good home fries from their imitators is a slightly crispy crust and lashings of fresh cracked pepper.

              Home fries are *NEVER* deep fried, and I get deeply offended when I go in for breakfast where they advertise home fries, and I get receive some previously frozen, deep fried waffle chip/tater tot/etc. Feh.

              Now, if I could only get more places to carry HP sauce to go with the eggs, breakfast could be perfect again...

              1. re: KevinB

                Hmmm...the ones I recall from the past few years have all been cooked on a flat top, but have tended to suffer from the 'whiter shade of pale' syndrome (or 'not enough oil'). Pretty flavorless stuff, obviously made in too large of a batch and piled too high on the griddle. I suppose one that could make a batch too greasy, but the ones I have encountered have been the opposite. Oddly enough I was just ruminating about this very topic this past weekend when I made up a batch and tried to get the perfect texture- it takes just the right amount of oil and just the right amount of heat to get the magic to work- maybe that's why they have rarely been as good outside of the home.

                I'm also with you and your mom, Kevin- I consider the bell peppers an added bonus (but certainly not necessary.)

                1. re: TongoRad

                  Totally agree with you that home fries cooked with a "neutral" oil, such as corn or canola don't get the same crispness and colour that fries done in bacon drippings and/or butter do.

                  And I also agree the onions/peppers/bacon are all optional add-ons. Mom also used to go out to the garden, and come back and fry up a sliced green tomato to serve next to the fries and eggs (and the fresh perch I'd just pulled out of the lake). I never liked the tomatoes as a kid, but actually find them tasty now. Go figure.

                  1. re: KevinB

                    My at-home home fries work because of a combo of half oil, half butter IMO -- allows that crust to form that is one of the hallmarks of home fries for me and Kevin B above :-).

                2. re: KevinB

                  Kevin; I would agree totally with your recipe, but would add that apparent bane of Mr. Leff; paprika. Not the dull tasting food coloring that is sold in most supermarkets but the spicy flavorful stuff that comes form Spain or Hungary that adds just the right kick to the taters. I could eat a whole skillet full. but they need to have that burned starchy crust to really be right.